Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 In Perfume: The Husband's Edition

I called upon the Husband to do his part in summarizing and analyzing 2013 in perfume (my top picks and other highlights are here). His part of our perfume collection is growing steadily, proving that he's more than just additional skin space for my perfume testing. Here are his thoughts about the State o'Perfumeland and the fragrances that made his year:

  • I finally discovered vintage perfumes. Gaia has been collecting them for a while but I used to sniff and say "Smells like vintage..". Getting introduced to a few classics and smelling the difference between vintage and new Eau Sauvage changed my mind. Vintage Patou Pour Homme sealed the deal.
  • Favorite new acquisitions (not necessarily new releases):

    • Amouage Interlude Man: My power scent.
    • Slumberhouse: the most innovative line (although sometimes only borderline wearable in public). I loved Jeke, Norne and Ore.
    • Anat Fritz Tzora became my comfort scent this year. Mediterranean herbs and warm wind to calm and soothe. 
    • Liz Zorn's Carpathian Oud is as close as they come to a bespoke scent for me.

  • I ventured a bit into the floral realm and survived. Still can't do rose and lily but I loved both Cuir Gardenia (Aftelier) and Violet Fumee (Mona di Orio).
  • Is it just me or did half of the new launches this year were oud scents? When we visited Paris 2 years ago, one of the large department stores had a special display of about 15 oud fragrances available. Now it seems like Tom Ford, Kilian and MFK have 15 Oud fragrances each. OK, we got it, Oud is Great, In Oud We Trust, but can we please, please, please move on?
  • I'm not sure what to think of the Roja Dove line. There is no argument that the scents are wonderful but the ultra high prices make it out of reach for most. Diaghilev is a masterpiece but at $1,000 per bottle? Who is the target audience?
  • Which brings to mind the general trend of escalating perfume prices. While some brands do offer smaller sizes and reasonable prices (Etat Libre d'Orange is a great example that you can do innovation, quality, and sell the 50ml bottle for $80 - $90). Way too many lines have nothing that they sell for less than $200. That is a very high entry point. I wish more brands  offered smaller sizes.  Twenty to thirty ml bottles will be ideal, especially for those of us withe large collections and revolving interests.
  • It is great to get  introduced to olfactory innovation from around the world and see more and more niche and independent brands,  but it does feel a bit crowded here at times. Gaia and I started counting the other day and could quickly name 100+ niche lines of the top of our heads without trying too hard. The real number is easily double or triple that.  At the same time, it does not seem like the niche perfume audience is growing at quite the same rate. Adding to that the escalating prices, it means that even the existing fragonerds will buy fewer full bottles next year. It makes me worry for perfumers I admire. I wonder if this is sustainable.
  • And one last perfume (and fragrance community) moment from this year: in July I had a fun Q&A session with The Fragrant Man.

    Image via

    1. Happy New Everything to you and Gaia and the family of cats. Great to read your round-up Ori. I enjoyed our Q&A immensely. It is one of the top 3 stories of the year on The Fragrant Man; the other two are The End of Oud and Dr O. Strangely today the top story is You! Must be the link above which to which I say Thank You.

    2. Wow. I'm impressed. I found myself nodding in agreement with you all through reading this. I've been very happily married to my DH for over 20 years, but when it comes to perfume, I'm afraid that he's still just my beloved and favorite guinea pig for testing skin chemistry differences. He won't even wear aftershave, but I can't actually fault him for this utter lack of interest since his sense of smell seems to be just a touch above clinically nonexistent (with the exception of tuberose, which he can detect a mere whiff of with near canine hyper sensitivity).

    3. Happy New Year Mr. Husband Blonde: I also really enjoyed your Q & A on The Fragrant Man. It reminded me of one of my favorite of Gaia's posts. During your trip to Paris, the two of you were in some perfume boutique and you asked the French SA that you wanted to sample *something with more character.* Oh, I just thought that was so wonderful!! I still wonder what she thought, hearing this from an American male.

      But you impress me anyway, just because you allowed yourself to start out as a human guinea pig for Gaia and it led you to become so immersed in the subject as she is. Also, you agree to live in a NY apartment with 7 - 9 kitty cats. A man who likes cats I think is very secure in his masculinity because we are here for the cats' pleasure and not the other way around!

    4. Hmm you're right, oud seems to be the flavor of the moment... Giorgio Armani had quite a bit of oud as well! But i'm still into it... oud and amber....hmmm.....


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