Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2018

It was 110 posts ago (this one being 111) when we were welcoming 2018 with our arms wide open but it really feels as if the year started just a few days ago. While indeed 12 months have passed in a blink of an eye. Today many of us feel tired of current year and look forward to a fresh start in 2019 which will begin at midnight of upcoming Monday. Who knows what a new year might bring? For now all I know is that 2018 was meant to be revolutionary for me – I made up my mind about certain things and was ready to make some changes in my life. A lot was happening behind the scenes of the blog, especially in 2nd half of the year, things about which I didn’t want to tell you until I knew the outcome was in my favor. But in the end nothing has happened and I had no happy news to share. Simply said, I failed to complete my only new year’s resolution… but I’m not ready to give up!

2018 in perfume was a weird year in my opinion. Instead of moving forward many brands decided to make a step back (or at least stay in same place) by launching fragrances that brough nothing new nor exciting to the game. You could count the risk-takers on one hand while others were introducing pleasant but mass-appealing scents. Quiet whispers of market being too saturated seem to be something more than just a gossip. At the same time the air above the perfume world was filled with a general feeling of tiredness and with lack of creativity. I have no idea what’s gotten into everyone but you could clearly see that something was wrong – especially if you attended Pitti Fragranze. Many brands didn’t even come to Florence and chose to exhibit in Cannes just a few weeks later. Weird choice. Therefore I missed the chance to try many fragrances that debuted there.

Against all odds I made a list of my favorite fragrances in 2018 and am proud to present it to you.

Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle – going in a chronological order this was the first new release that I tried in 2018 and loved it as soon as I tried it. Being an Atelier Cologne fan from the start I was very curious to smell their new take on iris after Silver Iris in 2013. Iris Rebelle is beautiful and its woody, powdery facets make it effortless to wear. A classy yet modern choice for men and woman.

Hermes Agar Ébène – with Christine Nagel as a new in-house perfumer on-board there’s a chance that I might fancy more creations from the house in the future. Hermes makes it to my yearly review for a 2nd year in a row – this year with Agar Ebene, a dry, woody-spicy concoction that feels elegant in a masculine way, like a suit & tie. I bought a travel spray when I was in Milan in spring.

Neela Vermeire Creations Niral – by far the most luxurious and made with utmost care to detail iris perfume that was introduced this year (and not only this year). Inspired by silk trade between India and Europe, beautiful facets of rich, buttery iris, soft woods and spices feel on skin as the most precious of all existing fabrics. Neela and Bertrand did it again. Niral has gorgeous bottle too.

Atelier des Ors Nuda Veritas – 2018 marked a new chapter for this brand through introduction of new White collection – a triptych of fragrances inspired by Beethoven frieze and search for happiness. Harmony and radiance of the composition are two things that appeal the most to me in Nuda Veritas. It’s a very happy perfume full of light and gorgeous essences that improve my mood.

Aedes Musc Encensé – it’s hard to maintain a high level of your work yet people at Aedes seem to have mastered it! Another year and another perfume with Aedes logo made it on the list of my 2018 favorites. This year with Musc Encense, which returns to the roots of perfumery by reinventing a musk note. Ralf Schwieger broke a curse of white musk by creating something dirty yet sensual.

Chanel Paris-Venise – release of 3 lightweight Les Eaux felt like a breath of fresh air for the brand. I loved the basilic freshness of Paris-Deauville but it was a composition dedicated to Venice that stole my heart. Fresh, somewhat melancholic on one side and warm, creamy with a hint of sweetness on the other. I wore it on warm days and I wear it now and it still feels equally suitable in the winter.

Prada Infusion de Mandarine – I love to wear citrus scents in the summer but there are way too many similar ones on the market. When Prada decided upon citrus theme for the new addition to Les Infusions line I was enamored. The perfume remains faithful to the DNA of its predecessor and brand’s aesthetics. Infusion de Mandarine is also the most realistic mandarin I’ve ever smelled.

Amouage Imitation Man – it doesn’t happen everyday for a brand that I don’t get along well to land on my list of favorites. But if you strip this one down from all the press babble you realize the perfume is quite good. Multiply faceted and multiply colored iris is what makes this fragrance appealing to a person like me. I haven’t seen the bottle with my eyes yet but seems to be pretty too.

1907 Mon Âme – I think that even today not many people are aware of this Slovakian perfume house. To be honest I probably wouldn’t have known about its existence either if it wasn’t for Juraj, a fellow blogger from Croatia who is friends with the founders and helps them in getting some spotlight in the perfume world. Mon Ame is a perfect example of an opulent and decadent orris goodness.

Mona di Orio Santal Nabataea – I am a fan of sandalwood in perfume when it has that smooth, polished finish and smells elegantly, almost foody – like a woody pudding as some say. New perfume from Mona di Orio is not like that but still appeals. It has more texture, like a ‘porous’ surface of sandstone. A true match for the inspiration behind it. Note – it smells much better in cold temps.

Van Cleef & Arpels Rose Rouge – coming up with an original idea for a rose-centric perfume is not an easy task these days, I don’t think so. This iconic flower has been interpreted in so many ways that you’d think it’s impossible to create something new. VC&A teamed with Julien Rasquinet to compose a darkish, voluptuous rose dusted with cacao powder. It has an element of mystery to it.

Gallivant Tokyo – incense is a widely appreciated aroma in niche perfumery and for that reason I tend to be quite picky. Founder Nick Steward decided to bottle his personal experience of the city of Tokyo. Contrast between brightness of yuzu, warm spices and crude woods as well as greyish swirls of incense smoke feels unusual on the market at the moment. It also appeals to a bigger audience.

Hiram Green Hyde – I’m always a little bit insecure in expressing my opinions about natural fragrances since in my opinion slightly different rules apply to them compared to ‘regular’ perfume. Luckily in case of Hiram Green I don’t need to be shy with my feelings. In Hyde he took on a leathery theme & a powerful creation was born. Its strength and beauty outshine many other leathers.

Parle Moi de Parfum Orris Tattoo – for an iris fanatic as myself it’s important to have a choice and Parle Moi de Parfum, a brand I discovered for the 1st time this September, has an iris I don’t have. Orris Tattoo has a cool and regal feel, with iris playing on watery, carroty and violet-like registers. If you crave a transparent, airy iris perfume this one should be on your list of potential candidates.

Memo Moroccan Leather – last but not least we have a scented postcard from Morocco. Marriage of lush green notes with strong and full-bodied leather felt surprising when I tested this fragrance earlier in December. Its development into spices, tropical flowers and finally a marvelous orris accord sealed the deal for Moroccan Leather to be included in the list of my favorites of the year.

That way we made a full circle of 2018 in fragrance. I’m not sure if any brand really cares about my opinions but at least for you (my readers) my voice is not a soundless one & I hope you enjoyed this Yearly Review. For next year I wish you realization of any wish you might have & may 2019 bring us something exciting to look forward to – be it perfume or something else. With much love, Lucas.

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25 thoughts on “Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2018

  1. Brigitte says:

    Great list, Lucas!
    I have tried Iris Rebelle but now need to try it again! Next Sephora visit I will get a sample. And I thunked a decant of Orris Tattoo so I guess I liked it.
    My favorite releases this year have all been from the indie brand St Clair Scents, Casablanca, First Cut and an honorable mention to Gardener’s Glove. I also enjoyed Solstice Scents Estate Vetiver but not sure if it was released this year. Your scent triplet would know. Happy New Year to you and your readers.

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks Brigitte!
      Hope it’ll turn out you like Iris Rebelle. And finished decant of Orris Tattoo surely means something.

      To be honest I don’t know any of the indie brands you named. I’m not that much into indie.

      Happy 2019!

  2. shelly says:

    I am glad you recapped. I new there was a rose I wanted to try. Your list reminded me.

  3. Jillie says:

    So interesting to read your list – I have to admit that sometimes I intend to smell a perfume I’ve read about and then completely forget what it was … perhaps I should make a resolution to become organised in 2019.

    I change my mind all the time, but right now the Gallivant Tokyo appeals to me most, both because it has the refreshing zing of yuzu (which I love to eat!) and the mystical appeal of incense.

    Happy New Year!

  4. Perfumelover67 says:

    Thank you for such a great list Lucas! I was not really aware of some of the perfumes that were released this year and that I thought I had not tried. Such is the case of Iris Rebelle, Orris Tattoo and Niral. The first time I tried Iris Rebelle it didn’t move my heart. However, I enjoy wearing now. It is such a beautiful and no-brainer iris perfume and I am glad I have a travel size in my collection.
    Orris Tattoo is also a pretty perfume. So unique and different from other irises. I am still trying to understand this perfume, but I am glad I also own it. Niral is exquisite. I finished my sample very quick and I hope it joins my collection at some point. Looking forward to sampling the others in your list, especially Musc Encensé and Hyde. I am great fan of Hiram Green.

    I wish you a Happy New Year 2019 and I hope it comes full of success and great things for you and yours. Cheers!

    • lucasai says:

      I definitely consider Iris Rebelle as a go-to iris. It’s very easy to wear and thanks to multiple sizes available it’s easy to take with you on travels.
      Orris Tattoo was one of my later discoveries this year but I could see a partial bottle in my collection at some point.

      Let’s have a wonderful 2019!

  5. Holly says:

    Thank you dear Lucas for another fantastic year of reviews! I truly appreciate all the work that you’ve put into them and all that you’ve shared with the perfumista community here. You have shown that you have great perseverance when so many other bloggers have faded into the background to a large extent. This also demonstrates that you have what it takes to make your dreams come true, so I hope you keep the faith and carry on!

    A weird year indeed. I spent the majority of it commando and am now tiptoieing back into wearing perfume on occasion. I’ve always admired your very mature thoughtfulness about what you buy, and I’ve incorporated that into my own perspective about not only what I buy but also what I own which I’ve been reducing for quite some time. I have been very lucky to have a couple of charitable organizations I work with who I can donate perfumes to and doing so makes me happy and serves a good cause. I have some lovely friends who send me samples/decants/bottles to try and/or donate and there are always some things included that they think I should get my nose on asap! I have a few samples/decants of some of those you mentioned here, but I’ve yet to try them so I guess asap! hasn’t happened but your posting them amongst your 2018 favorites has inspired me to.

    • lucasai says:

      Hello Holly,
      Thanks for keeping up with me and everyone else on our little community – even if in reduced amount of hours.

      Perhaps I’m too direct to ignore this question if you feel like so but did something happen that caused that you didn’t wear perfume for a while?
      Anyways I hope things do improve for you next year.

      Sending love ❤

      • Holly says:

        Thank you and sending love right back!

        I’m all in for being direct! I appreciate your sensitivity and even more so your willingness to risk asking. We have a saying here – “Nothing risked, nothing gained.”

        Nothing specific happened – many factors came into play. I started understanding that I was feeling overwhelmed and perfume was adding into the noise and constant stimulation that we all experience in our lives, and I wanted more time to be reflective and quiet and focus on where I want to go in life moving forward. I also found that what used to be an enjoyable obsession and something I looked forward to had begun to feel like an out-of-control addiction to the new and shiny and that pursuit would just never end and that no longer sounded like fun to me. I also got serious about paying attention to what is happening to the environment and how my actions may be contributing, and so I decided I wanted to reduce introducing more chemicals into the water and more waste into the trash – plastic, contaminated glass, non-biodegradable clothing etc. That being said, I am wholeheartedly all for everyone pursuing what is truly meaningful to them and what brings them joy in their lives, and sometimes we need to focus on that so that we can be the best version of ourselves and share that with others. I am not judging anyone, but only going by what makes me happy.

        I have been gifted SO much over the years, and I have many to thank. I have an ongoing hospice/nursing home community project that I set up several years ago that has had staff working diligently for years to work through the red tape to finally be able to accept whatever I have to offer as per their protocols. This brings me joy as the staff, the patients and their families are sincerely appreciative and we all share the memories sparked by the fragrances and scents that have been meaningful in our lives.

        Taking a step back has actually improved the quality of my life this last year. I have the time and the space to focus on where I want to go, and I now know that I want to focus on what is truly meaningful to me. Sometimes that IS perfume – the joy and exuberance of discovery and depth of emotion and appreciation of artistry. While I might not always pursue what’s current, I will always appreciate where this journey has led me and the friends I have met along the way.

  6. Undina says:

    It’s a solid list! I planned to check my database for this year releases to see how many I liked but since I’m traveling at the moment and usually do my yearly stats posts in January, I haven’t got to do it yet – so it was interesting to go through your list and mentally compare notes, so to speak.

    Not counting a couple of perfumes that I haven’t tried yet, I liked most of those perfumes that you mentioned. Maybe not enough to pursue them beyond a sample but I agree that they were good.

    Happy New Year, dear Lucas! I hope 2019 will bring the news you’ll be able to share with us.

    • lucasai says:

      Hello darling!
      Thank you and I agree it is a solid one. Also happy to hear you liked most of those from it that you managed to try in 2018. I’m not surprised by that. Being 1/3 of perfume triplets means something 🙂

      I hope you’re enjoying your New Year trip! I’ll be looking forward to read your statistics.

      Happy 2019!

  7. […] via Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2018 — Chemist in the Bottle […]

  8. Tanja says:

    Sadly not have smelled one of these fragrances. The musk incense sounds just like my kind of scent….

  9. Great list Lucasz and some perfumes there that I need to try that I wasn’t even aware of – it’s so difficult to keep up that I’ve long since stopped trying. All the best for 2019. ✨

  10. fragroom says:

    Great round-up. Lots of goodies here.

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