Tomorrow is the last day of 2013 and I thought that today it’s the right time to have a retrospective look at the past 12 months and summarize it all in terms of new perfume launches. It’s the second time that I’m going to show you a list of my personal favourites. Last year I did a little bit more of a blog statistics summary giving you just a brief idea what I liked. For the end of 2013 I’d like to make a step further and in just a few seconds and begin a new tradition here. I decided that starting this year I’d like to highlight my own perfume choices by giving the chosen ones a virtual statuette of Bottle Awards in a couple of different categories. I know it’s not an Oscar and that it only has an emotional and sentimental value but I hope awarded perfume houses will appreciate it.
However, before I reveal my favourite types for 2013 I’d like to present a few facts about my blogging this year. During the following 12 months I managed to discuss a total number of 125 fragrances, 32 as Monday Quick Sniffs and other 93 as regular reviews (featuring usually one, sometimes more scents.) The biggest discussion was caused by my reviews of Amouage Opus VII, L’Artisan Parfumeur Caligna and Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena. Most viewed – Prada Candy L’Eau review.
Now lets proceed to the main stage where statuettes wait to be given to the winners.
Bottle Award – the most satisfying purchase this year – Atelier Cologne Silver Iris
- This year I bought 5 bottles of perfumes, first one in late February for my birthday and the last one in late November. Out of these 5 fragrances, 4 of them were launched in 2013. It was obvious for me that Silver Iris gave me lots of happiness this year. I adore my other bottles (I only buy perfumes I feel connected with) but Silver Iris was my biggest lemming this year.
Bottle Award – the best mainstream woman perfume – Hermes Jour d’Hermes
- I have to admit I wasn’t diligent about mainstream releases this year. From just a part of the offerings that I tested I think that Jour d’Hermes is the best perfume for woman who appeared on the perfumeries shelves this year. It’s hard to admit to this choice, even more that I’m a non-Hermes person but lets face it, did you try something that would be better? Jour is the nicest, even though it’s totally not my cup of tea and I get a smell of boiling carrots from it.
Bottle Award – the best mainstream woman flanker – Prada Candy L’Eau
- This year saw many new perfume releases and quite a lot of flanker editions of fragrances we knew from past years. Among these that I managed to try I think that Prada Candy L’Eau is the loveliest flanker of them all in 2013. It’s different enough to not call it a copy of the original and at the same time it shares the basic vibe of Prada Candy.
Bottle Award – the best mainstream man perfume – Bottega Veneta Pour Homme
- Gentlemen also got their share in the perfume market in 2013. There were quite many releases (or at least more than last year.) Quite a lot turned out to be just generic, watered down perfume wannabes. The 1st masculine perfume from Bottega Veneta is one of these perfumes that don’t mimic anything, this perfume brought something new to the department stores perfume counters. Bottega Veneta Pour Homme deserves attention!
Bottle Award – the happiest perfume – Eau d’Italie Acqua Decima
- This year I finally accomplished my mission of finding a lovely soft citrus fragrance I could use during summer. My choice, Eau d’Italie Acqua Decima happened to ring the right bell for me. It’s not only citrusy and fresh (thanks to mint), it also performs great when it’s hot outside. What more, this is a kind of perfume that totally makes me want to smile, laugh and have fun in the sun. It’s a heck of a happy perfume.
Bottle Award – the most contemplative perfume – Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka
- Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour did it again – they brought a perfume enthusiasts to their knees by introducing Ashoka. I have never met a perfume that would have such a camouflaged iris note in it. A masterpiece, one of the most discussed perfumes of the year. To me this perfume has a specific vibe, it makes me quiet and meditative. A perfect perfume to sit with a cup of tea (and a book) and think about life, space
Bottle Award – the guilty pleasure perfume – Parfums Viktoria Minya Hedonist
- In the group of perfumes that could be described as rich, shiny and luxurious, a special seat is reserved for Hedonist, created by young and talented perfumer Viktoria Minya. She managed to capture the aroma of rum, osmanthus, lactonic peach and other tones perfectly. She created a fragrance that is regal like a golden crown and red cape. A true homage to a life devoted to pleasures. We all know guilty pleasure has the sweetest taste.
Bottle Award – the most elegant perfume – Puredistance BLACK
- The latest release from the ultra luxurious house of Puredistance is a perfume named BLACK, a fragrant enigma of unknown perfume notes. Despite the fact of not being able to confirm any of the aromas this perfume whispers (It’s not even talking) to me as an elegant creation, made to be worn with white shirt, black tie, fitted suit and elegant cufflinks. The only barrier that stopped me from buying it is the price.
Bottle Award – kind of let-down perfume – Les Exclusifs de Chanel 1932
- When Chanel announced they will bring a new exclusive perfume inspired by a jewellery collection from 1932 everyone’s eyes were sparkling like diamonds. However as soon as first people started sharing their opinions they began speaking with one voice – that it’s not innovative at all and that it doesn’t live to their expectations and the name of Chanel. To me 1932 is a nice perfume but it truly doesn’t bring anything new. It’s just a perfume!
Bottle Award – perfume change of heart – Carner Barcelona Rima XI
- Rima XI was brought to the market in early 2013 and it took several months before I tried it for the first time. It didn’t impress me then, it smelled kind of burned and plastic-y to me but I had a 2ml sample so I didn’t dismiss it. Couple more days wearing it and I changed my mind. I started appreciating the almost-caramely burnt aroma of cardamom and nuts, combined with mineral amber. Now I think I might be buying this someday.
Bottle Award – the most challenging perfume – Amouage Opus VII
- Oh, what have you done to me Amouage!? Your seventh tome totally didn’t speak to me, I even expressed it all in my review which turned out to be my best article about a perfume written in 2013. So many people were thrilled about my concept of “inner” and “outer” stratum of this fragrance. Nary a one scent was as challenging as Opus VII. I’d like to give an honorable mention to Jardins d’Ecrivains Orlando which is also one of the most challenging creations of 2013. Still it’s easier to wear that Amouage.
Bottle Award – the best natural perfume – Sonoma Scent Studio Spiced Citrus Vetiver
- In 2013 I had my first experience with natural perfume blends. If I didn’t make a mistake I tried 7 natural perfumes this year. Spiced Citrus Vetiver created by Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio seemed most interesting to me and definitely closest to my own tastes. This fragrance is a lovely concoction of juicy smell of orange with a dry woody smell of vetiver. And it maintain a balance of these notes. Other perfume worth mentioning is also Hiram Green Moon Bloom and Giovanni Sammarco Vitrum.
Bottle Award – the best iris perfume – Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena
- This year we were offered a surprisingly high number of perfumes with iris as a leading note. In a flash of light I can think of at least 4 and there were definitely more. The one that especially caught my attention is Iris Nazarena by Aedes de Venustas. It’s pretty interesting and different take on this precious material, to pair it with an ashy incense, metallic juniper and spices like star anise and clove. It wins in terms of being unusual.
Bottle Award – the best rose perfume – Tauer Perfumes PHI Une Rose de Kandahar
- Rose was probably the most operated flower in perfumery of 2013. Numerous new perfumes and flankers with a rose theme are the undeniable proof. From so many roses the one that intrigues the most is the recent release of PHI Une Rose de Kandahar, a limited edition fragrance created by Andy Tauer of Tauer Perfumes. To pair the unique Nangarhar rose with rich apricot, cinnamon, sweetness of vanilla (almost honey) and tobacco? Risky but it paid off. The perfume sells rapidly and might be gone soon.
I think this closes the list of the winners of Bottle Awards 2013. Please accept my virtual prize of a bottle statuette. In the end I’d like to say that my perfumes that were in the most intensive rotation this year include Prada Amber Pour Homme and Infusion d’Iris, Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme, Carner Barcelona D600, Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman and Histoires de Parfums 1725.
What are your own favourites of 2013? What kind of awards would you give, who would get them?
[note] Many, many thanks to Sabine who designed the Bottle Award statuette