Best of 2011 – Perfume Blogging Event

Best Perfumes of 2011

I dislike doing best/worst lists because fragrance is subjective AND I dislike doing them because I haven’t tried all of the new launches of 2011. Who has? If you keep up with mainstream, luxury, indie, and naturals, you know that a new perfume is launched every second…only a slight exaggeration. Here’s a best of list that I compiled from the limited perfumes (in comparison to new launches) that I tried this year. Personally, I thought 2011 was a good year for perfume. So, here’s my The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Perfumes of 2011 list:

Best Indie – Opus Oils Wild Child 

Opus Wild Child is what I call a “tropichouli”. Before Wild Child, I had no idea that lactones and patchouli belonged together. Here’s my review. This was also the winner of Perfume Pharmer and The Patch Test Bunnies Summer of Love. It’s a natural! Kedra Hart, perfumer for Opus Oils, was rocking it this year with this launch, Les Bohemes Collection, and Eau Pear Tingle.  Runner UpSonoma Scent Studio To DreamTo Dream is a beautiful powdery, soft fragrance with a woodsy, forest base that makes me feel like an art nouveau sylph.

Best LuxuryThe Entire Tommi Sooni Line

Where did this line come from? Is Australia the hotbed of expensive, luxurious chypres and I didn’t know it? This line deserves more love from perfume snobs and it will get the love if the snobs try it. This is my 2012 prediction. Every Tommi Sooni perfume is full bottle worthy. No joke. I love that this line is creating mature, sophisticated perfumes for mature, sophisticated fumies.

Best MainstreamOscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar and Cartier Baiser Volé

I thought 2011 was a great year for mainstream perfume and this made this choice difficult. Esprit d’Oscar is lovely with a classic elegance. It’s long-wearing and not like other boring mainstream perfumes. It’s more of a long lost Guerlain or Chanel. Cartier Baiser Volé is amazing. It smells like a fresh lily. And the lighter bottle is worth owning. See my last entry for another great mainstream perfume of 2011 ;)

Aftelier Haute Claire

Best Natural - Aftelier Haute Claire

This was a tough choice because there were some great natural perfumes launched this year by Providence Perfume Co., JoAnne Bassett and Liz Zorn just to name a few. It surprised me that I loved Aftelier’s “creamy green” so much. I’m not usually a fan of green scents but this one is lush, rich and amazing. Here’s my reviewRunner UpApril Aromatics Bohemian Spice. Bohemian Spice is a decadent patchouli. This line, like Aftelier, creates luxury naturals, keep an out on this brand. Here’s my review.

Best New House - Arquiste

If you haven’t tried this line already, you need to. Star perfumers are behind this luxury line creating star luxury perfumes. I’m impressed with the quality. This isn’t another line that masquerades as luxury-niche selling boring crap.

Best CollectionThierry Mugler Le Goûts & INeKe Floral Curiosities

Each of the Mugler “Taste of” perfumes are worth owning in my opinion. These limited edition flankers smell better than the originals. Has that ever happened before? It really was difficult to decide for this category because the INeKe Floral Curiosities for Anthropologie are amazing.  They’re both winners and both deserve the title.

The Awesomest & Best Concept - Smell Bent Radio Dada

Smell Bent always has great concepts when it comes to fragrance. I found Radio Dada very clever. Runner UpSmell Bent North by Northwest – I loved that there was a pefume collection inspired by the wild, wild PNW.

Best Limited EditionThierry Mugler A*Men Pure Havane

A*Men Pure Havane was delicious and it deserves to be “best masculine” as well. I loved wearing this, my husband enjoyed wearing it. Runner UpMugler Le Goût Collection. I really wish Mugler didn’t play the limited edition scare tactic so much in 2011 :( I’m so sick of that!

Surprise! EauMG Liked It!CK One Shock for Men

Maybe this was a case of lowered expectations but I like this gourmand-y masculine that is marketed to boys 10-15 years younger than me. I think it’s well done, a pleasant surprise.

Surprise! EauMG Didn’t Go Nuts for It!Tom Ford Violet Blonde and the 2 new Private Collections.

These weren’t bad at all. I expected to love them, buy all of the bottles, and go home happily. I didn’t. To my surprise, I didn’t like Violet Blonde the first few wears…at all. Now I like it but I’m still not sure if I want a bottle or not. Oh, well. I felt the same about Black Orchid as well.

The Good TrendsVintage

The rebel punk in me takes it as IFRA backlash, but I sniffed many “vintage” inspired perfumes in 2011: DSH Perfumes Pandora, Tauer’s Miriam, the Tommi Sooni line. And we saw many “revamps” of old favorites: Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, Esprit d’Oscar, Clinique Aromatics Perfumer’s Reserve. All of these perfumes are good. I LOVE the “vintage” inspired perfume trend.

Juliette Has a Gun Vengeance Extreme

The Not So Good TrendsBlood

I blame all of the sexy vampires. Like many of you, I love sexy vampires but I don’t like bloody perfumes. We have the BLOOD Concept line which I found metallic, gross and hokey. Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance had a few campaign shots of the bottle sitting in a pool of blood.  Lady Gaga “shocked” the world by telling mainstream America that she’s launching a perfume with blood and semen accords. Mainstream America was shocked and googled “semen + blood perfume” and only found Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques. Drugstore brand, Body Fantisies, launched Vampire. But, I excuse this drugstore brand. Why? They are inspired by sexy vampires and not inspired by blood.

The Trend I Like and Now I Don’t Think I Like ItOud

Oud, aoud, agarwood however you wish to spell it or call it, this used to be one of my favorite notes but now it fatigues me because of too much market saturation. And the wood is becoming endangered. Let’s give it a break or at least make more sustainable choices.

Betsey Johnson Too Too

The Worst Bottle - Betsey Johnson Too Too

This was actually a tie with Vera Wang Lovestruck and then I decided that I disliked the Betsey Johnson more because it could have been clever and perhaps Schiaparelli-ish but instead it came out as a light bulb in really bad mall rat drag. And since I’m on a rant roll, I find the name too too stupid. *I haven’t sniffed it. I’m only commenting on the bottle.

The Worst NameBeyonce Heat Rush

I read Heat Rush as “heat rash”. I’ve slipped and called it “heat rash”. English is Beyonce Heat Rush’s first language and they did an awful job naming it since nothing says sexy more than “heat rash”. *I haven’t sniffed it. I’m only commenting on the name.

Illamasqua Freak perfume

The Best Bottle & Name - Illamasqua Freak

I have no clue what it smells like and I’ve been very close to ordering it on-line just because of the snail bottle and the name. Illamasqua nailed me with their branding and I want to know what else they know about me…

EauMG’s Best of 2011 - Prada Candy

Yep, I fell for this sweet linear benzoin. And I wasn’t the only one. From novices to expert perfume sniffers, many people liked this launch. And you know what? I predict that benzoin will be the new oud. I’ve already noticed it being heavily used in new niche launches. Runner Up – DSH Perfumes Pandora – This was a very difficult choice for me. I love both of these perfumes so much. Here’s my review of Prada Candy and Pandora.

Check out the other participating blogs: 

Another Perfume Blog

DSH Notebook

Perfume Shrine

Scent Hive

Smelly Blog

The Non-Blonde

*Best of picture created by Roxana of Illuminated Perfumes 2011.

38 thoughts on “Best of 2011 – Perfume Blogging Event

  1. I knew I could count on you for a good chuckle. And for appreciation of all things vintage. I’m not really all that nostalgic, but I do long for perfumes that smell perfumy and clothes that require one to sit a bit straighter and wear red lipstick.

    Happy new year to you and and your smooshy faced darlings.

    • I love living in a modern era and I’m not old-fashioned. I like quality. And “vintage” perfumes smell like quality to me and I like starched clothing ;)
      Happy New Year! The frugs send your kitties smooshy kisses :)

  2. I was so dissapointed that Sephora doesn’t have Freak in-store. The marketing is genius for me, but I’m not buying a $90 bottle without knowing what it smells like! Hope you get a chance to review it.

    • I can’t stand that it isn’t in store. I can’t justify buying a bottle unsniffed at $90 just because the marketing is brilliant. I do hope to try it…maybe Sephora will get it in store in 2012 or something.

  3. I really struggled with the subjective aspect of the list and forcing myself to be tied down, but I love *reading* it when others go on the record with a best of list, so thank you for this. :)

    • Subjective is why it is fun. I love when a fragrance makes the best and the worst list :) It’s wonderful to read everyone’s perspective.

    • In my opinion, the bottle looks worse in person. It looks like somebody put Barbie clothes on a lightbulb. OK, my rant is over ;) Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s weekend!

  4. Wow Victoria, I am so thrilled – it’s quite an honor to have you choose Haute Claire as your Best Natural Perfume of 2011! I love your smart writing and fine sense of design, thank you so much for helping make this a great year!
    xo Mandy

  5. I think I have somet
    Tommie Sooni samples that I ignored because I didn’t recognize the name. Thank you, now I will try them! I agree, I love the vintage inspired trend and I hope it continues.

    • I appreciate a perfume that smells like the coast of southern Italy or like a vacation in Fiji, but I love a perfume that smells like perfume. That’s why I’m happy to see the “vintage” trend.

  6. Victoria! I am over the moon at the thought of my “Pandora” perfume being your runner up for Best overall perfume of 2011! That is just a huge honor and I just want to say that it’s been a phenomenal year with one of the highlights getting to work with you and EauMG! I wish you incredible success and blossoming in all things for 2012!
    oxox, DSH

    • It’s a brilliant perfume and it was really, really difficult to pick just one favorite. You’ve supplied us with so many outstanding perfumes this year. I look forward to sniffing your 2012 creations. Wishing you the best in 2012!

  7. Pingback: Some thoughts as the year ends « Perfume in Progress

  8. Interesting list you got here V. I really liked Havane as well as Ineke’s collection for Anthropologie. I told my wife to look into Prada Candy as I’ve seen that name pop up quite often. Happy New Year.

    • I hate that Havane is LE. I hope the INeKe collection will be permanent. Many of those in the Floral Curiosities are great for late summer/early fall.

      I like Prada Candy just because I find it easy to wear. It’s nice to have a “no-brainer” in the collection. Plus, I like sweet, resinous scents.

  9. You know, the whole Smell Bent line has somehow flown under my radar. I was curious about the line when I read Tom’s review on PST but somehow never got around to trying any of them. Must correct that.

    Happy New Year Victoria- i enjoyed getting to know you this year (especially because of our common love for Aftelier and Villainess)

    • With so many launches and so many new lines, it’s very easy to get sidetracked. That’s why I love/hate doing these types of lists. How do I know what was best in 2012 when I only tried a few new launches and new lines? And the Smell Bent line is big, it’s difficult to know where to start.

      I hope you have a great 2012 filled with new smellies :)

  10. Hello Victoria,
    I am blown away (that’s a double thrill) Tommi Sooni is named as best luxury on your list.
    We are a totally independent brand and I often lose sleep, debating with myself over creating the best perfumes for our customers. Believe me, the talented people behind Tommi Sooni all lose sleep ( l know this because they have told me) over trying to do their best.

    Thank you Victoria, your consideration of our passion is a great reward for us. We’ll be doing our best not to let perfume lovers down in 2012.

    • Steven, thank you for commenting. I haven’t posted any reviews of your line yet. I’m taking my time to enjoy the greatness. It’s a luxurious line: excellent inspirations, quality ingredients, and they smell of “perfume” which I think is a compliment.

      Wishing you a wonderful 2012!

  11. Good laughs all around and some nodding of the head. The Mugler LE line is criminally absent from our local shelves.

    As to oud, it’s already synthetic (popular oud “bases” have been composed since a couple of years), why else did it saturate the market all of a sudden? ;-)

    Happy 2012!!

    • Regarding the Muglers, I was lucky enough to have a local SA call me as they were unboxing. They went really fast. I hate the LE gimmick!

      Have a great 2012!

  12. Pingback: The madding crowd « The Unseen Censer

  13. Pingback: New Year Resolutions, Part I: 2011 Round Up « Undina's Looking Glass

  14. Awesome list, and some of my faves are on it too! Love Baiser Vole, Pandora, and many others I want to try, but I still have not smelled Prada Candy! Must seek it out soon.

    • There are still so many that I haven’t tried and realized that when I read the other “best of” lists.
      Prada Candy is a simple scent but that’s why I like it. Sometimes I just want to smell good.

  15. Thank you for this great article. This article is really great and informative. All we know how difficult is to choose only one perfume and thanks for this article you can take this one who will be perfect to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>