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 (Les Exclusifs)
Les Parfums de Rosine Bleu Abysse
Masque Milano Kintsugi
Memo Winter Palace
Francesca Bianchi Etruscan Water
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.
I think this is my best shot at Esxence. Gorgeous bottles of Atelier des Ors Collection Riviera
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.