Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of the Best 2009: Joint Project

This is Abigail’s list - Brian’s will follow shortly

Even in the face of IFRA regulations and many sad reformulations, 2009 was the year I knew I would continue to enjoy perfume throughout my life. There were plenty of mainstream and niche perfumes that struck my fancy this year.

These are my personal favorites, not all were launched in 2009, some were simply new to me this year:
Teo Cabanel Alahine extrait (My holy grail. I didn’t even want an HG, but here it is)Alien Liqueur de Parfum (perfume aged like good booze, in oak barrells – a very good thing)
Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche (in the butterfly bottle, my favorite holiday gift to myself)Annick Goutal Songes in eau de parfum (the edt is lovely but edp is swooooon worthy)
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Parfum de Luxe (delightfully classic and beautiful)
Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss (a modern chypre I love)
L’Artisan Havana Vanille (I’m still shocked that I love this)
Laura Mercier Minuit Enchante (I'd never smelled a single thing from Laura Mercier until Minuit Enchante showed up this year. This is LMs best. It’s stunning, trust me)
Le Labo Aldehyde 44 (I feel almost bad listing this one because it’s a $400 city exclusive. But, I’m crazy about it. Several other big aldehydes I’ve loved this year: Robert Piguet Baghari, Guerlain Vega, Mariella Burani and Amouage Dia)
Parfums MDCI Un Coeur en Mai (and Enlevement au Serail but Un Coeur is my favorite)
Soivohle’ Green Oakmoss (Liz Zorn is a brilliant rebel)
The entire Sonoma Scent Studio line (especially Tabac Aurea & Vintage Rose)
Travalo Atomizers
Rei Rien (a wonderful discount etailer owned by a true perfumista)
Les Nez Manoumalia

*Honorable Mentions
Penhaligons Amaranthine (I don’t know why I resisted liking this. I just didn’t want to like it. I never bothered with a review. But the thing is, I actually do like it. I prefer Les Nez Manoumalia and/or Annick Goutal Songes if I’m in this sort of warm saucy white floral mood, though).
Bond No. 9 Success is a Job in New York (Contrary to a lot of flack that Bond receives, they keep getting better and better)
Balmain La Mome (seems so ordinary but I’ve worn it again and again. There is something special about La Mome)

The demise of Ava Luxe
L’Artisan Al Oudh (yawn)
Amouage Ubar (I know I’m supposed to love this but it smells like bug spray on me).
Diptyque discontinuing one of my favorite perfumes: L’Eau Trois
Diptyque L’eau de Tarocco (I swear this is unscented water. Chandler Burr did the happy dance so I purchased Tarocco unsniffed and the moral of this story is that of the emperor wears no clothes)
The fact that Gobin Daude isn’t back in business yet and this is likely a silly rumor that’s been alive for a few years now. I’ll never get my hands on all the Gobin Daude bottles I want (sobs).

Pure parfum is not always better. Case in point: I prefer Coco in edp rather than pure parfum.
Not all reformulations are bad. If you’ve never sniffed the original, don’t bother doing it now, why torture yourself?
Avoid perfume reviews written by those going on a few dabs from a 1 ml vial.
Loads of niche perfumes are dreck. Just because it’s niche (and more expensive) doesn’t mean it will be better than mainstream. In fact, I find myself liking mainstream fragrances equally if not more sometimes.
I’m tired of Guerlain’s exalted status. This has nothing to do with the fact that they’ve rolled out a few duds over the past decade. I simply want a reign change.
And, my biggest revelation of all came very recently. If you find a fragrance too light or fleeting, simply spray yourself wet! Brian and I have joked about how we have trillions of perfumes yet act as if every spray is our last. For goodness sakes, spray yourselves, use the stuff, it's meant to be enjoyed and I've found that many of my favorites really need 6-8 sprays to last all day (L'Artisan, Chanel, Annick Goutal, etc.)

*Best Perfumery Trends in 2009
Perhaps not a huge trend but I was pleased to find some mainstream houses making modern classics, such as Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss and Chloe eau de parfum Intense

*Best Vintage Finds this year
The Jean Patou Ma Collection.
Aside from Vacances, the most famous Jean Patou of all, I found Chaldee, Caline and L’Heure Attendue particularly stunning.
*Best Packaging/Advertising
Juliette Has a Gun Purse bullets (and all Juliette Has a Gun bottles and packaing, the gold Midnight Oud bottle inside a brown suede box is chic).
L’Artisan Al Oudh (even though I don’t care for the scent, love the bottle)
Isabey Fleur Nocturne (haven’t sniffed it yet, love the bottle) *Notable Perfumers for their Excellence in 2009
Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio
Jean-Francois Latty for making my holy grail scent, Teo Cabanel Alahine (prior to 2009)

*Best Hype
I really can’t stand hype, it annoys me and makes me resist trying it.

*Best Inexpensive Finds
Trader Joe’s (Trader Jacques) Liquid Hand Soap in Orange Blossom Honey

*Best Light Reading
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

*Best Gift I Got
Pepper spray from my Dad. Sounds strange but I take it to mean he really cares. In case you'd like some for yourself it's the Kimber Pepper Blaster and supposed to be the safest and easiest to use. :-)

What were YOUR favorite finds this year?

More participating blogs on these links, please don't forget to visit:
Mossy Loomings
Smelly Blog
Bittergrace Notes
Eiderdown Press Journal
Scent Hive
Roxana's Illuminated Journal
A Rose Beyond the Thames
The Non Blonde
Notes from the Ledge
Perfume Shrine
Under the Cupola
All I am a Redhead
Perfume In Progress
Savvy Thinker

Enormous thanks to Elena of Perfume Shrine for organizing this joint project and for entertaining, amusing and educating me all year long on her blog!

Happy 2010 to everyone! I wish you much happiness, health and good scents in the new year.

EDIT: OK so I went to MossyLoomings blog who had also already posted (we're both up late) and I loved her category called
Best Song to Sing Along to Out Loud in the Car (!!)
and my answer is -
but then I went to her recommended nifty new site and it wasn't there :-( which made me feel rather old. There are remakes on this site but not the real thing. Not Axl or Slash.


Tania said...

Well, I mostly agree with you about Guerlain, BUT.... I fell hard for Attrappe Coeur. An FB may even be in my future. ('Damn', says my bank account!)
Also discovered this year - my unexpected love of galbanum. Bandit and Azuree and Private Collection - oh my!
And my biggest disappointment would be getting some perfumes I recall from the 70's - Coty Wild Musk and some others - in their modern form, hoping they would be the same. They're not, of course.

Hmm, those Juliet Has a Gun purse bullets look exactly like this!
(Link nsfw, don't click if easily embarrassed! ;-) )

Scent Hive said...

I too love DSH Parfum de Luxe. I discovered it this year as well and enjoy its classic perfume nature, and its smooth wearability.

Great list!


Abigail said...


I have a purse bullet on the way. Well, I guess if I run of batteries for that *other thing* I know what I can use it for.

K I D D I N G !!! :-)

Happy 2010 to you.

Tania said...


The close resemblance just cracked me up. I bet the Juliet Has a Gun marketers have no idea the other product exists - or maybe they do, and they think it's funny, too! ;-)

Aparatchick said...

Thank you for mentioning La Mome, which seems not to have many fans. Ah, well, that much more for me, I guess.

Ines said...

Your list gave me so many new things I now want to try. :)
And I definitely have to revisit Alahine soon.
Happy New year! :)

dea said...

a shout out from the 'gale! thanks, girrl.

this blog has definitely been one of this year's best finds for me. you two can capture so many personal thoughts and feelings. . .stuff that isn't (couldn't be) replicated elsewhere.

thanks for making a great year in fragrance even better! :)