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Beyond the department stores and big box retailers lie little fragrance-minded boutiques with inspired perfume selections tailored to scent lovers. Hello Jacob & Sebastian.
You might head to Toronto hot shop Jacob & Sebastian for your bath and body care essentials, but look to the boutique for some inspired perfume shopping too.
When you walk into Jacob & Sebastian along busy Queen Street West, you’re struck by its elegance. Then you’ll feel the urge to redecorate your bathroom with all the beautifully packaged bathroom products on display.
The shop’s white walls and open airy space provide a luxe, gallery-like setting; the white bathtub in the middle of the store brings you back to reality and you remember that you’re not in an art gallery but in a sophisticated shop devoted to lotions and potions and exquisitely smelling things.
“In my travels this [the world of skincare and beauty] was kind of the thing I was interested in,” said Joel Dart, the owner of Jacob & Sebastian. “This is the kind of thing I would purchase as gifts to people and research about online; it was my sort of fascination,” he says.
Indeed, the store romanticizes its products—great items associated with bath-time rituals, including non-toxic beauty lines, skin and haircare, that also make for amazing gifts
You can also shop online at Jacob & Sebastian, but shopping in person allows you to experience a much broader assortment, plus you get to smell the Rodin Olio Lusso face oil and Santa Maria Novella tobacco toscano candle, which just isn’t possible with the virtual boutique experience.
The perfume counter
There are two in-store sections dedicated solely to fragrances, where fancy bottles neatly line glass shelves. “We curate a whole section of rotating niche market fragrance lines,” said Dart. The store never keeps the same product all the time as they switch it up by season. There is the iconic and not easy to find Santa Maria Novella perfume collection, as well as brands such as Jo Wood, Red flower and Oribe.
One of the most popular items that Dart can’t keep on the shelf is Nemat Oils Amber. This non-alcohol roll-on fragrance is named amber because of its main note; it smells like freshly showered skin with a simple slightly musky undertone.
Nemant Oils Amber, $23 (10 ml), at Jacob & Sebastian.
For the bath, not the body
The 900-square-foot downtown Queen Street shop—Dart also operates a second location in the city’s Distillery District—also houses some divine smelling candles, scent diffusers for your home and spectacularly smelling soaps. Look for the Laduree candles and Red Flower fragrance diffusers for the home.
Niche and hard-to-find scents
This is great place for fragrance lovers that like to try different scents that are hard to find. Other must-try perfumes include Invisible Ink Eden and Etat Libre D’Orange True Lust. Invisible Ink Eden—with its plum, cedar and sandalwood powdery base—will soothe your senses. It’s perfect for daily use; while Etat Libre D’Orange True Lust is a sensual scent of musk, powdery rose, violet and coconut. Talk about perfect for a date.
Invisible Ink Eden, $65 (60 ml); Etat Libre D’Orange True Lust, $190 (100 ml); both Jacob & Sebastian.
From the beginning when Jacob & Sebastian opened in August 2010, it focused on niche products “I really enjoyed picking up interesting products from around the world,” says Dart, “I love and value how much they can add enjoyment to a person’s routine and life.”
Dart wasn’t primarily concerned with eco-minded products but that trend is highlighted. “Because of the demand, especially in the natural, non-toxic products, it does seem like we are swaying in that direction,” he said. “It still will never be our main focus; the focus is on quality, uniqueness and efficiency.”