Another year, and dozen bottlesWell, another year is almost past and my perfume cabinet is getting pretty full. One of my New Year's resolutions will be to go through it and take out bottles I never wear. They can be boxed up and moved to a dresser drawer or perhaps traded. Dan, who organizes the wonderful meet-up events at Noor, tells me he's planning a bottle/decant swap event for 2012. Perfect timing, because if I can't make more room in my closet, how will I buy the new perfumes on my wish list?
I sniffed a lot of perfume in 2011, most of it OK, some of it astoundingly beautiful. In December, as I contemplated my Christmas list, I began to feel that there was nothing left for me to buy or ask for. I have so many great perfumes. As you can see from the photo above, I could wear what I have for the rest of my life and probably never run out.
So, here are my top 10 favourite perfumes of 2011.
1. Parfumerie Generale Papyrus de CianeNumber 1 on my list and my biggest surprise of 2011 is Papyrus de Ciane. Dry, dark, mossy and green, this tribute to the famous Mousse de Saxe base is perfect. I was passionately obsessed with PdC for most of the fall; it was all I wanted to wear. It seriously interfered with me testing anything else, which was a surprise to me because I had originally tested the sample in 2010 and found it too bitter. How much difference a year can make! In 2011, I had to have a full bottle. My nose is definitely still changing.
2. Jean Patou VacancesThe early part of 2011 was all about vintage perfume for me. The wonderful Mr. Fritch at Fritch's Pharmacy in Kitchener introduced me to many old beauties and I was flattered to be interviewed for an article about vintage perfume in Maclean's magazine. My best purchase from Fritch's was Jean Patou Vacances. Not only is the bottle with it's green glass stopper beautiful, the perfume is a gorgeous green lilac that lifts my mood every time I wear it. It's a heart breaker too, because it's been discontinued and is notoriously hard to find. This is the only bottle I will probably ever have, so I treasure it.
3. Serge Lutens Five O'Clock au Gingembre
Fresh ginger and early grey tea. Spicy, warm, dry and yummy - Five O'clock au Gingembre was the perfume I wore while baking Christmas cookies this year with a good friend. I expect to continue to wear it often this winter.
4. L'Artisan Parfumeur Fleur de Narcisse (Exceptional Harvests Collection 2006)
At a perfume meetup at Noor this year, I met Bryna, who may be my perfume evil twin. What I mean is, she doesn't love what I love and lucky for me, she likes to trade! For a few samples from my collection she gave me a generous decant of Fleur de Narcisse. I had been coveting this limited release for a while. The daffodil smells like the volcanic soil it was grown in, as well as hay and leather. It's a day in the country in a bottle.
5. Chanel Bois des IlesChanel finally released its Exclusifs line in smaller bottles! I snapped up Bois des Iles which I had been dreaming of since 2008 but just couldn't justify the huge 200ml bottle. The new, smaller 75ml size is perfect. Now I can wrap myself in its creamy sandalwood and gingerbread cashmere scent anytime I need some comfort.
6. Lorenzo Villoresi SandaloMy Dear Husband took me to Rome in the spring of 2011, and it inspired me to buy him a bottle of Lorenzo Villoresi Sandalo. I don't think this niche Italian perfumer gets enough love in the perfume blogs; he is very talented. Sandalo is a smooth and spicy sandalwood of high quality which is getting harder to find these days. I can hardly keep my hands off my DH when he wears it.
7. Frederic Malle En Passant2011 was the year I met the charming Frederic Malle! He gave a fascinating lecture on perfume and the industry at Holt Renfrew. His niche line of perfumes really started the trend of celebrating perfumers, the artists who create the scents, instead of hiding their names like most mass market perfumes do. I purchased a bottle of En Passant by one of my favourite perfumers Olivia Giacobetti. En passant is a story told with transparent drops of water on lilacs and a soft dusting of flour.
8. L'Artisan Parfumeur Ananas FizzMy first successful eBay purchase was a box of samples of Ananas Fizz. I think this perfume was discontinued because it's a love it or hate it scent. I didn't expect to love it, but the first sniff of fizzy pineapple from a sample received in a trade made me grin. It was one of my favourite hot weather perfumes in the summer of 2011. I had to have more, but when I went to buy it I realized it had long been discontinued. Luckily, I found the box of samples on eBay and with the help on a funnel and an empty decant bottle, I now have one of the few remaining bottles of Ananas Fizz in existence.
9. Parfums de Nicolai Vie de Château IntenseIf you haven't tried any of Patricia Nicolai's perfumes yet, make it a New Year's resolution. She is a genius. Vie de Chateau is la dolce vita in a bottle. Sugared grapefruit, fresh-mown hay and soft suede gloves.
10. Jean Patou Joy
Let's end the list with Joy. Joy was a lucky find at Winners, where you can sometimes stumble on excellent older names in perfume that may have fallen out of fashion but are still of great quality and beauty. Besides Joy, I've bought Rochas Femme, Bvlgari Black and Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia at my favourite Winners. Joy is a classic and beautiful sparkling jasmine bouquet with a smoldering sexy base.
Coming in 2012Just as I thought I was out, they pull me back in. Samples showed up in the mail and in my stocking that surprised me with their beauty and I am once again covetous. Huzzah sayeth the retailers. Right now I am wearing the heck out of these samples and will be reviewing them soon:
- Mary Greenwell Plum - Maybe the most beautiful thing I have ever smelled.
- Hermes Eau des Merveilles - Sexy perfect unisex skin scent
- By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses - Green plum, cassis, rose, cinnamon and musk. Yum.
- Parfums d'Empire Azemour les Orangers - If you love old-fashioned oakmoss heavy chypres, run, buy this now.
Happy New Year!