Tauer, Tom Ford, Euphorium Brooklyn, Morph & Elisire

I’ve tried a number of fragrances that didn’t work for me over the last eight months, but not all of them were actually bad scents. Although I scrubbed all of them off, a few were things that I actually think some of you might like quite a bit. The problem in each case (for me) was that the fragrance had one or more elements which pushed one of my hot button issues, and did so in a way that not only felt imbalanced but, quite frequently, also made the scents physically difficult to test.

Perfume reviewing is a wholly subjective thing that is dependent on individual tastes, experiences, and skin chemistry, but it’s not easy to write about scrubbers in exhaustive detail, one after another. (And I’ve gone through a lot of scrubbers in the last 8 months that I haven’t talked about.) For many of the fragrances mentioned in this post, I lacked the heart and will to write thousands of words for one of my usual reviews, and didn’t want to cover them even in one of my short(er) Reviews en Bref because I wasn’t keen to relive the experience. Yet, as I said, some of you might like a few of the fragrances quite a bit — like the new Cilice from Euphorium Brooklyn which should appeal to lovers of dark, smoky, woody, and campfire fragrances. Two of the scents are things that I would sincerely recommend to people with a very particular taste set to try for themselves.

Cilice from Euphorium Brooklyn. Source: Twisted Lily.

Cilice from Euphorium Brooklyn. Source: Twisted Lily.

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2014 In Review: 30 Personal Favorites

Source: designzzz.com

Source: designzzz.com

My list of favorite fragrances that I’ve tried this year is quite different from yesterday’s list of the best new releases of 2014. The latter centered largely on scents that I thought were good, very elegant or interesting representations of their genre, regardless of whether they were my personal cup of tea, and they were only things that debuted in 2014. Today’s list is purely about what I really enjoyed and does not consider the date in release at all. So, this time around, there are very few qualifications and caveats, and the vast majority of these fragrances are things that I bought for myself, am thinking about buying, or would love to buy were their price not a consideration.

You will notice that a good number of the fragrances are not complex masterpieces at all, but quite simple in nature. One reason for that is that I love cozy, comfort scents, and they are generally not very nuanced or multifaceted to begin with. Plus, mindlessly simple but really well-done fragrances that combine richness with soothing warmth are, in all honesty, a huge relief to me after a long day where I do nothing but analyse every nuance and change in a scent for hours (upon hours) on end.

Ferdinand Leeke,  "The Last Farewell of Wotan and Brunhilde," (1875). Source: Wikipedia.com

Ferdinand Leeke, “The Last Farewell of Wotan and Brunhilde,” (1875). Source: Wikipedia.com

A few other points. As always, I have to repeat my mantra regarding the subjective, personal nature of reviewing in general, and how a list like this is even doubly so. With regard to the rankings, it’s always an utter nightmare, but the Top Ten chosen here are generally quite firm in order. There is a bit more leeway with the next 10 names, as a tiny handful could go up or down one to two places of where they are at the present time. I’m most undecided about the placement of the last 10 which are the most subject to fluctuations in order. One reason why is because perfumistas are a fickle bunch who can change their mind from one month to the next, and I’m no exception. The other reason is that I’ve gone back and forth on a few scents, switching their places repeatedly until I just gave up in the end. So, for now, this is where things are, for the most part. Finally, you will notice that some of my summary descriptions are verbatim from my list of best, new releases of 2014 or from my mid-2014 best or favorites list. My apologies in advance. Covering almost 60 fragrances in two days is rather an exhausting process, so I hope you will forgive me.

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Tom Ford Patchouli Absolu

Source: ebay.uk.

Source: ebay.uk.

The latest Tom Ford fragrance is a personal love note to patchouli that seeks to reinvent the genre. In Patchouli Absolu, Tom Ford says he’s used a “breakthrough new material” and untraditional construction, in addition to piling on layers upon layers of patchouli, in order to create the ultimate soliflore that amplifies his “beloved” ingredient’s inherent characteristics in the most refined way possible.

Source: Brownthomas.com

Source: Brownthomas.com

To an extent, he succeeds quite well, which means that Patchouli Absolu is a scent that only a true “patch head” would love. I’m one of those people, and, yet, I’m not in love with the fragrance. I expected to be, because there are few ingredients that appeal to me more than true, brown, spicy patchouli. Unfortunately, I found the latest Private Blend to fall a little short. It’s a nice fragrance with some truly lovely parts, but it’s not a patchouli that I would wear myself. Continue reading

Favorite Florals: Listed by Flower

Source: designzzz.com

Source: designzzz.com

I’ve been thinking lately of the fragrances I enjoy within specific floral categories. It started, in part, because a friend of mine is slowly expanding beyond his comfort zone, and tipping his toe into a whole genre of fragrances that he had previously avoided. In general, though, I’m frequently asked, “what’s your favorite _____?” amongst the vast selection of rose, gardenia, orange blossom, and other florals out there. So, I thought I’d do a list, based primarily on one criteria: what I personally adore and reach for, own as a full bottle, or want to buy for myself. In several instances, however, I’ve included what I think is a good example of a fragrance within that floral genre, even if it doesn’t work for me personally.

Jasmine peacock created from jasmine flowers. Source: Hdwallpaperes.com

A peacock created from jasmine flowers. Source: Hdwallpaperes.com

As always, I have to emphasize that perfume reviewing is subjective and personal by its very nature, so winnowing fragrances down to a personal favorites list like this is even more so. A few other things to note: I’m not going to cover every possible category of floral (or else, this list would be endless), and, to the extent possible, I’m going to stick to soliflores (or fragrances centered predominantly around one flower). As a result, many scents that I love are omitted solely by virtue of being very mixed in focus. (For example, my beloved Alahine from Teo Cabanel; Puredistance‘s delicate Opardu; Amouage‘s stunning chypre-oriental hybrid, Fate Woman, or its Ubar, a larger-than-life, yellow and gold, 3D floriental powerhouse.) Also, I should emphasize that perfume lovers can be very fickle creatures. What I’ve listed is what comes to mind today, and it might not be the same next week or even next month.

Finally, because this is all so personal and subjective, there will be omissions from the list that might surprise people. For example, I simply do not think much of Portrait of a Lady or Carnal Flower, period. It is heresy, I know, but neither one impresses me, so I’m not including them in their respective categories of rose or tuberose. After all, this really is about what I like or think is good, right? Finally, the fragrances within each category are not ranked by order (so it mean nothing if a scent is put at #1 or #4), and I’ve also tried to avoid the vintage category wherever possible.

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