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.
There is an 800-pound scented gorilla in the room, and its name begins with an expletive. Fucking Fabulous is the latest release from Tom Ford, a limited-edition eau de parfum in the Private Collection that has people in a tizzy, half of them thinking it’s the coolest thing ever as they rush to buy the scent, half of them decrying the name as being too vulgar for their tastes. I’m not a prude and I don’t care enormously about the name, per se, but I am immensely annoyed by the blatant manipulation underlying it. I’m not keen on the insulting implication from Tom Ford himself (as well as from some fans) that you’ll only find the name to be offensive if you’re a prude, but what really sets me off is the sheer brazenness of their marketing manipulation and the underlying assumption that either you’re too stupid to see it or so “cool” that you don’t care. Amidst the dollar signs in Estee Lauder and Tom Ford’s eyes, layered between their own quoted words, there are loaded assumptions, cynical calculations, dismissals, glibness, generational differences and, worst of all, obnoxiously blatant disingenuousness.
Today, a quick look at Oud Minerale, an eau de parfum which Tom Ford released several months ago as part of his Private Blend Collection and a further continuation of his oud series. Tom Ford says it merges “rare and precious Oud with the fresh exuberance of the ocean, capturing the refreshing play of surf and sea against the burning flame of smoked wood.” While he does not list the specific notes, if you combine the elements provided by Luckyscent and Fragrantica together, the note list looks like this:
Sea salt, aquatic notes, oud, pink pepper, styrax, seaweed, balsam fir, pepperwood or hercules club and ambergris.
Tauer Perfumes enters the Middle Eastern world of attars with a new release, Attar AT. It’s a deep, dark, powerful fragrance centered on smoky woods, vetiver, leather, and smoke in a way that, initially, mimics the facets of genuine oud. It’s the sort of scent that presents such a rugged, self-assured, soft-spoken but powerful masculinity in such a no-nonsense, unpretentious fashion that I think it would appeal to quite a large number of men.