2006 has been an exciting year for me, even though it was not all smooth sailing. There were weeks when I would hardly get any sleep, when things seemed to have conspired to work against me, yet there were also times filled with many fascinating discoveries. Above all, I am thankful for the excitement, support and passion for fragrance that you, my readers, have shared with me. This is truly the most special aspect of 2006 for me, and as I drink my glass of champagne on December 31st, I will toast to all of you.
In order to recap 2006, I have decided to offer a list of my most interesting discoveries. Most of the fragrances mentioned were released in 2006, but I also included a few older perfumes that I grew to admire even more this year.
Best Niche Launch
Among the numerous niche/artisanal launches this year, Annick Goutal Songes stands out for its classic-in-the-making quality—luxurious materials, perfect orchestration and beautiful character. It was love at first whiff, and my affection for it only seems to grow stronger.
Best Prestige Launch
Donna Karan Gold in the Eau de Parfum concentration is my pick. It combines the chilly effect of white lily with a seductive amber-leather accord resulting in a striking result. By contrast, the floral heavy Eau de Toilette is less interesting.
Best Vintage Reissue
2006 has been a great year for the lovers of vintage fragrances. Several companies have delved into their archives to reintroduce forgotten fragrances to a new generation of perfume fans. Robert Piguet’s reissue of Baghari is one of my favorites. It respects the lady-like character of its original predecessor while adding a few subtle touches (such as iris and amber) that lend it a decidedly modern spirit.
Best Masculine Release
The vetiver in Lalique Encre Noire has such a magnificent darkness that it reminds me of chocolate. This classical composition is embellished with a touch of inky blackberry, which weaves a pleasing sweetness into the darkness of rich vetiver and woods. Moreover it wins a few additional points for a striking black flacon.
Best Masculine to be Worn by Women
I find the winey-leathery warmth of Burberry London for Men to be reminiscent of the richer version of L’Artisan’s Tea for Two. It is very alluring on men, but I found it to be sexy on women as well. Burberry rarely disappoints with its fragrances, and it is another fine release.
Best Feminine to be Worn by Men
The austere elegance of Guerlain Sous Le Vent is a great choice for a man who loves the classical chypre. Originally created by Jacques Guerlain in 1934, it was reissued by Guerlain as a part of its vintage collection.
Most Surprising Discovery
It is easy to criticize celebrity fragrance offerings, yet Hilary Duff With Love… almost shocked me with its elegant and nuanced composition. It fuses the ambery-woody base most commonly found in the masculine domain with the brilliant fizz of pineapple. The result is worth exploring.
Best Vintage Discovery
I have tried Caron Farnesiana a number of times, and frankly, I always found it to be the blandest of Caron fragrances. The only thing I could think of was plastic violets and vanilla. Imagine my surprise when a good friend shared a sample from his vintage bottle. The vintage Farnesiana is a striking gourmand based on almond tinged mimosa. It combines the restrained elegance of Caron with its typical somber undercurrent of woods.
Most Cutting Edge Launch
There are a few reasons why Thierry Le Parfum is the most cutting edge launch of the year, not least of which is that the idea was generated by the perfumers themselves, Christophe Laudamiel and his partner Christoph Hornetz. The fragrances range from abstract and grotesque to amazingly evocative. A fascinating discovery!
L’Air de Rien created by Miller Harris for the French actress and singer Jane Birkin should receive a nomination for being daring. Why? Because it smells disconcertingly like an outhouse near an incense shop. It takes guts to put out something like this, and for this reason alone, I would like to applaud Lyn Harris.
Best Gourmand Fragrance
Ever since the debut of Thierry Mugler’s Angel in 1993, the gourmand category has been growing. In contrast to the tired sugared fruit offerings, the tropical fruit and cardamom cocktail of Sira des Indes is quite special. While it may not be through and through Jean Patou, it is a beautiful, well-composed fragrance. Serge Lutens Mandarine-Mandarin is my other gourmand of choice. Its combination of sweet, jammy orange with savory spices and herbs is not just unusual, but also mouthwatering.
Best Fragrance to Wear With a Little Black Dress
I enjoy contrasting effects, whether in fashion or in perfume. The best way to offset the overt femininity of the little black dress is to don something masculine and dark. Chanel Cuir de Russie is a perfect choice for this sartorial-olfactory combination. Add a long string of pearls, which you can twirl in your fingers absentmindedly, and you are guaranteed to stand out anywhere for the elegance which you are sure to radiate. Edit: The seductive smokiness of Bvlgari Black makes it essential for almost anyone who wears little black dresses.
Best Fragrance to Make One Feel Like Odalisque in Ingres’s Paintings
Guerlain L’Heure Bleue parfum is a marvel. The former director of the Osmothèque, Jean Kerléo, mentions it as a fragrance that every perfumer should study for its unique sillage. Wearing it is pure joy. It clings to the skin like warm cashmere and trailes like gossamer ribbons of silk. It is a fragrance with which to seduce oneself, not to mention others!
Classic Hall of Fame
In the illustrious Chanel collection, No 22 might be the least known fragrance, yet it is undoubtedly one of the masterpieces of perfumery. Its aldehydic accord foils the gorgeous floral heart and the delicate woody base. Chanel is well-known to be a fragrance house that can afford not to skimp on the quality of its raw materials. Smell No 22 (and No 5) in the parfum and discover this for yourself.
Modern Classic Hall of Fame
One of the best fragrance compliments I have received came from the in-house perfumer for Jean Patou, Jean-Michel Duriez. He commented on the beautiful sillage of my perfume, leather, warm and elegant. The fragrance in question was Serge Lutens’s Iris Silver Mist. I once described it as iris to the power of 10. Indeed, nothing does justice better to this fascinating note. It has an almost patrician beauty, yet the initial chilly aloofness belies the warm and sensual drydown. It is a fragrance that should in cross-posted in the category “Perfume For Which It Is Worth to Visit Paris.”
Fragrance to Leave Behind in 2007
I would be very glad if I never had to come across another sticky-cloying-pink-fruity-floral composition. F by Salvatore Ferragamo received just that mark from me.
Fragrance(s) to Anticipate in 2007
Jacques Polge was quoted in Women’s Wear Daily as saying that “Above all, we tried to do fragrances which are very different from one another and very different from what is currently offered in the market. These are the ingredients [that] we simply wouldn’t have in the quantity to use in a more widely distributed fragrance.” The new Chanel Les Exclusifs collection will include six new fragrances (besides No 22, Gardénia, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles.) Coromandel is an ambery oriental. 28 La Pausa is an iris dominated fragrance. Bel Respiro is meant to evoke green leaves and stems. No. 18 is based on the rich ambrette seed and is said to be a fragrance that conjures the scent of diamonds (according to the press release.) 31, rue Cambon is an oakmoss-free chypre. Eau de Cologne is a classical orange blossom cologne. Needless to say, I cannot wait till February when these fragrances are to be launched.
For more Best of 2006 lists, see the following blogs:
- All About The Pretty
- Beauty Addict
- Beauty Blogging Junkie
- Beauty by Nadine
- Beautiful Makeup Search & Beauty Blog
- Beauty Hatchery
- Beauty Jones
- Blogdorf Goodman
- BonBons in the Bath
- Brain Trapped in Girl’s Body
- Capital Hill Barbie
- Crazy Jay Blue
- Girl’s Handbook
- Koneko’s *Mostly* Beauty Diary!
- Makeup Bag
- My Muse
- No one knows why the wolf laughs
- Now Smell This
- Perfume Smellin’ Things
- Peppermint Patty’s Perfume Posse
- Platinum Blonde Life
- Product Girl
- She’ll Be Feverish After So Much Thinking
- Slap of the Day
- The Customer Is Always Right
- The Daily Obsession
- The Great She Elephant
- The Life As A Ladybug
- The Non-Blonde
- Urbane Girl
- Victoria’s Own