Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 In Perfume

2015 has been a year that required equal parts of tenacity and optimism from those of us who are led by our noses. I kept sniffing and acquiring samples. I also kept kvetching and spending my money on vintage bottles. Because in a sea of derivative and redundant new perfumes, fallen idols, and general vulgarization of the market, true pleasures were painfully few. But they did happen, sometimes in unexpected places. The names missing from my top ten list are as telling as those who made an appearances. The world moves on and nothing stays the same. Not even Uncle serge.

From Last Year:
  • Masque Milano- Russian Tea. Leather and smoky tea, elegant and satisfying. This smallish Italian brand is one to keep watching.
  • Memo- Irish Leather. Actually from 2013, but I spent most of the quality time with it this year. Irish Leather is the husband's choice for the year and I stand 100% behind it. Green leather, need I say more? (I'll get to the newer African Leather in a year or two at this pace)

Mainstream Surprise:

  • My department store experience this year was somewhere between a horror show and an outrageous comedy. Mainstream perfumes have been as bland as the laundry musk in their base. But years after giving up on Bulgari's tea series comes Eau Parfumée Au Thé Bleu and brings us something new and interesting. Iris, tea, and lavender in a blend that has me craving the entire product range.

The Rest:

  • Aftelier-  Bergamoss. Mandy Aftel released her furry chypre Bergamoss first in a solid form and recently as a limited edition eau de parfum that I must review soon. The liquid Bergamoss is shockingly dirty, yet modern in its interpretation of oakmoss. Also must be included: Aftleier Vanilla Smoke. Because vanilla. And smoke. And quality.  
  • Chanel- Misia. Chanel has out-Chaneled itself with this crisp and clear iris.
  • Neela Vermeire- Pichola. The best tuberose of the year for this crazy tuberose person. 
  • Bruno Fazzolari- Seyrig. This was the second Fazzolari release of the year. The first, Room 237, is a brilliant achievement yet causes me real panic attacks. I don't know if there's enough Xanax in the world do make me actually review it, but Seyrig is a glass of champagne, a fur coat, and a proof that modern perfumery can still relate and connect to the great ones of the past without imitating them.
  • Stephane Humert Lucas- Mortal Skin. A departure from Lucas' recent Middle-Eastern style, Mortal Skin is an unsettling spicy musk and skin, clean and dirty at the same time, very intimate and definitely not a crowd pleaser. The bottle representing a snake molting its skin is a perfect fit: disturbing and beautiful.
  • Papillon Artisan Perfumery- Salome. This one was a gift to all of us who collect vintage perfumes and weep over their mostly-dead bodies. Rich, animalic, floral, and mossy, this beauty pushed me to rediscover the rest of the Papillon line and fall in love.
  • Arquiste- Nanban. Full-bodied and spirited, East-meets-West and takes it on a breath-taking tour.
  • Atelier des Ors- Larmes du Desert. Someone had to make a perfect incense fragrance this year and newcomer Atelier des Ors delivered. Dry, golden, and wrapped in myrrh this is a real treat. 
Please visit my friends at Bois de Jasmin,  Grain de Musc, Now Smell This, and Perfume Posse for more top ten and year in review posts. What were your perfume standouts in 2015?

Image via  Carmen Dell'Orefice for Tri-Colore by Michel Cosmetics 1960


  1. Misia was a gem I did not expect to love yet I find it so enjoyable to wear, elegant and comforting at the same time. Big florals can be difficult for me to wear, Neela Vermeire's Pichola worked beautifully, the sandalwood probably helped.
    I hadn't tried the new Bvlgari release, but love lavender, I must give this a try as it's at my local Nordstrom's.

    Serge Lutens, unfortunately, did not work for me. I did not find them enjoyable, especially at that price point. I love and wear many SL scents, but nothing in the past few years has spoken to me or felt comfortable on my skin.

  2. This year my hubby gave me the present of perfume ... from Luckyscent (which is $$$ in postage to my shores sadly) I could buy anything. I knew how much you love L'Ombre Fauve ... so that was one bottle and I LOVE it! Papillon Tabacco Rose - love and the one I did not really like - lab on Fire Paris LA. I have their What We do in Paris is Secret and that is a joy but this new one - nuh.
    Still ...... what you find at Lucky Scent is so much better than what I find at the department stores in my country!!!
    Oh .... Salome is on my next list for Mothers Day! :)

  3. Very happy to see your list and thank you for it. I agree with you that mainstream was weak. My only positive surprise was Alaia, but not a full bottle worthy. Otherwise I haven't tried much from your list although many of them tickle me. First of all Aftelier's Bergamoss. I'm a vintage perfume fan. Unfortunately we don't have Aftelier around here so I couldn't get my hands on a sample so far. Apart from that, I want to try Seyrig,Mortal Skin, Salome and Nanban ever since I read your reviews earlier this year, but here we come to the same obstacle: they don't sell them around here. Nevertheless, I'll keep on trying.
    I wish you wonderful holidays!

  4. Thanks for some interesting picks I haven't seen elsewhere. Our tastes are frequently similar.

    I recognized Carmen immediately, but its kind of a shock to see her with jet black hair. :)

  5. And now I covet Eau Parfumée Au Thé Bleu !!! Majalis of Les Perfumes de rosine - there is something spicy and honey with the rose. I'm in love for winter.

  6. In general, I wouldn't know if the year was good or bad since I was too busy to get to test new perfumes.

    I looked through the list of 2015 perfumes that I actually tried (about 30) and, if I absolutely had to, I'd be able to name about 5 that I liked. I bought just one - Jo Malone's Mimosa & Cardamom: I own, like and wear Givenchy Harvest 2007 Amarige Mimosa and agree with you that it's a great example of well made mimosa perfume but Malone's mimosa worked for me as well - so I got it.

    Thank you for the list: at least I'll know to which perfumes pay attention when I look for what to test.

  7. An excellent round-up! And your intro is everything :)
    Happy New Year! Let's toast to a wonderful 2016!

  8. I have to thank you again for pointing me toward another Aftelier creation. I saw that you liked Vanilla Smoke and after reading the review I purchased a sample. The sample leaked in transit so I got it all over my hand when I opened the package and initially I thought I hated it. I revisited it this morning, applied a generous amount and I absolutely love it now. Further proof that it's always good to give a perfume a second chance before you totally write it off!


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