Best of 2013 in Perfume : On the Linden Trail

My most profound scent experience of 2013 happened as I walked down an avenue lined with linden trees not far from my apartment in Brussels. Suddenly I smelled the Kiev of my childhood–the heavy odor of wet asphalt, honeyed lindens and gasoline, and the longing to see my family gripped me  so intensely that I cancelled a pending seaside vacation and instead traveled home. That trip to Ukraine started a series of other visits and other quests.  Several months later as I was having a cup of tea–incidentally, it was linden from my great aunt’s garden–with a cousin I knew only from my parents’ stories, I realized that this year I’ve been on a linden trail.

20 years laterlinden3

While experiences like my linden triggered journey don’t happen often, all of my favorite perfumes transport me out of the routine of my day and spark fantasies. In making my best of 2013 list, I included the most interesting fragrances I’ve encountered, but also the ones that made me dream. Patricia and Elisa will also share their favorites below.

Marni

Marni charmed me instantly. I loved its combination of rose and Indian incense, its quirky accents of ginger and cardamom and its lingering drydown of patchouli. The notes are rich and heavy, but the interpretation is sheer and effervescent. It’s a skin scent, rather than a perfume that announces your presence a mile away, but it has plenty of character.

Bottega Veneta Eau Légère

In previous years, I’ve made separate lists of various categories of perfumes: niche, department store, mass, etc. I’ve given it up. Can someone please figure out the difference between boring niche and boring department store scents? Apart from the price, I can’t.  But Bottega Veneta Eau Légère scores many points for elegance, quality and character, whatever its retail venue. It clings to the skin like gardenia scented silk and makes a perfect companion to the bolder, plusher original Eau de Parfum.

Charenton Macerations Christopher Street

Christopher Street is the type of perfume that’s as rare as snow leopards and pink diamonds. They simply don’t make ‘em like this anymore. It’s an old school chypre (mossy, leathery blend) that has lots of character. The green, crushed leaves and sweet spices hide its whisky voiced sensuality, and as with many classically minded fragrances, it required me to court it slowly and patiently. If you like perfumes like Aramis, Robert Piguet Bandit and Estée Lauder Azurée, it’s a worthy contender.

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Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu

Jean-Claude Ellena, the in-house perfumer at Hermès, makes sheer etudes his trademark feature. Eau de Narcisse Bleu is a watercolor of green leaves, wood shavings and iris petals that nevertheless is saturated and glowing. Epice Marine is perhaps more distinctive, but Eau de Narcisse Bleu is the one I added to my perfume wardrobe.

Olfactive Studio Flashback

Vetiver crossed with a buttery apple and made luminous and sheer. An original idea and a great, wearable perfume. I reached for Flashback on many grey Belgian mornings to feel more uplifted and energized, and I don’t think that my infatuation will wear off anytime soon.

Tom Ford Shanghai Lily

I can’t get Shanghai Lily out of my head. Paying a markup for Tom Ford’s four letter name doesn’t seem right, but there is no denying that with the help of talented perfumers, Antoine Maisondieu and Shyamala Suryani Maisondieu, the designer has brought to life one of the most ravishing florals I’ve tried this year. In the battle of lilies with Serge Lutens La Vierge de Fer, Shanghai Lily wins easily.

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin was another of my favorites from 2013, but I will now let Patricia take over.

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Patricia’s Best of 2013

Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin

When Victoria, Elisa and I shared our best of the year lists, La Fille de Berlin was the common link. This big rose opens boldly with fresh red rose petals and dries down to an animalic stew of amber and musk.  If Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady is too formal a rose for you, La Fille de Berlin would be an excellent option.

Atelier Cologne Silver Iris

A bright sparkling opening of tangerine and pink pepper and a luscious dry down of crushed peppercorns and suede make Atelier Cologne Silver Iris a winner. In addition, it is long lasting and has good projection…one to put on your “to-try” list if you haven’t already.

Hermès Epice Marine

The new addition to the Hermessence line, Epice Marine is fresh, salty, spicy, citrusy, and very wearable. It’s the bottled aroma of a walk along the beach at low tide. A good choice when a lively but not overly “in-your-face” fragrance is desired.

Neela Vermeire Créations Ashoka

With its delicious combination of leather and fig, Ashoka stands out from the previous three NVC fragrances: Trayee, Mohur, and Bombay Bling. It starts out with a blast of dry leather, but the lingering drydown of sandalwood and incense feels very Zen.
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Elisa’s Best of 2013

Sonoma Scent Studio Rose Volupté

A reissue of 2008’s Vintage Rose (which is desert-island quality for me), the update is different enough to warrant the new name, with brighter, fruitier top notes that bring to mind the aldehydic rose of Eau de Joy. While Vintage Rose was deep burgundy, Rose Volupté is Valentine’s-Day red: still voluptuous, but now with a coquettish smile as well.

Tauer Perfumes Noontide Petals

This sunny vintage-style floral smells like spring, all yellow buds and green stems. All of Tauer’s signature moves are in play: the incredibly juicy citrus, the powdery vanilla and aldehydes, the long-lasting patchouli-and-incense base. Like daylight pouring through a stained-glass window.

M. Micallef Nasreen

Nasreen is the sexiest rose I’ve smelled in a long time, with the smoothest saffron-and-honey oud accord, a tart apricot-jam rose note, and an addictive nutty bite, which must be an interplay between patchouli and vetiver. The texture reminds me of a snakeskin clutch: buttery soft between the edges of the scales that gently scratch your fingers.

Le Labo Lys 41

This tropical tuberose goes on smelling like all things sanitized: chlorinated pool and honeysuckle soap. But the warm, woody-vanillic drydown–which pulls off the rare feat of a subtle coconut note–is faultless. It’s Estée Lauder’s Bronze Goddess meets Kilian’s Beyond Love.

Please also see lists made by Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: Perfume Posse :: The Non-Blonde.

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What perfumes from 2013 stand out for you? If you could capture this year in scents, what would it include?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Kiev, Ukraine.

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181 Comments

  • rainboweyes: The smell of linden is the smell of my childhood too. There were plenty of linden trees where I grew up in Poland and my parents also had one in their garden. I remember playing outside on hot summer days and inhaling the sweet scent. The scent of linden was the scent of summer vacation. Actually the Polish word for July (lipiec) stems from the name of the tree (lipa).

    I’ve been trying to find a linden scent capturing my childhood memories but I found them all quite disappointing (I haven’t tried Orsay’s Tilleul yet, though).

    My best scents of 2013 are Atelier Cologne Silver Iris, Aedes Iris Nazarena and Hermès Eau de Narcisse Bleu. I haven’t tried Ashoka yet but I’m sure it’s a masterpiece too! December 30, 2013 at 8:06am Reply

    • Eric: Iris Nazarena is genius! December 30, 2013 at 8:58am Reply

    • Marge Clark: Have you tried Andy Tauer’s Zeta? It’s a delightful linden that might work for you. December 30, 2013 at 9:12am Reply

      • Rachel: I was going to say Zeta too. Also Aftelier had a linden perfume but I don’t remember what it’s called. December 30, 2013 at 9:23am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s Honey Blossom, and it’s probably the closest to my ideal linden among the fragrances currently available on the market. December 30, 2013 at 10:24am Reply

          • Rachel: Thanks! Which do you prefer? I like both but I can’t decide which one to get. December 30, 2013 at 10:35am Reply

            • Victoria: Honey Blossom was instantly likable, and I enjoy it for its sunny quality, but Zeta has an intriguing dark twist. I so far settled for Honey Blossom, but I have a large sample of Zeta as well. December 30, 2013 at 12:01pm Reply

        • rainboweyes: I’ve tried Zeta but somehow it didn’t sing to me…
          I think it might be two different things anyway – if you like the natural scent of something, it doesn’t automatically imply that you’ll be able to enjoy it as a perfume on yourself. That’s at least the experience I’ve made with linden, peony, roses and vanilla… And, to some extent, with iris flowers too. I have beautiful fragrant irises in my garden but even if Iris Poudre comes quite close to their natural scent, it’s not quite the same… So I better stick to the iris root ;) December 30, 2013 at 3:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Same in Ukrainian, July is lipen from the word for lindens, although our lindens bloom earlier. Years ago we had a tree near our house that bloomed in May, and it meant that the entire early summer was linden scented. There is also a big grove of linden trees behind my grandmother’s garden, and although they’re far away, they’re so huge that we can smell lindens in the air all day long. Like you, I haven’t had much luck finding anything similar in a perfume bottle. There was a beautiful perfume from MAC called Naked Honey, but it has been discontinued. I still don’t understand why, because MAC stores had waiting lists for it. December 30, 2013 at 10:08am Reply

    • behemot: Hello rainboweyes, another linden lover from Poland here. I have almost the same associations as you, and I have been looking for a prefect linden perfume for years. After reading the review on NST, I decided to try “Linde Berlin” from the German line Frau Tonis. It is the closest to natural linden bloom I have ever encountered, although it doesn’t last long. (Actually, it lasts very short)
      Keep searching! Szczęsliwego Nowego Roku! December 30, 2013 at 12:46pm Reply

      • Barbara: Szczęsliwego Nowego Roku! I’m also Polish but not living in Poland for many years. December 30, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

        • rainboweyes: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku to both of you! And everybody else at boisdejasmin as well! Reading your contributions has been great fun. December 30, 2013 at 3:36pm Reply

          • behemot: Thanks! I am in the US, but go to Poland very often.
            I wish everyone here Happy New Year. Big thanks to awesome Victoria, Elisa and Patricia. December 30, 2013 at 4:36pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you! With this big Polish group here, I really need to brush up on my language skills. :) December 30, 2013 at 4:52pm Reply

              • behemot: :) December 31, 2013 at 12:47am Reply

      • Victoria: Oh, no! I’m disappointed to hear that it’s that short lasting. It’s been on my list for ages, but I haven’t managed to try it yet. December 30, 2013 at 2:56pm Reply

  • Persolaise: Thanks for these lists, Victoria, and, of course, for another year of sharing your love of perfume.

    Maybe it’s the geek in me, but I love this annual exercise in canon-creation. It’s always fascinating to see that amidst the (laudable) diversity of tastes and views, a few perfumes keep coming up again and again.

    All the best to you for 2014! December 30, 2013 at 8:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! Same to you, and I look forward to more of your articles in 2014. It’s definitely fun to compare what everyone loved, and it’s true that some fragrances keep coming up again and again. Overall, there were not so many interesting department store launches, with the biggest disappointments for me being Modern Muse and Carven Le Parfum. December 30, 2013 at 10:11am Reply

  • Jenna: Thank you for a year of beautiful articles. Thank you also to all of the people who comment here. Your generosity and good cheer make me want to return here every day.

    My favourites this year were Silver Iris and See by Chloe. December 30, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your nice words, Jenna! :)
      I think that See by Chloe is such a nice fruity floral. I smell it a lot around Brussels, so it must have done really well. December 30, 2013 at 10:18am Reply

  • Eric: I travelled to Kiev once in the 1990s for an academic conference. It struck me as such a green city in comparison to my then residence Manchester. Do you return often?
    On perfume topic — Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena is my best of 2013 pick. Great stuff! December 30, 2013 at 8:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Kiev is often called “a city in the garden,” and it’s famous for its chestnut trees. I visit on regular basis, but until we came to Europe, it wasn’t as often as I would have liked. Now it’s much easier (and affordable) for me to make trips home. December 30, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

      • Eric: Unfortunately my trip was in September and I missed the famous chestnuts blooming.

        I also forgot to include Tom Ford Sahara Noir. The best incense ever. December 30, 2013 at 11:01am Reply

        • Victoria: I liked Sahara Noir too.

          September must have been beautiful too. If it was in the early September, you still caught the green expanse of trees along the Dnieper River, and if it was later in the month, leaves must have started turning crimson and gold. It’s my favorite time of the year. December 30, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Marie: Happy New Year! I like your lists. Mine includes Amouage Fate, Vetiver Fatal and Jour d’Hermes (but maybe it’s last year’s?) My year smelled like my baby. :-) She was born in January. December 30, 2013 at 9:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Congratulations, Marie! What a wonderful scent it must be! :) Happy 2014 to you and your family. December 30, 2013 at 10:25am Reply

    • solanace: Congratulations! My girl was born on late December. December 31, 2013 at 3:03am Reply

  • Allison: One of my favorite discoveries this year is Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’ Passport a Paris evoking the Belle Epoch, and I absolutely love it. And I’ve also enjoyed Prada’s Infusion D’Iris Absolue that also has a vintage vibe slightly reminiscent of L’Heure Bleue. December 30, 2013 at 9:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Completely agree with you on Prada’s Infusion D’Iris Absolue and L’Heure Bleue similarities. I also thought so when I first tried it. It’s a very good perfume, and I suppose, if one wanted a somewhat less powdery, less heavy take on L’Heure Bleue, it would be a good option. December 30, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: L’Heure Bleue is haunting Prada! I remember Infusion de Fleurs d’Oranger: a poor imitation of L’Heure Bleue. December 30, 2013 at 4:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: I agree! Infusion de Fleurs d’Oranger wasn’t that great, even as far as imitations go. Prada has another L’Heure Bleue twist in their boutique only collection, N°14 Rossetto. December 30, 2013 at 4:48pm Reply

      • solanace: Am I the only one who wants a heavier, creamier take on l’Heure Bleue? :) December 31, 2013 at 3:04am Reply

        • Victoria: Not the only one! I would love one too, even just for those days when something flamboyant is much needed. :) December 31, 2013 at 7:58am Reply

          • solanace: I tend to need some flamboyant… December 31, 2013 at 9:36am Reply

            • Victoria: It’s important to have some for me too. To shake things up. :) December 31, 2013 at 10:19am Reply

    • Ann: I am so looking forward to trying Passport. Have you tried the other two in the collection? The Violette and Chocolat? December 30, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Rachel: Happy New Year to everyone! This year I fell deep down the rabbit hole of perfume and I’ve never been happier. It’s so much fun! From your lists I liked Bottega Veneta, Silver Iris thanks to Patricia’s review and La Labo Lys 41. December 30, 2013 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Wishing you even more fun discoveries in 2014! And I don’t necessarily mean new perfumes, because revisiting old favorites is even more exciting, especially as I keep finding new elements to love about them. I’m wearing Shalimar today and every time I catch a whiff of it, it makes me feel very happy. December 30, 2013 at 10:27am Reply

    • Patricia: I’m so glad that Silver Iris was a winner for you, Rachel! December 30, 2013 at 8:55pm Reply

  • Portia: Great lists, I love this time of the year when everyone looks back and does this. It always makes me smile.
    Thanks,
    Portia xx December 30, 2013 at 9:49am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve enjoyed making lists every since I was little, so it’s such an indulgence. But I love reading the lists made by others even more. :) December 30, 2013 at 10:28am Reply

  • Mare: I also want to say thank you for your beautiful website. The pictures and the articles are always beautiful and well thought out.

    My 2013 favorite is Chanel 1932. December 30, 2013 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Mare! Very happy to hear that you enjoy spending time here. :) December 30, 2013 at 10:30am Reply

  • Sandra: What a great list! Makes me want to go try SL la fille de Berlin. My scents for 2013 were Bottega Veneta Eau Légère & not a popular choose on this blog, but Carven.
    Through the recommend me a perfume threads I was able to purchase my first rose, Stella and I thank everyone for their input! It really helps
    Have a great 2014! December 30, 2013 at 10:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Hurray! I’m very glad that you found your rose. Stella is both quirky and elegant, which is the best (and rare) combination. Enjoy it, Sandra!

      By the way, Carven has done really well in France, so you’re in good company. December 30, 2013 at 10:32am Reply

  • Lucas: Great to see Atelier Cologne Silver Iris and Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka on the list.

    Both these fragrances won my Chemist in the Bottle – Bottle Award this year.

    If anyone is curious about other scents awarded at the virtual ceremony, please feel free to visit!

    Wishing Victoria, Patricia, Elisa and Viola the Cat a Happy New Year!

    And all the best to BdJ readers! December 30, 2013 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Same yo you, Lucas! Hope that 2014 will bring you lots of happiness.

      By the way, my cousin gave me a Polish book for Christmas: Old Polish Traditions: In the Kitchen and at the Table by Mary Lemnis. I haven’t received it yet, and I can’t wait till it arrives. Have you heard of this author? December 30, 2013 at 10:34am Reply

      • Lucas: No Victoria, I’ve never heard of this author but a book about Polish traditions should satisfy you! We’ve got tons of customs, delicious customs ;) December 30, 2013 at 11:11am Reply

        • Victoria: I googled the book and saw a few recipes on various Polish blogs, so it looks like it’s full of fascinating tidbits. I’ll let you know what it’s like. December 30, 2013 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Elisa: Happy new year to you too, Lucas! December 30, 2013 at 3:45pm Reply

    • Patricia: Thank you, Lucas, and same to you! December 30, 2013 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Janis: I found your blog searching for a perfume for my niece and got hooked myself. This is my first comment. You’ve created a delightful place online and thanks to you I found two perfumes, Chanel No 22 and Marc Jacobs for Her. They may no be new new, but new to me. Thank you for that.

    Happy New Year! December 30, 2013 at 10:46am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you will enjoy them in the new year and beyond, Janis! Both are such beautiful perfumes. Both are white florals, but with distinctive characters, which means that you have something for different moods. December 30, 2013 at 12:03pm Reply

  • persik: Your introduction was so touching and beautiful, Victoria. Almost brought tears to my eyes.
    My mom immigrated from Ukraine with me when I was a little girl and your scent description as well as the feelings of longing are so familiar.
    No one on the perfume blogosphere touches my soul so deeply with their writing like you do!

    As for my favorite perfumes of 2013… I didn’t really make an effort to try new releases, so I don’t think I have a lot to share. I loved PHI Une Rose de Kandahar, though! and I’m definitely going to try Christopher Street after your recommendation.

    S novim godom! Have a happy 2014! December 30, 2013 at 10:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your nice words! When I first moved to Brussels, I realized how much I miss Kiev. Not because they are alike as far as cities go, but because of their scents. New York smells very different, but in Brussels you have the same plants, the same flowers, and time and again I would be surrounded by something familiar. But that linden aroma was so moving that I well… took a trip. It was one of the best visits, and the way I met my cousin deserves its separate topic. :)

      I really need to try Une Rose de Kandahar, because it has been mentioned so much lately both here and on other blogs. I’m always ready for another rose to steal my heart. :)

      Happy 2014! December 30, 2013 at 12:06pm Reply

      • persik: Haha! My family visits to Ukraine are also always full of hilarious stories and coincidences! Going to a place where I have such deep roots always results in the best trips.

        I’m also always up for a rose! Especially from Andy Tauer. His treatment of roses is really special and so on point.
        Of course, right after I posted my comment I started remembering all the new perfumes I discovered this year.
        I got really into indie perfumery so I can’t really think of mainstream stuff. Moon Bloom by Hiram Green was terrific! I also really liked Zelda by EnVoyage.
        This year I tried the perfumes from Magnetic and they are so so good! I’m definitely getting a bottle of Untitled #2, a really milky slightly rosy chai\coffee gourmand. From what I know of your taste, you might like Untitled #1. It’s a really pretty Jasmine soliflore that smells slightly peachy and honeyed to me. Really lovely line and probably my favorite new discovery of 2013 so I’m including it even though they launched in 2012. December 30, 2013 at 1:58pm Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, some great new ideas to inspire my 2014 sniffing adventures. :) Thank you! I haven’t tried anything by Magnetic, and I’m adding both to my list. Coffee perfumes are among my personal quests, so that sounds very interesting.

          Where does your family live in Ukraine (if you don’t mind me asking)? I was born in Kiev, but my mother’s family is from Poltava. The photograph recreation took place there. :) December 30, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

          • persik: Oops, it’s called “Magnetic Scent” not just Magnetic like I previously wrote.
            Yay! I’m glad it sounds interesting to you! I hope to read your thoughts on it sometime!
            I too am on the hunt for some coffee and also for chocolate. Chocolate in particular sounds like such a obvious perfume note but I can’t seem to find the perfect one for me.

            We’re from Crimea :) That photo so cute! I love the story on how you found the wheelbarrow and the buckets and everything. Amazing :) December 30, 2013 at 3:35pm Reply

            • Victoria: I loved Crimea, and my mom still goes there every summer to visit her friends. When I was little, it seemed like nothing short of paradise–sea, cliffs, beautiful palaces. I haven’t been back though, but I hope to visit with my husband at some point.

              Chocolate is a very tricky note in perfumery. Have you tried Anima Dulcis by Arquiste? It’s really a very good chocolate perfume that brings out all of the musky, animalic facets of this delicious note. December 30, 2013 at 4:44pm Reply

              • persik: There’s really nothing more inspiring to me than the landscapes of Crimea.
                I really want to visit Kiev! I’ve never been! My ultimate fantasy is to travel through Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine with my mom. It’s a crazy plan but I hope to make it a reality in 2014 :)

                I heard about Anima Dulcis. I think I was annoyed by the fact that the Arquiste website doesn’t offer samples and decided not to try it. It sounds really nice though, so might get a sample from one of the decanting emporiums. The muskiness is what I’m after! December 31, 2013 at 5:14am Reply

                • Victoria: What a great journey it would be! It doesn’t sound particularly crazy. On the other hand, the idea of celebrating the New Year in Ukraine was vetoed by my husband as too crazy. If I insisted, he would have relented, I’m sure, but since he hasn’t visited yet, I decided that perhaps I should expose him to Ukraine when the weather is more pleasant. December 31, 2013 at 8:21am Reply

  • Anka: Victoria, is this you on the black and white picture pulling a younger brother or siter in the wheelbarrow? Looks nice!

    I look forward testing Christopher Street since Ralf Schwieger is one of my favorite perfumers and the notes sound delightful (“as rare as snow leopards” – this is so well put!!)

    Amongst my favorites of 2013 are Mona di Orio’s Violette Fumée and Isis from Agonist (the latter being probably not groundbraking but I am wearing it a lot and simply love it – so that’s what counts for me…). And I discovered Neela Vermeire’s Trayee and Mohur this year and am saving for full bottles now. Well, after reading Patricia’s list I probably should test Ashoka first.

    I wish you all a sparkling New Year’s Eve and a perfectly satisfied 2014! December 30, 2013 at 11:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that’s me and my little cousin. When I came back to Ukraine, my cousin and I found these old photos at my grandmother’s house, and then–a miracle!–we found the same wheelbarrow, baby basin and even buckets that figured in the original photo. That they survived for 20+ years is not that surprising given that my grandmother doesn’t throw anything away, but still… So, we’ve re-enacted the scene, with my grandmother acting as a photographer.

      I confess that I haven’t tried Violette Fumee, because I can’t keep up with all of the launches, but it’s another perfume that’s getting great reviews.

      And I also wish you a wonderful and fulfilling 2014! December 30, 2013 at 12:09pm Reply

      • Elisa: I just tried Violette Fume recently at MiN. It was lovely, but I ended up putting 2 or 3 other perfumes on that arm and it got lost. So I’ll need to get a sample sometime! December 30, 2013 at 3:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: I would love to hear what you think after you give it a proper test. Mona di Orio perfumes are sold at Senteurs d’Ailleurs perfumery here in Brussels, but it’s in the back room, and by the time I make my way there, I have a big fan of blotters. :) December 30, 2013 at 4:45pm Reply

          • Elisa: I need to order samples of all of them. I fell in love with the Musc earlier this year and the oud smells great too. Not that I can afford full bottles of any of them! December 30, 2013 at 5:09pm Reply

            • Victoria: I remember that they used to have a great sample kit, but I don’t know whether it’s still available. December 30, 2013 at 5:44pm Reply

              • Anka: Yes, they still have these discovery boxes and traveller sets. I bought the Violette Fumée roll-on; it’s 20 € for 5 ml (!) but lasts quite long. December 31, 2013 at 4:30am Reply

                • Victoria: I’ll have to give it a try one of these days. I just read a review over at NST, and it sounds even better than I thought. December 31, 2013 at 8:04am Reply

  • Ann K: Happy New Year to Victoria, Patricia, Elisa and all of the BdJ readers! I didn’t try many new perfumes you mention but I discovered No 5 this year. Sounds funny maybe but for years I thought I hated No 5 and I realized how beautiful it is only after I smelled it properly at the store. I liked the parfum the most and it was my Christmas gift. I’m a happy camper! :) December 30, 2013 at 11:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Chanel No. 5 is so iconic that for many years I thought I knew what it smelled like without actually being familiar with it. I still find it a bit challenging, but like most great perfumes, it needs a long courtship. It’s worth it, in my opinion. Enjoy your treasure! December 30, 2013 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Elisa: Thanks Ann! Like you I hated Chanel No. 5 for years. Last time I smelled it was from the bottle on my mother in law’s vanity and the hate was gone. Didn’t turn into love but maybe it will eventually! December 30, 2013 at 3:48pm Reply

    • Patricia: Happy New Year to you, too, Ann. Enjoy your Chanel No. 5! December 30, 2013 at 8:59pm Reply

  • rosarita: I barely got around to trying anything new this year but recently I obtained a sample of CdG blah blah Sugi – lengthy scent names are on my cranky old lady list – and it’s really good, as is CdG Black. Mainly I’m here to thank you for Bois d’Jasmin, Victoria. I look forward to reading every day and I always learn so much! December 30, 2013 at 11:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! You made me smile and nod in agreement. As the difficulty of registering new names increases, we get more and more complicated, lengthy and just weird perfume names. I don’t think I’ve tried this something Sugi from CdG, but I liked some of their launches this year. The Blue Invasion perfumes were interesting. December 30, 2013 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Charlotte: I always enjoy these list so much!
    Havent tried half of them, as usual :)
    Glad to see above commenter mention Violette fume, i like it a lot and find it very wearable. Also Loves ashoka , dreaming of a bottle in the near future!
    And the since Im on leather, Ysl Noble leather seriously brings a leather oriental worry a pasha! Slightly manly, but I really dont care.. Overpriced though! December 30, 2013 at 11:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I missed YSL Noble Leather too! In contrast to some other new launches I let pass by, this one sounds very nice. Your description is completely irresistible! December 30, 2013 at 12:18pm Reply

  • Edward: Fils De Dieu turned me into a fumehead less than a year ago. Since then it’s been daily visits to your website (& all the others!) & lots of great fragrances to wear. My latest discovery is MPG’s Ambre Dore-it’s my favorite amber so far, especially on a cold, rainy day like today! Happy New Year to a wonderful writer-you! December 30, 2013 at 12:31pm Reply

    • Courant: Ambre Dore is amazing on skin. I love it too. December 30, 2013 at 1:56pm Reply

      • Edward: It’s truly special. The few reviews I’ve read have been really positive. Great longevity & sillage, IMO. December 30, 2013 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Fils de Dieu is my one of top favorite perfumes. I have been reaching for it this year whenever I wanted a boost or just to feel put together. It’s one of those perfumes that are perfect for every mood and I’m quickly going through my bottle. Glad to meet another fan! December 30, 2013 at 2:53pm Reply

  • Tora: I too, love all the year end lists! It is so fun to read what others found to be there favorites. I adore Ashoka, Sevile a L’Aube, Mona di Orio Oud, and my first ever rose love that i feel comfortable wearing, id By Kilian’s rose Oud. I am not sure that they are all released in 2013, but I think a few were. Thanks for all these lists!!!!! December 30, 2013 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: It doesn’t matter what year they’re released. I was also curious what perfumes others wore a lot this year or found particularly interesting. I love your choices. Rose Oud definitely gives rose a different feel. It’s as if a rose were carved out of sandalwood and then smoked gently. I enjoy it too. December 30, 2013 at 2:55pm Reply

    • Figuier: Tora, Rose Oud was my first rose also! Since then, Mohur and Nahema have joined the roster – have you tried them? I am dying to test Marni too…

      My year smelt of those new roses (winter) and jasmine and mango (summer). Nuda and The pour un Ete provided a nice pair of jasmines, one rich & sultry the other effervescent, while Bombay Bling was, unexpectedly, totally addictive.

      Of the new releases that I’ve tested, I really liked Narcisse Bleu; while Shanghai Lily has been growing on me slowly… January 5, 2014 at 10:20am Reply

      • Victoria: Sounds like a fine smelling year to me! :) January 5, 2014 at 10:30am Reply

  • Annikky: Lists and perfume, two of my favourite things… I tried quite a few new releases this year and have First in Fragrance bills to prove it. Unlike in 2012 (the year of Boutonniere No 7 and Trayee, among others), I didn’t find anything I absolutely HAD to have, but there were many good ones, I think. Iris Nazarena came closest to FB purchase: I like iris, I like grey, I like elegance, I like intelligence. So no surprise I liked Iris Nazarena. Epice Marine came close, too, and if it had just a little bit of more sea in there, I would already own it.

    In two cases, I preferred the sidekick to the most popular girl. No doubt, Shanghai Lily was lovely, but I liked Fleur de Chine from the same collection even more. And while Silver Iris was too sweet for my taste, I appreciated the booziness and spiciness of Gold Leather.

    CdG Black was fun and surprisingly easy to wear. Jovoy Gardez-Moi would be worth a try for every white floral-lover. And while Miller Harris La Fumee Ottoman has hardly received any coverage, it was my favourite oriental of the year – spicy, woody and nice.

    Victoria, thank you for everything, and Happy New Year. December 30, 2013 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Annikky: Many thanks and best wishes to Patricia, Elisa and all the readers, too, of course. I need to work on my manners. December 30, 2013 at 1:20pm Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you very much, Annikky! But I’m sure that all will agree that there is no need for formalities here. And you’re hardly a person to reproach yourself for a lack of manner! :) December 30, 2013 at 2:57pm Reply

      • Patricia: Thank you, Annikky. A very happy new year to you! December 30, 2013 at 9:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I came too late to Fleur de Chine, and perhaps, it should get an entry too, because it’s a beautiful and very unusual perfume. But in the end, I didn’t try to be overly technical and went by perfumes I wore a lot. On the other hand, I have the whole of 2014 to make up for the lack of attention to this beauty.

      Your list is very diverse and that’s what makes it fun. Miller Harris La Fumee Ottoman is now on my list to try. I haven’t seen it anywhere, so I missed it. Oh well, how can one keep up these days!

      But now I’m curious to know what were your best of 2013 discoveries when it comes to makeup. :) December 30, 2013 at 3:01pm Reply

      • Annikky: This was certainly not meant as a criticism of your list – I just thought I’ll add something that hadn’t been mentioned yet.

        I doubt anything I discovered in make-up would be new to you. I finally bought a couple of things from Suqqu (a lipstick and an eye shadow pencil) and was very happy with the performance. Otherwise, it’s been Glossy Stains and Tom Ford for lips, nothing new there. Oh, and the Serge palette, of course :)

        My eyes are very deep-set, so eye shadows are pretty pointless, but I do love pencil-type thingies for eyes. Charlotte Tilbury’s Colour Chameleons are seriously good and I loved Chanel’s Stylo Eyeshadow in Jade Shore (unfortunately, all the stylos were limited edition, I hope they bring them back). Also, I was the last person on Earth to get a Laura Mercier Caviar Stick (in Orchid), very happy with that, too.

        As I prefer cream blushes, I liked the new Chanel ones and I got my first Illamasqua blusher, which I also enjoy using.

        For base, I still think YSL Touche Eclat foundation is very good, as is Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage concealer. But I’m yet to try the cult Japanese ones (Koh Gen Do, Suqqu). January 2, 2014 at 4:24am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, I didn’t take that way at all, just musing out loud.

          Whenever you describe makeup, you inspire me to run and put some lipstick on. I don’t think that I’ve met many other people who can talk about cosmetics in such a tempting way. :) January 2, 2014 at 2:31pm Reply

  • Ann: Best wishes in the New Year to BdJ! Like your Linden trees, Eucalyptus trees have a nostalgic pull on me. The hills behind my home growing up were covered in the oily, heavily scented giants, and catching a whiff always brings me back.

    So many fragrances tried this year, and still so many missed! I second (or third) the nomination of MdO’s Violette Fumee to the list, and would add Aftelier’s Cuir de Gardenia…both I tried only as samples…but a gal can dream of full bottles… December 30, 2013 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have never smelled eucalyptus trees, but the smell of essential oil takes me straight back to childhood. My mom used it in my steam bath when I got sick, and while the bad memories faded away, the feeling of being comforted and loved that I associate with this scent remained.

      Still haven’t tried Cuir de Gardenia, but it sound lovely. December 30, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Ha, I am fond of lists! thank you, Victoria, Patricia and Elisa!
    My 2013 summer was smelling the wonderful perfumes in Artis, our Amsterdam Zoo (Clerodendrum Trichotomum, Jasmine, Lavender, Ylang Ylang).
    As for perfumes, I found the new Ivoire charming, and I want to buy Epice Marine next summer. Bottega Veneta turns sour on my skin, alas. My big discovery this year was Iris Silver Mist.
    Fille de Berlin is of course great, but I prefer Une Rose or Lipstick Rose.
    Now Amsterdam is smelling of ”Ouderwetse Gebakkramen” (Old fashioned bakery) all over the town, terrible but after 1 januari they are gone. December 30, 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: What is the smell of Ouderwetse Gebakkramen? The usual baking scents of vanilla and butter or of something else.

      The new Ivoire was definitely a great discovery for me too, especially since I expected to be disappointed with it. But instead, it turned out beautiful, elegant, still retaining the spirit of the original. December 30, 2013 at 3:04pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: De Gebakkramen smell of bad fat, bad imitation of vanilla and bad oil. December 30, 2013 at 4:11pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ah, ok, I know that one! I also don’t like the smell of the trucks selling frites, which always have this greasy, overheated oil odor. December 30, 2013 at 4:49pm Reply

  • Karen: Thank you for all the fun lists! We were in Milan walking around and I spied a huge selection of Serge Lutens perfumes in a small perfume shop. Ran in and bought La Fille de Berlin and love love love it! (but I am a huge rose fan/grower) Was thrilled to also get a bunch of samples, including A la Nuit which has made me a jasmine convert, triggering all kinds of wonderful memories of southern Turkey.

    While we were in Sicily, I bought some lovely perfumes at Ortigia as gifts, but nothing for myself – so was very happy to find La Fille. (loved that the perfumes at Ortigia are made with no animal testing and everything is beautifully packaged)

    Had it not been for this amazing site and your expansive view of perfumes I would not be having such a great time with fragrances! December 30, 2013 at 1:21pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried Ambra Nera at Ortigia? I’ve been coveting a bottle of bath oil, but I haven’t tried the perfume yet. As an the added incentive, they offer free shipping and the prices are reasonable for their body products. Your comment about them is very encouraging. :) December 30, 2013 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Barbara: I had a very busy second half of the year, I had to start a second job and missed Bois de Jasmin. I’m now catching up on the perfume news and your articles.

    My favorite perfume this year was 24 Faubourg. Nothing new, of course, but goodness me, it’s stunning.

    Happy New Year to all of you! December 30, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that the new year will be a great one for you! I can just imagine how busy you must be with two jobs. Please take care of yourself.

      24 Faubourg is a beauty, and it’s one of those timeless, impeccable scents. Wearing it makes me feel as if I’m living a fantasy life of elegance and perfect polish (far from the reality!) December 30, 2013 at 3:10pm Reply

  • maja: Grew up with linden tree close to my grandma’s house – there is nothing like the linden blossom scent. :)In Italy there was Erbolario’s new perfume this year – Linden Shade. Not even close to the idea :)

    For me it was a year of intense sampling – of classics. I “discovered” Nuit de Noel, Nina and Vol de Nuit ( alliteration non intended) . I bought Marni but ended swapping it. I am enjoying oldies and hoping 2014 brings us fantastic new scents, some tough chypres maybe.

    Your blog and your writing is one of the nicest things on the net for me. Wishing you a lot of happiness and health in the next year. :) December 30, 2013 at 1:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Did you drink linden blossom tea? By the way, I discovered that there is such a thing as linden blossom water (like rose water, but distilled from lindens), and I’m going to try it soon.

      Erbolario’s perfumes are very good, but they’re best for straightforward things like amber, woods, etc. Linden is tricky even for the perfume lines with a big budget. I like their soaps though, since the quality is fantastic.

      Thank you for your kind words, Maja! I appreciate them very much. Writing makes me very happy, and hearing that others enjoy it is very gratifying. December 30, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

      • maja: Of course I drank it! :) Especially when with fever and cough. The best part about linden blossom is opening the paper bag we kept in our cupboard in the middle of winter and still smelling days of June… January 1, 2014 at 5:09pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, that’s the best part for me too. I just reached into a big bag of dried linden blossoms I brought from Ukraine and took a deep inhale. Heaven, pure heaven! January 1, 2014 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Linden anything is an immediate pick me up for me. And Marni, you say. I completely walk past any fragrance counter promoting this fragrance. Fragrance holds the longest evoking memories and how great that there is fragrance! As I closed out the year and did some last minute food errands I ran into the Barney’s on the Upper West Side (NY) and charmed myself with Byredo’s Bal D’Afrique. They have a very limited amount of fragrances for sale and/or test but I needed to get in out of the cold and what better excuse. No sampling, I’m afraid. This is exclusive to the Madison Avenue store — bummer.
    As I look toward 2014 I extend my sincere wishes for a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year filled with good scents for all. December 30, 2013 at 3:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year to you too, Nancy!

      That’s the most amazing part about perfume and one of the reasons why I never get tired writing about it. I can remember some scents from childhood perfectly, while I may not recall the faces of the people who were around or even where I was.

      How I miss NYC! December 30, 2013 at 3:20pm Reply

  • Eva S.: This year ended with love,love,love and Phi Une Rose de Kandahar was the perfect match. :)

    Your blog is my favourite, it stands out among others with beautiful pictures, true passion for perfume and a warm heart.
    My best wishes to you Victoria and fellow excellent writers on the blog! :) December 30, 2013 at 3:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: You guys are such temptresses! :) Phi Une Rose de Kandahar sounds completely irresistible.
      Thank you very much, Eva. It means a lot to me. December 30, 2013 at 4:42pm Reply

  • Elisa: If I ever leave Denver, I’ll always associate the smell of lindens with it. There’s a park near my apartment full of linden trees, and it’s so wonderful to run through in the spring!

    Happy new year! December 30, 2013 at 3:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t been to Denver, but I just remembered that Philadelphia was another linden scented city for me. This perfume makes me feel like a kid again. December 30, 2013 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Hildegerd: Did not buy many new bottles this year, but was gifted White Diamonds by my mum, and I actually love it. December 30, 2013 at 5:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s an excellent perfume. From what I heard, Elizabeth Taylor was very much involved in making it happen, not like many current celebrities who lend perfumes their names. December 30, 2013 at 5:43pm Reply

      • Hildegerd: It is a chypre. On me it becomes JPG Classiques big sister. December 30, 2013 at 5:48pm Reply

        • Victoria: I can see that! It has a big white floral layer as well. December 31, 2013 at 7:39am Reply

  • Ann C.: All of your picks sound interesting. I don’t think I’ve tested any of them, so I see some samples in my future.

    One of my favorites from 2013 was Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle. I liked it so much I bought a full bottle. December 30, 2013 at 6:40pm Reply

    • Anka: It is one of my favorites too; I have a huge sample but can’t decide wheter I want a full bottle of it because on my skin it has zero sillage. December 31, 2013 at 4:34am Reply

    • Victoria: I liked DVN too, except that I can’t smell it on myself (my husband could, though). I must anosmic to something in it, because otherwise, it was great. December 31, 2013 at 7:40am Reply

      • Elisa: I may have been anosmic to something in it too — it seemed very thin and weak to me. January 1, 2014 at 1:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: Denyse of Grain de Musc said the same thing. Also, when I smelled it on her, it seemed like a very different perfume (good, but different). January 1, 2014 at 4:57pm Reply

  • missyl: Thank you for the work you all do to keep this wonderful blog going. Can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it! I’ve not tried any of these but they sound lovely! Adding the more affordable ones to my list to try…. :). I fell in love with Hermes Ambre Des Merveilles this year…. I read about in your review Victoria. Thank you! It was just exactly the winter comfort scent I was looking for. It has given me much comfort. A Happy New Years and blessings to all of you! December 30, 2013 at 8:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: :)
      I’m very happy that you liked Ambre des Merveilles, and I agree with you completely on how comforting and tender it feels. I’ve been wearing it a lot this winter.
      Happy New Year to you too! December 31, 2013 at 7:41am Reply

  • G: Happy NY to all at Bois de Jasmin!! :)

    Unfortunately I did not get to try out new releases this year, but that’s o.k. because there are so many old releases I have yet to try! I guess a fairly new release that I loved was Chypre Mousse by Oriza Legrand, absolutely bewitching! Also, I discovered Juste un Reve by Parfums de Nicolai, which has become my summer oasis in the middle of winter… December 30, 2013 at 8:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy 2014 to you as well!
      It’s becoming impossible to keep up with it all, even if that’s a part of your job, as in my case. Reading comments above I realized how many new launches I’ve missed. But it’s ok. I figure that if something is truly great, I’ll come across it if not this year, then the next one. December 31, 2013 at 7:43am Reply

  • Maren: Happy New Year to all. I have really enjoyed 2013 because of Bois de Jasmin, as this is my first full year exploring perfume, and I credit you gracious writers for all that I have learned reading here. Thank you for your knowledgeable and wonderful writing!
    I’m pleased to see that of my perfume purchases this year, two made it on your best of lists; Marni and La Fille de Berlin.
    I would also agree that Mona di Orio’s Violette Fumée and Aedes Iris Nazarena new for 2013 that I’ve sampled could be added to the lists. There are so many to try, it’s hard to keep up! Meanwhile I just keep reading and keeping my list of goodies I want to sample eventually, like a kid in a candy store. December 30, 2013 at 8:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Maren! I speak on behalf of us all when I say that such words mean a lot. :)
      Iris Nazarena is another iris that I liked very much, so I’m kicking myself for not including it. It definitely deserves to be on the list, although I wore the others much more frequently. And you’re right, there is so much out there, that smelling it all wouldn’t be such a good idea for one’s sanity and finances! December 31, 2013 at 7:50am Reply

  • Elena: Happy New Year, Victoria, Patricia, and Elisa! Marni and Jour d’Hermes were on my top spots for this year, though I hardly had a chance to try anything unless it was at Nordstrom’s, and I didn’t even make it there very often. Next sample order I make will have Ashoka on it, I am already 75% in love without smelling it. My absolute favorite scent this year is my intoxicatingly sweet and milky Julia, born in May. There is nothing to rival the scent of your own baby.

    I didn’t see any posts from you all, so what is on your reading list this year? I just started The Goldfinch (and due to said sweet baby, won’t be finished with it for another month… or more…!). December 30, 2013 at 9:28pm Reply

    • Hannah: It is one of my resolutions to read more. I have some books on fin de siècle Vienna that I’d like to finally read, but they’re at home so I can’t read them.
      I’d like to read Parting from Phantoms by Christa Wolf, the Ghosts of Berlin by Brian Ladd, The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan by Ivan Morris, The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, Shimotsuma Monogatari by Novala Takemoto, the Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, and something by Arno Schmidt since I’m in Hamburg. December 31, 2013 at 5:51am Reply

      • Anka: Arno Schmidt is great! (“Steinerne Herz” or “Funkessays” are good to begin with, I think). I will look for Brian Ladd – “Ghosts of Berlin” sounds interesting. December 31, 2013 at 6:34am Reply

      • Victoria: What a fantastic reading list! You have such eclectic tastes, and you’re inspiring me to copy your selection. December 31, 2013 at 8:05am Reply

    • Victoria: Elena, congratulations! What a touching description of your baby’s scent. May she grow big and healthy!

      I meant to post my reading list, but then I kind of got sidetracked by other things. So, right now, I’m reading The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal, a story of his family through the Japanese art collection he inherited from his uncle. I’m also going to start The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. And I’m finishing Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. I’ve been reading it very slowly, mostly because it’s so beautifully written and I keep re-reading chapters again and again. December 31, 2013 at 7:55am Reply

      • Patricia: Loved The Hare with Amber Eyes! It started a little slow for me, but picked up once the family story moved to Vienna in the days just before WWII.

        A great read I just finished: The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. It is fiction and the story of a Princeton-educated Pakistani man living in NYC in the days just before and after September 11. It’s short, written in second person, and impossible to put down. January 1, 2014 at 6:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: Adding it to my queue as well.

          The start is a bit slow, although I enjoy his writing style so much that I don’t mind. January 2, 2014 at 9:50am Reply

  • kaori: Victoria, Patricia, Elisa and everybody,
    Wishing you a wonderful new year!

    I was moved a bit by TF Fleur de Chine, the first one at the line. It could be called “an odd beauty” but impresive at least.

    I will try Flashback and Silver Iris next year.

    Thank you for showing a brighter side of Ukraina. Hoping the situation get better. December 31, 2013 at 12:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Kaori! Happy New Year to you too!

      Glad that you liked the photos. I don’t know if the situation will improve much, unless the government wants to make reforms. It looks like it’s the last thing they want to do… But hope springs eternal! December 31, 2013 at 7:57am Reply

  • Olesya: Happy New Year! Z Novym Rokom! I am usually a silent visitor, reading every day, but I want to thank you and everyone who writes here, comments too, for sharing their love of perfumes. I am still learning and where I live we don’t have many niche perfumes. I smell everything I find.

    Thank you for nice pictures of Kyiv. I’m Ukrainian. :) December 31, 2013 at 3:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Z Novym Rokom! Thank you for visiting and for commenting, Olesya. When I started out my perfume hobby, I also just smelled whatever was available, and it wasn’t much, since I lived in a small town back then. But it was still fun to try perfume. As as a friend of mine says, even a so-so perfume is better than no perfume at all. :) December 31, 2013 at 8:00am Reply

  • solanace: Happy New Year, Victoria, Patricia, Elisa and fabulous commenters! Bois de Jasmin is a beautiful place to visit every day, and not only because of the consistently good writing, ravishing pictures and witty comments. Victoria’s warm personality infuses everything, as in today’s particularly beautiful, evocative post. Even if I don’t know the smell of linden (but I’ll pay attention when I have a chance), that picture is so universal! Only, in my memories it would be scented with mango and guava trees, and the tropical storm hitting hot asphalt, when we would run barefoot in the warm (and super dirty) water. My perfume hit this year was surely Shalimar Ode à la Vanille. I got a FB and I’m happy like a child with it. December 31, 2013 at 3:44am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! You’re making me misty-eyed, and I’m touched by what you say. The early childhood memories are incredibly powerful, as I realize more and more. I can’t remember what I had for dinner two days ago, but I remember the taste of my grandmother’s cake made 20+ years back perfectly.

      Shalimar Ode a la Vanille was my recent discovery too. I have no idea why it took me this long to try it. It’s a worthy companion to Shalimar, and for days when I want the drama of Shalimar without too much heft and darkness, Ode a la Vanille is perfect. December 31, 2013 at 8:03am Reply

  • Nataliya: Your post is so touching Victoria. I am from Ukraine too, from Lviv. I used to pick up the linden blossoms with my granny and then we dried them on the cloth for some days and made tea.
    I have been living in Rome for many years but the smell of the linden is so familiar to me.
    My favorite perfumes of 2013 are Marni and Jour d’Hermes.
    I tried recently Unter den Linden by April Aromatics, it is delightful but expensive.
    Your blog became one of my favorite readings in the last year. I always read reviews before making the last decision on buying a new frangrance.
    Wishing to you all a happy New 2014! December 31, 2013 at 5:05am Reply

    • Victoria: When I was little, we also picked linden blossoms for tea. These days my grandmother’s back is giving her problems, so she doesn’t do this anymore, and when I visited my cousin and I decided to pick them for her. We dried them in the shade over newspapers, and the smell of drying lindens was so intoxicating I wished I could bottle it.

      Rome is one of my favorite cities, and I wonder what smells are associated with it for you, for someone who has lived there for years?

      Thank you very much, Nataliya. Happy New Year to you too! December 31, 2013 at 8:19am Reply

      • Nataliya: There are hundreds of churches in Rome so the first smell which comes into my mind is incense. During almost all year you may find oranges on the trees in the middle of the streets, obviously not eatable. The jasmine blossoms and magnolia flowers are also common on spring. Jasmine has a very distinctive smell. January 1, 2014 at 12:50pm Reply

        • Victoria: I remember the scent of magnolias the most, I think, and also of the bakeries. That warm, yeasty scent of freshly baked bread. I would buy focaccia bianca and eating it while walking down the street. January 1, 2014 at 4:44pm Reply

          • Nataliya: You are perfectly right, the smell of fresh bakery did not come into my mind. Maybe I am so used to eat pizza or focaccia walking during my lunch. January 2, 2014 at 2:58am Reply

            • Victoria: You’re making me nostalgic for Rome! :) January 2, 2014 at 11:54am Reply

  • Hannah: The only fragrance on this list that I’ve tried is La Fille de Berlin, and I didn’t like it.
    2013 wasn’t a very good year for me when it came to new releases. I’ve tried Rihanna Rogue, Penhaligan’s Iris Prima and Vaara, Comme des Garcons Black, and Diesel Loverdose Tattoo. I need to try Black again, but I thought it was too much like Encre Noire (I haven’t seen anyone else say this so maybe it’s just me). Iris Prima is my favorite out of this list but I didn’t find it particularly impressive.

    Reading the comments, I need to try Violette Fumee and La Fumee Ottoman.

    I didn’t sample very much in 2011 or 2012 but I ordered some samples and received a big package from a friend this year. Discoveries include Muscs Koublai Khan, CdG Hinoki, and By Kilian Amber Oud/Rose Oud (I received almost the entire line but I wasn’t into most of it). December 31, 2013 at 5:27am Reply

    • Victoria: It sounds like you’ve sampled plenty anyway, and some nice perfumes too. Did you enjoy Amber Oud and Rose Oud equally?

      I’ll need to revisit Black and compare to Encre Noire. I’m sure that your observation is true, since Encre Noire is smoky and dark, much more so than some other vetivers (like Sycomore, for instance, to which it gets compared often). December 31, 2013 at 8:23am Reply

      • Hannah: I like Amber Oud more. I had a sample of Incense Oud that I never tried until today so it is my first fragrance of 2014. Objectively, I prefer Incense Oud over Rose Oud but Rose Oud reminds me of a beverage with tea/milk/rose water/cardamom/saffron which is practically heaven in a cup so that association gives me more to appreciate about Rose Oud.

        My most-worn perfumes in 2013 were: Wonderwood, M7, and Muscs Koublai Khan. January 1, 2014 at 5:53am Reply

        • Victoria: I never warmed up to Incense Oud, which seemed surprisingly flat. I understand that it got reworked into a richer (in all respects!) oud perfume that Kilian launched in the Middle East, but I only smelled it on the blotter. Rose Oud is still my favorite, and your description is perfect. January 1, 2014 at 8:51am Reply

          • Hannah: I don’t find it flat, but it is more simple. For this reason, I could wear it the most often. But if I’m spending that kind of money, I’d rather get Amber Oud. They should release a travel set with Amber Oud, Rose Oud, and Incense Oud. January 1, 2014 at 2:42pm Reply

            • Victoria: That would be a great idea. It would be great also if you could pick your own sets, like Hermes allows one to do with Hermessence. January 1, 2014 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Austenfan: An utterly delightful post as always. Late to the game in commenting, but yesterday and today were hectic.
    Linden is summer made smell to me. I love it, unfortunately I am allergic to the pollen of linden trees so I enjoy the scent tearing up and sneezing.
    Your list and Patricia’s and Elisa’s list reminded me that I have actually only tried two of the mentioned fragrances: La fille de Berlin (love), Silver Iris ( not love).
    For some reason I haven’t been very diligent in sampling new stuff. Probably because I love my current collection enough not to feel too tempted.

    Your linden story moved me. Sometimes it must be hard to move around so much, in spite of all the rewards of encountering so many different cultures.

    I wish you all a very Happy New Year! December 31, 2013 at 5:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year! A big thank you for your help with figuring out Belgium/The Netherlands, reading recommendations and general advice on exploring Brussels. It made such a big difference in how well I got to know the city in a relatively short time.

      Your situation is the best one to be in–loving your collection enough that you don’t feel tempted to stray beyond it. :) When you have time, I would love to hear what perfumes you’ve been wearing the most this year. In the meantime, enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebration. December 31, 2013 at 8:30am Reply

      • Austenfan: You are very welcome! It really was a pleasure.

        I have been gravitating this year to fuller bodied fragrances after going through a phase of mostly wearing the lighter ones.
        (Gold, Heure Exquise, Paris, Rien, Cuir, Songes, Sacrebleu, Amoureuse and Vamp are what spring to mind right now.)
        I don’t know why; I suppose we go through phases with things, at least I do. Same with my preference in teas. I used to drink lots of flavoured teas and this past year I have been mostly drinking unflavoured ones. I have actually tried more new teas, than I have perfumes. January 1, 2014 at 3:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: I also tried a surprising number of teas last year. What’s more, I actually drank through most of the packages I bought, rather than let them languish as used to be the case before. Perhaps, I’m getting better at figuring out what I like. Or perhaps, I learned to leave time for a tea break. January 1, 2014 at 5:14pm Reply

  • mridula: This is just the opportunity to say how much I have enjoyed reading Bois de Jasmin. It has been such a pleasure to find the words in your blog by which to understand the cents I experience. And the role you play is far from being passive. I may come to you to understand a scent, but I am as likely to seek out a scent after first hearing about it here. That said, the second half of the year was given over to moving back to Delhi and settling in again, with the result that I have sampled very little of what is new. Marni is one I love from the above lists. However, I did spray my Apres L’ondee last night after first reading both your posts on it. Happy New Year. December 31, 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year! Thank you very much. I wish you a smooth move and transition. Having moved myself not long ago, the memories are still fresh in my mind. I hope to visit my family in Delhi next year, fingers crossed. I haven’t been back in almost 10 years.

      And what a coincidence! I’m wearing Apres L’Ondee right now too. It never fails to make me feel happy. It’s one of those perfect perfumes for me. Whenever I wear it, I wonder why I even bother trying anything else. :) December 31, 2013 at 5:08pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Happy New Year, Victoria, and thank you for such a sweetly fragrant 2013! Love, Lynn December 31, 2013 at 5:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year, Lynn! Hope that you had a fun celebration. January 1, 2014 at 5:06am Reply

  • nozknoz: How wonderful to reconnect though a fragrance!

    I’m always behind and, coincidentally, one the favorites among what I tried this year is Aftelier Honey Blossom. This is not nostalgic since I’ve never lived around lindens, but it’s so beautiful.

    My 2013 favs are Epice Marine, Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia and Lush Rose Jam. I am intrigued by Iris Nazarena, too, and also L’AP Skin on Skin. Need to try more 2013s – especially Ashoka – before I decide.

    Happy 2014! January 1, 2014 at 12:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Lush Rose Jam sounds great based on the name alone. Is it in fact a sweet rose? Skin on Skin was my favorite from that L’Artisan trio, but I have smelled it only on paper. The other two I didn’t find all that interesting on blotters. Of course, skin test is the only way to try them properly, so I still need to do it.

      Happy New Year! January 1, 2014 at 5:11am Reply

      • nozknoz: To me it’s not sweet. It’s really a soliflore with a hint of lemon and what smells to me like that baby powder musk, which really works here. I really love it! January 3, 2014 at 12:31am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you! I’ll stop by Lush to give it a try. January 3, 2014 at 7:25am Reply

  • Alessandra: Interesting, such a vast array of perfumes I’ve yet to try!! The only one I know is Marni’s… initially dismissed by me, it later became one of the most delicious scents of the year. I find it’s especially good when the air is colder, for some reason.. at least on my skin. It must be its spicy part. I find the ‘warm freshness’ of this perfume is something very special on my skin in autumn.

    As for linden… I, too, adore it. I even adore the shape of the flowers. I must explore the scent better, though. I live in an area where the scent of linden trees is covered by the far more intense of the jasmine buds nearby. Much as I love jasmine, this annoys me a bit! Hehe.

    Happy New Year, everybody! January 1, 2014 at 5:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Aren’t the flowers beautiful? They look so delicate and make me think of the ballerina’s skirts and ribbons. But your area with its lindens overpowered by jasmine probably smells heavenly. Two of my favorite scents combined! ;) January 1, 2014 at 8:53am Reply

      • Alessandra: Yes, agreed on the look of the flowers! They’re lovely :)

        Yeah, my area does smell heavenly…. when jasmine blossoms it’s a lot like smelling serge lutens’ ‘à la nuit’ all day! amazing :) January 1, 2014 at 5:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: Lucky you! Do you pick jasmine or linden blossoms for tea? My friend just emailed me saying that you can mix fresh linden blossoms with sugar to scent it, and this sounds so great. January 2, 2014 at 8:00am Reply

          • Alessandra: Haha, you won’t enjoy my answer, I am afraid. Sadly, jasmine buds are owned by my neighbours, so I feel bad about picking their flowers…. and the linden tree is basically in front of a school and I sort of never thought about picking up the flowers to make tea… but I might! I do enjoy both sorts of teas, tho… usually, I buy them, non-bravely enough :) January 2, 2014 at 6:18pm Reply

            • Victoria: I wouldn’t advise pilfering your neighbor’s garden. :) Well, dry linden and jasmine flowers are usually sold at an erboristeria, if you decide to experiment in a more calm way. January 3, 2014 at 7:24am Reply

  • Ines: Happy New Year!
    I really enjoyed your lists.

    The perfumes that stand out for me when I look back on 2013 are Ramon Monegal’s Cuirelle, Puredistance Black and Iris Nazarena.

    I do wish I had a chance to try Ashoka, I think it would have appeared on the list as well. January 1, 2014 at 7:15am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year! Cuirelle is another omission for me. I meant to try it after so many enthusiastic reviews, but I never got around to it. Puredistance Black is very beautiful. January 1, 2014 at 8:50am Reply

  • Tara C: I loved Flashback as well, it didn’t seem that compelling on first sniff but it ended up being addictive. My favourites this year were Micallef Denis Durand Couture, micallef Rose Extreme, CdG Black and Le Labo Ylang 49. I am looking forward to trying the new Micallef Nasreen this year, I love roses! January 1, 2014 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Elisa: I liked Denis Durand Couture too! I didn’t find it to be as unique as Nasreen, but it was really well done. January 1, 2014 at 1:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Flashback isn’t some dramatic, flamboyant thing, but it’s perfectly polished and really well-made. The idea of apple crossed with vetiver was new to me, so it also scored some on originality. But all in all, it’s just so enjoyable. January 1, 2014 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Sandra: I finally smelled la fille de Berlin, I can see why it made all 3 of your lists! Absolutely stunning rose- and pretty sexy as well January 3, 2014 at 4:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Isn’t it! I can’t get enough of it, and I thought that Lutens’s Bois de Violette had no rivals at all in his collection. January 3, 2014 at 5:12pm Reply

  • Gentiana: Happy New Year, Dear Bois de Jasmin Blog-writers and readers!
    I… I don’t know what to really say about the topic… I missed to smell a lot of new-released fragrances. Although, Iris Nazarena made me dream and La Fille du Berlin gave me shivers. Not in a good way…. I really felt the metallic smell of blood. Or maybe it is the suggestion power of the story behind, that brings in sight not-so-nice family memories, of lonely, widowed, impoverished, humiliated women after the war…death, decay, revenges… No, please, enough of morbid stories in perfumery! (Serge Lutens !… that wasn’t enough… Vierge de Fer… !!!… I didn’t even WANT to smell it…)
    Well.. sorry of not being right on the theme of blog…
    You, dear Bois de Jasmin writers and readers make me start again the hunt for smelling all the fantastic fragrances you are talking about!
    I end again off the topic, but it is a theme that upset me immensely… Great perfumes seem to appear, but, in the same time, great perfumes disapeared… Did you know that the wonderful Enlevement au Serail by MDCI is discontinued? :(
    Right when I decided to fork out the over 250 Euro for a bottle? :(
    R.I.P. … January 7, 2014 at 6:09am Reply

    • Victoria: No need to apologize, Gentiana! We’re just chatting about our impressions, positive or negative, and I see what you mean about the dark inspiration stories. For instance, my mom tried De Profundis and loved it very much, but when she read its story–funerals, dead flowers, etc., she felt queasy and couldn’t wear the perfume anymore.

      Oh no, I had no idea of Enlevement au Serail was discontinued. It was my favorite MDCI perfume. January 7, 2014 at 10:30am Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: It’s a bit late but Happy New Year to Victoria, Elisa, Patricia
    and other BdJ readers!

    As someone who’s been living away from home country and family for many years, I could relate to the story in the beginning. Actually, I’ve been introduced to linden for the first time last year (I mean year 2013!) during my trip to Prague.

    Among the new releases I’ve tried, I was most entranced by Epice Marine. It’s a sea breeze in a bottle and it immediately transported me back to the seashore where I used to play with friends on the way back from school.

    It’s not a new release but I fell in love with Lumiere Blanche and I just had to have a FB.

    I also (re)discovered Chanel No. 5 this year. I hated it for as long as I can remember and couldn’t understand why so many people like it. I started to appreciate the EDT which I had for many years (my mum got it as a present but she gave it to me as she doesn’t wear any perfume) but the real magic happened during my trip to Korea. I found an old bottle of parfum (again, a gift my mum received from someone) and when I dabbed some on myself, “bam!” I was totally blown away. I’m so glad that I didn’t throw the old parfum away and I’ll be treasuring it for many years to come. January 8, 2014 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year! Hope that you had a wonderful trip back home, and it seems like you had some nice scent discoveries too. The vintage No 5 is a treasure, and I’m sure that you will find more interesting elements about it the longer you wear it.

      Enjoy your Lumiere Blanche too! :) January 9, 2014 at 12:13pm Reply

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