Best of 2018 : 12 Perfumes To Bring into The New Year

Every year when I sit down to summarize the best of the launches, I look at perfumes I’ve reviewed and check my notes for whether I’ve changed my mind about the ratings. Although one could complain about too many launches, too much sameness in the market, too little creativity, the truth is that some fragrances always stand out and demonstrate that it’s possible to be original and interesting even when it seems that all of the possibilities have been exhausted.

I never intend my best of 2018 lists to be definitive, as they’re highly personal. This year I reflected back on what I wore and selected 12 perfumes I’m planning to keep in 2019. They’re not simply well-crafted and memorable; they also spoke to me and helped me create my own fantasies. This year has been a difficult one, but certain pleasures like books, art, music and perfume could make a big difference on even the worst day.

As always, please share your lists. I look forward to them every time. I wish you lots of happiness and good fortune in the new year. 2018 hasn’t been easy for many of us, but it’s my fervent hope that 2019 will be better in all respects. I thank all of you for visiting these pages, sharing your thoughts with me and being the best readers a writer could possibly wish for.

Before moving onto my list of 2018 discoveries, I want to remember Vero Kern, who left us this month. Vero was a bright, generous spirit, and I’m heartbroken by this loss. So I dedicate to her these lines from a poem by Sohrab Sepehri, The Sound of Water’s Steps. It’s my own translation from Persian.

Life was something—a spring rainfall or a sycamore full of starlings
Life was composed of light, toys and liberty
Life was a lake of music—at that moment, it perhaps was.

Chanel Paris-Deauville

A bitter orange color with a mossy twist, Paris-Deauville has more depth and complexity than appears at first glance. Wear it to feel the sun on your skin and escape the doldrums of winter. As I mentioned in my review, it doesn’t evoke Deauville for me, but rather Sicily. Which is a good thing in my book.

Atelier Cologne Café Tuberosa

I didn’t think that sweet, heady tuberose could pair so well with coffee, but Café Tuberosa proved me wrong. Atelier Cologne specializes in airy, bright fragrances, but this particular blend has enough creaminess and richness that makes a toasty coffee note (mimicked by patchouli) a welcome addition.

Parfum Satori Mizunara

Japanese perfumer Satori Osawa blends the aesthetics and techniques both from her native country and France, and with Mizunara she shows what a Kyoto rock garden would look like on the shores of Corsica.  The composition layers juniper with rosemary and sage and wraps the whole thing into soft woods and amber. Elegant and polished.

Hermessence Cèdre Sambac

Hermès’s perfumer Christine Nagel takes the 2018 Hermessence to the Middle East, and I wore all fragrances from the collection this year with pleasure. If I had to pick one I would return to again and again, it would be Cèdre Sambac for its refined pairing of lush jasmine and luminous cedarwood. Nagel manages to make the composition rich and sheer, an incredible feat.

Ormonde Jayne Privé

Privé, the latest fragrance from British indie house Ormonde Jayne is a recap of all of the elements that make its collection memorable. It has such trademark notes as basmati rice, gardenia, frangipani, freesia and woods. The result, however, is not a pastiche, but a journey. Warm, enveloping, and yet full of radiance, as is characteristic of Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes.

Neela Vermeire Niral

Niral is a flower bouquet befitting a Mughal empress. It’s plush and opulent, rich with violet, rose and sandalwood, but what keeps it memorable is a cool touch of angelica. A blood relative of Mohur, the other plush perfume from Neela Vermeire’s line, and also of L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore. Created by Bertrand Duchaufour, who is able to interpret the French-Indian vision of the house’s founder without recourse to cliches.

Aedes de Venustas Musc Encensé

Vanilla, balsams, and woods frame musk in this creation by the cult boutique, Aedes de Venustas. An original twist is a layer of incense that turns musk smoky and dark. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger‘s decision to amplify musk with an almond accord creates the effect of warm skin, which makes the composition seductive and irresistible.

L’Artisan Mont de Narcisse

When perfumer Anne Flipo visited Lozère during the flower harvest, she became enthralled by the scent of the narcissus and created a series of fragrances inspired by this blossom. This year, L’Artisan Parfumeur released her new creation, Mont de Narcisse. Flipo lets narcissus unfold in all of its dark beauty.  She brightens up its spicy facets with cardamom and osmanthus, another floral note that approaches leather, and wraps the soft petals into woods and musk for a velvety finish.

By Kilian’s Noir Aphrodisiaque

Kilian, perfumer Calice Becker and chocolatier Jacques Génin, whose millefeuille is one of the best things one can eat in Paris, offer one of the most delicious perfumes of the year, Noir Aphrodisiaque.  Bitter chocolate, patchouli and petals–and a touch of bergamot for freshness.

Serge Lutens Dent de Lait

Lutens’s confection is for adults only–almond milk, coconut and a generous dose of musk. It starts out sweet, but as the composition settles, the sugar notes melt away, leaving a beautiful, sophisticated accord of milky woods and soft, animalic notes.

Naomi Goodsir Nuit de Bakélite

I thought I had smelled all types of tuberose, from light to heady and everything in between. Perfumer Isabelle Doyen, however, created a total surprise. She made tuberose vivid green, accenting the opulent flower with a whole palette of green notes, from leafy greens to musky angelica. A leather drydown gives this blossom another layer of drama and boldness.

Lancôme Jasmins Marzipane

Lancôme has been one of my mother’s favorite fragrance houses, and she wore Climat and Magie Noire all through my childhood. They were complex, symphonic compositions that French perfumers refer to as grands parfums. In recent years, however, Lancôme has moved away from this style towards cloying gourmand offerings. At first glance, I thought Jasmins Marzipane would be another high calorie blend. Yet, I was mistaken. This tribute to the house’s founder, Armand Petitjean, is plush and refined, with jasmine intertwined around sandalwood, tonka beans and ambery musk. It has modern radiance as well as vintage glamour.

Please take a look at the list of Grain de Musc’s list of 2018 Favorite Perfumes.

As always, please share your favorites. I love learning what fragrances you wore and what discoveries you made. Happy New Year!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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101 Comments

  • Grace: These are intriguing, Victoria! And what a beautiful poem.
    Too bad the only accessible Lancomes in my city are Tresor and La Vie est Belle. December 28, 2018 at 9:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Tresor is still a favorite after all of these years. Some flankers are nice too. January 2, 2019 at 12:39am Reply

  • Carla: I’m sorry to hear 2018 was difficult. I hope the next year is better.
    In 2018 my big discovery was MEM by Bogue, the most beautiful and tenacious lavender with jasmine. I also like Paris-Deauville, perfect for the office (or choir, when I wear a gentle spritz). I do not like Jasmins Marzipan that much although I usually love Ropion’s creations. I bought a travel size blind after Tania Sanchez’s review (and because it is Ropion) and have been trying to like it but on me it is just tropical coconuts. Finally, Ambre Eternel is another new discovery that is interesting to wear in the cold. December 28, 2018 at 10:01am Reply

    • Victoria: I see what you mean about the coconut note. I notice it, but it’s not too heavy on me. Some people complain that the fragrance doesn’t last, and I think that it’s because the drydown is heavy on musk. January 2, 2019 at 12:54am Reply

  • Sariah: I share many of your favorites this year. The Aedes, Chanel and NV in particular. The L’Artisan Narcisse is difficult for me, l find it very dry – amazing that a realistic floral can be that dry, it’s totally unexpected for me. I’m also loving Andy’s new Au Coeur de Desert and Hermès Myrrh Eglantine.

    I wish you the very best for 2019. I can’t tell you how much l appreciate your blog. I’ve been reading you for years and it’s a pleasure to read how you have developed and grown and evolved. I love how you continue to mix in travel in particular. Lahore is now on my (too long!) travel list.

    Do you have any plans to teach another class? I fulfilled one of my travel / experience wishes last year which was visiting the Osmoteque. Really a dream come true. A BdJ class is on the list too!!! Sending you virtual hugs. December 28, 2018 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! I realized about 4 years ago that I have to let the blog evolve along with my own interests, because I do a lot of other writing and work that doesn’t involve perfume directly, but still has a lot to do with senses, art, history. So, it’s a pleasure to share with all of you.

      I very much hope that my schedule makes it possible to teach at least one class next year. I’ll keep you posted! January 2, 2019 at 12:57am Reply

      • Caitlenn: Great to hear. I’d love to learn in one of your classes. So best New Year’s Wishes for now! Plus a note about one very deserving fragrance I found this year that made it all the way to the top slot on my permanent ‘Best Of’ list …. Bergamotto Di Calabria. Luca Maffei &
        Gian Carlo Perris for Perris Monte Carlo. It’s the absolute best Sandalwood I’ve ever enjoyed … the kind that keeps your nose glued to your wrist … all day long! It’s classified as a
        Classical Citrus scent. And it’s uniquely harvested Bergamot is pretty magnificent, too. Yet its endless smoothly sensuous sandalwood is the real star. Highly recommend if you’ve not yet experienced it. I’ve also developed quite an appreciation for the House itself. Their quality is truly extraordinary at much less than the astronomical prices Niche Fragrance Houses have sought to command lately. January 8, 2019 at 9:19am Reply

  • Tara C: 2018 was a very difficult for me too, but some of your favourites also brightened my year: Cèdre Sambac, Agar Ébène, Café Tuberosa, Musc Encensé, Tiger’s Nest, Jasmins Marzipane, Noir Aphrodisiaque, Sucre Noir, Lune Féline and Musc Immortel. Wishing us all a wonderful 2019! December 28, 2018 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Such a beautiful list, Tara! As always we share many favorites. January 2, 2019 at 12:58am Reply

  • Mare: Wishing everyone a great 2019 ! 2018 has been a challenging one for me also.

    My favorites from 2018: Hermessence Cedre Sambac, L’Artisan Mont de Narcisse and Jo Malone Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. December 28, 2018 at 11:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that the new year will be a much better one for all of us! January 2, 2019 at 12:59am Reply

  • Old Herbaceous: Happy to see Jasmins Marzipane on your list, as I liked that a LOT. I also really liked its Lancome sibling, Iris Dragees. I’m so tempted by Mont de Narcisse, as I love the scent of narcissus! I’ll have to discipline myself to get a small sample to see if I really will like it.
    I loved your poetic tribute to Vero Kern; your translation is beautiful. Here’s to 2019 being better than 2018. Can’t complain about the first half of the past year, which brought much joy, but the last few months have been trying. December 28, 2018 at 12:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not all of 2018 has been rough, but some parts of it were. Anyway, made it through, and that’s something to be grateful for. 🙂

      Do try a sample of Mont de Narcisse first. I do like it, but it’s a very personal interpretation of an narcissus note, so it may not be up to everyone’s tastes. January 2, 2019 at 1:01am Reply

  • deborah: I particularly enjoyed returning to vintage Ralph Lauren’s Safari pure perfume, minuscule stash that I still have! It has such a long lasting presence that I still find a bit exotic and sultry on me – I love bringing my wrist to my nose frequently when I wear it. I have been experimenting with layering various essential oils and enjoy the earthiness of patchouli, orange and cedar wood. Thank you for all your brilliant writing about a favorite sensual experience, Victoria! Happy New Year everyone! December 28, 2018 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Layering is so enjoyable and you learn a lot about scents this way. January 3, 2019 at 3:09am Reply

  • Safran: Always looking forward to reading your Best of List! We have only one scent in common this year and that is Paris-Deauville, my absolute favourite last summer. Others troughout the year were Mille Feux by Louis Vuitton (extremely elegant imo), Virgile and Vangelis by Sylvaine Delacourte, Vanhera by Laboratorio Olfattivo (when Eau Duelle seems to nice, I need this), the gorgeous Iris of L’Insomnuit by Piguet, Hermessence Myrrhe Églantine (to me, the little sister of Galop) and Bottega Veneta Parco Palladiano II Cipresso.

    Have a beautiful start into 2019!
    Cheers Safran December 28, 2018 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: A lovely list! I also liked Myrrhe Eglantine, as I did the whole Hermessence collection this year. So nicely done. January 3, 2019 at 3:11am Reply

  • Klaas: Hello Victoria, I’m so sorry 2018 was a difficult one for you. For me it stared out great, but the last few months have been depressing. Lets wrap it up and wish for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

    Your blog is a thing of pure joy! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on fragrance, your travels and your grandma’s recipes. I enjoy all of your posts – they are so inspiring…

    So, I have been sampling myself silly this year, and I’ve come across some great fragrances. Nothing new under the sun, it’s just that I didn’t know them yet. Racine (Maitre P & G), Sycamore, Insence Oud (De Nicolai), Eau de Gloire (Parfum d’ Empire), Harmatan Noir (Parfumerie Generale) and Insence Extreme (Andy Tauer) are the ones that I’ll take with me into the new year. December 28, 2018 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! I always enjoy hearing your thoughts on scents and more as I like reading comments here in general. Much inspiration from your list too! January 5, 2019 at 1:58am Reply

  • Courant: I bought ‘Casablanca’ in the 13ml bottle for my gift to me. Kafka’s review is comprehensive as to notes. The perfume is huge, retro and bold, but not seductive, as it’s too singular. I wore it to a Xmas eve party where there were well heeled business people but I don’t think I’d knock about in it, unless I was a Bon Vivant. December 28, 2018 at 2:43pm Reply

    • Brigitte: I adore Casablanca and have been wearing it daily since it’s release! December 29, 2018 at 3:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds fun! January 5, 2019 at 1:58am Reply

  • Sandra: Hello Victoria!
    Happy New Year too you!
    Besides perfumes, you have encouraged me to discover new books this year. Nur Jahan, was one I loved. Now I am reading The dancing girl of Izu, another recommendation. There are always your skin care posts that I love, and I am still waiting on your Japanese makeup secrets to share. The posts on your travel is also moving, and your visit to Lahore is also timely, given the current state of the world today. I have so many thanks to give to you and all the information from other readers on this blog.

    For me my greatest perfume discovery that is not new, but new to me is when I visited Lili Bermuda in St George. I fell in love with that perfume shop, its history and all the scents they had to offer. Even the men’s colognes made me swoon.

    Cheers to 2019! Take good care! December 28, 2018 at 3:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I’m so behind. I have a couple of hundred drafts to work on, and that Japanese beauty article is one of them. I’ll have to see at what stage it is and try to finish it soon.

      Thank you for sharing your discoveries and for letting me know your favorite BdJ pieces have been. Always helpful! January 5, 2019 at 2:01am Reply

  • Ariadne: Happy holidays everyone and my wish to sll for a good new year!
    V, thank you for working over the holiday and posting your ‘best of’! It’s eagerly anticipated and read!
    I broke out of my fume coocoon and now am wearing VC&A’s Gardenia Petale (gift from my daughter). Luuuuuv it on me.
    Keep on smellin’! December 28, 2018 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also like that perfume very much. January 5, 2019 at 2:01am Reply

  • Matty: I’ve loved reading your “Best Of ” list. December 28, 2018 at 4:38pm Reply

  • Roxann: Sorry to hear 2018 wasn’t so great for you. My 2018 was awesome and looking forward to only better in 2019. I own two on the list and smelled only one other. This is a great list to try to get my nose on the other 9. My favorites of the last year were Pink Champagne Truffle (Panah London), Vanille Iris (Ormonde Jayne), Rhubarb Sherbet (Commes des Garcons), Falling into the Sea and St. Julep (Imaginary Authors), Honey and Crocus (Jo Malone) and Over the Chocolate Shop (4160 Tuesdays). Truly was a great year for fragrance. Blessings and good wishes to all for 2019. December 28, 2018 at 11:01pm Reply

  • Kyahgirl: Cheers Victoria! Wishing you a less challenging 2019 and good health, happiness, and many fine scents of course.
    This list is fabulous and I haven’t run across even one of these but will keep a look out, the tuberose and coffee sounds intriguing!
    Best wishes, Laura December 29, 2018 at 9:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Same to you, Laura! Many warm wishes. January 5, 2019 at 2:02am Reply

  • Alessandra: Man, WHAT an interesting and diverse list! I am desperate to try the japanese perfume… would you be so kind to tell me where I could find it, Victoria? MAny thanks in advance! It will be an incredible cultural experiment I am raring to go for 🙂 December 29, 2018 at 11:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Luckyscent carries most of the line. January 5, 2019 at 2:02am Reply

  • Zazie: Hello there!!! Thanks for the inspiring list. Two new releases stood out for me this year, and we have one in common (Yay!): Niral.

    I wore it incessantly, though it took me by surprise: usually I’m not too fond of the notes listed…
    (But leave it to NV to make me love roses. Mohur is another staple, go figure..)
    I find Niral so beautiful and elegant and comfortable and cozy. It is very glamorous but surprisingly easy to wear.

    Another surprise, even more startling, is Tom Ford’s (silly named) Lost cherry.
    I’m as fond of sweet fruity notes as to be poked in the eye, but after the (fruity but bearable) opening this one is an utterly amazing oriental. Again, so comfortable, glamorous and addictive…I sense a theme here…

    Both Niral and Lost cherry give me some distant “le fruit defendu” vibes… no wonder I fell so hard for both. The discontinued gem is THE ONE, to my nose and fantasy.
    Any perfume that makes me think of red shimmering flashes of light escaping from rubies and garnets is bound to be a winner 🙂
    Wishing you and your dear ones all the best for 2019, dear Victoria!

    Thanks for the inspiration you provide with your posts, I rarely comment nowadays, but always read with pleasure!:) December 29, 2018 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your warm words! I also wish you a great 2019.

      I liked Lost Cherry too, much more than I anticipated. It’s a terrific fruity perfume. January 5, 2019 at 2:03am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: An excellent New Year to everybody! Hopefully, a year in which no new wars break out, and in which longstanding conflicts may be resolved: peace!
    In a faraway other place, in Perfumia, if I look back, I am amazed that this year consistently picked Serge Lutens perfumes, frequently layering them. Then, I slowly acquainted myself more with oud. One perfume which made me really laugh with joy was Hermès “Eau de néroli doré” (dank je wel Klaas!): sunlight in a bottle. Another perfume I discovered far too late: “Mon perfum chéri par Camille” by Goutal: raspy patchouli, dark woody violets. And, lastly, rock bottom purchase this year: a big bottle of “Fleur poudrée de musc” by Les Néréides. Poor ooral hygiene or halitosis—that’s what it smells of … December 29, 2018 at 1:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so glad that your exchange with Klaas worked out and you got to try something new. That’s my own favorite. January 5, 2019 at 2:04am Reply

  • Brigitte: My greatest discovery this year was a tiny indie house called St Clair Scents. I love the aesthetics and love the perfumes because they remind me very much of the now defunct Sonoma Scent Studio offerings. I have two of the St Clairs in travel sprays, First Cut and Casablanca. I would love to own Gardener’s Glove as well because the tomato leaf note is sublime. I am excited to see where Diane St Clair will go in 2019. December 29, 2018 at 1:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m also curious about it. January 5, 2019 at 2:04am Reply

  • Brigitte: Biggest discovery and best was Started Clair Scents, a tiny one woman indie house. Only four fragrances and I love them all and own First Cut and Casablanca. I love the aesthetics of this house and the perfumer’s style which is similar to Sonoma Scent Studio (sadly now gone). Looking forward to any new release in 2019 from St. Clair and thrilled to have found a brand that really resonates with me. December 29, 2018 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Brigitte: St. Clair Scents. The spellcheck on my phone has a mind of its own. December 29, 2018 at 3:03pm Reply

  • Fazal: 2018 has, indeed, been difficult for lot of us. Hard to remember all that moved me this year since I am not really a notetaker but five perfumes that really impressed me this year (not all were released this year) were Diptyque Fleur de Peau, Tempo, Patou Ma Liberte in edp formula, Rigaud un air embaume parfum and original version of Ricci Fille d’Eve parfum.

    Tempo was an unexpected like and I only tried if after Fleur de Peau impressed me. I am not a big fan of patchouli unless when its done really well. Ironically, one of my favorite perfumes is vintage Givenchy Gentleman and it lured me into thinking I like patchouli. But after that one patchouli perfume after another turned out to be a huge disappointment because patchouli tends to overwhelm other notes so I guess there are not many perfumers who can employ patchouli in a skillful manner. December 29, 2018 at 6:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that you like patchouli well blended, maybe as part of an oriental or a chypre accord. On its own it does tend to overwhelm.

      Interestingly enough, I don’t like the new “clean patchouli” essences. They smell too flat and too one-dimensional. January 5, 2019 at 2:07am Reply

      • Fazal: That could be it, a well-blended patchouli. The benchmark patchouli perfume for me remains vintage Givenchy Gentleman, the very first patchouli-dominant perfume I smelled as well as fell in love with. January 5, 2019 at 2:17am Reply

        • Victoria: You have great taste. Many perfumers would agree with you. It’s a classical benchmark. January 5, 2019 at 2:45am Reply

    • Anna Egeria: Fazal, where did you find Rigaud Un Air Embaume? I thought it was discontinued long ago. My mother loved it. January 5, 2019 at 10:52am Reply

      • Fazal: The usual evilbay 🙂 As you might have predicted, it did take me a long time to get it. I had been looking for it for few years. It was easy to get the reformulated stuff (I think from 70s or so) but I wanted to try the original from mid 20th century or so and that is much harder to get. But I didn’t get that iconic bottle with sculptured sides but rather simple bottle though it is sealed (some evaporation though) and contains about 15ml by my estimation January 5, 2019 at 2:34pm Reply

  • AndreaR: Thank you for keeping us curious, delighted and inspired as you shared books, recipes, and travels with us in 2018.
    Wishing you faith, trust and pixie dust in 2019.

    Pure Distance, Opardu
    Heely, Bubblegum Chic
    Aedes de Venustas, Musc Ensense
    Frasai, Blondine
    Clinique, Beyond Rose
    And my very favorite,
    Parfum d’Empire, Le Cri de Lumiere December 29, 2018 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Becky: That is a lovely photograph of you! Thank you for sharing your thought-provoking articles along with gorgeous imagery. Your website is a peaceful oasis for me and many others, I’m sure. I wish you a blessed New Year in 2019! December 29, 2018 at 8:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Becky! Happy New Year! January 5, 2019 at 2:07am Reply

  • Figuier: Happy New Year Victoria! Thanks for a great roundup, I feel inspired to go do some testing. I don’t have many properly recent releases on my list, but some are quite new:

    Tom Ford Vert de Fleur
    Cloon Keen Castana
    Vero Kern Naja
    Diptyque Fleur de Peau
    Bruno Fazzolari Lampblack

    Castana excepted, I don’t see myself with bottles or even decants of these, but I’m very much enjoying my samples for the time being. As the list suggests, I’ve been feeling positively allergic to sweet notes! December 30, 2018 at 7:19am Reply

    • Victoria: You do seem into drier blends right now. A very nice list! January 5, 2019 at 2:08am Reply

  • Eugen: Hi Victoria, I’ve been enjoying your blog for years and thought it would be fun to participate.

    With so many new brands and releases at a staggering rate I’m having trouble keeping up so instead of focusing on the new best sellers I’m discovering some older classics.

    I find women’s perfumes a lot more exciting than what my male counterparts are wearing and I make no excuses for it but for the most part I’ve been enjoying older formulas of Opium, Coco, Addict, Poison, and Cristalle. There’s just something so special for all of those, perhaps I nostalgically remember my mother and her friends expressing themselves with them.

    Bottega Veneta edp, Coco Noir, Angeliques Sous La Pluie, Cartier Les Heures de Voyageuse Ouds and surprisingly the new Tonka 25 are really doing it for me for some more modern releases.

    As far as my least favourite, it seems anything being released by YSL and more specifically the Le Vestiare Des Parfums Cuir is horrifyingly bad. Very mass appealing, a trendy satisfying sweet boozy amber that feels more of a suede than any kind of salty and sultry leather.

    Happy New Year! December 30, 2018 at 8:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I’m glad that you’ve joined and shared your observations on your favorites. As for the duds, I was surprised how much I disliked the recent YSL launches. They don’t seem to live up to their name. January 5, 2019 at 2:10am Reply

  • CC: Dear Victoria and all,
    This has been one of my go-to places almost daily for years now. I owe you all so much pleasure and knowledge. Thank you for sharing the realm of scents so generously – and Victoria, this place of wonder is priceless, and a result of your thoughtfulness. 2018 has been heady and strange, full of highs and lows for many. Here’s hoping 2019 will bring us all a radiant kindness and serenity.
    My discoveries this year are not new, but they filled me with joy: Portrait of a Lady as shower gel – an unbeatable way to start the day and perfume half the house; Guerlain’s Pamplelune, that never fails to shoo away any clouds or grey; and the very last minute December purchase of Soleil Blanc by Tom Ford – truly sunshine in a bottle. On repeat since last year, I wore Heeley’s Sel Marin, and it never failed to colour my days and transport me to the seaside, that indefinite South. All of these were “discovered” here, and in each spray there is a setting, a place, a character, an understanding. Not a bottle but a book – T. Sanchez and L. Turin’s 2018 Guide has been such a source of joy and anticipation.
    Lastly, Victoria’s reviews – sharp and poetic, they are uncompromising in the quality and transport we are entitled to expect from these dreams in a bottle. Thank you, and Happy 2019! December 30, 2018 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I hope to continue to share just as much in 2019, and as always, I appreciate your feedback. January 5, 2019 at 2:11am Reply

  • Neva: Thank you for your list Victoria. I’ll use it as a guide for future sampling.
    This year I’ve been trying out the Zoologist line and liked Camel, Panda and Civet a lot. I finally found perfumes with the notes I have a complicated relationship: an iris – Orris Tattoo from Parle Moi de Parfum and a patchouli – Diptyque’s Tempo. I’m still searching for a tuberose I could love…
    And then there’s Sisley’s Izia, a wonderful surprise.
    I wish you all a great year full of nice surprises! December 30, 2018 at 2:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried Diptyque’s Do Son? It’s a light tuberose. January 5, 2019 at 7:52pm Reply

      • Neva: No, I haven’t but I surely will now. Thanks for the recommendation. January 6, 2019 at 7:08am Reply

        • Victoria: Another old time favorite is L’Artisan La Chase aux Papillons. It’s a tuberose mixed with orange blossom. January 6, 2019 at 10:31am Reply

    • Caitlenn: Here’s a few of my newly discovered Tuberose treasures that might appeal: Le Galion Tubereuse captures the green, dewy freshness expressed by the delicacy of the blossom’s first opening. Xinú (Mexico) captures tuberose in the middle of the rainforest in Monstera. A 2017 Award Winner, Tubereuse Absolue, is where Mathieu Nardin married tubereuse with broom, jasmin sambac, gardenia and orange blossom, among a few other supporting characters, into a gorgeous Oriental for Perris Monte Carlo. It’s been a lovely journey to discover that a flower I actually thought I hated is now a favorite, after I finally had opportunity to experience it in person (and in the ever lovely Do Son) while learning from experts like Victoria! January 8, 2019 at 10:07am Reply

    • Caitlenn: Ooops … minor memory glitch: the Tuberose from Xinu is named OroNardo, not Monstera. Best wishes to all for a 2019 that helps each and every one of us … thrive! January 8, 2019 at 11:30am Reply

  • Lydia: I’m sorry you had a difficult year. I did too – very discouraging and stressful. Thank goodness for good books, vintage films, and beautiful perfume.

    I always love your favorites lists and l’ll be looking for samples or testers of the scents you mentioned – especially the Lancome and Chanel. (Sadly, Nuit de Bakélite went very wrong for me – I actually got nausated and had to throw out both the sample and the bag it was in. Blame it on the angelica, maybe?)

    My favorite perfume discoveries this year were:

    – Vergile and Valkyrie by Sylvaine Delacourte (I actually liked almost all her scents, but those were my favorites).
    – DSH Parfum de Grasse (I have finally found a current scent that smells authentically vintage to me.)
    – Moon Bloom by Hiram Green
    – Mohur by Neela Vermeire
    – Histoires d’Orange by L’Artisan Parfumeur

    Only the Sylvaine Delacourte scents were launched this year – the rest were just scents I tried this year and loved.

    My perfume goal for 2019 is to find a perfect rose scent (rose garden lush heritage rose, NOT refrigerated floral shop clean/woody rose) and a perfect powdery-spicy-floral iris scent (one I can afford without spending my entire annual perfume budget).

    Have a safe and happy New Year. December 31, 2018 at 12:21am Reply

    • Lydia: PS Sorry for the typo –
      Virgile, not Vergile. December 31, 2018 at 12:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Books, movies, all made a big difference too. Hope that the next year will be better for all of us.

      I’ve enjoyed reading your list with its diverse choices. And I hope that you’ll find your perfect rose. January 5, 2019 at 7:54pm Reply

  • Inma: Dear Victoria and all,

    My favorite perfume this year has been Bottega Veneta, I enjoy wearing it everyday. And, following the exploration of iris – that I started reading this beautiful blog – I have asked for these Christmas Yves Rocher Accord Chic.
    One of the big joys in my life is reading you, Victoria. You inspire me so much to go beyond and follow what I already feel curious about. Also, reading the rest of you makes me feel accompanied in my explorations and sensitiveness. So a big thank you to all of you, specially to Victoria. Wishing all of us a new year full of wisdom, sensitivity and determination. December 31, 2018 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Inma! I learn from all of you too. January 5, 2019 at 7:54pm Reply

  • kat: Add me to the list of people not sad to see 2018 pass. At the end of the year I decided to treat myself and purchased Atelier Cologne’s advent calendar. By sheer chance that happened around the time I was looking for a nice citrus fragrance. I really enjoyed their samples – among them Café Tuberosa – and kept a scent diary. I’ll probably get back to some of those scents as my taste changes with the season. The two that really stood out for me right now were Clémentine California and Orange Sanguine. I can’t make up my mind which one I like better and since layering them produces another beautiful scent I might have to buy them both.
    And I would like to add a book that I really loved: The Art of Grace by Sarah L. Kaufman, very inspiring and thought-provoking. December 31, 2018 at 9:39am Reply

    • Victoria: I do like the sample sets like the ones AC provide. Makes it so easy to try perfumes and decide later. January 5, 2019 at 7:55pm Reply

  • Aurora: Happy New Year Victoria and everybody.

    Thank you so much for such a diverse list. I haven’t smelled any of them so I look forward to doing so in the new year,. Of what I have tried I remember mostly Fleur de Peau, it was in summer which seems to suit it very well. December 31, 2018 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: I like it very much! Easy to wear and yet unusual enough. January 5, 2019 at 7:56pm Reply

  • Courant: Clearly you are a woman of taste and refinement. Happy New Year, hope you are wearing Casablanca, as I am today. December 31, 2018 at 3:10pm Reply

    • Courant: Sorry, I thought I was replying to Brigette. I see she has further comments on St Clair perfumes and I am also thrilled to be a follower of that brand December 31, 2018 at 4:47pm Reply

  • Ksenija: Lovely list and as always, I particularly enjoy reading what readers are sharing in comments.
    Although I encountered and sampled multiple new to me perfumes as well as new launches, I can honestly say that I enjoyed only two scents none of which are new or unknown. The former being Mitsouko in edp concentration and the latter Timbuktu. January 1, 2019 at 5:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Rediscovering classics or old favorites is also very satisfying. January 5, 2019 at 7:57pm Reply

  • Austenfan: Love your list, as always. Recently got myself a sample of Niral. It reminds me of La Traversée as you yourself mentioned in your review. Loved the Chanel and was intrigued by Nuit de Bakélite, so unusual and striking.

    Hope 2019 can make some amends for 2018. And very selfishly hope you will continue writing your blog, it gives me a lot of pleasure. So thank you for keeping me entertained and informed! January 1, 2019 at 7:34am Reply

    • Victoria: It does give me much pleasure to write the blog, so I don’t plan to stop it. Thank you for your support and comments, as always. January 5, 2019 at 7:58pm Reply

  • Alicia: 2018 was an extremely difficult year for me, health and otherwise. I thank you for so often
    lighten my clouds with your luminous blogs. You selection of fragrances shall be my guide
    to new scent journeys. Wishing you all the best for 2019. January 1, 2019 at 6:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wish you a wonderful 2019. May the clouds lift indeed. January 5, 2019 at 7:59pm Reply

  • Lily: I am trying to think what I sampled this year and what I decided was worth a place in my wardrobe…both lists are short and heavy on Sephora options. The beginning of 2018 seems so long ago, in part because I spent the year on deep level healing work, and somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving that caught up to me and suddenly the past, and recent past that was connected to older past that had been omnipresent for so long, seemed long behind me and out of sight of my rearview. Time is truly a funny thing.

    Off V’s list I sampled only Cafe Tuberosa and found it fun and lovely but not me, passed the sample to a friend. (Will DEFINITELY be sampling Mont de Narcisse!!!)

    I also tried Atelier Cologne’s Iris Rebelle and passed it to the same friend. Iris as a prominent note continues to be dirty carrots for me.

    Tried eau de merveilles bleu and found it an interesting turn if the original is too somber or autumnal, but not one I needed.

    Ended up with a small bottle of Kat Von D’s Sinner, in the end I didn’t have time to sample around that genre and that one was so good on me I just went with it.

    Otherwise I fell for not new-release fragrances: E&J nirvana black came back around when I found myself actually craving powdery (a new development!), just in time to catch its discontinuation discounts. I sampled Eau de Givenchy at the tail end of summer and can’t wait to revisit this spring when the honeysuckle and green grass will be in sync with the season. I think I love it but need more time with it to be sure, and I just don’t like that kind of fragrance in fall and winter.

    I think that was all I tried or at least all that stood out to me. I acquired my bottles of Galop and ELDO Noel au Balcon, which are both rife with personal meaning for me as part of all my growth work.

    2018 was not a bad year for me but it was a hard year. A year of going inward to some dark places and accepting that I had to heal those before joyful abundance would return for more than just moments. It was also a year that had some of those moments, carefully planned for via travel and energy put into my art, and a year of planting seeds that will hopefully bear fruit in 2019. If nothing else I came back into internal abundance at the 11th hour of the year, and it is a gift beyond price and one that makes me eager to see what the new year holds for me.

    So happy to have this as a salon and community of kindred souls! May 2019 shower all of us with goodness and light. January 2, 2019 at 7:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Lily! Your perfume descriptions are always a joy to read–and so helpful to others here. We all appreciate them. 🙂 January 5, 2019 at 8:00pm Reply

  • behemot: Hello Victoria and all Readers,

    it seems to me last year was quite difficult for many, including myself.
    I wish you all the best in 2019 and a lot of wonderful things to smell.

    Surprisingly (or not) I enjoyed many perfumes mentioned in Victoria’s post. My really favorite was ( and still is) Paris-Deauville which in not only beautiful and elegant, but also uplifting and optimistic for me. Café Tuberosa is one of these scents I would never be interested in, based on its name, but the review encouraged me to try it, and this is a yes. On the other hand, Dent de Lait was a blind purchase, based solely on the description I found on Fragrantica and I love it. (It was a bargain at $51). New Hermessence scents are very good, especially Cedre Sambac. Killian Princess was fun, especially in a small spray from Sephora. Other than that, I re-discovered many fragrances from my collection, including Inoui by Shiseido, a beautiful, discontinued chypre. The funny part about it is the fact that I purchased Inoui for the first time when I was very young and thought it was a perfect fragrance for a person my age. Now , many would categorize Inoui as an “old lady” stuff… The standards are just different for many things, not only for perfumes

    I also noticed a lot of changes in perfume blogs. Once flourishing, some of them became idle or disappeared completely. Thank god, we have Boise de Jasmin and Victoria, and the group of wonderful readers and enthusiasts here. To all of you, Happy and Fragrant 2019! January 2, 2019 at 3:28pm Reply

    • OperaFan: Oh what coincidence! I didn’t read your comment until I posted mine below. You and I both found the same reason to love Paris-Deauville. It really IS a perfect specimen of its genre. 🙂 January 4, 2019 at 3:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that we’re past the time where anyone could start a blog and find an audience. These days it’s very difficult, because the other social media platforms are much bigger–Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. So, many new bloggers get discouraged. As for the bloggers who have been writing for a while, some find it either financially unrewarding or they lose interest. People write for different reasons, and they have different reasons for quitting. It’s important to find a balance, though, since maintaining a blog takes a lot of effort and time commitment. January 5, 2019 at 8:36pm Reply

  • OperaFan: Very late to the party…. 2018 has been a tough year and 2019 will at least have a rough start. Still, I will maintain an optimistic outlook overall.

    Having amassed 3 lifetimes’ worth of perfumes I found it difficult to justify any new purchase. I have managed to sample a few things here and there, and my favorite 2018 release was Chanel’s Paris-Deauville. Maybe the difficult year has made me appreciate its cheerful, optimistic quality. I don’t own it yet, but it is definitely high on my wish list.

    So I am in the midst of rediscovering my treasure trove of vintage perfumes, and 2 that I have worn again and again have been Safari (the early ’90s version both Cologne and Perfume) and an early issue of Passion edp by Annick Goutal which I came across on ebay last Fall. Two gloriously rich chypres.

    I love reading your list, and everyone else’s. And I, too am enjoying the diversification of topics on your blog. Warmest wishes for 2019. January 4, 2019 at 3:04pm Reply

    • behemot: 😀 January 4, 2019 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I’m so happy to hear it.

      I’m also for rediscovering grand parfums like classical chypres. They have so many layers. January 5, 2019 at 8:38pm Reply

    • Courant: My Brother loved ‘Passion’ when I wore it. He died of Motor Neurone Disease two years ago. I haven’t worn it since but it won’t make me sad. I should wear it today! January 6, 2019 at 2:35pm Reply

      • OperaFan: I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I hope that wearing something he loves will bring back happy memories for you. January 7, 2019 at 6:44am Reply

  • Muriel: Hello Victoria,
    I wish you a wonderful new year! and hope it will bring many happy moments!

    2018 took an unexpected turn for me when I discovered… perfumes ! 😀 Of course I knew they existed, but I had long given up the idea of having the smallest interest in them and then, a bunch of lilies woke it all up. Isn’t that a wonderful happening?
    I will take to 2019 the 3 perfumes I loved this year : Angéliques sous la Pluie, Bois Irridescent and Fleur de Peau (I don’t have any other perfumes, so it’s not too heavy), and will cherish your amazing blog and my experience at ISIPCA last summer while looking forward to more discoveries!!
    Lots of love! January 8, 2019 at 7:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Muriel! Sounds like you’ve made a great perfume selection for this year. 🙂 January 10, 2019 at 4:15am Reply

  • John Parodi: I’m starting my year with four newly purchased bottles of scent, I haven’t splurged in two years, not kidding, not even one bottle, weirdly they all have one thing in common…
    1. Black Gold Ormonde Jayne
    2. Au Coeur du Desert By Tauer Parfums
    3. Black No.1 by House of Matriarch
    and last Vetiver Sultan by Nishane. all bought Blindly, All Massive Orientals, all Parfum Extraits, all wear very close to the skin.
    ALL DIVINE! January 10, 2019 at 2:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, you went for the drama! Great choices. January 10, 2019 at 4:19am Reply

  • Ninon: A belated Happy New Year, Victoria! Thank you for all you share with us. I’m sorry that you, too, had a challenging year. With my whole life swept from underneath me, I have come to rely on your blog as a source of grounding and delight. January 11, 2019 at 11:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Happy New Year to you too! I hope that 2019 will be a much better year in all respects. Thank you for your comments, for sharing your thoughts and for visiting. January 14, 2019 at 4:38am Reply

  • Lily: I got my sample of Mont de Narcisse this week and am loving it! It isn’t at all what I expected, though! I was expecting a fairly narcotic or indolic white floral over the ash and leather, as the narcissus flowers here (in bloom now in east Texas) can fill 3 rooms with that aspect from one small bouquet. So while I was desperately curious I was worried it would be simply too much Big White Floral.

    Instead it reads to me as a relative of Chanel 19. Light, subtle floral over leather. It is quiet on my skin, but it blends soooooo nicely on me. It is perfect for walks on late winter mornings that feel like spring. There is a hint of almost iris-y earthiness to the scent, but for me it stays in the right balance to be a beautiful groundwork. There is a smoky aspect that is more like charcoal or actual smoke than most “smoky” perfumes I have tried. I smelled it against the natural flowers (nose to wrist and then nose to blossom and back about 20x), and it is definitely in the same color family. More like a watercolor sheer version versus the almost edible thick hyperreal version of the real thing.

    I am not sure sure on buying a bottle, though my initial instinct is that I will, but I want to wear it a bit more. Figure out how much I have to spray to get longevity as more than a skin scent. See how it behaves in other weather.

    All that said, I think it might be the answer to one of the only perfume quests I haven’t met in the last 3 years of exploration which is: what would a Valkyrie smell like? Quite possibly like this. February 7, 2019 at 10:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a spot on observation. Yes, it’s not a white floral, since the narcissus essence doesn’t smell like the florist varieties. February 8, 2019 at 5:40am Reply

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