Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2020

When this year was starting I greeted it with thoughts in my head and hope in my heart that it will be a special one. It was going to be a year of my 30th birthday, maybe an opening of a new life chapter after earning that 3 at the beginning of my age number… And only as a general comment, I thought that 2020 has a nice look to it. Clean & round – with only two 2 and two 0. The year turned out to be special, yes… Just not in the way anyone of us could imagine it to be. Even the most ominous dreams couldn’t predict that shortly after 2020 started the whole world would turn into some sort of a battlefield and that we’ll be fighting this invisible & dangerous enemy known as coronavirus.

When I heard first reports from Wuhan in China I really thought there was nothing to worry about since it was so far away from Poland. But week after week the reports on TV informed that Covid-19 reached Europe and that it was spreading fast. In Poland the first person with positive test result was announced on the 4th of March. From that day the number of new cases was increasing rapidly which eventually also forced my country to go into lockdown. Face masks, hand sanitizers and ‘stay at home’ slogans became a new reality for us all. Social life reduced to zero and home office solitude made us realize how much we miss these little things we took for granted. I hope it’s over soon.

It was a rough year, for me one like never before. Esxence and Pitti were rescheduled a few times and eventually moved to 2021. Without these events and due to pandemy I wasn’t able to try many new fragrances this year. Many times I wasn’t in a mood to write, therefore overally less posts in 2020. But against all odds I’d like to share with you this modest list of my favorites from this year.

Diptyque Eau Capitale – I like this perfume house and over the years I found a number of fragrances that I truly liked and added to my collection. As you may remember I like me some chypre so I was really curious to smell one that was rose-based. In this particular composition Olivier Pescheux proves that in modern day perfumery oakmoss is not essential anymore to create a good chypre that would stay true to the roots of this olfactive family. I’m a happy owner of 10ml spray of it.

Olfactive Studio Iris Shot – I was ready to tell you about this fragrance almost 1,5 years ago but due to some technical difficulties with caps production and because of pandemy the release got postponed by this much! But it was worth to wait for this silky smooth and buttery rich goodness that slightly dabs a gourmand territory with a suble touch of warm nuttiness and a hint of spices. It’s a luscious fragrance and quite addictive at that. Other two of triplets fell in love with it because of me.

Hiram Green Vivacious – One can never have enough iris, or violets for that matter & when Hiram Green brings up something new it is a reason to celebrate. I don’t know any other perfumer who works only with natural ingredients and who can create such long-lasting perfume. Vivacious is full of youthful energy of spring. It’s fresh, dewy and with a gorgeous floral sweetness of violet & orris. It beautifully marries powdery & flowery nuances. I simply can’t find any good reason to not like it.

Atelier des Ors Blanc Polychrome – One of my favorite brands introduced 2 new fragrances this year. I found the 1st one to be a rather not-special Ambroxan bomb while the 2nd one was a wow and it was ideal for summer months. It was a solar energy packed with vitamin C from citrus, with a tart acidity of rhubarb and a hint of breezy jasmine. Blanc Polychrome sources inspiration from classic eau de cologne but perfumer Marie Salamagne made it lighter and more modern.

L’Orchestre Electro Limonade – When I was on a lookout for an interesting hesperide perfume in the summer this was the new release that really grabbed my attention. Sparkling and fizzy aldehydes up at the top, follow by a not all all sweet cocktail of Mediterranean lemon, clementine and bergamot + ginger for that zingy twist. This fragrance also had rhubarb in it and in the base it was a warm, woody blend of cedar wood and amber. A perfume like a refreshing drink with a tiny umbrella.

Memo Ocean Leather – Personally I find Cuirs Nomades to be a very succesful and well executed line from Memo Paris. My no.1 is still Italian Leather but what the brand did this year was truly interesting to discover. This inconspicuous composition started with a citrusy top but then evolved into herbaceous marine concoction that was paired with a dense leather accord. Initially I thought it’s going to be a very odd pairing but on contrary, it turns out that they are meant to be together.

Van Cleef & Arpels Oud Blanc – Don’t get me wrong, I’m with those of you who think that oud fashion should’ve ended few years ago. By no means I’m not an oud fan but if it’s good one, I can take it. Interpretation from VC&A and Anne Flipo is a fragrances Turkish tale. Brimming with dark petals of richly scented rose flowers, resinously sweet glaze of candied dates and peaceful swirls of transparent smoke. Oud is just an addition here but it’s needed to glue all these elements together.

Gallivant Bukhara – In a year of lockdowns and closed borders “armchair travel” became the most effective way of discovering new places at the comfort of your home. Thanks to Nick Steward this year we could go on a short trip to Uzbekistan and experience Bukhara the way Nick remembered it. In collaboration with Ralf Schwieger a wonderfully spicy perfume was born with earthy & rooty orris that also features a more creamy and buttery side. It’s an iris worth to remember in this weird year.

Amouage Enclave – 2020 brough big changes inside Amouage. With Renaud Salmon as new creative director the brand is set to slightly change their perspective and the way of compositing new scents. In Renaissance Collection 4 fragrances were introduced and I loved Enclave. A contrast between warm spices and cold mint, when they collide the perfume gets steamy and full of energy. With a hint of rose and leather I found it to be a stunner. Plus the bottle shade is so pretty.

Puredistance Rubikona – Puredistance never rushes when it comes to presenting new fragrances. They are proud of taking their time to polish every tiniest detail of the formula. Who would’ve thought that this year we’ll be introduced to a perfume that was in the making for almost 3 years. Rubikona is a very elegant & sophisticated persona. A grand chypre with ylang, rose and iris which rest atop the warm notes of carnation, clove that lead us to a patchouli and cedarwood-infused base.

Olivier Durbano Aram – I’ve been observing his works for years and we always had enjoyable conversations when we met in Florence. Obviously this year that was impossible and I’m grateful that Olivier shared his new composition with me via post. I always liked Pink Quartz but Aram brought to me a much needed feeling of consolation for 2020. An astringent grapefruit, lots of resins & succulent greens plus many other notes were hiding a lot of light within. A light of hope.

Dusita Moonlight in Chiangmai – Save the best for last as they say. In this yearly review a new Dusita fragrance is easily in my top 3 of the year. I love the brand and I love Pissara. We spoke privately on video chats a couple of times during this pandemy but our conversations were never really perfume-focused. Moonlight in Chiangmai is a magical perfume that almost feels out of this world. Yet it’s a very wearable one. A lot of heart went into this Thailand-inspired perfume.

***

We survived 2020, that’s the most proper way to say it. Despite all the hardships and difficult days we had to face let’s still try to look at the bright side of things. The one personal achivement I can share with you is that I lost over 20 kgs of weight, even though there was a lockdown, that I had a twisted work schedule and that doing any kind of sport was almost impossible due to restrictions. But I made it and that’s the thing I’m the most proud of in this wicked year. Now here’s to hope that 2021 will bring us a big relief and that a return to normality will be possible very, very soon. We shall learn to appreciate the small things all over again.

For 2021 I’m sending you my best wishes – be strong & brave, be healthy, seek happiness and don’t stop believing. A better tomorrow will come for sure. May 2021 bring us what we all long for!

With lots of love for a New Year 2021, Lucas.

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18 thoughts on “Yearly Review – My Favorite Fragrances of 2020

  1. Happy New Year Lucas. I hope for us all 2021 will bring forth new light upon the planet. And 30??? Just a kid 🙂

  2. matty1649 says:

    Happy New Year to you, Lucas. Let’s hope we have a better year X

  3. Jillie says:

    A very interesting summary. Thanks to you, I have sampled some of these treasures, and feel very lucky to have done so!

    Here’s hoping that 2021 will bring good news and happiness to us all.

  4. Tanja says:

    May the new year be better for all of us. Great reviews. And losing so much weight is hard work, so congrats

  5. Perfumelover67 says:

    Lucas thank you for such a beautiful list of your 2020 favorites!
    Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours the best on 2021! Let’s hope for a year full of health, peace and wonderful things around the world!

  6. MMKinPA says:

    Wonderful list. Thanks to the giveaway that you, Undina and Hajusuuri hosted I had the chance to try Rubikona – loved it. I am anxious to try Dusita and Hiram Green’s newest, knowing that I have enjoyed all of their output. I managed to keep my no-buy going all year (although my husband gave me a couple of little things for Christmas which of course I had to order!) so I feel like I accomplished something despite the rest of the year being a train wreck. We are all hopeful for a better 2021.

    • lucasai says:

      We’re very happy Rubikona worked for you.
      Congrats on keeping your resolution and resisting temptation to buy new perfume for entire year. I didn’t buy much in 2020 either but it wasn’t nothing like in your case.

  7. rickyrebarco says:

    Thanks for the wonderful list. I have not tried any of these, but hope to try a few in the New Year. Your posts have helped keep me sane this year so thank you for that. I’m hoping things will be better in 2021 and we can all get back to some travel and normalcy again. Have a happy new year!

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you for saying that because writing also kept me sane, even though I have written and tested much less.
      With vaccine we’re at least one step closer to returning to normal

  8. Undina says:

    You’re not surprised that of those perfumed on your list that I tried, most I liked, are you? The only one that slightly puzzles me is Moonlight in Chiangmai. But I suspect that there at play is the same thing that works the other way around with some of the more feminine perfumes that I like and you don’t: for me, it’s too masculine. But I will give it a couple more tries. But with the rest you’re spot on!

    I’m very proud of your weight loss. I know from experience that it couldn’t be easy, so you did great. But know what? Unless you keep working really hard, it would be impossible to hold your results for more than a couple of years. I know that it doesn’t feel like that now, but please believe me. So, do not rest on your success – keep working on it.

    Let’s hope 2021 will be less challenging for all of us. And I look forward to your participation in this year’s exhibitions (I really hope they’ll happen, and you’ll be able to go).

    • lucasai says:

      Not surprised at all, we overlap in liking over 90% of perfume. I can see how you might find Moonlight in Chiangmai to be more masculine, especially that it was intended to be more for men. Maybe your husband will enjoy it?

      Thank you my dear and yes, I know that I will have to keep this up so that all that weight doesn’t come back again. Yo-yo effect is terrible.

      I hope for a good year with many possibilities to travel and to discover things.

  9. Lynn says:

    This was lovely to read this morning Lucas. Thank you. Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family. You are looking amazing!

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