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.