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 Up – Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream – To Dream is a beautiful powdery, soft fragrance with a woodsy, forest base that makes me feel like an art nouveau sylph.
Best Luxury – The 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.
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
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 review. Runner Up – April 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.
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 Up – Smell Bent North by Northwest – I loved that there was a pefume collection inspired by the wild, wild PNW.
Best Limited Edition – Thierry 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 Up – Mugler 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 Trends - Vintage
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.
The Not So Good Trends – Blood
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 It – Oud
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.
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 Name – Beyonce 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.
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.
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