The perfume industry has long followed conventions: nice-smelling ingredients, usually derived from flowers and plants, are blended into a harmony of aromas, creating fragrant concoctions to allure and delight.

But an emerging trend is seeing perfumers break with tradition, as they look to diversify in an over-flooded market. Cheese, cars and the smell of sweat are just some of the latest scents to be captured and bottled for a market eager to try unique and individual new perfumes.

"Savvy fragrance companies have realised that more discerning customers don't want to smell like everyone else," confirms Caroline Brien, beauty features editor at Marie Claire. "There's a small but significant trend for fragrances that don't conform to tradition, and it's a trend that's growing."

The most recent - and definitely most surprising - launch captures the smell of Stilton cheese. Said to be chasing Cat Deeley as its 'face', Eau de Stilton is a 'distinctive' olfactory blend of notes including clary sage, yarrow and angelica seed (

Elsewhere, aged rockers Kiss are to launch their own fragrance line this autumn, containing a heady whiff of sweat and pheromones, along with sinful accords of bare skin and patent leather.

One is only left to imagine what Marilyn Manson's hotly-awaited perfume is going to smell like.

Christopher Brosius, meanwhile, is the innovative perfumer who created Demeter - the influential American perfume house known for bottling such singular experiences as Fireplace, Dirt, and Sex On The Beach.

Now with his own range of fragrances, rather candidly called C.B. I Hate Perfume, Brosius's creations are closer to art than commerce, and provide truly conceptual olfactive experiences (

Fragrances such as At The Beach 1966, Winter 1972, and In The Library are sure to trigger an emotional experience far greater than any combination of rose, raspberry and vanilla. This trend is not so much about smelling 'nice' but making a statement of individuality.

While he may not necessarily endorse such outlandish concoctions, fragrance expert Roja Dove, whose Haute Parfumerie at Harrods (020 7893 8797) houses many of the world's most highly-coveted perfumes, does note the wider trend that such fragrances are part of.


"Why has our perfumery been so successful? Without question, I think it's because so many people are fed up with everything smelling the same. There's no individuality any more."

Traditionally, perfumery used to depend on the discovery of natural ingredients but today - with few parts of the world left unexplored - the prevalence of undiscovered materials is rare. It is now falling to unconventional synthetic ingredients to push the industry forward.

Fashion house Comme des Garcons has pioneered this area, by creating scents based on dry cleaning, sherbet and tar, to name a few. Far from being a wacky experiment, its perfumes have gained a popular following.

This summer the label re-launched two of its most revolutionary fragrances at Harvey Nichols stores nationwide (020 7499 4420). Both described as 'anti-perfumes', Odeur 71, �55, captures inorganic smells of 'dust on a hot light-bulb', 'warm photocopier toner' and 'fresh pencil shavings'; while Odeur 53, �52, is a surprisingly fragrant blend of concept smells such as 'flaming rock', 'flash of metal' and nail polish.

"In terms of unusual notes, both the industry and consumers have evolved past accepting the quirky scents such as dirt or grass (both by Demeter) that had a hip following in the Nineties," says Marie Claire's Caroline Brien.

"Today, these kind of notes have to add depth to a perfume or have enough character to stand up alone, increasingly delivering the obscure scent they promise on the bottle."

Rather fittingly, then, one of the latest underground fragrance launches does just that. Possibly the most unconventional of all perfumes, Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules isn't a fragrance (usually a blend of as many as 100 components) at all, but a solitary synthetic scent - the aroma chemical Iso E Super, which has a pheromone effect.

"It's certainly a new thing, the idea that you can wear a single molecule on its own," says Geza Schoen, the nose and creator behind Escentric Molecules. "Even I was surprised how popular it was, because it was meant to be for people who wanted a feeling more than an actual fragrance. But that's what they like, they like that it's different."

Molecule 01, which is more of an effect than an aroma, along with its counterpart fragrance Escentric 01, blended with pink pepper, lime and incense, (020 7235 5000), has become a phenomenon.

With worldwide waiting lists, and a bevy of fans including Madonna, Elton and David, Dita von Teese and Kate Moss - who ordered a case of the stuff - these highly-addictive, pheromonic concoctions, both �59, are proof of the growing popularity of rebel perfumes.

"It's incredible because we're a brand that nobody knows, but that doesn't seem to matter," says Geza Schoen.

"People just like the fragrance and they even ask other people wearing it on the street what it is. Ten years ago the industry was all about the big perfumery brands. Now things have become more individualistic and perfumers can start to make a statement."