Best of 2016 in Scents and Teas

If I could characterize 2016 in terms of scents to which I gravitated, the main themes would be of comfort and pleasure. Whatever reasons I have to wear perfume, this year I wanted fragrances that soothed, delighted and entertained. I wore plenty of old favorites like Annick Goutal Duel, Papillon Anubis, Serge Lutens Bois de Violette, Frédéric Malle Lipstick Rose, Kenzo Amour, Lolita Lempicka L, Perles de Lalique, and newer discoveries like Azzedine Alaïa.

elderflowers

The perfumes below aren’t “the best of 2016” in an absolute sense, mostly because I didn’t smell all of the new releases and compare them. They are my highlights, fragrances that stood out on the crowded store counters and that I wore enough to learn their nuances and quirks. I’m sure I missed some gems, but in that case I look forward to discovering them in your lists. Please share your favorites of 2016 with us.

Also, Andy and I couldn’t help sharing some of our favorite teas.

Victoria’s 2016 in Perfumes and Blue Teas

Galop d’Hermès

An elegant rose with a touch of saffron and dark woods. Galop was the first major launch from the new Hermès in-house perfumer Christine Nagel. If that’s the start of a new phase, then I anticipate more interesting things arriving in 2017.

Hermes Neroli Doré

Another Hermès I fell in love with, but this time it’s a Jean-Claude Ellena creation (the original in-house perfumer at Hermès.) On the face of it, Neroli Doré is a simple orange blossom cologne, but a bitter green twist with a touch of spice gives it color and energy. It also lasts for several hours without losing its vibrancy.

Cartier L’Envol

Honey, woods, leather and patchouli. The curious aspect of L’Envol is its transparency and radiance. In spite of such a rich palette, it soars.

J’Adore Eau de Toilette

Not a novel perfume in itself, but this Eau de Toilette version is the closest to the original J’Adore. And that’s a good thing.

Antonio Alessandria Fleurs et Flammes

Some of the most interesting niche perfumes this year came from Italy. I wrote about Rubini and Antonio Alessandria Parfums for the FT (Italian Perfumes That Are Wearable Art), and I wore Alessandria’s Fleurs et Flammes obsessively. It’s an old school grand parfum, and those are an endangered species today. It’s the olfactive equivalent of a Baroque painting–saturated, dramatic, with numerous layers, from white flowers to smoky woods. (Fleurs et Flammes was created in 2015, but it finally reached my shores this year.)

Kilian Moonlight in Heaven

An utterly comforting blend of rice, coconut milk and toasty notes. The idea was to recreate the creamy richness of the famous Thai dessert of mango and sticky rice. It’s more abstract than edible, which makes it even more intriguing.

Chanel Boy

I liked Boy less because it was “a new fougère for women” (not such a new idea), but because it had an airy, bright presence. A delicate perfume with a bold sillage sounds like a contradiction, but Olivier Polge succeeded with such a challenge.

Shalini

Shalini was created in collaboration between perfumer Maurice Roucel and fashion designer Shalini Kumar several years ago, but in 2016 this bright tuberose was relaunched. It gave me a chance to revisit it and recall how wonderful big, opulent florals can feel on a cold winter day.

Mariage Frères Yuzu Indigo Tea

Green Japanese tea leaves mixed with blue butterfly pea flower and yuzu zest. The taste is seaweed like, with a piney-citrus note, and the color is the vivid shade of turquoise. One of the most unusual and visually beautiful teas I have tried. A complete sensory experience in a cup.

Estonian Blue Lagoon Tea

Do you see a blue pattern here? I have been mesmerized by sapphire tinted drinks ever since I sampled the blue mallow tea in Tallinn two years ago, and I was happy to discover the source. The Estonian brand Põhjala Teetalu has several mixtures, but their Blue Lagoon, a mallow and mint combination, is my favorite. You can approximate it by blending blue mallow flowers and dried spearmint. My choice for an evening tisane.

tea-yuzu

Andy’s Year in Scents and Tea

Perfume

This year, my perfume tastes leaned squarely in favor of the scents that could bring me immediate comfort and reassurance. This meant frequent wearings of Prada Amber Pour Homme, with its tasteful soapy tones, and Clinique Aromatics Elixir, my top pick for a potent dose of beauty. Following me throughout the entire year, Houbigant Iris des Champs revealed itself as easy to wear and elegant, a must try for lovers of fragrances with a strong iris note that occupy a classical vein. And while I can’t claim to have kept up with new releases this year, I appreciated Diptyque’s new Eau des Sens, an orange blossom cologne with a twist that projects well on me.

Tea and Bath

Some of my very best fragrant discoveries this year came in the form of new teas and other sundry pleasures. Its absurd name aside, Kusmi BB Detox is a delightful, grapefruit scented mix of green tea, rooibos, mint, maté, and other herbs. Aztec Spice, an Art of Tea pu-erh blend with a deep cocoa flavor and a surprising hit of chili pepper, was an unconventional, unexpected favorite as well. Of course, the best discoveries are serendipitous, so I was delighted during a recent hit of kitchen inspiration to create a tea that reminds me of Guerlain Mitsouko, with little more effort than a rummage through my tea and spice collections (a discovery I plan to share, for any curious readers).

And in the shower, I loved using Panier des Sens Tubereuse Étoilée soap, followed by a slathering of Kiehl’s Original Musk Body Lotion, a moisturizing formula that works well for layering under many fragrances.

appleslilacs-pale

Elisa’s 2016 Favorites

All my favorite purchases this year were vintage, not ancient vintage but old enough to feel special –Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, Chanel Bois des Isle and Cuir de Russie, Estée Lauder Knowing, Hermès 24 Faubourg, and Yves Saint Laurent Paris and Opium. These older perfumes with their pronounced aldehydes, galbanum, and oakmoss have been some of my most worn this year. (I wrote more about these retro classics here.)
As for new releases, once again, I hardly kept up, but my favorites were all on the affordable side, either indie or mainstream: Elizabeth & James Nirvana Rose is a dry and earthy rose that doesn’t change the game but smells very niche; it’s the kind of rose you don’t usually find at Sephora. Sonoma Scent Studio Equestrian is rich, golden, slightly boozy, and has quickly become my favorite apple scent.

The insanely affordable Sarah Jessica Parker Stash is (I got a gift set at Ulta that includes a 30 ml bottle, a 2 ml rollerball and a body cream for $40!) is an intense woody-musky unisex scent that would be right at home on the Serge Lutens counter; it smells surprisingly dirty and delicious (I can really pick up on the pistachio note).

Theirry Mugler Angel Muse is another great nutty scent, adding citrus and Nutella notes to the basic Angel structure. And Tom Ford Orchid Soleil is another mainstream release that really surprised me in context. Tropical florals are a dime a dozen, but this one is seriously funky in the top notes, with aspects of menthol and wintergreen that remind me of Andy Tauer’s recent tuberose and gardenia scents, and a super-warm and inviting drydown.

cherry-tea

Patricia’s Chanel Themed Year

My mirror-topped tray covered with my Chanel collection of bottles, decants, and minis saw heavy action this year. I took advantage of the 20% off Sephora sale this fall and bought a 35-ml. bottle of Chanel No. 5 L’Eau. It was the only 2016 release I purchased this year and arguably has both feet firmly planted in the past, albeit with a modern twist.

Another Chanel purchase this year was Coco EDP. The EDT was a signature scent of mine for several years straight in the nineties, and its warm spicy richness is just starting to appeal again.

On the other end of the warm to cool spectrum, I acquired a new bottle of Cristalle EDT and scarcely recognized it, as it has none of the oakmoss and galbanum goodness of the pre-reformulation. It is much closer to the tamer Cristalle Eau Verte, a summer staple. Fortunately I still have some of the old Cristalle to remember her with.

Another 2016 favorite has been Geisha Vanilla Hinoki by Aroma M. I’ve already almost finished my second small sample and may have to spring for a full bottle in 2017, for the beautiful bottle design if for no other reason. This perfume starts out large and fruity. Someone compared it to a citronella candle, and I can see the similarity, but it quickly settles down into an abstract, woody, nonedible vanilla with a haunting quality that keeps me coming back for more. As I’m not fond of sweet, sickly vanilla fragrances, this one is a perfect fit with its zen-like ability to calm during the stressful holiday season, and I’ve worn it often this December.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season. May 2017 bring peace to the world and to all of the Bois de Jasmin family.

Please share with us your 2016 highlights! We wish you a wonderful New Year.

Also, please take a look at these wonderful lists by Grain de Musc :: Now Smell This :: The Non-Blonde :: Perfume Posse

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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90 Comments

  • Kat: This was the year of tea for me. I started drinking Oolong tea (because it’s supposed to help with eczema) and to my surprise I really enjoyed it (and yes, it seems to help). Perfume-wise I fell under the spell of Bvlgari’s Thé Bleu and nothing I’ve tried managed to break the spell. Bottega Veneta, Feminité de Bois, Thé Vert, Thé Blanc, various Guerlain samples – I return to that blue bottle every time after a day or two. Oh and I also read Okakura Kakuzo’s ‘Book of Tea’ which is a fantastic essay not just about the Japanese tea ceremony but Japanese art in general. December 30, 2016 at 7:57am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: Hi Kat,
      I own that book, your comment reminded me to read it. I have to sampke Thé bleu too. December 30, 2016 at 8:09am Reply

      • Victoria: I also have the same book. 🙂 December 31, 2016 at 8:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I had no idea it has such an effect, but I’m very glad that it’s working out for you, and the enjoyment of flavors is another bonus.

      The Bleu is still one of my favorite tea scents. December 31, 2016 at 8:18am Reply

    • Eric: I’m foaming at the mouth to try oolong for my psoriasis!! I own some but I rarely brew tea at home. How often do you drink it?

      I went through a turmeric phase for the same reason but I quit when I went on the scary but effective immunosuppressants. December 31, 2016 at 10:31pm Reply

      • Kat: I drink a cup a day. It’s not a miracle cure but this is the first winter in quite some time that I don’t have to deal with big angry patches of eczema. Could be the tea, could be some changes in my skin care routine – as usual it’s hard to say with these things. But if you have oolong in the pantry I’d say give it a try. Also Google ‘oolong’ and ‘eczema’ there are some interesting articles dealing with the topic since the effect was studied by a group of Japanese scientists a couple of years ago and they published their findings. Good luck! January 1, 2017 at 4:51am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Dear Victoria and perfume lovers,

    So many things to love in 2016 too!

    I will only list Chanels as i made a few discoveries and purchases like you, Patricia.

    Coco EDP
    Using the Edt and extrait for 3 years now this summer i bought EDP too. I made sure it is formulation before 2014 as later bottles made me disappointed. Sales assistants must have thought i’ve gone mad while i was lifting boxes checking batch codes. I acquired a bottle from 2012 and am happy with the warm luxurous scent and its longevity.

    Chanel No. 22 extrait I fell in live with it 2 years ago and this year on my way home i purchased it at Dubai airport. It was such a great jewel topping my beautiful stay in India.

    Chanel Cuir de Russie another one I fell in live with 2 years ago.
    I own much cheaper Cuir de Lancome that is still a majestic floral leather scent but I may still buy this when I have the possibility.

    Chanel Gardenia : I adore top notes and am trying gardenia scents ever since I smelled this. Drydiwn is less lovely, I will sample it again. December 30, 2016 at 8:03am Reply

    • CristinaM: Nora, your comment made me smile…sales assistants probably think we perfumistas are weird folk… checking batches is not the craziest thing I’ve done at a fragrance counter… December 30, 2016 at 10:35am Reply

      • Nora Szekely: CristinaM,
        You made me curious. What was the weirdest thing? 🙂
        Come on, you’re among your own folk now 😉 December 30, 2016 at 3:14pm Reply

        • Nora Szekely: I forgot to add Chanel no. 5 body oil. I was told that it’s limited Christmas edition, it’s fabulous ( along with Coco Mademoiselle body oil. I’m allergic to EDP but I can wear the oil versionof it, yey!). December 30, 2016 at 3:26pm Reply

          • Victoria: Their body products are some of the best on the market. Have you tried the hair mist, in the No 5 range? December 31, 2016 at 8:28am Reply

            • Nora Szekely: I tried it and it’s fabulous. I used up a bottle of Coco Mademoiselle hair mist a few years ago. Both are delicate but have presence too
              Right now, I’m smitten with Frederic Malle’s Carnal flower hair mist.
              I bought Coco body cream but I’m not crazy about that one, the scent is slightly different than my beloved perfume. January 3, 2017 at 4:08am Reply

              • Victoria: Carnal Flower mist is light but it does last really well. January 10, 2017 at 6:44am Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 Very true! December 31, 2016 at 8:29am Reply

    • Victoria: It was also a year in Chanel for you, and that’s a fine thing. 🙂 Checking codes is a good idea. A friend tried a sample of Chanel No 5 perfume and bought a full bottle. But when it arrived, it turned out to be a reformulation and it smelled different from what she liked. An expensive mistake. December 31, 2016 at 8:27am Reply

    • Patricia: Hello and Happy New Year to my Chanel twin! I also love No. 22 extrait and Cuir de Russie (the extrait version only). I haven’t tried Boy yet, have you? January 1, 2017 at 12:27pm Reply

      • Nora Szekely: Hello dear Chanel twin 😉
        I tried Boy but did not fall in love with it at first sniff.
        However I bought the lipstick with same name 😉 it’s a nice nude for daywear.

        The funny thing is, I travelled out in August but decided to pick up No 22 bottle on the airport on my way home in November supposing that nothing will change in meantime. Then I read that Chanel changed whole line of exclusifs from EDT to EDP! Fortunately I had my eyes on the extrait and I could buy it. 🙂 January 3, 2017 at 4:13am Reply

        • Patricia: I’m so glad you got your extrait! No. 22 isn’t universally beloved, but it is one of my favorites and I have some vintage in my collection. 🙂 January 4, 2017 at 6:29pm Reply

    • operaFan: Nora- Can you tell us more about the batch number you finally got? I would love to find a bottle of Coco Edp to replace my super vintage bottle. The thought of it changing drastically makes me very sad. January 2, 2017 at 8:09am Reply

      • Nora Szekely: Hi operaFan,

        There is a website, The raiders of the lost scent (raidersofthelostscent.blogspot.com) , that is very helpful with codes and other things to help fans find out the age of their bottle. By now, I became an expert reading Chanel codes 😉 , they recycle them every 8 year but other signs on the box are helping to identify its exact age.
        My Coco EDP’s batch code is 5701, it is from 2012.
        They already changed Coco formulation in the past of course but I had no problem wearing these, however after 2014 many Chanels became weaker and even the composition seems different. Nowadays I’m hunting down bottles between 2000-2013 so I don’t have to rob a bank to buy these but I can still enjoy my favourite scent in a form similar to original. January 3, 2017 at 5:22am Reply

        • OperaFan: Thanks so much for the information on your Coco batch code Nora. I will bookmark the link for reference. January 10, 2017 at 10:16am Reply

  • rosarita: I haven’t been around much this year and haven’t sampled much either, but Bois de Jasmin is such a lovely spot that I always enjoy. Thanks to Victoria and all of you for creating and maintaining this place of beauty and elegance in an increasingly harsh and heartbreaking world. I’m with Elisa, Muse and Stash are affordable and fun – I got the Stash gift set that has the oil and edt, and the oil is great, very good for layering, too. December 30, 2016 at 9:44am Reply

    • Nikki: This stash perfume sounds interesting, I will try it, too. Thank you and happy new year! 2017 will be a great year. December 30, 2016 at 10:53am Reply

      • Victoria: Elisa is tempting us all. I have a great review of that perfume from her to be published next year. 🙂 December 31, 2016 at 8:30am Reply

    • Elisa: I couldn’t resist buying Stash! the little travel rollerball is a nice addition in the gift set. December 30, 2016 at 5:23pm Reply

      • Victoria: Mugler does some of the best sets! December 31, 2016 at 8:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I’m always happy to see all of you and to read your comments, but I’m also delighted to know that you’re reading. December 31, 2016 at 8:30am Reply

  • Lily: 2016 was the year I fell in love with perfume. It has been a bright spot in the middle of a bad time (started the year separated, got divorced, sold all mutual property, and moved home in a protracted string of events that meant I spent 13 months in the “limbo” of having decided to end the marriage but not being able to start over). I had never worn perfume bc my ex didn’t like it (migraines), and I had not inherited the habit from my mom. I started researching perfume bc I remembered it was something I had chosen not to wear for him, and I thought I ought to decide for ME. Maybe I’d make the same choice, or… As it happens I found a piece of my soul i didn’t realize was missing. (Hidden?) I have enjoyed having a new subject to learn about, and new sensory experiences, and the delight of beautiful scents. It has also been a really lovely path to walk on finding myself again and reevaluating all the choices I had made about cosmetics and fashion and those external markers of femininity, to make sure the choices I was making were a true reflection of my tastes, aesthetics, and desires, not a reaction to those of my ex, my family, or my culture. I doubt any other year will have such a dazzling variety of scent discoveries, but I will certainly continue to explore!

    While my library (bought and TBB) includes scents from the 1970s forward, I did fall for a couple 2016 releases:
    Chanel No. 5 L’Eau
    Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon

    I am still on the fence about E&J Rose. I really loved wearing out my sample this fall, more than I expected, but I am not sure whether it’s love. 🙂

    Thank you, so much, to Victoria for creating such an amazing reference site and hosting such a lovely place for discussion of a mutual passion. And thank you to everyone on this board who has been so welcoming and kind and generous with knowledge and time. Y’all really have been a bright spot in a dark year for me. December 30, 2016 at 9:56am Reply

    • Aurora: Dear Lily: So glad for you you have found perfume to inspire you to look forward to the future after what sounds like a difficult year. I hope 2017 will bring you plenty of scented surprises!
      Hugs December 30, 2016 at 12:36pm Reply

      • Nora Szekely: Dear Lily,
        All the best for the upcoming years.
        I know all about the hardship of leaving a long term relationship. Please don’t judge yourself for not acting earlier but enjoy the freedom and fresh start you gained.
        Good luck with you newfound passion, it’s such a rewarding one! December 30, 2016 at 3:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: I wholeheartedly second this! December 31, 2016 at 8:36am Reply

    • Joy: Your story of your difficult time was really interesting to read. Throwing of some of your bondage was a great thing to do. When I retired from my job after many years of really hard work, I felt somewhat the same. My workplace had been fragrance free. It was such a feeling of freedom to begin purchasing fragrance again and spritzing myself. Last summer I had the occasion to meet outdoors one of the most rabid complainers about fragrance. Previously she required me to wash my hands when coming into a meeting with hand cream on. She gave me a big hug. Ironically it was a day that I was wearing a lot of perfume. I giggled quietly to myself.
      Thank you for sharing your story. December 30, 2016 at 7:50pm Reply

      • Victoria: Oh, that’s an unpleasant situation! Some people are very sensitive to smells, but being on the receiving end of complaints nonstop is very uncomfortable. Glad that your new situation is better. December 31, 2016 at 8:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Lily, first of all, you have all of our support and admiration for making an important but difficult decision. I hope that 2017 will be easier in many respects, and I hope that you will continue your discoveries of beautiful, unique things. Thank you for all of your comments and mini-reviews in our threads. I know that others find them very helpful.

      Happy New Year to you! December 31, 2016 at 8:35am Reply

    • brenda: Hello Lily; I have always enjoyed communicating on this site – and know you will too. In late 2015, my husband died very suddenly – and, of course…life as I knew it was forever changed. From that time on – and to the present, I visit this site to enjoy other people’s stories, circumstances, etc. I adore perfume…and lovely scents. After my loss, I started each day choosing my scent – as I always had – and it helped me stay in the present…keep a handle on my routine…and, embrace how much my husband loved my wearing perfume. To continue my routine made me feel closer to him. So, to me, scents can be a new beginning, a way to hold on to the past, and a beautiful way to live in the present. Right now, my favourite happens to be Cabochard with Amarige being a close second. Best wishes to you… December 31, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

      • Victoria: Your story is also moving and inspiring. Sometimes the source of our strength and resilience is completely surprising. Thank you for sharing. January 10, 2017 at 6:45am Reply

  • Austenfan: 2016 has been a bit of a blur for me, too busy to really take note of things.
    What I do remember trying and loving is Ostara (thanks for that wonderful review which prompted me to get a bottle), Néroli Doré, several Oriza L.Legrands, Oriental Express and Amouage Myths Woman.

    I’ve sampled way more tea than perfume,but cannot for the life of me remember what I sampled. I hope 2017 will be as productive at Boisdejasmin as was 2016. It’s a great place to visit, any time. So a big thank you to all of you! December 30, 2016 at 10:16am Reply

    • Nora Szekely: Dear Austenfan,
      Fabulous Ostara! I have to grab a bottle while i can.
      And have to sample Myths, Amouage is a majestic brand. December 30, 2016 at 3:21pm Reply

      • Victoria: And Ostara is spectacular. December 31, 2016 at 9:51am Reply

    • Victoria: I need to keep a tea diary of sorts, because I also find it difficult to remember all of the amazing blends I tried. With Non Cha, my caddy is well stocked.

      Happy New Year! Thank you very much for your kind words. December 31, 2016 at 9:50am Reply

  • Bonnie: This is the year of Dior for me: I finally discovered Poison: the original and the Hypnotic. IN LOVE WITH THEM! I bought three of the Bvlgari tea fragrances: blue, white and black – very pleased with these purchases too. For 2017 I am going to experiment with Serge Lutens now that this line is carried at my local Sephora. I have a yearning for La Fille de Berlin having read so much about it on this site. My goodness it’s expensive! It’s $140Canadian a bottle. I’d prefer half a bottle for $70, to be honest. I would like smaller bottles at more affordable prices so that I could afford to sample a wider array of perfumes, since I read about so many amazing fragrances here on Bois de Jasmin!

    A very happy new year to everyone 🙂 December 30, 2016 at 11:12am Reply

    • Elisa: I fell in love with Poison this year too! December 30, 2016 at 5:23pm Reply

      • Victoria: Which version? December 31, 2016 at 9:51am Reply

        • Elisa: Somebody sent me a little bit of vintage EDC and EDT and I loved them both! December 31, 2016 at 10:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes! Wouldn’t it be great? You also don’t need much of it; this perfume goes a long way. December 31, 2016 at 9:52am Reply

    • Surbhi: My first perfume memory is of a bottle of poison. I was very little and my aunt received it as the first gift from my uncle. She showed it to everyone but I was considered too little to have a sniff. I have tried many version poison now but I want to smell the vintage poison (original). December 31, 2016 at 2:27pm Reply

      • Victoria: The original is the most striking, definitely. January 10, 2017 at 6:46am Reply

    • kpaint: I haven’t tried the current version of Poison but I have some vintage EDT and esprit de parfum and it is glorious. My favorite season to wear it is summer, crazy as that may sound. The way it blooms in the heat with all its transitions and turns is utterly captivating. It’s not one to wear to the beach or an outdoor event 😉 but I love it on a warm day spent at home. I’m thrilled others are discovering it. I wore it as a teen when it came out and felt a bit smothered by it. It’s definitely a grown-up woman’s perfume. January 2, 2017 at 4:37pm Reply

      • Victoria: It does bloom perfectly in warm weather. You don’t even have to wear a lot for an effect. January 10, 2017 at 6:47am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: My favorites of 2016 (in no particular order) and bottles that I actually purchased are:

    Chanel Boy
    SJP Stash
    Ex Nihilo Sweet Morphine
    Aedes De Venustas Grenadille d’Afrique
    Tom Ford’s Vert des Bois and Vert d’Encens December 30, 2016 at 11:40am Reply

    • Victoria: A beautiful list! How does Vert d’Encens last on you? December 31, 2016 at 9:53am Reply

      • Phyllis Iervello: Vert d’Encens lasts pretty well on me…at least through the day. December 31, 2016 at 11:03am Reply

  • Marsi: Dear Victoria, my fragrance of the year is Galop d’Hermès, while tea evolved for me when I gave up automatically putting milk in it a few months ago. Now, I only put milk in a breakfast tea, like Irish or British because they need it. The complexity of other fine teas is an eye-opener for me, and has been a delight to explore lately because I can discern the flavors now that I’m not diminishing them with milk. Sad to think how much Mariage Freres, Palais des Thès, and Fortnum & Mason fine black teas I have murdered with milk over the decades, but … live and learn, I suppose.

    So one tea I’m cuckoo about now is your Shalimar tea, the recipe for which you shared three years ago. But because my name is Marsi, naturally I call it Shalimarsi tea. 😜

    I’m also enjoying a lavender Earl Grey from Los Poblanos in Santa Fe, which I picked up on my visit earlier this month. It’s very good, the best Earl Grey with lavender I’ve sampled.

    Without milk, lavender in black tea agrees with me, evidently.

    Cheers to you in the new year! December 30, 2016 at 11:58am Reply

    • Patricia: I’m not at all adventurous in my tea drinking, but I do have an Earl Grey Lavender that I love from Notting Hall. January 1, 2017 at 12:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Shalimarsi tea! I love it. 🙂

      I like some teas with milk, but generally, the better the grade, the less it requires. I discovered that for my milky, spicy chai, nothing beats Lipton or Ahmad tea bags. January 10, 2017 at 6:49am Reply

  • Aurora: Such great lists, thank you so much for sharing and I love the tea recommendations too.

    This year I went on several scented trails, the violette one was lovely but in the end it took me back to Balmain Jolie Madame extrait, nothing of what I tried surpassed it.

    The cumin trail was very challenging but it made me discover that I enjoy it in only one fragrance, in the caraway (still not certain if there is a difference cumin/caraway) of Diorama as it stood out as belonging completely to the bones of the scent and so in the end I purchased a bottle to celebrate it when I have the courage to face it.

    I agree totally with Pat’s appraisal of the Cristalle reformulation from a couple of years ago (and from what Nora says it also involved Coco which alas has never been my friend anyway) and like her treasure my pre reform bottle of EDP and have added a couple of bottles of Estee Lauder PC Jasmine White Moss for good measure.

    Of the recent releases, like many people I adore No 5 l’Eau which lasts for ages on my skin in all its acidulated loveliness and found myself returning often to the unpretentious Yves Rocher Voile d’Ambre.

    May 2017 be wonderfully scented for all the BdJ team, readers and commenters. December 30, 2016 at 12:26pm Reply

    • Patricia: I should have known better than to buy the reformulation, as I had heard it was nothing like the original :-(. It’s not exactly bad, just very ordinary and nothing like the original. Happy 2017! January 1, 2017 at 12:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with your cumin and Dior observations. In general, if it’s used toasted as in Idole de Lubin or Epice Marine by Hermès, the effect is more subtle. Have you tried Idole, by the way? January 10, 2017 at 6:51am Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you so much, Victoria, no I haven’t tried Idole nor Epices Marines and the notes for Idole seem very interesting and original, they go on the list. You put it in words so very well, yes ‘toasted’ is what makes the difference. January 11, 2017 at 12:35pm Reply

        • Victoria: Idole is not a heavy perfume, despite the description, and yes, highly recommended. Few perfumers are able to make dark, rich notes weightless and transparent the way Olivia Giacobetti can. January 12, 2017 at 9:22am Reply

  • genevieve leger fawcett: Thank you to Victoria and all at Bois de Jasmin for creating such an enjoyable and informative space. A real treat! My favourites in 2016 were Arquiste: Nanban, 1000 Flowers: Réglisse Noire, Serge Lutens: Bois de Violette, Jo Malone: Orris and Sandalwood, Diptyque: Tam Dao and Andy Tauer: Rose Flash. On the Tea front, I discovered Ceremonial Matcha (from various suppliers) and love it and the ritual of making it every morning. Happy 2017 to all :)) December 30, 2016 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: The process of making matcha is fun! 🙂

      Happy New Year and thank you for sharing your beautiful list. January 10, 2017 at 6:51am Reply

  • Debby: Happy New Year to you all, and thank you for the inspiration you provide.
    2016 has been a journey of discovery scent wise for me, not necessarily of the new so much though. I live in a very remote place so don’t get to try much unless it’s very mainstream or I’ve managed to get samples or decants sent to me. I’d also been stuck in a rut of needing familiar things, probably due to a period major life upheaval.
    So some of my new loves I have only just tried are Apres L’Ondee, Portrait of a Lady, Papillon Salome, Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano and CDG Floriental . And so many more wonders to discover now I’m feeling more adventurous! I’ve also started to enjoy the slightly overwhelming world of Arabian attars, standout being Al Sharquiah by Al-Rehab.
    Of the new releases, one surprise hit for me was the Black Opium flanker Nuit Blanche, probably would never have tried if I hadn’t received a sample, but I loved it so much I got a full bottle! It is much more complex and nuanced than the original. Also enjoying No 5 L’eau via a sample, may be a bottle purchase at some point. Alaia is wonderful too, and definitely on full bottle list.
    Here’s to a beautifully perfumed (and more peaceful) 2017 for us all. December 30, 2016 at 4:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also liked Black Opium flanker much more than the original. It was such a nice surprise. January 10, 2017 at 6:53am Reply

  • Tara C: Thank you Victoria for this lovely space to read and discover, your knowledge is incredible!

    I had a good year, some of my new loves include Fêtes Persanes, Au Coeur du Désert, Arbolé Arbolé, Taklamakan and Mille Feux. December 30, 2016 at 6:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a fun list! Yes, that does sound like a good perfume year. 🙂 January 10, 2017 at 6:53am Reply

  • Joy: All of the fragrances that you listed, Elisa, are my favorites. I just love them all for so many different reasons. I am also re-acquainting myself with Patou’s 1000. It is so complex and elegant. I think that Knowing is fantastic with the complex rose chypre. It is such a great price for its depth and complexity. I use it in many ways by spraying it into my shampoo and conditioner and into my shower gel. I am very sorry to hear that Cristalle has been changed as it is truly my favorite. The vibrant woodiness that comes out in it is truly a masterpiece. I only have a half bottle left, although I do have a FB of no.22. I don’t know whether to wait to see if they return to the original formula or hope if I buy a bottle now, I will get one that is original. I was very surprised at how much I liked Chanel no.5 L’eau. I spritzed on a bit as I was cruising past a Chanel counter. I will have to stop for a few more spritzes.

    I love tea, that is after coffee. I like to purchase my tea from a Portland, OR company, The Tao of Tea. My preference is Malty Assam, but there are so many great choices. In fact, we have so many purveyors of fine teas these days to choose from. I love opening a jar of tea at a tea shop and drinking in the fragrance of the leaves.

    I hope that 2017 is more peaceful. Best wishes. Thank you, Victoria, for this wonderful site. December 30, 2016 at 7:43pm Reply

    • Elisa: Joy, I’ve never really spent time with 1000 — it’s about time I do so! December 31, 2016 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: No 5 L’Eau was my own surprise. It has all elements of the original but recast in a new way. January 10, 2017 at 6:54am Reply

  • Chin C.: Victoria, For the Jadore Edt mentioned above, is it referring to the eau lumiere version of Edt which is launched in 2016? If so i need to try it out…

    On the other hand I think the new Jadore touché de parfum is wonderful, but it does not remind me of Jadore when I wear it… December 31, 2016 at 1:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, that’s right! I should have clarified. It’s very very good. January 10, 2017 at 6:55am Reply

  • Susan McCallister: I join in thanking Victoria and all at Bois de Jasmin – my life is much richer, and I thank my friend who recommended it. My favorite tea discovery this year is Steep Echo Tea (all natural olive leaf teas) from Santa Barbara CA. A friend sent me some, and I’m in Heaven. I’ve tried Bloom for an immune booster, Hush – fabulous with Honey when traveling, but my favorite is Ascent which has hints of vanilla. Highly recommend them although the shipping may be expensive overseas. December 31, 2016 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Susan. I also happy you found us. 🙂 January 10, 2017 at 6:55am Reply

  • Johanob: Happy New Year my darlings!Cannot wait for the MSF draw in about two weeks!Excited to see who wins what!!xox December 31, 2016 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! It’s going to be drawn next week. January 10, 2017 at 6:55am Reply

  • Jane: I love The Republic of Tea’s Peppermint Bark tea. My husband gave some to me last Christmas in my stocking and I did not expect it to be such a delightful tea. I have never liked Chanel no.5 up until this year. After sampling the new version l’eau I have a bottle and wear it everyday. I find it sophisticated and so very versatile.

    Thank you Victoria for creating such an incredibly beautiful and thoughtful website. You are so generous to share your knowledge and passion. Your site is such a respite and I am so grateful it exists and I look forward to learning more and contributing to discussions. December 31, 2016 at 5:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! This means a lot to me. January 10, 2017 at 6:56am Reply

  • Steve L.: Learned so much here over the past year — thank you! December 31, 2016 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Steve! January 10, 2017 at 6:56am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: My 2016 favorites were Chanel No. 5 L’eau, Chanel Boy and Ex Nihilo Sweet Morphine. Happy New Year to all! December 31, 2016 at 7:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I had Sweet Morphine on my list but I never got around to it. What’s it like? January 10, 2017 at 6:57am Reply

  • Sylvia: A huge thank you Victoria for this wonderful space you have created! I look forward to reading your blog every morning.
    I wish you all a peaceful new year! December 31, 2016 at 7:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: And in turn thank you for your nice words! Happy New Year! January 10, 2017 at 6:57am Reply

  • Neva: Its great reading all of your lists. In 2016 I’ve discovered 2 great scents: Christopher Street by Charenton Macerations (and I bought a full bottle) and Seyrig by Bruno Fazzolari (I want a FB). I’ve tried many samples and some new releases but was not overwhelmed. I’ve worn Malle’s Eau de Magnolia and Parfum de Therese, VC&A’s Rose Velours and my dearest Wrappings and Gucci Rush.
    The line I’m very curious about is Zoologist and I plan to order the sample set. Has anyone tried them? December 31, 2016 at 9:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t yet, but I hear good things about them. January 10, 2017 at 6:57am Reply

  • Klaas: Hello all,
    2016 also marked a happy return to scent for me. As my partner doesn’t like perfume, I have abstained from wearing any for the past 12 years…..and I used to loooove perfume!

    We are still happily together, but I figured that – without overdoing it (I will not splash myself with Shalimar!) – I should be able to wear something nice from time to time.

    Amazingly though, I had to readapt myself to wearing scent. Some of the perfumes I used to wear have been changed so much they made me feel sad (Vol de Nuit by Guerlain……). I also found that my taste in perfume has dramatically changed. I used to like theatrical fragrances (did I mention Vol de Nuit?), but now…..I really like the more discreet stuff.

    So 2016 was a year of finding new favorites. I’ve been wearing Whip! from Le Galion, Brin de Reglisse from Hermes and Black from Comme des Garcons with lots of pleasure, along with Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company.

    Here’s to sampling more lovely things in 2017, though I’ve pledged to finish my current bottles before I buy anything new…..

    But oh, how the Chanel boutique is calling my name. I’m dying to try some of the Exclusives… January 2, 2017 at 2:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: Good for you! Yes, it’s always possible to find a way to moderate the amount you apply. And your choices lend themselves perfectly to that. January 10, 2017 at 6:59am Reply

  • Klaas: And as far as tea goes, I love the black ones….with Darjeeling (rich, bitter autumn flushes) and Ceylan ranking way up there. I buy them from a local tea shop here in Amsterdam. It’s over 100 years old and smells like dark tea, roasted coffee and rum-raisins. It’s such a treat to go there.

    Cups of tea bring a smile on my face every day. Some things in life just are very simple 😉 January 2, 2017 at 3:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Beautiful descriptions!

      What’s your favorite tea store in Amsterdam? January 10, 2017 at 6:59am Reply

      • Klaas: The store I mentioned is called ‘Het Zonnetje’ (little sun) and is located on Haarlemmerdijk. It’s ran by an older lady who’s always cheerfull and a little bohemean…….you can also sit down in their tiny tea room upstairs and enjoy a perfect cuppa and something sweet to go with it.

        Love it! January 10, 2017 at 9:20am Reply

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