Happy holidays everyone! Regardless of whether you celebrate or what your faith may be, I hope you had a lovely end to the year, and The Hairy German and I wish you all the very best in 2017. May the new year bring you much joy, laughter, love, peace, good fortune, and good health.
I wanted to let you know that, after much thought, I have decided to take a break or sabbatical from blogging. It may be several weeks, it may be a month or two. I haven’t decided yet. When I return, there may be some changes, whether to the frequency of reviews or to some other aspect of perfume coverage, but I haven’t decided that, either.
In the meantime, I will be charging my batteries, doing other things, and disconnecting as much as possible from the internet. I will not be replying to emails, comments, or social media.
Every blogger is traditionally expected to do a year-end review with “best of” lists. I have opted not to do one this year as a detailed, separate post. Instead, I’ll just give you a few succinct lists here without the usual accompanying summations or descriptions. For the “honourable mentions” below, the fragrances are ones which I thought were either solid, nicely done, or good representations of their genre, even if several of them didn’t work for me personally for one reason or another. As always, these choices or lists are purely subjective in nature.
4 Best Fragrances and New Releases of 2016 (in no particular order):
- Bogue Gardelia (oriental chypre like vintage Mitsouko mixed with Maai);
- Sultan Pasha Thebes G1 attar (iris vetiver like Guerlain’s Djedi);
- Sultan Pasha Aurum D’Angkhor attar (floral oud oriental);
- Dusita Oudh Infini. (Floral oud oriental. Oudh Infini was technically released in 2015 but it didn’t actually hit stores until 2016, so I’m putting it on the list for this year.)
Notable or Very Good Fragrances Within Their Genres (in no particular order and regardless of official year of release):
- Aeon Perfume (and Antonio Gardoni’s) Aeon 001 (mossy floral vetiver);
- SHL 777 Taklamakan (smoky, spicy, gourmand oriental);
- Sammarco Bond-T (patchouli with dark chocolate and resins);
- Sultan Pasha Pure Incense, Tabac Grande, Cafe Ambre Noir, and Violette Noyée (styles are, respectively: a dark, masculine incense amber in the genre of Norma Kamali’s Incense; a masculine cigar, booze, and leather fragrance; a unisex coffee, amber, vanilla gourmand; and a floral/floral oriental in the same genre as vintage Apres L’Ondée parfum);
- La Via del Profumo Cuoio dei Dolci (gourmand, boozy, chocolate leather);
- Les Liquides Imaginaires Peau de Bete (animalic, skanky, and leathery musk);
- Slumberhouse New Sibet (iris woody musk, floral leather, and animalic musk);
- Hiram Green Dilettante (citrus fruity floral and floral oriental);
- Neela Vermeire Rahele (a green, woody, and peppery fruity-floral opening later transitions to a fantastic middle and drydown, thanks to roses, violets, jasmine, patchouli, and sandalwood); and
- Dusita‘s upcoming La Douceur de Siam (an addictive, delectable, creamy, lush, and very feminine fruity floral that will undoubtedly be on my list of best 2017 new releases, so I’m cheating in mentioning it now, but it was an instant love and one of my favourites ever since I tried it several months ago. My standard rule is not to cover fragrances until close to their release date, which is why I haven’t written about it yet, but since it was one of my favourite things, since it’s been widely circulated in sample form since the Pitti show in September, and since I may still be on break when it finally launches officially, I thought I would mention it here at this time).
Honourable Mentions (in no particular order and regardless of release date):
- Masque L’Attesa (iris woody musk);
- Dusita Melodie de L’Amour (white floral);
- Eris Parfums Night Flower (patchouli floral oriental);
- Nobile 1942 Patchouli Nobile (smooth patchouli soliflore);
- Xerjoff XJ 1861 Naxos (tobacco floral oriental); and, finally,
- Atelier des Ors Larmes du Desert and Lune Feline (incense woody amber, and animalic, musky vanilla gourmand).
Personal Fragrance Obsession of 2016:
Every year, there is one fragrance that seems to become an obsession above all others for me, that I want to wear nonstop in every moment of personal free time when I’m not testing fragrances for the blog. This year, it was very aged, vintage Shalimar from before the mid-1970s, in both extrait and eau de toilette form. An ancient bottle of the extrait that subsequently turned out to be from the 1930s or 1940s was the very best thing I’ve smelled in years, perhaps decades. Before then, I had disliked Shalimar in its post-1990s modern formulations and, while I appreciated the non-extrait versions from the 1980s, experiencing the richest concentration from such an old bottle, aged for 70 or 80 years like the finest cognac, was something else entirely.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that, to me, it was a completely transcendental, earth-shattering experience. Whatever I thought I had known about Shalimar was wiped away and changed with that bottle. Really ancient Shalimar is truly a world apart from the modern scent. Nay, galaxies away. Fully unisex, sometimes masculine in some ancient bottles, and always of a completely different quality level than the modern scent, really old Shalimar is redolent of blood-red roses, leather, expensive fur, smoke, dark musks, incense, Earl Grey lemon chiffon mousse, molten resins, and so, so much more.
It triggered a months-long obsession that shows no signs of subsiding. Every night, I go to sleep enveloped in the sweeter, tamer, and more vanillic EDT version from the 1950s to the mid 1970s on my sheets and pillows; every free moment I get, I wear the opulent parfum; and I continue to compulsively buy more bottles of both concentrations in the oldest versions that I can find and afford. Consequently, the “obsession of the year” award goes to really ancient, vintage Shalimar, my favourite thing that I tried this year and, in its 1930s-1940s extrait form, one of the most magnificent, breathtaking, and stupendous fragrances that I’ve ever tried, period.
So, that’s a brief summation of the year in fragrances. My Teutonic Overlord and I wish you all the best new year, and we will see you in 2017.