Welcome to the year in review, a look back at both the best new releases of 2017 and the noteworthy releases from prior years which I tried this year and enjoyed. Before I start, though, let me say first that I’m operating at a bit of a handicap because I took a long sabbatical for the first half of 2017. I spent the next six months after my return trying to catch up on, test, or review all the new fragrances that I had missed during my break as well as the ones released subsequently, but I’m sure I’ve missed a few great ones along the way. It’s not easy to put a dent in the tsunami of 2,300+ fragrances which are released each year even when one is reviewing nonstop, never mind when one takes a break from modern perfumery. Even so, I found a number of fragrances that either I loved immensely, that I thought were good representations of their genre, or that I thought were original and executed extremely well.
Today, I wanted to take a quick look at four attars, Musk Rose, Sicilian Vanilla, Phoenix Amber Oud, and Yeti Ambergris, from the American indie brand, The Rising Phoenix Perfumery. Each one has something appealing or interesting about it. Musk Rose is a chypre-oriental-musk that was chosen as a finalist at the 2016 Art & Olfaction Awards. It layers several complex attar blends over a truly lovely rose bouquet that blew me away, and I’m saying that as someone with well-known rose issues. Sicilian Vanilla is a delectable, perfectly balanced gourmand-oriental centered on beautifully smoked, oak-barreled Bourbon vanilla with tobacco, singed woods, and nuances of black tea and autumn bonfires. It’s bound to be a hit with anyone who ever wanted a rich, long-lasting, heavy version of Aftelier‘s Vanilla Smoke or a good vanilla-tobacco fragrance. Phoenix Amber Oud attar would appeal to fans of Profumum’s cult classic, Ambra Aurea, thanks to its dark, chewy, mixed amber accord infused with smoke and oud. Finally, Yeti Ambergris attar takes vintage Mysore sandalwood and combines it with a famous piece of ambergris that was featured in the book, Floating Gold.
Sometimes, when I wear La Douceur de Siam, I’m reminded of the famous Forrest Gump line about life being like a box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re going to receive.” In the case of the Dusita fragrance, it’s not chocolates with different fillings but, rather, a tropical fruit salad. Like Gump’s box of chocolates, it sometimes opens up to reveal unexpected surprises, though, at its core, its fundamental essence is always the same: fruity, tangy, tart, and zingy sweetness with a profoundly exotic character. Pissara Umavijani takes this fruity core, layers it with frothy, luminous, tropical florals and creamy vanilla mousse, anchors the bouquet on a base of Mysore sandalwood, then envelops everything in airy clouds of soft benzoin amber and spices for a scent that is always fun, bright, and exuberantly happy. The end result often reminds me of another fragrance, Neela Vermeire‘s Bombay Bling which several bloggers used to characterize as “Prozac in a fragrance bottle.” I think La Douceur de Siam has a similar tropicality, character, and effect.
It’s not often that I come across clear evidence of fragrance dilution and reformulation within so short a period of time as a mere two years, but it happened this week. Two bottles of Parfum MDCI‘s Chypre Palatin, purchased roughly two years apart, are unquestionably different in both their visuals and their scent.