Oh, 2013…I’m ready to see you go. 2013 was an interesting year for me and I look forward to 2014. However, I think 2013 was a good year in the “year of perfume”.
2013 introduced the world to a nifty perfume subscription program, Olfactif. We’ve been needing this and it’s finally here! Perfume got some museum exposure with the “Art of Perfume Exhibit” at MAD. The Institute of Art and Olfaction in L.A. has been very active. I’ve found some really cool blogs this year that I love to read like Kafkaesque, The Fragrant Man and The Perfume Dandy. Cool things have been happening in the World of Perfume.
There were also at least a million launches (only a slight exaggeration, it feels). I complain every year like some old curmudgeon, but there are way too many launches. I can’t keep up. I realize when I do my end-of-the-year list, that I haven’t tried 75% of what hit the market in that year! I can’t sample enough fragrances in a day to do so. It’s impossible!
When I do my list, I can only really go by what I’ve sampled. Many of those launched in 2013, I won’t try until later…if ever. And there were many that I tried in 2013 that were from years ago. When I do my list, I include only those launched in that year. And my disclaimer is that I haven’t tried them all.
Phoenicia Perfumes Skin Graft
This is exactly what indie perfumes should be like. This is a line out of “left field” by a naturally talented self-taught perfumer, David Falsberg. Skin Graft is an amazing perfume inspired by what the name implies. It’s David’s biographical scent of the phoenix rising from the ashes. It’s a weird gauze-y jasmine that is full of emotion. These are the things I want from an indie perfume; these are the things I want from art. In fact, Skin Graft was my favorite perfume launched in 2013.
Luxury is self-defined in my opinion. But, to try to make this category make sense, I’ve considered perfumes that retail for $175+ (even though you can get luxury for much less than that). These are perfumes that make me feel glamorous and cost more than what I want to spend on perfume. But, hey, it’s luxury!
Viktoria Minya Hedonist
Hedonist, the first perfume by the Viktoria Minya house, is a honeyed floral that gets this card-carrying hedonist’s approval. My full review.
M. Micallef Rose Extreme
M.Micallef Rose Extreme is this amazing rose in a glitzy bottle that costs more than I’d ever want to pay for a perfume. But, still I *consider* dropping money for it. That’s how much I love this voluptuous rose. My full review.
Tom Ford Sahara Noir
This is a really high-quality frankincense fragrance. Mark my words – this will introduce many people to the wonderful world of niche perfume. This will be one of the biggest “crossover” fragrances of the decade. It’s expensive but I honestly believe it were by a “niche” house, it would retail for double.
Hiram Green Moon Bloom
It’s a tuberose for tuberose lovers and for those that dislike tuberose! It’s scrumptious. It’s voluptuous, like a tuberose should be. Full review.
Best New House
I’ve already talked about Phoenicia Perfumes. I like what the brand stands for and I like the ballsy inspirations. I like that these perfumes tell stories. I also love the risks that the brand takes. More of my thoughts here.
I respect the house Charenton Macerations because the perfume, Christopher Street, is not only a brilliant composition but it tells a story. Every detail of the perfume is perfect. There isn’t’ a more thoughtful indie line out there; I’m certain of this. (Also check out the brand’s Instagram – some of my favorite “details” of NYC).
Can you tell that I like storytelling perfumes?
Relaunch of Yohji Yomamoto Perfumes
They’re back. And that’s a great thing. This was a really nice line and I’m happy that you can buy it in-store instead of bidding on them on evilBay.
Most Disappointing Collection
Mugler Les Liqueurs
I hate that I put this on the list. I’m actually mad at myself. I’m being picky here (as usual). I’m disappointed because Mugler already did a limited edition “liquor” range in 2009. I mean they just flat out relaunched A*Men Pure Malt. None of these perfumes are bad, in fact, they’re all really good. But, they’re redundant. And the entire theme seems so lazy considering it was done only a few years ago. I wanted something else. Honestly, I wanted oud added to all of the Muglers.
Malle Pour Dries Van Noten
I know that this perfume has many fans. I’m aware of that, but hey, it’s my list and I can put what I want on it 😉 This one wore terribly on me. (Even though I know that isn’t the case for everyone). As a sandalwood, I found this rather dull. I expected something more and I expected a less literal interpretation of the designer Dries van Noten. I don’t know what I actually expected but I did expect something different. My full review.
Estee Lauder Modern Muse
This one is a disappointment because of the esteem I have for Estee Lauder fragrances. They usually make a very good product. I hated that they said this was their first launch since Beyond Paradise (hello, were we supposed to forget Sensuous?). Modern Muse doesn’t feel modern nor does it feel memorable. I don’t think it is a bad fragrance, I would wear it (and not cry) but I don’t feel it deserves to be an Estee Lauder fragrance. The line has far more interesting perfumes. It was a let down. Honestly, I can’t even remember what it smells like. Jasmine? And I don’t like the bottle.
The Most Awesome Concept
If a perfume house can get mofos to piss in their expensive bottles of exclusive perfume, I can’t help but to love it. No, I don’t have a fetish. I just love any person or brand that has the audacity to ask people to pee in their perfume and then to wear it. It’s so sardonic that I have to love it. I love it so much. I really, really do.
The Most Heebie-Jeebie Concept
Serge Lutens Fille de Berlin
I wrote a review of this rather pretty violet-rose where I said that it creeps me out. The perfume is an aggressive shade of hot pink and the back story is questionably rape-y. I like the perfume but I don’t know how to (or if I should) interpret it. Serge gets the award for the perfume of 2013 that I find unsettling and confusing. Yeah, he beat out a pee-pee perfume. My full review.
Best Limited Edition
Guerlain Ode la Vanille : Sur la Route du Mexique
There’s chocolate in Shalimar. And that’s f’n amazing. It’s wonderful and I didn’t get a bottle I try to be happy but I admit that this is one of the few bottles that I regret NOT buying.
Surprise! EauMG Liked It!
I was really surprised to read all of the negative reviews regarding Chanel 1932! I thought this jasmine-iris was sooo Chanel. It smells like something that belongs in the Exclusifs line. It’s cold, it’s floral and it’s elegant. I have no clue what people want from Chanel anymore. No clue at all. But, apparently they did not want Brad Pitt.
Calvin Klein Dark Obsession
Where did this one come from? Why doesn’t anyone talk about it? I think that Calvin Klein Dark Obsession is a very sexy modern masculine. Young dudes should be all over this sweet, woodsy chocolate-absinthe fragrance. Maybe they are. I wouldn’t know since I don’t hang out with young dudes. If you’re the lone young dude that reads EauMG, you should buy this. Also comment. I don’t believe I have any young dude readers.
Surprise! EauMG Didn’t Like It!
Frederic Malle Par Dries Van Noten
See above. I should have loved this, but I didn’t. I promise to revisit it in six months. It’s possible that it could grow on me.
The Worst Bottle
Bond No. 9 Dot Com or whatever
My eyes!!!!! Holy shit, this is ugly.
The Best Bottle
Hermes Jouer d’Hermes
Hey, are your eyes still bleeding from the one above?
This was technically launched in 2012, but I didn’t see it in the US until early (like January) 2013. The bottle is simple and doesn’t photograph that well. It’s one to see and feel in person. The bottle is hefty and has an awesome feel. It truly feels like a luxury item. (And doesn’t look so nice after gazing at that Bond No. 9???)
The Best Worst Bottle
Nicki Minaj Minajesty
Oh, the Nicki bottle made my list last year. I loved the cyborg-sexbot-Barbie bottle. This year, they went even further with Minajesty (I hope I never have to say that name aloud). They’re like “So you thought Pink Friday was fugly? We’ll show you! We’ve thrown a pink Cocker Spaniel wig on the old bottle and you’re moody 13 year old is going to buy a bottle of this WITH YOUR MONEY. Suck it”. And they did. And your teen probably did buy a bottle of this. Suck it.
The Worst Name
Bone No. 9 Dot Com or Whatever & Bond No.9 Perfumista Avenue.
Ding! Ding! Ding! A double winner! Do I even have to explain why these are stupid names? The last one is less stupid but I still dislike it. It would have made a cuter blog name.
The Best Name
Juliette Has a Gun Anyway
OK, I haven’t tried this one. And I only love the name because it seems to fit where the brand it going. I mean, it’s called “Anyway” and it’s just some florals and ambroxan in a bottle. It’s so honest and transparent, that I have to like it. The company was in a quarterly meeting and said, “Anyway, we need to launch a perfume in 2013”. And here it is – florals and ambroxan. This brand has been on a self-destructive streak lately. I miss the days of Midnight Oud.
*Also file this under cutest perfume image of the year.
I’ve Waited My Entire Life for This:
What does it smell like? I don’t know. (Bottle is on the way). But, my entire life I have been waiting for a RuPaul perfume. In fact, I was thinking about getting a bespoke perfume created just to send RuPaul. I’ve actually wrote out a brief for it.
Also, it’s my second favorite perfume name of the year.
The Best Perfume Images of the Year
Smell Bent and Austin Young Accident
It features Deven Green. I love her. I love Smell Bent. And I love The Institute for Art and Olfaction.
And the Trends:
Honey, Rouge is the new Noir for Mainstream and Blue is the new color du jour for niche
Honey – Marc Jacobs Honey, The Bodyshop Honeymania, Kim Kardashian Honey
Um, none of these really smell like honey. But does the Kim Kardashian mega-fan give a flying flip?
Red – Hugo Red, Ralph Lauren Polo Red, Banana Republic Wildbloom Rouge, Demi Moore Oriflame My Red (gurl, you need to get that checked out), Fendi L’Acquarossa…
Forget orange, red was the new black of 2013. (And Orange is the New Black was the best show of 2013). Red is all over the fragrance sections of department stores. I don’t know why. The color hasn’t been very popular in fashion this year.
Blue – CdG Blue Series, Hermes Epice Marine, Hermes Eau de Narcisse Bleu, Piguet Bois Bleu, A Lab on Fire Almost Transparent Blue, Agonist Dark Saphir…
It seems like Blue was more niche and Red was more mainstream. It was nice to see “noir” take a little break. It deserves a few weeks off. I haven’t sniffed any of these blue perfumes. I’m a bad, bad perfume blogger.
Victoria’s 5 Must Try of 2013
With a batrillion and one launches in a year, it’s hard to keep up. I can’t even keep up. So to simplify things, I’ve put together what were the stand-outs of 2013 that I tried. I’m not saying you should go out and buy these unsniffed. I’m saying that these were the most memorable of the year and if you must try something launched in 2013, start with these.
1. Phoenicia Perfumes Skin Graft
2. Charenton Macerations Christopher Street
3. Tom Ford Sahara Noir
4. Viktoria Minya Hedonist
5. Comme des Garçons Black
For the first time ever, I will be doing an EauMG reader’s poll! I will post it tomorrow. I want to hear your opinions regarding the perfumes launched in 2013.
*UPDATE* Here’s the link to the poll!