5 original Filipino fragrance brands to check out

As a perfume enthusiast, my main beef with the local fragrance scene is that it is saturated with dupe houses and “inspired” scents—copies of more popular scents from international brands.

While I understand that not everyone can afford designer and niche fragrances and that dupes are a way for more people to enjoy them, I’m much more interested in Filipinos showcasing their creativity in the art of perfumery. Thankfully, there are a number of Filipino fragrance brands that specialize in their own original scent blends, and a lot are more than worth exploring.

So without further adieu, here are five Filipino fragrance brands that are absolutely killing it when it comes to putting out unique perfumes mindfully crafted for the local audience. From fresh scents perfect for our tropical weather to niche picks made for more refined noses, there’s something for everyone on this list. 

Wren Atelier

Being quite new to Filipino fragrance brands, I personally had no idea we had local artisan fragrance houses of niche quality. But we actually have a handful created by Filipino noses trained in Grasse, France (the world’s capital of perfumery), one of whom being Renato Lopena Jr., a certified natural perfumer. The creative force behind Wren Atelier, Renato focuses on blending the most one-of-a-kind fragrances as well as working on bespoke, custom scents for his clientele. Each perfume from his private collection is mostly inspired by Filipino culture, from the spread of Christianity in the Philippines to the work of our local farmers and fishermen.

Apart from the dreamy Valensole Romance and the floral, boozy Cerveza Rosa, a lot of these scents can pull masculine, so this is definitely a brand to check out if you’re looking for a special gift for your boyfriend, husband, brother, or dad. 

Must-try: Valensole Romance, a unique and deep gourmand inspired by the lavender fields of Provence

Imperfect Scents

Imperfect Scents’ heart and soul come from the creativity of its founders, Kelsey and Marouis, who also happen to be sisters. Out of all the brands listed, this house has the most fragrance options in its roster—whether you want woody scents, soft skin scents, sweet milky gourmands, calming tea perfumes, they’ve got it. What makes them stand out as well is the sheer effort and care placed into their branding. Just visit their website and you’ll notice every fragrance is paired with a unique (and super cute) illustration as well as thoughtfully written copy. 

Both Kelsey and Marouis suffer from allergic rhinitis, so their creations are the most ideal for anyone who enjoys a good scent but is sensitive to stronger formulations. 

Must-try: Washi, a woody scent reminiscent of fragranced stationery

Ilum Studios

Patricia Cotoco and Ivana Ching started Ilum Studios during the pandemic, originally as a scented candle brand. But their market enjoyed their scents so much that they requested that they be crafted as perfumes as well. “Every time we create a new fragrance, we first think of a memory, place, or emotion that we want to capture with our scents,” they say, then elaborating that they spend months of oil testing and blending to craft the perfect scents that would match our tropical Philippine weather. Through their fragrances, Pat and Ivana want to spread light and joy to each customer, hence the name “ilum.”

Just recently, Ilum Studios released a spring/summer fragrance collection, aimed to last and smell great in the heat of summer. 

Must-try: Matcha Mochi, a subtly sweet but fresh and airy matcha latte scent

Home Studio Scents

Another candle brand that branched out into perfumes and room sprays, Home Studio Scents has been running since 2020, creating various unique fragrance collections. What’s interesting about this house is that each of their collections have very distinct branding and art, from vintage aesthetics to funky and modern visuals. No two products are the same. Like Imperfect Scents, Home Studio Scents has branched out into so many different scent profiles, pleasing any discerning nose that has had the privilege of sniffing their perfumes.

I bought an entire line of one of their fragrance series and gifted them to my barkada. You know a brand is good when all seven of them loved what they got. 

Must-try: Clean Slate, a musky and clean skin scent

Letters of Love

Letters of Love is actually a new local fragrance house from the same team behind other lifestyle brands such as SnailWhite, Oxecure, and Trizie. The concept behind it is that every simple thing in life is a form of love, whether that’s remembering your childhood memories, seeing a pretty flower, or eating your favorite treat—and they aim to capture these through their fragrances—one scent, one story, one letter of love at a time.

Their first release is Mango Sticky Rice Gourmand, which basically smells like a photorealistic mango sticky rice dessert. Despite it being a gourmand, it’s still light and refreshing enough for the summer heat, so I’m excited to see the other fragrances this new brand comes up with. 

Must-try: Mango Sticky Rice Gourmand, a light and sweet fragrance inspired by the famous Thai dessert

Photos from brands
Art by Ella Lambio

Eric Nicole Gonzales Salta: