The nominees are in for the 2013 Indie FiFi Awards that will take place at The Elements Showcase this month. There will be 5 finalists and 1 winner.
In alphabetical order with my inconsequential commentary:
Amber Oud by By Kilian - PERFUMER Calice Becker- I have tried this one and will have a review up of this one of these days. I think I’m the only perfume person on the planet that dislikes it. But, hey, that is why perfume is fun! For every thing you dislike, somebody else loves it and vice versa. I can say that the packaging is gorgeous because it is.
Boutonnière No. 7 by Arquiste Perfumes – PERFUMER Rodgrigo Flores-Roux - I haven’t given this one a proper smelling but I smelled it on a friend and it’s very nice. This line does a great job with florals.
Bowmakers by D.S. & Durga – PERFUMER not “listed” but I can bet it’s D.S and/or Durga – I haven’t worn this one of the skin but I rather liked it in the bottle. It’s rugged, aggressive, woodsy and most importantly, interesting.
Broderie by Hayari Paris – PERFUMER Sidonie Lancesseur – I keep saying the same thing, I haven’t worn this on skin either! I have sniffed the 3 perfumes in the line. I remember thinking of this one as a white floral fruitichouli with mainstream appeal. It’s heavy on patchouli but not in a “dirty hippie” way.
Calling All Angels by April Aromatics – PERFUMER Tanja Boching – This is a spicy, dry, meditative incense inspired perfume that I really enjoy wearing.
Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal Perfumes – PERFUMER Roman Monegal – This one strangely reminds me of something else, like a Caron or something, but it’s unlike something else. It’s strangely familiar but not. Like when you see a familiar looking stranger on the street. Anyway, it’s becoming a “comfort” scent for me despite it’s creepy unfamiliar familiarity.
Eau de Flog by Opus Oils – PERFUMER Kedra Hart – I haven’t tried this one by Opus Oils but I typically like perfumer Kedra Hart’s style. And the line usually has really fun, alt-cult inspirations.
Eau La La by Edward Bess – PERFUMER ? – I own lots of Edward Bess makeup but I haven’t sniffed the perfume. Read paragraph below if you are interested in a mini-rant.
I realize I have no “right” to say what I’m about to say, especially about a perfume I’ve never sniffed in my life. But, it really, really bothers me that this one and a few others are on the list. Why? Because I can’t find on their website who the perfumer is for Eau La La. Yes, it is an indie product by and indie line; I see why it has made the nomination list. I think this information should at least be transparent when you are competing for an “indie” perfume award. Even mainstream perfume brands these days tell you who the perfumer is because that is what perfume people expect. Many of these nominees are people that own the company, are the nose and hand-pour this stuff in bottles and print up the shipping labels so that it gets to your doorstep. Other nominees went out of their way finding the perfumer that could best represent their vision/brand. When I see a line that doesn’t let me know who the perfumer is or give credit to the perfumer, I don’t view them as a perfume house. My best guess is that the “unlisted” brands come from a makeup, skincare, whatever background and don’t realize that perfume people care and expect to know who the perfumer is. *One does have to list the perfumer when they apply as a nominee for the Indie FiFi. My point is that I don’t like when brands aren’t transparent with this info on their website, press releases, etc. This is something that has always bothered me and this award reminded me of that chip I’ve had on my shoulder.
Eau Monumentale by Third Man – PERFUMER ? – Haven’t tried this one on skin but I’ve seen it mentioned on numerous stylish dandy man blogs. I have no idea why I have so much experience with stylish dandy man blogs. All I can say about this line is that the perfumes are super sheer and are colognes. It tries to modernize the old-school approach of using fragrance as something you do in your morning routine. Not something that perfume people relate to. We wear perfume because we f’n love perfume. The thought of grouping it in with the same category as our toothpaste confuses us.
Glam Monster by Donato Style – PERFUMER Kedra Hart – First time I’ve ever heard of this perfume in my life. All I can think of is Macaulay Culkin in “Party Monster” which was a rather lame movie about a really interesting story. Hope the perfume is not a Macaulay Culkin. **Looked up the brand and OMG. They make like Gwar glamour masks. The imaginary club kid in me longs for this. It’s not too far off from “Party Monster”.
Hothouse Flower by INeKe Perfumes – PERFUMER Ineke Rühland - It’s a nice take on gardenia with green and bitter elements. It really is a fitting addition to the INeKe line. I’ll get to reviewing it soon. It’s a gardenia/fig.
Intimacy by JoAnne Bassett – PERFUMER JoAnne Bassett – This is a vintage style chypre that is OD’ing on oakmoss. I have to say that I love that such a “dangerous” perfume is on this list. It’s like JoAnne’s shooting the finger to IFRA. The punk in me absolutely adores this gesture. Oh, I love that.
Lady Day by Maria Candida Gentile – PERFUMER Maria Candida Gentile – I’ve yet to experience this line. It seems to be a line that I could dig. Lady Day is inspired by Billie Holiday so it’s a gardenia perfume. Off subject, but I wonder if Billie knew she’d inspire so many perfumes…
Le Cherche Midi No. 30 Eau d’Hiver by Le Cherche Midi – PERFUMER Cecile Hua – Here’s another line I’m ashamed I haven’t tried. It looks pretty cool.
Le Smoking by DSH Perfumes – PERFUMER Dawn Spencer Hurwitz – I really enjoy this one (and the rest) made for the YSL Retrospective Collection for The Denver Art Museum. This is this smoky, dark thing. Sultry stuff. DSH is a talented indie perfumer and I’ve really enjoyed exploring this collection.
Lightscape by Ulrich Lang – PERFUMER Ulrich Lang – This one is unlike anything else in the Ulrich Lang line. It’s more feminine and powdery. It’s rather nice but tends to remind me of Estee Lauder White Linen. <–I do not mean that as an insult, that’s one of the best perfumes ever made IMO. Remember I’m an Estee Lauder fangirl.
Meadow & Fir by Phoenix Botanicals - PERFUMER not listed but I can bet it’s the owner, Irina – I have only tried the natural skincare from this line and not the perfumes. Their skincare is absolutely rad, but I have no personal experience with their fine fragrances.
Moss Gown by Providence Perfume Co. – PERFUMER Charna Ethier – This is a mossy, sunny floral. If it were a color, it’d be goldenrod. I like that it is inspired by a story that the perfumer reads to her daughter. Charna really does an excellent job using all-natural ingredients. Here’s my review.
Purusa Root by Sebastian Signs Fragrance Company – PERFUMER Sherri Sebastian- I have never heard of this brand until now but it seems that perfumer Sherri Sebastian is very experienced in the area of flavors and fragrance. Root is a vetiver based fragrance.
Qajar Parfums by Lalun Naturals – PERFUMER Maggie Mahboubian – Here’s another new-to-me brand. (Yes, my self-esteem is shrinking). This looks like a Persian rose, something I would probably go nuts over but never tried.
Raw Spirit “Firetree” Fragrance Oil by World Senses – PERFUMER “collaboration between Russell James and Australian indigenous artists” – Well, where the hell was I in 2012? Here’s another line that is new-to-me. Looks like this line is by an Australian fashion photographer and a portion of the proceeds go to good stuff.
Rima XI by Carner Barcelona -PERFUMER Sarah Carner (I *think* she is the perfumer; she is the founder) - I haven’t tried this one. The others in the line have been nice.
Rodin by Rodin Olio Russo – PERFUMER ? - This is a nice heady jasmine. I liked it but I have used a hair oil from the Indian market that costs $5 that smells very similar. And once again, who is the perfumer?
Speakeasy by Frapin – PERFUMER – Marc-Antoine Corticchiato – It’s a nice fragrance but the immortelle in it kills it for me. (I’m so sensitive to that note). It does fit in rather nicely with the Frapin line. That “fit” means so much to me.
Terrasse a St. Germain by JUL ET MAD – FOUNDERS Julien Blanchard and Madalina Stoica – Haven’t tried it but keep hearing the best things about JUL ET MAD.
Trayee by Neela Vermeire Creations – PERFUMER Betrand Duchaufour – Gorgeousness. Intellectual. Wearable. I’ve said it before, this line fills a void that the niche perfume world once had.
Treazon by Ayala Moriel Parfums – PERFUMER – Ayala Moriel – This is a dark, glamorous white floral fragrance that really transforms on the skin.
Wild Roses by Aftelier Perfumes – PERFUMER Mandy Aftel – Some perfumes speak to us emotionally. This one speaks to me in emotions and a swirl of colors. Out of all the Aftelier Perfumes that I’ve tried (and I haven’t tried them all), Wild Roses is my favorite. It connects with me.
Woody by Smell Bent – PERFUMER Brent Leonosio – It’s a fun fragrance, effervescent and bubbly with a name that sounds silly when you say it aloud. You can read my review here. The Vocabulary Collection has been my favorite Smell Bent collection to date.
I haven’t tried all of these perfumes and many are completely new to me. There are many nice perfumes on the list. I wish all the nominees the best of luck. I’m sure the committee has their work cut out for them with all of these to choose from! I imagine it’s very difficult and that many factors are considered. It’s not going to be easy…we have naturals/mixed media, self-taught perfumers/trained perfumers, perfumes sold on etsy/perfumes sold at Bergdorf Goodman…I’m going to wish the judges luck too
Now, you know I am an opinionated one and here’s my finalists choices from the list above (and of course I can only go by what I’ve tried which totally skews my entire list and makes it void, right?) :
D.S. & Durga Bowmakers – Even though I think their style isn’t “refined”, I love that they take a risk. And they continue to take risks over and over again. I feel this is the point of indie perfume, none of the constraints of the mainstream. This deserves an award in my humble opinion. I’m sick of seeing people playing it safe.
Neela Vermeire Trayee – I said it already but I find these perfumes intellectual and wearable. If I could complain about anything, I’d say the construction is “too perfect” (and that’s me being picky). I feel they fill a void the Western perfume world had before. I love the inspiration of these perfumes. I just love ‘em.
Frapin Speakeasy – Mainly on the list because it “matches” the brand so much and this is important to me. This perfume extends the brand’s story and doesn’t feel like “let’s fill a bottle up so we can sell something”. It fits with the line and was thought out.
Skye Botanicals Strawberry Passion – The final product is a sophisticated strawberry perfume. I find the entire collaboration process of this perfume very “indie” and this is the direction that I predict perfume going thanks to the world wide wide web connecting perfume lovers and artisanal perfumers.
Aftelier Wild Roses – This one speaks to me so I’m biased. I don’t expect everyone to have the relationship to it that I have. Mandy Aftel has educated countless perfumers and perfume lovers. Without her efforts and persistence I don’t think we’d have seen such an artisanal perfume movement in the U.S.
In reality, I have bets that By Kilian Amber Oud wins the award.
I tried to pass my “win” on to those that are unique and add something to the perfume world, especially the indie perfume world in one way or another. I’m looking for something that makes a statement. Like I said, I haven’t tried them all; I can only go with what I know.
Do you have picks for our “Fantasy Indie FiFi League”?
Here’s the nominee form in case you are curious as how someone becomes a nominee. The PDF this year also defines “indie” and “artisanal” which is very helpful.