The 2012 List – Best & Worst Perfumes
2012 has been an insanely busy year for me. I’ve made some rather “big”, perhaps even drastic changes in my life and I’ve had a huge shift of priorities. This year has been a contemplative one for me. I’ve always said that half the problem with life is figuring out what you want. 2012 has been the year where I’ve realized what I want. 2013 is the year it happens.
Of course, I haven’t sniffed all of the new launches of 2012. Nobody can since there is like a million launches daily. Out of the perfumes I’ve tried this year between nurturing my business, selling a house, moving and dealing with family drama, these are the ones that stood out to me…either positively or negatively.
Best Indie – Slumberhouse Pear & Olive
This is Slumberhouse’s right of passage into the perfume world. Yes, the line had an on-line cult-following before but the perfumes were polarizing aggressive beasts. For me, wearing them was like being on a bad trip in the back of some neo-hippies’ van. Pear & Olive is Josh Lobb’s masterpiece. The others were garage punk bands; Pear & Olive hit the studio. It captures the indie essence of the line while saying more with less noise. This is the best launch of 2012 in my opinion. I wish my skin naturally emitted the essence of Pear & Olive. And perhaps in a few years science could make this happen…
The Ramon Monegal line is filled with the type of perfumes you’d find yourself wearing daily and on special occasions. They’re relatively simple but that isn’t an insult. The Malle line is relatively simple and very well-done. Ramon Monegal Perfumes are in the same neighborhood. And I like the hefty feel of the bottles. Is every perfume in the line wonderful? No. However, I like many of them and there truly is something for everyone.
Neela Vermiere Creations are complex perfumes by perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and in my opinion, fill a void that the perfume market had. The perfume world needed these. All three are skillful blends that will leave your nose stuck to your wrist. My personal favorite is Mohur – leather, carrot, rose. See – we needed that.
Best Mainstream – Christian Dior Eau Sauvage Parfum
One of the best mainstream masculine launches in years. It’s amazing. It has a refined “old school” elegance but is new. And they got American men to wear “parfum”! And they used Alain Delon’s visage in the ad campaign. I need more of that in my life. Bravo Dior!
Best Natural – Providence Perfume Co. Hindu Honeysuckle
Hindu Honeysuckle is a dazzling jasmine by perfumer Charna Ethier. Charna is extremely talented and her naturals have structure. Plus, she is a really nice person and her last perfume, Moss Gown, was inspired by a story she reads her daughter. You’re evil if you don’t find that charming.
The Scent of Departure makes my list not because they are genius fragrances, but because they are financially accessible. It’s nice to smell perfumes of this quality by a really good perfumer (the guy behind Histoires de Parfums) retail for under $50. It’s gateway niche and I hope to see this trend expand in the future.
Von Euserdorff as a line isn’t complex but that is why they’ve made my list. They’re everyday elegant fragrances. Classic Patchouli and Classic Myrrh have made my list as favorite comfort fragrances. They’re like a white button up or a pair of black jeans in my wardrobe. I can dress them up or dress them down.
Best Collection – Mugler Les Parfums de Cuir and CdG Play Series
The Muglers you love (or hate) now with leather! It finally made Alien something I’d wear.
The Play Series is fun! Really. Red is one of my favorite trashy scents. Green is an excellent mint fragrance. And Black is surprisingly complex and I want a full-size bottle. Actually I want a full-size of all 3. They’re fun and I’m not. I need more fun in my life.
Worst/Most Disappointing Collection – By Kilian Asian Tales
Where do I start with this one? I think the entire concept is “fragrance profiling”. I find the scents vapid and dull and disappointing! Bvlgari has already done it (and they’re cheaper). These aren’t “bad” fragrances; they’re disappointing. I don’t know, this entire collection ended the honeymoon phase between By Kilian and me. Since then I’ve filed for divorce and I’m moving on.
Biggest Disappointment - Lady Gaga Fame
I used to think that there was nothing worse than waiting for over 2 years for a boring perfume, but I was wrong. What’s worse? Hearing the media saying that said boring perfume smells like “blood and semen” or “expensive hookers”. If only! Not only was Fame boring, but it has hyped for no reason (well, there is the whole it’s Lady Gaga’s perfume, I guess that is a reason). The bottle is OK, I can give it that. But, the perfume has zero projection so that voids the bottle.
Honrable mentions in this category: CdG Amazingreen, Mugler Pure Shot, Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb
The Most Awesomest Concept – Kelly & Jones Collection
A collection of perfumes inspired by wine. Not only are they inspired by wine but they compliment their namesake wines. I like perfumes and I like to drink. In a year of boring perfume concepts, Kelly & Jones stood out.
Best Limited Edition – Guerlain Shalimar Ode à la Vanille Sur la Route de Madagascar
Terribly long name but the best perfume I’ve smelled in years. It’s the closest thing to vintage Shalimar that you can buy now. The smoky Madagascar vanilla is genius. When I first smelled this, I said, “Where do I buy this?” Love at first smell. Go out and buy it now, but leave me some, please.
Here’s the problem I had with this one – I read the book “The Perfume Lover” by Denyse Beaulieu. I loved that book and in the process of reading it, I started to smell Bertrand Duchafour’s Seville a l’aube…in my head. When given a sample of this final creation at Henri Bendel, I was disappointed since the perfume already existed in my head and this one on the paper was nothing like it. This was some orange blossom creamsicle over incense and jism. I waited a few months and tried again. I realized there is nothing more in this world that I want to smell like other than orange blossom creamsicle over incense and jism.
It took me a few wears to really like Volutes EDP. It’s a nice addition to the Diptyque lineup, especially after rather dull soliflores like Eau Rose.
With both of these, it took numerous wears for them to “click” with me.
Surprise! EauMG Didn’t Like It! - Serge Lutens L’eau Froide
When it comes to Serge Lutens perfumes, I try to keep an open mind. The poor line has penciled themselves into a certain genre of orientals that they can’t erase themselves out of. They do something different and people get their undergarments in a wad. I had an open mind with L’Eau Froide. I can’t say that I don’t like it or I do like it. I don’t care about it and that is far worse than not liking it. I’m not disappointed. I feel nothing for this cool, incense. And that makes me sad.
The Good Trends – Amber and Gardenia
We saw lots of ambers earlier this year (Atelier Ambre Nue, By Kilian Amber Oud, A Dozen Roses Amber Queen, etc.). I like this because amber is a blend, there is room for interpretation. But, I didn’t really smell an amber launched this year that knocked my socks off…
In the niche world, we were almost gardenia’d to death (Vero Kern Mito, Serge Lutens Un Voix Noire, INeKe Hothouse Flower, Arquiste Boutonniere No. 7). I’m still searching for “my” gardenia. Or it’s completely possible that I don’t like gardenia. It’s possible. But, if you like gardenia, 2012 was a great year for you.
The Not So Good Trends – Launching a trillion perfumes at once and “Noir”
Perfume lines are exhausting me, you and anyone else that walks into the perfume department with their excessive launching of 2 dozen perfumes at once. It’s tiring and overwhelming. In my opinion, a line should not launch more than 3 perfumes at a time. When they launch more than that, I become highly suspicious. I’m suspect poor quality and redundancy. In the same vain, I’m so sick of Bond No. 9 launching a perfume like it’s a greeting card: Happy Earth Day! Happy Mother’s Day! Happy Father’s Day! Happy Now New York Legally Recognizes Your Marriage Day! – Make it stop.
No more noir. Perfume companies, listen to me please. We’re sick of it. Black is the new black; but noir is the new “I’m lacking any creative vision here”.
The Worst Bottle – Friendly Fur À Rebours
It’s a furry bottle. Sick. Gross. Nasty. And all in poor taste…
Honorable Mention: Marc Jacobs Dot
The Best Bottle – Chanel Coco Noir
Elegant. You want to see this on a waterfall vanity. It’s simple and timeless. Now the fragrance, mileage will vary. Personally, I rather enjoy it, but I love patchouli.
The Best Delightfully Bad Bottle – Nicki Minaj Pink Friday
For some reason I love this tacky bottle while at the same time hate it. I love that the bottle is cyborg-sexbot-Barbie creepy. It’s sort of genius. I have so much campy love for it. I only said I hate it because I think that is what the cool kids are saying. And I would have completely loved it if it only consisted of 2 colors (one for the wig and the rest for the bust and face). But, this is Nicki Minaj here, if you are expecting any sign of tastefulness you are completely delusional…or you have no clue who the hell she is. Google, please.
The Worst Name – Xerjoff Join the Club Collection
No, I’m not joining the club. Because that is a phrase that suggests we all have the same problem. And we do…Xerjoff is our problem. Xerjoff should be ashamed of themselves for launching such a silly sounding collection at a crazy expensive price. AND for launching 10 of these ridiculous things at once. At this price, these things better come with some barcode key fob to get me free lap dances at the strip club by the airport because those are the classy activities I partake in when I wear the exclusive JTC.
The Best Name – A Lab on Fire What We Do in Paris is Secret
I like to think of it as a Parisian spy scent. And I like secrets. And I like labs on fire.
Perfumer to Have on Your Radar in 2013: Juan M. Perez of Exotic Island Perfumes
I think Juan is a floral genius. If you are a fan of feminine florals by lines like Annick Goutal, you’ve got to try this line. Juan’s florals are exuberant, full of life. They’re very “French” but with a delightful Puerto Rican twist. Plus, he does really great things with woods too. Keep this guy on your radar. You’ll thank me later.
The Best Worst Perfume Images of the Year: Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5 and Kilian with a snake around his neck
Say what you will of the Brad Pitt Chanel No. 5 ad campaign, but it has us talking. It has everyone talking about perfume. After thinking about it, my final verdict is that I love it. I hope for their next campaign they hire Willie Nelson.
My Halloween costume for 2013 will be a white button up, spray tan and a fake snake around my neck. Don’t steal my idea. Or do. I really don’t care. I want to walk into a room of Kilian costumes and Zoolander gazes.
What were your standouts for 2012? Please include the good and the bad. I’ve tried to keep this list positive, but it was difficult. I felt 2012 wasn’t exactly a great year for perfume. We had some real duds launched this year. Remind me of the good ones Below you’ll find the list of my 5 must sample perfumes of 2012.
Victoria’s Must Try Perfumes of 2012
1. Slumberhouse Pear & Olive
2. Neela Vermiere Creations Mohur
3. Dior Eau Sauvage Parfum (ladies may sub the limited edition Shalimar)
4. CdG Play Black
5. Vero Profumo Mito
*Pear & Olive pic from Basenotes, Eau Sauvage and Shalimar pic from Fragrantica, Hindu Honeysuckle pic from Providence Perfume Co., Kelly & Jones pic from Refinery29, Serge Lutens and Friendly Fur pic from Luckyscent, Pink Friday from Style.com, JTC logo from Essenza.
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