EauMG’s The 2013 List – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Perfumes

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 Skin Graft Perfume

Best Indie/Niche

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.

2013 luxury perfumes

Best Luxury

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

Best Mainstream

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

Best Natural

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.

2013 perfume brands

Best New House

Phoenicia Perfumes

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.

Charenton Macerations

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?

Yohji Yamamoto Perfumes

Best Collection

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.

Mugler Les Liqueurs 2013

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.

perfumes 2013

Biggest Disappointment

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.

O'Driu Peety

The Most Awesome Concept

O’Driù Peety

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.

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

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.

limited edition Shalimar

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.

perfumes 2013

Surprise! EauMG Liked It!

Chanel 1932

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.

Bond No. 9 dot com

The Worst Bottle

Bond No. 9 Dot Com or whatever

My eyes!!!!! Holy shit, this is ugly.

Hermes Jour d'Hermes

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???)

Nicki Minaj Minajesty

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.

Juliette Has a Gun Anyway

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.

RuPaul Glamazon Perfume

I’ve Waited My Entire Life for This:

RuPaul Glamazon

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

HoneyMarc 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?

RedHugo 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.

BlueCdG 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! 

*Images are from Fragrantica or the brand’s site.

42 thoughts on “EauMG’s The 2013 List – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Perfumes

  1. Lovely and comprehensive list, dear Victoria!
    I think Ashoka, Fate Woman and Hedonist are -in no specific order- my three favorites launched in 2013.
    I am sure Vero Profumo Mito extrait is glorious but I haven’t been able to sniff it yet.


    1. I haven’t tried Ashoka yet or Fate Woman! Or the Vero extraits…I’m so far behind 🙂

      Now Hedonist, that is on my list to buy. I love it.

  2. Thank you for the shout out, Victoria, that’s very sweet of you. I loved your post but, especially, the dry, witty, and often sardonic humour running through it. I grinned from start to finish at a number of things:
    — Serge Lutens’ rape-y backstory for Fille de Berlin *STILL* unnerves you! Haha. Me too, hun, me too.
    — Juliette Has a Gun’s company meeting line, “Anyway we need a new perfume.”
    — Your disdain for Dries van Noten. (Yes!! Thank you! WTF sort of “sandalwood” was that anyway?! You and I can be in the minority together on that one.)

    And I will need at least a good 2 minutes to stop laughing at your reaction to the “Bond No. 9 Dot Com or whatever” bottle.

    I haven’t tried a number on your list, but was happy to see a few that we have in common (especially Hedonist, but also Hiram Green’s tuberose). I think what I share the most is the feeling of being utterly overwhelmed at times by all that there is out there, how little time there is to test everything, and how it’s impossible to explore even 1/100th of all the scents released every year.

    BTW, given your television comment on Orange is the New Black, we may have some similarities in TV tastes. May I make a suggestion for something that you may like? My favorite best new show of 2013 is “The Americans,” an F/X show about deep-cover KGB agents posing as a married, American couple in Reagan’s 1980s Washington. Keri Russell & Matthew Rhys. Fantastic, suspenseful, intense, but with utterly awesome 80s music, starting with Fleetwood Mac’s TUSK in the pilot, to Peter Gabriel and more. My second best show is “Orphan Black,” which may actually be even more your cup of tea in terms of ballsy coolness with a dark vibe.

    Happy end of year, Victoria, and may 2014 bring you and your love ones nothing but the best.
    Kafkaesque recently posted..Jovoy Paris Psychédélique: A Fantastic Trip

    1. I love your blog. I rarely comment as I read it on mobile on the bus and I’m awful at typing on the stupid phone, but trust me, I get so much joy from your blog.

      There are so many that I need to try from 2013. I still haven’t touched the Hermes, the other SL, etc.

      Oh, thanks for the TV recommendations! I’m always searching for a new series to watch. Currently, I’m not watching anything except for the occasional X-Files out of desperation of wanting to watch something.

      Happy new year!

  3. There are some young dudes reading your blog,Victoria!Lol!Here I am!
    Awesome,FUN read!I crinched at the bottle…lol!

    1. Whoop! Whopp! Shout-out to the young dude/s!

      It’s that color combo. It hurts. Maybe it would have been better if it weren’t fluorescent? Don’t know…

  4. Loved your list of the good, bad and ugly for 2013. Haven’t tried a lot of the new launches this year. I’m still getting around to the stuff that was launched 2 years ago. LOL so many releases it’s making my head spin, so I pick and choose wisely with the things I order and such. I’m also checking out a lot of indie perfumers on etsy which are great. The quality you get for your money vs big name designers is phenomenal.
    I have heard great things about Zelda. Have you tried it yet? People say its amazing and I must get my hands on a sample soon. New launch from Mandy,Cuir Gardenia, is a must have and will very soon. Skin Graft is another must try. It sounds amazing, and even if it’s not, it’s such a great name for a fragrance!
    For the bad, Bond No 9 and Nicki Minaj, WTF? I don’t understand the kind of marketing they are doing. Minajesty’s bottle or whatever it’s called, freaks me out, so why would I buy it for
    somebody else ?
    For Bond No and Perfumista Avenue. What kind of nonsense was that ? Sounds like a crap shoot to me. More like throwing spaghetti on the wall and see if it sticks. Lol who wants to look at a bottle that looks like a QR code. Can you say normal bottle please? Perfumista Ave was a disaster in the making. Just throwing every floral aroma chemical at you with a shot of musk element and there you go. When you run out of neighborhoods to name your fragrance after, give the Perfumistas a Street or Neighborhood per se. Waaalah. New launch! Lol
    Ferris recently posted..In The Nose Turns One- Anniversary & Giveaway!!

    1. There are so many! I’m still catching up too…we’re never going to catch up.

      I haven’t tried Zelda or Cuir Gardenia but I want to try those two. They sound amazing. I could see you digging Skin Graft – honey jasmine and then some.

      I’m assuming the Minaj fans are buying it? I guess she has enough fans for that. I can’t imagine a non-fan even picking up that bottle.

      I wish Bondslow down. They’re some diluting of the brand going on. Plus, there are too many. It’s overwhelming for the consumer. They’re pushing lower quality stuff which then makes people think it’s all lower quality (and that’s not the case). Oh, well.

      Happy New Year!

    1. Yes. I blind bought. I figured if I don’t like the way it smells, there are lots of people that I know that would be happy to take a RuPaul perfume off of my hands.

  5. I have tried two out of five on your “must try” list. I think it’s actually a good result 🙂

    Loved your categories and laughed several times through reading the post – so I’d say it’s a much better result than I get regularly from reading blog posts. Thank you for that (and forthe list as well: love reading everybody’s lists even though I do not come with my own).

    Happy New Year!
    Undina recently posted..Orange Cats in My Life – Part IV: Those that have just broken the flower vase…

    1. That is good! I’m reading these lists and I haven’t tried most of them.

      I have really enjoyed reading the “best ofs”. Bloggers are bringing up perfumes that I have forgot about or those that I feel I should try. I feel that this year that the results were more diverse; I’m seeing lots of different names on the list. I’m also more perfumes in varying price points mentioned.

      Hope you have a great 2014!

    1. Actually, all of them are really good. SKin Graft stands out to me for obvious reasons. One of my favorite to wear is Gone But Not which is inspired by big hair bands of the 80’s.

      OK, so there are a few of us 😉 I can get why people like it, I really can but it was a big NO on my skin.

  6. I loved your list (particularly laughed out loud regarding the Demi Moore – did they really?!). I’ve tried three of your five must tries, and you’ve convinced me to track down Christopher Street. Here’s to a great 2014, Victoria!

    1. I think that may be the brand’s name but geez, it sounds sooo bad. Like so bad.

      Christopher Street isn’t one for everyone but it’s an old school chypre. I love that it’s so unlike anything else launched these days.

      You too! Wishing you a lovely 2014!

  7. What a wonderful and fun list!

    I will need to check out that tuberose from Hiram Green. I ALWAYS try a good tuberose.

    Finally someone mentioned the creepy rape-y aspect of Serge’s latest rose. Aside from being bored by all things from Serge for literally years now this ad copy just turned me off. Maybe it’s a nice rose, but I’ve already got dozens of others, so whatever.

    I enjoy your honesty and sense of humor. I hadn’t heard of the “pee” brand and that cracks me up also.

    Happy 2014 to you and your adorable doggies!

    1. I thought I was done once I bought Carnal Flower, but I was wrong. Night Bloom is gorgeous, an approachable tuberose that isn’t intimidating.

      I’m a rose fanatic. I love rose anything. But, this one leaves me jilted for the wrong reasons. Still thinking about it. I’ve yet to try the Maiden one. He seems to be going through a pretty floral phase but trying to cover it up with “hard ass” copy. Whatever.

      I love that it’s called Peety too. I love that so much.

      Happy 2014 to you and your fur babies too!

      1. Well, I hope you like them! Those are some heavy hitters but as you know, I love them.

        As far as age, I think so. But, I admit I’m rather disconnected from the current college scene. I can guarantee that nobody else is wearing these. They’re probably wearing Gucci Guilty or whatever an ex-girlfriend bought them in high school.

    1. Another young dude!

      OK, so I like CK Dark Obsession but I hear it doesn’t last very long, like 5 hours.

      As far as brands, I tend to love anything that CdG or Diptyque does. They are less than $100 and are different than the usual department store offerings. This year CdG launched a few fragrances (the blue series) and Diptyque launched the longer wearing EDPs.

  8. I totally agree with your disappointments! DVN was just thin and boring and Modern Muse is a way-too-late NR for Her knock-off not deserving of the EL name.

    The “Anyway” part cracked me up.
    Elisa recently posted..Rule of threes

    1. OK, so I tried the Mary Kate and Ashley noir perfume or whatever, it’s a sandalwood-vanilla. I think it did better at being DVN than DVN.

      Modern Muse, even the idea/the name seems slightly dated.

      Well, they featured a Frenchie, so I’ll try to forgive them. Moxi and Frink said they like to see more “realistic” portrayals of doggie body types in the media.

  9. Back at last. Those lists occupied me for days; daze!
    RIght, trying Moon Bloom tomorra!
    Keen on Charenton Macerations. I had thought I was very clever to organise a sample of Christopher Street via Twitter right in the middle of Sniffapalooza. I even booked a Scent Mule, also via Twitter, who posted it to me. But all I have is a tracking number saying delivered. Great to read your impressions of that.
    I keep looking at the Minaj bottle thinking maybe ‘kitsch, collector’s item’ but really; no, no, no.
    Love to read you too. Thank you for the mention of the new kids on the perfume block.
    Jordan River recently posted..Perfume by Dariush Alavi aka Persolaise – Book Review

    1. I’m assuming that the only person buying the Minaj stuff are her fans. I guess they like that aesthetic? I actually thought the Beiber “Key” one or whatever was nice looking. It sort of reminded me of By Kilian Garden of Good and Evil, lol.

      Here’s to 2014!

  10. Good Post. I have tried very few of the new releases. Like the Tom Ford. May get a bottle. Tried the Amouge-Fate. Actually tried several of them for the first time this year. They are of good quality-but just meh. Except for Ubar. Like that one. The only other new entry I tried was the ELdO-Fin du Monde. I haven’t been too impressed with any of the offerings since right before Like This, so I wasn’t holding out too much hope. But WOW, I really really like it. “Popcorn” accord–jeezz. More like buttered hay. And the Iris comes along with the smoke. The dry down smells akin to an iris version of Jasmin et Cigarette but lighter. May have to get that one.

    2013 was an ‘expansive’ year for me perfume wise and I have to pull back in for 2014. I have 45 bottles now and my DH reminds me I have more than enough to last me for several lifetimes. My most expensive was the Coco parfum at about $100 for 7 mls. But I LOVE, LOVE,LOVE Coco and the new stuff really doesn’t smell like the vintage. The parfum does. I learned to accept some things about my perfumes tastes in 2013. I’ve learned that either I accept the reformulation for perfumes or let it go. I’m not into vintage hunting. I’ve also learned or accepted that I don’t like No. 5. I appreciate its place in history but I hate it. Same with Angel. And I’ve tried on both. Alot. I’ve also accepted that I like sweet and gourmand but I still don’t want to smell like a cupcake or pumpkin pie. I’m probably not a real floral person, either Oh well. I will probably spend 2014 shopping my stash and avoiding additions. *sigh*.

    1. I really like the Tom Ford but I’ve been talking myself out of it…for now. I think if you lack a frankincense in your collection and you want one, it can’t be beat.

      I’ve got to try more of the Amouages. I’ve actually stayed away in fear of loving them.

      And I haven’t tried Fin du Monde yet either. But, if it’s a buttery iris, I’ll have to love it. The deal is that a good iris is worth the money and ELdO retails for under $100. I really need to order a sample.

      I’ve been buying much less, like only 2 bottles a year. I don’t have the space to buy it all. The trend that I see is that when I do buy, it’s a classic like Coco. Trying new stuff is fun but what I like to wear is pretty basic. I like my Lauders, Guerlains and Chanels. (And I don’t do the vintage hunting thing either).

      Half of the perfume journey is “finding yourself”. You realize that you like what you like. Your tastes don’t really change as much as they may “expand”. And with 45 bottles, you should be fine in 2014 😉 You can still sample stuff in store and the perfume community is so nice when it comes to sharing.

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