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Ten Faves from 2017 - December 11, 2017

Christmas card collage - julekort

We’ve sniffed, spritzed, splashed, dabbed, read about, dreamed about, longed for, searched for, paid for, and written about a lot of fragrances, and now 2017 is coming to an end. Our fascination with beautiful smells is as passionate as when we began writing about them in 2010.

We thought you might like to know some of the fragrances from this past year that we think are so gorgeous that we’ve added them to our Faves List. Some were new releases, some have a longer history, but all them have that thing, the olfactory magic that transports us to Perfume Heaven. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

1.  Black Heart v. 2 by Map Of The Heart:

The Map Of The Heart website says that Black Heart v. 2 was Inspired by the beauty and terror of Australian bush fires that are both destructive and regenerative. It is the moment the flames subside and the blackened tree trunks remain smouldering in a snow of white ash - the piercing sunlight slicing through. This description is too harsh and violent for such a beautiful fragrance.  The drydown is balsamy, warm and smoky, with a delicate thread of green brightness running through it. The smokiness is not heavy-handed, just very sensual so that Black Heart v. 2 smoulders on my skin for hours and hours. Every time I catch a whiff of it, I am moved by its deep beauty.

2. Cologne Sologne by Nicolaï Parfumeur Createur

THE cult cologne. Here’s the thing about Cologne Sologne that set it apart from other colognes: the ingredients are top drawer, and they smell that way; the opening is softer than most colognes because the citrus isn’t as harsh; it actually has some development and the base notes give it more longevity than most other colognes. For all of this, it’s a traditional European warm weather/casual scent.

3. Bohea Bohème  by Mona di Orio

Bohea Bohème is built around the smoky notes of black Wuyi tea.  Citrusy, resinous with pine and strong black pepper, the burning tea note is pungent and upfront for the first few minutes. It’s the scent of the black tea being cured, resinous and powerful, but it softens and becomes smoky, vaporous in the heart, with earthy iris and osmanthus and hay. From… facets of fresh, sweet and earthy notes…bright and spicy accords of Bergamot and Sichuan Pepper…powdery elegance of Florentine Iris…fruity florals of Osmanthus Absolute…dry Hay and subtle green notes of Geranium ...The warmth of the scent deepens and lingers as the sophisticated tea is steeped in nutty Amber, honeyed Poplar buds and an infusion of Balsams, Oakwood, and Gaiac…. a luxurious woody fragrance with a balsamic vibrato, unconventional and seductive.” Great on men, great on women.

4. Dilettante by Hiram Green

The glorious, heady scent of orange blossom – floral and sweet, lush and indolic –  is the smell of sunshine, of summer, of happiness. Petitgrain, gives it a gorgeous green aspect that seems to extend the orange blossom before it gets warm and spicy from cinnamon. The citrus is balanced at the base by warm, resinous, ambery, tolu. Dilettante’s drydown is incomparable.  Fruity, floral and softly resinous, with no bitterness or citrus tang. It’s so refined and, yes, uplifting, that it’s more than a summer fragrance and so balanced that it can be worn by a man or a woman.

5. Eau de rhubarbe écarlate by Hermès

Brand new in 2017, and now a favourite summer cologne. The bottle which holds Eau de rhubarbe écarlate is the most beautiful rich rhubarb-red glass, and the scent that rushes out with the first spritz is beautiful rhubarb green. It is vegetal, sappy, savoury, citrusy, all in one sniff. It is definitely rhubarb, bold and beautiful. But soon the green gives way to red rhubarb as red berries are added, raspberries rather than strawberries, and the rhubarb note transforms to the deliciousness of stewed fruit rather than raw fruit. Sweetened, cooled, and accompanied with smooth velvety custard, which is represented in Rhubarbe écarlate by soft rounded notes of musk, this refined scent finishes with a mellow radiance. By Christine Nagel, new House Perfumer for Hèrmes.

6. Green Water by Jacques Fath

This is a new version of the  original Green Water from 1946 by French fashion designer Jacques Fath. Designed as a masculine, Green Water was built around three notes, neroli, mint, and moss, with the bitter-orange orange blossom note, neroli, as the star from top to bottom, which gave it a glorious verdancy. In 2016, perfumer Cecile Zarokian hit this new version of Green Water out of the park for the relaunch of Jacques Fath Parfums. The opening accord is fresh and rich, with lemony-orange citrus notes and a hint of slightly sweetened spearmint. The mint deepens and is drawn out with wafts of herbs, tarragon, basil, caraway into the heart, becoming almost spicy before drifting into a cloud of green vetiver and oakmoss. In the drydown into the base, the mint disappears and the mix of the floral bitter-orange of neroli with the herbs, grass, and moss and musk notes, makes the green accord shimmer on the skin. Green Water is just wonderful.

7. L’Attesa (The Wait) by Masque Milano

l’Attesa features one of the most poignant notes in perfumery, the iris note. Iris is a tricky note in fragrances. It has a very subdued character that is easily overwhelmed by heavier notes such as florals and woods, but on its own, iris also has a very definite “crusty bread” nuance to it. In L’Attesa, the iris is paired  with a yeasty champagne note that creates a solid base for the tenuous iris, and uniquely deepens the “iris character”. The floral, earthy powdery facets are preserved. The opening notes give a sensation of earthy dampness, but it is immediately lifted with the sunny citrus-brightness of bergamot and neroli. The iris increases in volume, accompanied by the champagne note, sparkly and yeasty and tantalizingly noseworthy, and when the white florals of ylang-ylang and creamy tuberose quietly join the chorus, it’s La La Land. Faintly sweet aromatic sandalwood, green oakmoss, and smoky leather musky notes form the base, adding a smooth rich sensual contrast to the iris and champagne notes. L’Attesa is luxuriously smooth and hauntingly beautiful. If you want to experience the opulent beauty of the iris note in fragance, your wait is over.  This is the one to try.

8. Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir

Tuberose at centre-stage in this latest fragrance from Naomi Goodsir. But it’s not the tuberose I was expecting. This tuberose is surrounded by a veil of green so that it smells, and feels, like the stem more than the flower. And it isn’t indolic, that aspect has been stripped out so that the lush, creamy aspect of tuberose becomes the star, heightened by buttery orris. Right about here in its development, I get a whiff of camphour, that aspect of tuberose that always draws me in. It may be put here to reference the plastic smell of Bakelite, but I don’t get that effect on me. At the base, Nuit de Bakélite gets leathery, deliciously leathery, supported by rich, aromatic tobacco and with resinous, smoky, woody undertones from styrax and gaiac wood. You can’t hide a big flower, like tuberose, but you can showcase other dimensions of it, which makes this EdP a new, exciting original interpretation of tuberose. This is one fragrance that’s not to be missed. 

9. Stash by SJP perfumes

Sarah Jessica Parker, of Lovely fame, now has a new success story with the launch of her new fragrance, Stash SJP. Described by SJP as Lovely’s naughty subversive sibling, Stash is the opposite of floral, and was inspired by men’s fragrances Parker wears and mixes and matches, scents with vetiver and frankincense, citrus and spices, smoky wood notes, patchouli and musk. Leathery, sweaty, boozy, aromatic, sexy. With the first spritz, I’m in love. A nose-tingling accord of peppery gingery notes and sweet grapefruit, not over-whelming or too heavy, but warm, light and dry. And then Stash opens up and becomes this wonderful swirl of incense and cedarwood, so aromatic, silky smooth and smoky with hints of tangy sweetness from the grapefruit.  The sensation is dryness but overlaid with creamy wood notes much like sandalwood and with the addition of patchouli and musk, the scent becomes downright sensual.  Stash owns a come-hither attraction that is unfettered, ungendered, and wafts softly and sexily for hours.

10. Tobacco by Franck Boclet

It opens with a note of bright, spicy ginger surrounding a note of rich warm tobacco. I smell plum here too – fruity, sweet and lush. As it blooms, clove comes forward and extends the spiciness of the opening deeper into the fragrance. Tonka bean, adds aromatic coumarin, the smell of hay to the heart making it beautifully aromatic. Cedar gives it a woody backbone that is extended to the base with vetiver. Benzoin, with its amber aspects, and vanilla are at the base too, sweetening up the woods just so. The drydown is rich, warm, sensual and intimate. The thing I most love about this EDP is that the tobacco is prominent, and on me stays right through to the drydown and the sweetness in held back, which makes it smell more like true pipe tobacco.

So go ahead, try some of these wonderful niche fragrances. They could become your faves, too.