As I’m spending these few last days of 2016 at home, enjoying some time off from my usual lab work & recharging batteries it’s a natural occurrence that everyone starts to have some reflections regarding the year that is about to pass. Including me. I can say, with a hand on my heart, that last 12 months sum up to a really good year. I continued my fragrance evaluating job with numerous successes (biggest being a contract for 4 tons of 3 different fragrances for a single customer) and kept improving my skills but I wish I had more training provided by my employer.
I’m also happy to admit it’s been a steady year for me, without any big ups and downs that would affect me in a significant way. Summer time was really mild in Poland this year plus between June and August there were quite many projects at work that kept me busy. When September finally arrived I went on holidays and during almost 2 weeks I “conquered” Italy – from Naples to Venice, Verona, lake Garda & Bologna. I had a wonderful time visiting these most famous Italian cities. I also feel very lucky that this year I could once more make it to Esxence and Pitti, to later share with you my impressions of newest perfume launches, new or continuing trends.
2016 has been a good year for artistic niche perfumery. I managed to recognize a few trends that formed over the course of the year, such as increased popularity of tuberose and osmanthus. Chypre fragrances returned to favor this year, same happened to masculine, animalic fougeres. Another noticeable fact is that Italian segment of niche perfume market is growing bigger, thanks to new offerings from already known brands but also thanks to new brands that are forming. It’s also great to see that natural perfumers & independent perfumers are getting more recognition among international customers who are seeking high quality materials of natural origins.
Before we say goodbye to 2016 I’d like to share with you a list of my favorite fragrances this year.
Prada L’Homme – for being a beautiful and elegant composition that is so different compared to other mass-market scents for men. L’Homme has a similar signature as my dear Amber Pour Homme without copying it. It’s a modern classic interpretation. Very elegant, stylish and suitable for many different occasions, not only formal. My favorite mainstream launch of 2016.
Hermes Eau de Neroli Dore – it’s a 2nd Hermes fragrance, after Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, that I liked from this house. Who would have though that a simple-looking blend of neroli, saffron and musks could be so sensual and attractive. I tried to buy it twice and split a flacon but I never had enough takers to succeed. It was Mr Ellena’s last fragrance as Hermes main perfumer.
Chanel Boy – after being quite sceptical about luxe & boutique exclusive fragrances I might just change my mind because of Chanel Boy. None of them had a good lasting power on my skin but Boy does and it smells great. It’s a kind of lavender fragrance that I like, beautifully soft, blending warm lavender with sweet & woody base. It’s fresh and chic, yet casual.
Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve – it’s been a good year for iris perfumes and in my opinion Iris Fauve is the most beautiful iris of 2016. This creation has so many facets that change over time like in a kaleidoscope. It has a wonderful sensuality and stylish vibe, and it had a warm character, like a warm light of a shiny golden surface.
Masque L’Attesa – it was also a fantastic iris introduced in 2016, but I’d like to bring it to your attention due to creativity and innovative thinking. Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi made a risky step with perfumer Luca Maffei, who used a CO2 extract of beer to compose L’Attesa. Such material has never applied in fine perfumery before. It added an unusual yeast-ish champagne twist.
Le Galion Cologne & Cologne Noble – you know how much I love my citrus perfume, don’t you? And this year my need for it was perfectly satisfied with Le Galion Cologne and Cologne Noble. They are very well-made and brimming with happiness. Both have a charming effervescence to them and possess fantastic lasting power! They are as fresh and juicy as citrus can be.
Aedes Cierge de Lune – who would have though that a floral-vanilla perfume could be so attractive to me? Year after year Aedes comes up with more innovative concepts and keep making perfume of a really high quality level. Cierge de Lune that smells good all year round and you just want to spray it with abandon. It brings delectable happiness that you feel every time you wear it.
Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele – Neela kept us unsure about her new fragrance until September, when she showed us a preview of Rahele. A perfume born from a concept of 3 different French writers going to India and their paths crossing there just couldn’t go wrong. And it didn’t. Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour presented a gorgeous blend of citrus, osmanthus, rose, jasmine, mossy leather and iris. It’s a perfume where East meets West.
Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge – thanks to our favorite couple of niche perfume world we could discover their secret getaway. How could you not appreciate the fact that someone wanted to share fragrant impressions of their honeymoon with you. This perfume offers an abundance of sweet orange blossom, rose, honey, almonds. It’s a smell of Turkush delight to me.
Parfums Dusita – in my opinion Parfums Dusita together with brand founder and perfumer Pissara Umavijani are the best debuting brand in 2016. In April when they first appeared at Esxence not many people were aware of the brand. 6 months later everyone was talking about how fantastic are these perfumes composed by Pissara. Undeniable talent and beauty of the owner as well as her social media skills and openness made Dusita a real success. My favorite is La Douceur de Siam.
Atelier Cologne Encens Jinhae – in 2016 the brand was acquired by L’Oreal & I was worried about that fact. Fortunately I got to meet with brand founders and they still have freedom of creating. Encens Jinhae became a birthday present to myself due to its unusual take on incense theme, which is here presented in a soft way, thanks to Japan-evoking cherry blossom.
Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé – this perfume was a surprise for all of us because no-one expected a second perfume from Hiram in the same year. Arbolé Arbolé is inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poem and focuses around patchouli accord. But on my skin it smelled like the most rich and lush rose & I loved it for this unexpected turn of events. I think it will make it to my collection soon.
Puredistance Sheiduna – the brand kept this perfume a secret for a really long time but it was absolutely worth the wait. Jan Ewoud Vos together with Cecile Zarokian mastered a perfume that transports you right away to the middle of the desert that bathes in the bright, ruby light of the setting sun. Sheiduna is filled with quiet and distinctive sensuality.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir – I’m not a fan of the brand, just like Mr Kurkdjian is not a fan of perfume bloggers. But I got samples of his latest perfumes and I was quickly hooked on by Grand Soir. It’s the most alluring benzoin fragrance I’ve ever tried! It’s a smooth operator that is so easy to fall in love with. I never thought I would like balsamic oriental so much.
Nishane Fan Your Flames – Nishane has created this year one of the most tasty and mouth-watering fragrance I know. It smells boozy and aromatic like rum, creamy & milky like a coconut pulp and smoky like a water pipe. It’s very rich and complex creation. It has an incredibly powerful sillage so remember to apply lightly. This perfume is like a shisha bar in Turkey.
Atelier Cologne Emeraude Agar – among two new latest releases in brand’s Collection Metal I thought I would adore Camelia Intrepide. What really happened is that I was head over heels for Emeraude Agar instead. It’s warm, woody, spicy, textured and pretty substantive in its softness. It’s the kind of fragrance I like to wear in Autumn and Winter. Now I can because I have a 30 ml bottle.
Aftelier Amber Tapestry – in 2016 Mandy Aftel has given us a special amber perfume inspired weaving techniques she practiced in her youth. As a result there was born a fragrance that has many different shades and dimensions to it. Amber Tapestry is a no ordinary fragrance that combines modern influences and retro glamour elements at once.
This would more or less sum up my favorite fragrances that came out in 2016. Of course there were others I liked too but I didn’t want this list to get too long. I did miss many scents this year & I can’t promise that I’ll do better in 2017. We shall see what future brings. Let this journey continue for another year & may it bring more perfume that will make us breathe heavily.
Last but not least, few blogging facts: in 2016 I wrote 72 posts (including this one) and I covered 53 fragrances. Out of these 53, 30 scents were released this year. Not a bad ratio if you ask me but a terrible ratio if you consider how many launched over last twelve months. My most popular posting day was Saturday with 16 articles, followed by Monday & Thursday (13 articles each).
Now let me wish you a fabulous New Year’s Eve fun! See you next year!