My dearest ones, the year of 2014 is inevitably coming to an end and tomorrow at midnight it will have its grand finale, when everyone will be popping the bottle of champagne and watching the colorful fireworks in the sky, to commemorate the passing 2014 and to welcome brand new 2015. When I look back at the last twelve months one reaction comes to my mind – “oh what a year this has been.” This year has been filled with good and bad events. Some brought smile to our faces, some poured tears into our eyes. But at the end of the year we all try to remember what was best.
2014 was a big year for me. In March I had a chance to attend Esxence perfume fair, it was the first time I got to participate in such event and to meet all these wonderful creators and perfumers I knew only from emails. May was the month of my university graduation and in early June I received my master’s degree when my thesis was approved. September brough another trip to Italy, this time to Florence, where I took part in 2nd biggest niche fragrance fair, Pitti Fragranze. I was also lucky to get a part-time and then full-time job soon after I graduated. It was all exciting but also scary. With the same feelings of excitement and fear, I’ll be waiting for what 2015 brings to me.
Today is also a good time to have a look at what happened in the following year in the perfume industry. We have witnessed numerous perfume launches. Parfumo database lists over 2500 and I’m sure there were many more. Some of these perfumes left us indifferent. Some were simply meh and we wanted to forget about them as fast as possible. But there were also perfumes that impressed us, that we fell in love with. Those fragrances deserve Bottle Award 2014 statuette. Please step onto this red carpet and follow me to the Grand Hall, where the ceremony is held.
In 2013 I presented to you the Bottle Awards for different categories, naming just one, maybe two perfumes that in my opinion deserved to receive it. This year I decided to change it a little bit and the statuettes will be given in more broad categories. This will allow me to share more of my favorite perfume of the year with you. However each perfume receives the award for a different reason.
Bottle Awards – Best of the best in 2014
- Bottle Award for the most satisfying purchase goes to Le Galion Iris. Why? Because this perfume has been in my mind since I tried it in March at Esxence. When I revisited it in September at Pitti, I knew we have to be together. Finally buying it felt fantastic. The bottle is gorgeous, so is the scent and quality of the content. And it’s a more masculine iris.
- Bottle Award for the happiest perfume is fully deserved by Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius. The combination of juicy citrus, aromatic and aquatic tones, white flowers as well as more substantial ingredients such as amber and labdanum resulted in a fantastic scent that will definitely put a smile on your face. It’s like a sunny spot on a cloudy day.
- Maria Candida Gentile Leuco takes the Bottle Award for the most contemplative perfume. Smoky labdanum which shimmer like a silver surface, blended with resins, spices and rich floral notes of lily and tuberose make for a wonderful perfume that is peaceful and quiet. Ideal when you want to relax, think and kind of separate from surrounding things.
- This year I give the Bottle Award for the guilty pleasure perfume to Carner Barcelona El Born. I’m not very much into gourmand compositions and this one is not a typical gourmand. To me it smells of chocolate praline and sweet liquor. It’s hard to believe those impressions were created with various balsams, spices and vanilla. Sweet lovers beware!
- New prize this year. A Bottle Award for the most sophisticated perfume goes to Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin. I’m often scared to wear woody-dominated perfumes as they tend to be rather strong. Santal Carmin is strong too, but at the same time it has a gentle smell. Its sandalwood accord is one of the smoothest and creamiest I know, making me think that this perfume is suitable for any occasion, jeans, t-shirt or suit.
Bottle Awards – Honorable mentions of 2014
- Sometimes a background of the fragrance is just as important as the perfume. That’s why I decided to mention here Arquiste The Architects Club as the winner of the Bottle Award for the best background story. It takes us back to a secret society, hiding in mysterious smoking room. Old velvet seats, wood, cigar smoke. It’s exactly how this perfume smells like. Perfect match between the story and the scent.
- Bottle Award for the most creative perfume goes to D.S & Durga HYLNDS Foxglove. I know many people consider this specific line or the whole house as a bit hipster, but it doesn’t change the fact for me that Foxglove is a really well done perfume created with some unusual ingredients such as Queen Anne’s lace. I was really fond of this blend created with rosewood, suede, iris and peach, so you can’t deny the creative mind behind this scent
- Olivier Durbano Promethee receives a Bottle Award for the pleasant surprise perfume. I’m not a huge fan of this maison de parfum due to the fact that every perfume is heavy on the incense and that 100ml is the only available size (and I really like Pink Quartz!). I didn’t have any high expectations for Promethee when it turned out to be quite a nice perfume I would be happy to wear once in a while. Please be noted that this prize would’ve been given to By Kilian Light my Fire if it had better longevity on my skin.
Bottle Awards – Best of natural perfumery in 2014
- In the following year we witnessed quite many perfumes from natural perfumers. Three names that especially stayed in my memory are Laurie Erickson of Sonona Scent Studio, who created fantastic Yin & Ylang, Tanja Bochnig of April Aromatics who presented this year Ray of Light, Erdenstern and Rose of San Francisco, a special perfume to support a fellow perfumista Tama Blough in her fight with cancer. Finally – Mandy Aftel, who cast a spell of Palimpsest on many of us. Dear ladies, please accept the Bottle Award for ace of natural perfumery. I believe Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Scent of Hope also deserves it, but I didn’t try it.
Bottle Awards – Best of Iris in 2014
- The year of 2014 was rich in compositions containing the precious aroma-material such as iris. Many perfumers and brands decided to revisit this noble ingredient which at the same time is difficult to handle. Each of the iris perfume I tried this year was different, some didn’t suit me despite being very nice. 1st Bottle Award for the best iris perfume goes to Le Galion Iris, which was also my most satisfying purchase. Another favorite of mine was Lye by Gabriella Chieffo. Two other that are worth mentioning are Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky, a smoky composition of iris, hemp and rosewood and Viktoria Minya Hedonist Iris, presenting a feminine iris with gourmand vibe to it. These awards are the most precious to me.
Bottle Awards – Best of Rose in 2014
- Rose in perfumery has been doing really well in the past months and I have tried many really good rose-centered compositions while exploring the new releases. Among them there are a couple that were especially good. Those, who deserve Bottle Award for the best rose perfume are: Ann Gerard Rose Cut for creating this slightly metallic rose with aldehydes and rum, Aedes de Venustas Oeillet Bengale for a fantastic interpretation of “rose on fire”, Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Extrait because it’s even deeper and richer than Mohur and Terry de Gunzburg Rouge Nocturne, a simplified but pretty perfume.
Bottle Awards – special category
- There are three special awards I would like to give at the end of Bottle Awards 2014 gala.
- Bottle Award for the most-wanted perfumer goes to Cecile Zarokian. Cecile has been a really busy perfumer this year and she created many fabulous compositions that were well-received in the perfume industry. To name just a few: Jul et Mad Aqua Sextius, Laboratorio Olfattivo Patchouliful, Hayari Only for Him.
- Bottle Award for the best debuting maison de parfum goes ex aequo to Le Galion and Maison Gabiella Chieffo. Both of these brands presented great pieces of perfume art-work in the year of their debut. People at Le Galion remastered old classic formulas and adapted them to current standards while Gabriella Chieffo gave soul to her perfumes.
- Finally, Bottle Award for the perfume news of the year goes to the announcement that Estee Lauder concern has acquired Le Labo and Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. Is it a good or a bad thing, we’ll find out soon…
This closes the gala of Chemist in the Bottle awards for best perfumes in 2014. Hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite fragrances of the year. I thank you very much for coming to my red carpet but most of all, thank you for being here with me for the past year. I hope you will be following my work in 2015 as well. I wish you all a happy New Year’s Eve, have a great night tomorrow and “see you next year.” Here’s to hope it will be even better and more exciting than this one.