Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2019

Same digit numbers must really like me – in 2018 my Yearly Review was the 111th post of that year. Turns out that my summarizing post for 2019 is going to be the 88th one in this year’s calendar. It’s quite obvious that I’ve spent less time on blogging than I did in the past years. All of you are so supporting that I probably don’t need to excuse myself for writing 23 posts less. But I really want all of you to know that there were a couple of reasons that contributed to such state of thing. First of all I tried way less new fragrances this year compared to last one. And if we are to believe numbers, Parfumo currently lists 3991 releases in 2019. As you know I didn’t attend Pitti Fragranze in September which also reduced my area of exploration. Brands rarely remember about you if you don’t show up. Few trips to Givaudan in France also took away few days from my schedule. I was just one step away from my dream, I didn’t succeed but I experienced something amazing.

Believe it or not but this year has witnessed the extraordinary amount of drama in the perfume world. I don’t know if you also follow other platforms where people share their thoughts on fragrance, like Youtube or Instagram. To tell the long story short, there was quite a ruckus between bloggers, youtubers, instagrammers and influencers. Things were especially intense shortly prior and post to Esxence. It was a real shocker to see how many brands are open to giving away their products only to be featured in a Youtube video or a post on Instagram. I am not like that and I refuse being put together in the same bag with these people. I will keep repeating that I’m not writing sponsored articles and that a sample or two is just what I need to test the perfume properly. All in all that trauma that followed me home from Milan made me question the purpose of my writing. All the words and opinions that were expressed, full of negativity, made me tired and less inspired to write.

It was a year full of ups and downs but I somehow made it through. With you and thanks to you. Now without any further ado let me share with you the retrospective of my favorite perfume in 2019.

Chanel 1957 – I certainly did not expect to fall for a perfume that Olivier Polge would describe as an overdose of white musk but the fact is that I like it pretty much. The smell of clean bed lining that just finished drying in open air, the delicacy of iris and powdery neroli make me feel safe and secure. And honey note adds a gorgeous luminosity to it. 1957 is simple but has something alluring in it.

Les Parfums de Rosine Bleu Abysse – Neo-marine fragrances have been appearing here and there for the last couple of years. They shy away from 90’s fashion of calone abuse and evoke oceanic sceneries in a new way. Bleu Abysse provides a resinous-balsamic-marine concoction with a hint of blackcurrant and sea salt. Without a doubt it’s my favorite from Les Extravagants line.

Masque Milano Kintsugi – Over the years Alessandro Brun and Ricardo Tedeschi have proven that they know how to maintain a high quality level of their brand. This year they introduced 2 fragrances out of which Kintsugi has my special attention. This modern chypre uses raspberry leaf & patchouli to replace forbidden moss notes and magnolia elevates it to something very sophisticated.

Memo Winter Palace – I can’t say that Memo Paris is my favorite brand but they have won me over with a couple of their fragrances. This year I was captivated by Winter Palace which as a perfume is an intersection between cold cologne notes of lemon orange and warm notes of red tea and soft amber. It’s a kind of perfume that suits all 4 seasons. I am a happy owner of that pretty bottle.

Francesca Bianchi Etruscan Water – It’s been a prolific year for Francesca as she has graced us with 5 fragrances. Out of these Etruscan Water was my clear favorite. This is a gorgeous citrus-fruity chypre done with recognizable style of Francesca. To me this perfume is also a nod to the classics of the past for there is something in this perfume that reminds me of vitange Eau Sauvage from Dior.

Mona di Orio Amyitis – In the past I’ve heard a lot of good things about Amyitis but it was discontinued before I became a fan of this maison de parfum. Luckily for me it was reissued in 2019 in the same state as Mona composed it (according to the brand info). It has a beautiful iris note with a soft oriental entourage and mellow woody tones in the base. I highly recommend this one.

Dusita Splendiris – I think of Pissara Umavijani as a friend so when she let me smell her fantastic iris composition for which she didn’t have a name I knew I wanted to help. Fragrantica organized a naming contest and my idea – Reve d’Aurore was one of the finalists. I visited Pissara at her Parisian boutique just a day before the results announcement, when perfume was named Splendiris.

Amouage Love Mimosa – I harly like anything from Amouage this days. For me this Omani brand was on a constant downfall for the past 3-4 years. Love Mimosa is a beautiful and realistic springtime in a bright yellow bottle. A charming evocation of pollen puffs on pom-pom like mimosa flowers. But my head still cannot justify the amount of money the brand is asking for it.

Jul et Mad Stairway to Heaven – It’s been 2 years since the previous Jul et Mad perfume was launched. This year the brand comes back to the scene with a composition inspired by Juliens and Madalina’s Himalayan adventure. Together with Cecile Zarokian they composed a fresh, metallic and musky scent, which similarly to Chanel 1957, is more enjoyable than one would expect.

Puredistance Gold – This year we were treated to 2 new creations from this luxurious brand owned by Jan Vos. Aenotus was a beautiful ode to cologne that whispers on skin. But I think that Gold has outshined it with its complexity and intricate sensuality that could seduce you by telling you one of the stories of 1001 Nights. It’s a richly glamorous perfume for special occasions.

Atelier des Ors Pomelo Riviera – I’m always in for a good citrus perfume but I find many of them to be bland, boring or simply too sweet to evoke the natural bitterness of lemons and grapefruits. Pomelo Riviera from Riviera Collection has a tartness and bittery flavor that I’ve been looking for. It’s a superb option for a summer fragrance that will transport you virtually to the heart of Cote d’Azur.

Jacques Fath L’Iris de Fath – Revived in fact in 2018 but I haven’t tried it on skin until 2019. It is a unique feeling to smell the legendary perfume on your own skin. It’s a wonderful fatty orris butter galore surrounded by jasmine and rose. Elegant and timeless. Due to its astronomic price I know that I’ll never wear it again. I can only but hope for the brand to make more accessible version.

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus Elixir – During my summer vacation trip in Italy and in the Alps I experienced the smell of a real osmanthus plant and it is a cherished memory of mine. I have not had much contact with Ormonde Jayne (I know many love Ta’If) but their Osmanthus Elixir introduced this year was very close to that smell. A lovely perfume with Asian influences.

Hiram Green Lustre – Rose was a scope of big interest in niche perfumery this year and among multiple rosy releases Lustre from Hiram Green was received particularly well. Hiram has worked some magic with his natural raw materials, creating a fragrance that is rich, intensive yet airy and spring-like at the same time. Its magnificent & silky bouquet surely would cheer up many of you.

Perris Monte Carlo Arancia di Sicilia – I quite liked the first trio of citrus fragrances from Perris. This year they added a 4th one and it’s completely different compared to prior releases. What I especially like about it is that it combines the Mediterranean bounty of orange with cinnamon and almond liqueur, which makes it something more than a cologne. It’s a really interesting scent.

***

Following what I already observed in 2018, niche perfumery this year was a lot about giving the world more crowd-pleasing fragrances with little backstory to them. Competition never sleeps and more and more brands are appearing out of nowhere – guess there’s less and less space for creativity and innovation. I’m not going to say if 2019 was a good or bad year for me. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. But here you have it, my Yearly Review and a bunch of fragrances that I found memorable. Before 2020 comes here’s my wish for us all – never stop dreaming, you don’t know what’s waiting for you behind the corner. Here is to a prosperous New Year, may it be kind for all of us & may it bring lots of good things. Yours truly, Lucas.

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21 thoughts on “Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2019

  1. cynthia3403 says:

    I enjoyed your list, Lucasai. I’ve not been able to try most on your list, but I am really curious about some of them. Like you, I was surprised how much I enjoyed Chanel’s 1957. Reading the description I didn’t think it would be my thing at all, but it was very comfortable to wear and hours in would surprise me with a whiff of beauty. I also love Pissara’s Splendiris and Puredistance Gold. I am very curious to try Atelier des Ors Pomelo Riviera, as I’ve seen others mention it too. Lastly, I want to try the Amoage Mimosa. I heard a little about the drama at Esxence. I know they mentioned it at Cafleurebon. It must have been some pretty outrageous behavior. My daughter is in PR in Dallas and has to occasionally work with influencers and gets very annoyed with their entitled attitudes. Please don’t let this drama put you off writing. There are still those of us that prefer the well considered review. I am too old for YouTubers, for the most part. I just don’t have the time to devote to the sometimes long meanderings. Anyway, I enjoyed your list and look forward to more.

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you Cynthia! Each of us likes something different and it shows especially now, when people are doing their lists of top fragrances. Glad to hear that we agree on some of the fragrances from my list and that you’d like to try some more I mentioned.
      Sometimes people just get carried away or they do/say things that they should keep only for themselves. The number of people who prefer to read goes down in recent years but I hope those are some faithful readers.

      Wishing you a good start of 2020!

  2. Jillie says:

    Well, thanks to you I have now smelled L’Iris de Fath and am in love with it …. sadly. But it’s wonderful to experience such a classic beauty – “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”!

    Thank you for keeping us posted on releases and giving us your honest opinion on them. We value your integrity, and don’t want to be deceived by reviewers who are “bribed”!

    You may not have written so much this year, but your words are always worth reading. Quality not quantity.

  3. Holly says:

    Thank you for compiling this list! I have only tried four of the ones you mention, and that fact surprised me but shouldn’t have, really. While I do have unsniffed samples of a couple of the others, the effect on me of the barrage of releases and social media exploits has been the opposite of what is intended. I don’t want to get up to speed on everything – it’s simply too much and can quickly morph from pleasurable into stressful.

    As long as you keep writing, I’ll keep reading!

  4. filomena813 says:

    I enjoyed your list and pretty much agree with it. I love Francesca Bianchi perfumes and was especially enamored by Etruscan Water. I’m glad someone else feels the same way. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2020.

  5. shelly says:

    I do not comment often, but want to congratulate you on not doing sponsored reviews or articles. Happy New Year to all.

  6. MMKinPA says:

    Wonderful list! I too was surprised by liking 1957 and the musk. And Winter Palace was a favorite as well. I’d still like to try the Atelier Des Ors- maybe in 2020. Happy New Year!

  7. Undina says:

    I haven’t done my numbers for the year yet but I’m sure I’ve tried even less new perfumes: from your list I tried only 5.

    For better or for worse, but I completely missed everything related to bloggers/influencers/etc. if not to count something you’ve mentioned in one of your posts. I’m glad I did 🙂

    6+ posts per month is quite an achievement if blogging isn’t your only occupation. I’m impressed you’re able to do that. And I’m thankful to you for sharing your impressions: they save me a lot of energy for not pursuing perfumes that are not worth it.

    Let’s hope 2020 will be better – in all respects, whatever that “better” is for each of us.

    • lucasai says:

      Your blog has a different focus and your perfume stories are valued equally if not more than reviews.

      Good for you that you missed the drama, It’s not something to long for.

      Thank you, I’m trying although it’s not easy to do that along with a regular 8 hours a day work schedule. Glad I could be your filter on what’s worth to test.

      Yes, I have some hopes for 2020.

  8. rickyrebarco says:

    Great list, Lucas. I love Puredistance Gold and I just ordered a sample of Chanel 1957. I have yet to try Dusita Splendiris but I will be sampling it later on. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful perfume knowledge with us.

  9. hajusuuri says:

    I’m glad to see 2019 gone. I love your list and love 5 of them to own either a travel spray (Spendiris, Gold) or FB (Winter Palace/split, Lustre and 1957). I got a Francesca Biancchi sample set and Etruscan Water and Black Knight were my favorites. I also sampled Kintsugi (no go), Arancia di Sicilia (liked) and the rest I have yet to try.

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