I’m so ready to see 2014 go. I’m so over it. This was not a good year for me and as far as perfume goes, this wasn’t for me either. This is the first year that I shrugged my shoulders to new releases. I wanted to wear what I wanted instead of chasing new launches and new trends. This was fun until this week. Now that I’m here trying to come up with my favorites list, I’m left feeling really out of it. I really didn’t try many perfumes launched in 2014 so I feel like a big poser putting this list together. So instead of my usual, “Oh, I haven’t tried 75% of the new launches this year”, it’s more like “Oh, I haven’t tried 95% of the new launches this year”.
As always, when I put together this list, I can only go by what I know. Maybe I’ll get around to trying 2014 releases later, I usually do. I lag. And maybe I’ll fall in love with something that I haven’t tried yet. But, here’s what I’ve tried this year that was new that left an impression on me.
Serge Lutens L’Orpheline
Cold aldehydes, incense and cream. It’s a challenging one because it pulls in a few directions. Yet, I find it oddly comforting. Oh, this “Little Orphan” is filled with so many contrasts and so many things to analyze! I’ll save all that for my full review.
Vero Profumo Rozy Voile d’Extrait
I love roses. And I love Vero Profumo. This one was everything I wanted it to be and then some. You’ll see reviewers call it “multi-faceted” or “kalediscopic” and I completely agree. Rozy is a prism of rose. Vero Profumo doesn’t launch a new perfume every other month and that’s another reason I love the brand.
Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur
Aquatic notes and tons of frankincense. Tropical temples. I have no idea why I’m so smitten by this one but I am. I usually dislike frankincense scents, but this one highlights what I like about frankincense – citrus and effervescence (instead of balsamic, resinous aspects). And it’s one of those that has me so excited to see what the new breed of aquatics will be like.
FYI – I also really wanted to include Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky. I’m pretty sure that I love it but I need to spend some more time with it.
Luxury is self-defined in my opinion. But, to try to make this category make sense, I’ve considered perfumes that retail for $200+ (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!
Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait
I had no idea that Mohur could get even more luxurious. Well, it did. This is a richer, deeper and lusher version of Mohur. Full review.
Hermèssence Cuir d’Ange
I love the Hermessence line. And the past few years, I’ve really been into sheer perfumes (which if you would have told past-me this, past-me would have said, “Get out of my house, you freak’n lunatic!”). Cuir d’Ange is a lovely, soft leather with vintage, cosmetic-y florals. Ugh, it’s just so darn perfect for me.
It was a really good year for mainstream. It’s like mainstream is taking more risks and niche is getting more homogeneous. I’m such an old grump. But, really, I had a problem narrowing this one down. And instead of fretting over it, I included four.
Alexander Wang was the creative director so it had to be cool. So cool that it is “B Dot” (you can roll your eyes). Now there is a famed “edamame” accord in this which really isn’t that odd being that I think Avon did this 15 years ago in a lily of the valley scent, but anyway. This is a green violet and lily of the valley with humidity. It’s good and I have a feeling it’s going to be really popular (especially because of the Wang factor…and the H&M collab this year).
CdG x Pharrell Williams Girl
Wow, talk about one heck of a polarizing fragrance! Just check out the Sephora online reviews. This is one people love or hate. I love “purple” florals and CdG, so I’m all over this one. And I love that the perfume world finds it boring and that the mainstream shoppers are completely repulsed by it. That’s pretty punk. I think I may just love it because everyone seems to hate it. Naw, I actually love wearing it.
Cartier La Panthère
Gorgeous bottle and a really great perfume inside that didn’t pander to those that were looking for something “yummers”. Finally, someone is making a designer perfume for grown-ups. Listen up brands, we have money and we’re not afraid to spend it. Stop catering to people that get paid allowances. Full review.
Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez
This one is much weirder than I expected with milky notes, camphoric white florals, butchy vetiver and musk. It’s weird but not like “clipping toenails on the subway” weird. It’s just more complex and interesting than the usual mainstream offerings. It’s weird but manages to be stunning…like Tilda Swinton.
Ayala Moriel Musk Malabi
It’s a perfume inspired by one of my favorite desserts. It’s a luxurious blend of rose, neroli and botanical musk. If you don’t think natural perfumes are luxurious, then you haven’t sniffed Musk Malabi. Full review.
Best New Houses
I admit that I didn’t try many new brands this year unless they reached out to me. I still need to try Zarko, Regime des Fleurs, Zoologist Perfumes, etc.
This isn’t really a “new” brand but it was easier to get in the US this year. And I fell in love with Eva Kant.
DSH Perfumes The Brilliant Collection
This is one of the collections that DSH Perfumes did for the Denver Art Museum for their Cartier exhibit. It contains four perfumes that range from cold, green florals to warm tobacco. Every single one of these in this collection are something I’d see myself wearing at anytime of the year. I think it’s one of DSH’s best collections in years.
Most Disappointing Collection
Diana Vreeland Parfums
Diana Vreeland was so vocal and was quite the perfumista. Years after her death, we have a perfume line inspired by her, and mainly inspired by her witty quotes and love of the color red. Diana’s grandson worked with IFF to create a collection of perfumes that I’m sure if Diana were alive today she may say something along the lines as “Why don’t you do as the French do and ‘jeter l’argent par les fenêtres‘!” OK, the collection isn’t terrible but it’s rather dull which is super disappointing.
Karl Lagerfeld for Him and Her
I don’t know what I expected with this one, other than I have too much of an affinity for Lagerfeld Classic. So, I guess I expected something with more personality and more impact. These are yawn-inducing dreck that would even make Choupette recoil. Did Karl even sniff these???
Viktor & Rolf BonBon
A decade ago, Viktor & Rolf made themselves a household name, not with their fashion designs but with their fragrance, Flowerbomb. And yes, there were many Flowerbomb limited editions and flankers but the brand didn’t launch perfume after perfume. I was excited to sniff their new release. And I sniffed it. What a letdown! Sweet, syrupy and oddly unbalanced. I’d rather wear a Britney Spears fragrance because those feel less dated than this.
Best Limited Edition AND The Most Awesome Concept
April Aromatics San Francisco Rose
Blogging is a constant reminder of how wonderful the perfume community is. And in case you didn’t have enough proof, here you go. Perfume blogger Tama Blough (Ça Fleure Bon) has cancer. The community got together and started a fundraiser for Tama’s cancer care. Readers, friends and bloggers reached out and donated to Tama’s fundraiser during this incredibly difficult time. And if that wasn’t enough, April Aromatics created a limited edition rose perfume where 100% of proceeds go to Tama’s cancer care fund. Two hundred bottles were made and these two hundred bottles quickly sold out. The perfume community is the best. I love you guys.
Surprise EauMG Liked It!
Mugler Alien Eau Extradornaire
Tom Ford Private Blend Patchouli Absolu
I’ve been losing faith in the Private Blends but this patchouli helped to renew my faith. It’s sooo Tom Ford. And it’s patchouli, one of my favorite notes. Full review.
Surprise EauMG Didn’t Like It!
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
OK, in all fairness, I’m going to revisit this one in the future. But, when I tried it a few times this year, all I could really say was, “What the bloody hell is this?” And I still don’t know. It’s sort of messy. Who knows, it could be like Black Orchid and something that I like later but for now, I’m not liking Velvet Orchid.
The Worst Bottle
This was actually the first year where I struggled to think of the ugliest bottle. Most years, I’m narrowing it down from four or five. The bottles were much better this year.
Histoires de Parfums Opera Collection
Disclaimer – In all fairness, I have not seen this collection in person. And it may look better in person. But, when I saw the promo shots, I was reminded too much of The Abominable Dr. Phibes. In my opinion, being reminded of Vincent Price is never a bad thing. But, it hit me that this collection is serious and these don’t look very serious to me. They sort of look like weird looking nail polish bottles too. Now if these perfumes are inspired by Dr. Phibes, then I’ll move them to the “best bottle” category.
The Best Bottle
I think this is one of the most beautiful bottles to have launched in years. It’s clever, it’s gorgeous and it fits with the Cartier line perfectly. It was one of the few bottles that have ever given me “bottle envy”.
The Best Worst Bottle
It’s a stuffed teddy bear perfume bottle that is so ridiculous which is so Moschino! It fits with their tacky/playful, heavily labeled “pop art” aesthetic. Good job, Jeremy Scott! I mean, you decapitate the bear’s head to spray on perfume. Am I a sicko for loving this?
The Best Name
See the “worst names” below and you’ll have some idea why I think this was the best name of the year.
The Worst Name/s
Playboy #generation for Him and Her
Are you kidding me? Yes, it’s a low blow for me to include a Playboy perfume in my list, but this is “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” and this is a perfume. It’s a perfume with a hashtag in its name!!! And the copy was cringe-inducing.
Bottega Ventta KNOT
I do keep up with fashion. And I get that Bottega Venetta is known for their leather and “knot clutch” but this name is dumb to say aloud. “What are you wearing?”…”KNOT!” It’s so Wayne’s World.
By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks
Another one of those, “What are you wearing?”…”Vodka on the Rocks”. Nobody will want to talk to you after you say that…unless you say that to a bartender.
Tackiest Perfume PR
Rihana Rouge Love
“ROGUE LOVE by Rihanna is a fragrance with freshness and floralcy that captures the moment when love first hits you.” – PR copy taken from Now Smell This. <smh>
It’s a tie! Drugs were a big trend in perfumes in 2014. Thanks to Washington and Colorado…
By Kilian Addictive State of Mind, a collection of perfumes inspired by addictions like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
DSH Perfumes Cannabis Culture Collection, a collection of perfumes inspired by getting high in Colorado.
Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky, a perfume inspired by Burroughs and of course it’s going to smell like some drugs.
CB I Hate Perfume M6 Don’t Ask Me Why, a perfume inspired by opium smoke.
And there were plenty, plenty more. Junky was my favorite.
And the Trends:
OUD (designer) – Gucci Oud, John Varvatos Oud, Ralph Lauren Polo Supreme Oud, Roberto Cavalli Tiger Oud, Trish McEvoy No. 9 Oud, Anna Sui La Nuit de Bohème
Isn’t it so great that oud hit the US/Euro market with YSL M7, a designer perfume. And it was awesome. And then oud became this not just a note, but a huge theme in expensive niche perfumes. Well, it’s still a huge theme, but this year we really saw it saturate the designer market. And it’s not over. We’re going to see many more. And then hopefully it will just become a note again.
WHITE – Narciso Rodriguez Narciso, Giorgio Armani Si White, Elizabeth & James Nirvana White, Malle Eau de Magnolia, Piguet Gardenia, Sergio Techani Precious White, Agonist White Oud, Atelier Cologne Blanche Immortelle, Clinqiue Aromatics in White, Michael Kors White, Antonio Alessandria Nacre Blanche, Givenchy Cuir Blanc…and more!
For many years we saw soooo many black/noir perfumes, well, it’s shifted. Perfumes are shying away from that and are now walking towards the light. There’s a big theme with “white” in the name, white packaging and even white floral notes like magnolia and gardenia. This is a theme that I’m seeing in both designer and niche. It’s like this pendulum swinging to innocence and I don’t think I’m ready to analyze why this is happening…just yet.
No More Niche –
Alright, that’s my sensational headline but I made you look. The biggest thing to happen in perfume this year is the “big dawgs” buying out niche brands like Le Labo and Malle. Brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder are expanding their market by buying out already established niche brands (even skincare and haircare like Rodin and Carol’s Daughter). We’re also seeing smaller perfume sizes such as roll-on and travel sprays by Diptyque, Malle and Aedes de Venustas (that has been a trend over the past few years but it’s more “normal” now). These smaller sizes make “luxury” perfumes more attainable. People aren’t looking for value per ml but the ability to own something they perceive as luxurious. And we had more accessible “niche meets mall” collabs like Arquiste for J.Crew and Pharrell Williams and CdG Girl.
The 1990’s –
OK, I may be stretching it here, but the 90’s were really in via fashion (and even music). And now we’re seeing it with perfume. There was the relaunch of the Helmut Lang perfumes (those were from 2000, but close enough). And we’re seeing a new take on aquatics with perfumes like Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius, Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur Copal and Tom Ford Costa Azzura. My prediction for the future is that we’re going to see more “sophisticated” aquatics/mineral scents. And more anti-perfumes that are sheer and minimal…like current fashion trends.
Victoria’s Must Try of 2014
With so many launches, it’s impossible to keep up. I’ve tried to narrow it down to the perfumes that one should at least try from 2014. I think these are the perfumes that stood out or represent the trends of perfumes launched in 2014. If you don’t know where to start, this may help.
1. Vero Profumo Rozy
2. Cartier Panthere
3. CdG x Pharrell Williams Girl
4. Serge Lutens L’Orpheline
5. Narciso Rodriguez Narciso
Ugh, I hate editing a bazallion launches into a “top 5”.
Also, stay tuned for my 2nd annual EauMG’s readers poll! I’ll update a link to the poll once it’s live 🙂