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Yearly review – my favorite fragrances of 2017

I’m not really a fan of sentimental mood that catches up to me year after year as I spend final days of the year at home with my family, staying as far as possible from any disturbing thoughts that could try to fog my mind. Unlike 2016, this year was tougher. Stressful mostly. Uncertain situation at work kept me trembling nervously as month by month another person was losing their job. For now I kept mine but I don’t know for how long. But there were also lovely things in 2017. Like summer holidays in Italy, or going to Esxence and Pitti Fragranze again. In mid-year I felt proud of my 5th blog anniversary. I’m glad you decided to keep me company for these past months.

But enough about me. We want to focus on what was good perfume-wise in 2017. Many of the brands decided to revive tuberose as a key element of a perfume. This tendency actually began last year but it wasn’t until last months, when it fully unfolded. Green notes have been used more often this year, with a special nod to rhubarb that made it to a couple of interesting fragrances. Global launch of Puredistance Warszawa as well as quite recent introduction of Le Galion L’Ame Perdue are a proof that old-fashioned, retro glamour is still in demand. Finally my favorite trend wave of 2017, which brought a bunch of marvelous iris perfumes. I couldn’t have been happier for these.

Without further ado I present to you a very subjective list of favorite fragrances in 2017.

Aedes Pelargonium – Aedes is one of the brands that puts their own bar really high. I think they wouldn’t launch a perfume they knew that wouldn’t attract attention of perfume aficionados. Together with perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer a modern take on geranium was born. It’s a perfectly composed blend of spices, woods and geranium. Another well done fragrance after Cierge de Lune!

Anatole Lebreton Grimoire – I won’t let an underestimated talent of Anatole Lebreton slip from my yearly review. I liked his brand from the very beginning and this year I got one more reason for that. Grimoire, a perfume inspired by old magic books, spell books really got me hooked & the smell of churchy incense combined with herbal, almost medicinal lavender was very appealing.

Carner Barcelona Sweet William – In 2017 a new trio was introduced, marketed under a name of ‘white collection’ with Sweet William being one of them. After testing quite many of them I know that I’m quite a fan of carnation fragrances. This one was no exception. Surrounded by a spicy veil this floral fragrance lingers on skin as a longing for a true love that’s yet to be found.

Jacques Fath Rosso Epicureo – after a very succesful introduction of four Fath’s Essentials in 2016 done by Cecile Zarokian, the brand was up to launch another 4 this year in collaboration with Luca Maffei. Who would’ve thought that a perfume that combines rose & tuberose, two flowes with completely opposite feelings that I have for them, could be so good? Really unexpected result.

Jul et Mad Fugit Amor – second edition of ‘les whites’ from Julien and Madalina brought 3 new composition to the front line. I became a huge fan of Fugit Amor, a carnation-centered blend from the atelier of Stephanie Bakouche. This fragrance is very dear to me as my skin gave it an exceptional twist, completely reconstructing it into a composition that smells clean & soapy, like a barbershop.

Atelier Cologne Clementine California – having a citrus is an important part of a perfume wardrobe if you ask me. That’s why I was happy to discover new Atelier Cologne (although quite late) and the fact that it provided a new feeling of freshness during the summer time. Even though summer this year didn’t bring much heat, I enjoyed Clementine California on multiple occasions.

Guerlain Lui – this year passed under a banner of perfume as a mean of expressing your gender freedom. Among many fragrances that were meant to be genderless we’ve had Lui. Despite its ridiculous pricing and exclusivity I liked Lui. Even if I didn’t find it gender-undefined. It’s a good fragrance, especially if you like benzoin and tonka. Oh wait, it had carnation too!

La Parfumerie Moderne Belles Rives – enter a beautiful dame wearing a big, dramatic dress that attracts all eyes. That’s how Belles Rives can feel. Absolutely the most beautiful iris in 2017. Very complex, with multiple facets and reflections. Buttery, powdery, velvety, smoky notes appear one after another. We had to wait for 2 years for this beauty to emerge… But it was worth it!

Ineke Idyllwild – among a bunch of greener fragrances that appeared on the market in 2017, Idyllwild deserves in my opinion to be called the best. It was the most unusual of the bunch and also the way it smelled was closer to a real deal – to a walk in a coniferous forest in the summer. If you were looking for a tranquil composition, Idyllwild was a good call. Especially in June-August.

Grandiflora – absolutely my best discovery this year when it comes to perfume brands in general. This little floral shop & perfume brand from Australia has been around for a few years now but that was my first chance to try them. Re-packed into new, smaller bottles the brand made a tremendously good impression on me, especially Queen of the Night (2016, by Bertrand Duchaufour)

Coolife Le Sixieme Parfum – If, like me, you still don’t have enough iris in your collection, you’ll be happy to be reminded of this one. Done by skillful nose of Luca Maffei who combined osmanthus, iris concrete and suede, Le Sixieme Parfum really deserves the attention, even if I didn’t pay attention to their previous creations. I’m always up for rich, voluptuous iris composition.

Berdoues Maasai Mara – I’ve been a good follower of Maison Berdoues this year & I have reviewed 4 of them. Plus I have a decant of Hoja de Cuba on its way. Maasai Mara made it to the list because it’s probably the most budget-friendly labdanum fragrance you can get. It’s quality compares with Le Labo Labdanum 18 or other similar sweet labdanum perfumes. And the bottle is attractive too!

Gabriella Chieffo Quasicielo – it was Gabriella’s first attempt to standing on her own as a perfumer. The result is a little bit of an oddity of a fragrance but don’t we all need to smell something odd once in a while? The perfume is not perfectly built, the transitions are not smooth but that’s all the charm this fragrance has to offer. Spices, citruses, resins play a weird but catchy song.

L’Artisan Un Air de Bretagne – I was never a fan of L’Artisan Parfumeur but this year I have to admit I felt a bit converted. I liked Sur l’Herbe and Au Bord de l’Eau but the smell of salty air, ocean breeze and seaweed – all combined in a bottle of Un Air de Bretagne really transported me to the Northern coast of France. This perfume is a journey and even calone can’t stop me.

Parfum d’Empire Le Cri de la Lumiere – Parfum d’Empire was inactive since Tabac Tabou launch in 2015. Since that time perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato was working on a new fragrance in peace, without being rushed. When he felt he was ready he unveiled Le Cri, a simple yet complex structure of 3 ingredients: rose, iris and ambrette. Purity of it says more than 1000 words.

April Aromatics Pink Wood – I haven’t tried too many fragrances from natural perfumers this year but from what I tried I really liked the one made by Tanja Bochnig. I believe that making a natural oud fragrance so that it doesn’t feel fecal or overpowering, but instead feeling balanced with high dose of rose, geranium and woods must have been a difficult task to complete. Bravo for this success!

Eris Parfums Mx. – Born from a slight frustration that all unisex are either citrus or that lean towards more masculine or feminine, Barbara Herman took things in her own hands and together with Antoine Lie they created a creamy sandalwood fragrance with many facets that can be easily worn by both men and women. Now that’s something that transcends gender stereotypes.

Puredistance Warszawa – Technically launched in 2016 but only for Warsaw, the perfume became available on a global scale only few months ago. As I admitted in my review, Warszawa is not a perfume for me due to its uber femininity and retro vibe. But I recognize its class and think it’s a wonderful perfume on its own, that’s why it appeared on this list. It’s a perfume with a story.

Diptyque Eau des Sens – I want to make 2 honorable mentions for fragrances that launched earlier and that I loved in 2017. Eau des Sens is one of them. It’s one of the most pretty and natural-smelling orange blossom fragrances I know. It’s very happy perfume that can be worn all year round – it smells surprisingly wonderful in winter as well. I’m glad I got to try it a year after its release.

Van Cleef & Arpels Moonlight Patchouli – If I was considering a most misleading name as one of the categories for this list, Moonlight Patchouli would be a winner. On my skin it smells not of patchouli but of a buttery iris bathing in layers of delicate suede. It’s sensual, enticing and calm at the same time. It’s like a purring cat. And it can feel formal and casual depending on occasion.

This concludes a list of my favorite fragrances in 2017. In this place allow me to wish you all good things for the next year – health, happiness, prosperity & may we find many lemmings from the fragrances that are going to be released in near future. See you in 2018! With love, Lucas.

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Hall of fame, personal best of fragrance in 2016

As I’m spending these few last days of 2016 at home, enjoying some time off from my usual lab work & recharging batteries it’s a natural occurrence that everyone starts to have some reflections regarding the year that is about to pass. Including me. I can say, with a hand on my heart, that last 12 months sum up to a really good year. I continued my fragrance evaluating job with numerous successes (biggest being a contract for 4 tons of 3 different fragrances for a single customer) and kept improving my skills but I wish I had more training provided by my employer.

I’m also happy to admit it’s been a steady year for me, without any big ups and downs that would affect me in a significant way. Summer time was really mild in Poland this year plus between June and August there were quite many projects at work that kept me busy. When September finally arrived I went on holidays and during almost 2 weeks I “conquered” Italy – from Naples to Venice, Verona, lake Garda & Bologna. I had a wonderful time visiting these most famous Italian cities. I also feel very lucky that this year I could once more make it to Esxence and Pitti, to later share with you my impressions of newest perfume launches, new or continuing trends.

2016 has been a good year for artistic niche perfumery. I managed to recognize a few trends that formed over the course of the year, such as increased popularity of tuberose and osmanthus. Chypre fragrances returned to favor this year, same happened to masculine, animalic fougeres. Another noticeable fact is that Italian segment of niche perfume market is growing bigger, thanks to new offerings from already known brands but also thanks to new brands that are forming. It’s also great to see that natural perfumers & independent perfumers are getting more recognition among international customers who are seeking high quality materials of natural origins.

Before we say goodbye to 2016 I’d like to share with you a list of my favorite fragrances this year.

best-of-2016

Prada L’Homme – for being a beautiful and elegant composition that is so different compared to other mass-market scents for men. L’Homme has a similar signature as my dear Amber Pour Homme without copying it. It’s a modern classic interpretation. Very elegant, stylish and suitable for many different occasions, not only formal. My favorite mainstream launch of 2016.

Hermes Eau de Neroli Dore – it’s a 2nd Hermes fragrance, after Le Jardin de Monsieur Li, that I liked from this house. Who would have though that a simple-looking blend of neroli, saffron and musks could be so sensual and attractive. I tried to buy it twice and split a flacon but I never had enough takers to succeed. It was Mr Ellena’s last fragrance as Hermes main perfumer.

Chanel Boy – after being quite sceptical about luxe & boutique exclusive fragrances I might just change my mind because of Chanel Boy. None of them had a good lasting power on my skin but Boy does and it smells great. It’s a kind of lavender fragrance that I like, beautifully soft, blending warm lavender with sweet & woody base. It’s fresh and chic, yet casual.

Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve  it’s been a good year for iris perfumes and in my opinion Iris Fauve is the most beautiful iris of 2016. This creation has so many facets that change over time like in a kaleidoscope. It has a wonderful sensuality and stylish vibe, and it had a warm character, like a warm light of a shiny golden surface.

Masque L’Attesa – it was also a fantastic iris introduced in 2016, but I’d like to bring it to your attention due to creativity and innovative thinking. Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi made a risky step with perfumer Luca Maffei, who used a CO2 extract of beer to compose L’Attesa. Such material has never applied in fine perfumery before. It added an unusual yeast-ish champagne twist.

Le Galion Cologne & Cologne Noble  you know how much I love my citrus perfume, don’t you? And this year my need for it was perfectly satisfied with Le Galion Cologne and Cologne Noble. They are very well-made and brimming with happiness. Both have a charming effervescence to them and possess fantastic lasting power! They are as fresh and juicy as citrus can be.

Aedes Cierge de Lune – who would have though that a floral-vanilla perfume could be so attractive to me? Year after year Aedes comes up with more innovative concepts and keep making perfume of a really high quality level. Cierge de Lune that smells good all year round and you just want to spray it with abandon. It brings delectable happiness that you feel every time you wear it.

Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele Neela kept us unsure about her new fragrance until September, when she showed us a preview of Rahele. A perfume born from a concept of 3 different French writers going to India and their paths crossing there just couldn’t go wrong. And it didn’t. Neela Vermeire and Bertrand Duchaufour presented a gorgeous blend of citrus, osmanthus, rose, jasmine, mossy leather and iris. It’s a perfume where East meets West.

Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge – thanks to our favorite couple of niche perfume world we could discover their secret getaway. How could you not appreciate the fact that someone wanted to share fragrant impressions of their honeymoon with you. This perfume offers an abundance of sweet orange blossom, rose, honey, almonds. It’s a smell of Turkush delight to me.

Parfums Dusita – in my opinion Parfums Dusita together with brand founder and perfumer Pissara Umavijani are the best debuting brand in 2016. In April when they first appeared at Esxence not many people were aware of the brand. 6 months later everyone was talking about how fantastic are these perfumes composed by Pissara. Undeniable talent and beauty of the owner as well as her social media skills and openness made Dusita a real success. My favorite is La Douceur de Siam.

Atelier Cologne Encens Jinhae – in 2016 the brand was acquired by L’Oreal & I was worried about that fact. Fortunately I got to meet with brand founders and they still have freedom of creating. Encens Jinhae became a birthday present to myself due to its unusual take on incense theme, which is here presented in a soft way, thanks to Japan-evoking cherry blossom.

Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé – this perfume was a surprise for all of us because no-one expected a second perfume from Hiram in the same year. Arbolé Arbolé is inspired by Federico García Lorca’s poem and focuses around patchouli accord. But on my skin it smelled like the most rich and lush rose & I loved it for this unexpected turn of events. I think it will make it to my collection soon.

Puredistance Sheiduna – the brand kept this perfume a secret for a really long time but it was absolutely worth the wait. Jan Ewoud Vos together with Cecile Zarokian mastered a perfume that transports you right away to the middle of the desert that bathes in the bright, ruby light of the setting sun. Sheiduna is filled with quiet and distinctive sensuality.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir – I’m not a fan of the brand, just like Mr Kurkdjian is not a fan of perfume bloggers. But I got samples of his latest perfumes and I was quickly hooked on by Grand Soir. It’s the most alluring benzoin fragrance I’ve ever tried! It’s a smooth operator that is so easy to fall in love with. I never thought I would like balsamic oriental so much.

Nishane Fan Your Flames – Nishane has created this year one of the most tasty and mouth-watering fragrance I know. It smells boozy and aromatic like rum, creamy & milky like a coconut pulp and smoky like a water pipe. It’s very rich and complex creation. It has an incredibly powerful sillage so remember to apply lightly. This perfume is like a shisha bar in Turkey.

Atelier Cologne Emeraude Agar – among two new latest releases in brand’s Collection Metal I thought I would adore Camelia Intrepide. What really happened is that I was head over heels for Emeraude Agar instead. It’s warm, woody, spicy, textured and pretty substantive in its softness. It’s the kind of fragrance I like to wear in Autumn and Winter. Now I can because I have a 30 ml bottle.

Aftelier Amber Tapestry – in 2016 Mandy Aftel has given us a special amber perfume inspired weaving techniques she practiced in her youth. As a result there was born a fragrance that has many different shades and dimensions to it. Amber Tapestry is a no ordinary fragrance that combines modern influences and retro glamour elements at once.

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This would more or less sum up my favorite fragrances that came out in 2016. Of course there were others I liked too but I didn’t want this list to get too long. I did miss many scents this year & I can’t promise that I’ll do better in 2017. We shall see what future brings. Let this journey continue for another year & may it bring more perfume that will make us breathe heavily.

Last but not least, few blogging facts: in 2016 I wrote 72 posts (including this one) and I covered 53 fragrances. Out of these 53, 30 scents were released this year. Not a bad ratio if you ask me but a terrible ratio if you consider how many launched over last twelve months. My most popular posting day was Saturday with 16 articles, followed by Monday & Thursday (13 articles each).

Now let me wish you a fabulous New Year’s Eve fun! See you next year!

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