"House" (aka Creative House) is the industry term for a company that independently designs and produces perfume. A "Nose" (aka Perfumer) works from a fragrance organ composing fragrances (or flavors) from base materials to create accords that are arranged into the final product. Like a composer that creates music, the Perfumer knows every note inside and out - they could play "blindfolded" so to speak. They write their own music, drawing inspiration from a multitude of sources, and can deliver on a brief. Like musicians, each perfumer has a certain "style" or "sound".
"Brands" are re-sellers of perfumes they purchase from "houses". Many people mistakenly refer to "brands" as "houses". This is inaccurate and also misleading as it implies that the brand is the designer and producer of the perfume rather than a re-seller. Going back to the music reference, brands would be akin to the "record label", not the orchestra.
On the part of the reviewers and fragrance critics, this is just an innocent mistake of the uninformed. However, when done by the brand itself in a direct attempt to deceive the customer into believing they are the creator of the fragrance, it really stinks because the misinformation (aka "marketing campaign") trickles down to the early adopters and brand evangelists, making them an accessory to the deception.
When a brand owner, aka "Creative Director" brazenly poses as the Perfumer creating the juice, things get even choppier - and this exact indiscretion has burst the bubbles of a few notable brands in recent years. Milli Vanilli, anyone?
All houses can have "brands" and many houses have several brands in their portfolios, however, 98% of brands are NOT houses and should not be referred to as such. Consider this important point of distinction: there are hundreds of thousands of brands that sell perfume but only a handful of "Creative Fragrance Houses" worldwide.
Do you know which house produces the perfume your wearing (or writing about)? Have you wondered why so many perfumes smell the same? Hopefully learning the distinction between brands and houses will help you understand the answers to these questions, and invite you to ask new questions. One thing is for sure, in today's age of transparency, there are fewer and fewer secrets about the mystical world of fragrance.