Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best-of-the-best for 2009

I've been asked to participate in this group blog, thanks to Perfume Shrine! Other participants are mentioned at the end of this post.

As an aside, though: At the moment, I can’t smell anything, or talk at all. I’m grouchy. I have some kind of horrible flu. A hoarsely whispered plea to modern parents: puh-leeeze don’t bring little Colebrook or Morgan to Christmas parties, if they’re sick! Even if their sniffles are adorable. Some of us just don’t have much resistance to these day-care epidemics. OK, ‘nuff said.

On to more pleasant things!

Best Perfume Trends:

It appears as though the market share of the mainstream anybody-famous-will-do celeb-scent is beginning to diminish...right? Hello? Hello?

Best in Niche:

Does Amaranthine count? How about Citizen Queen from Juliette Has a Gun? Manoumalia? Le Labo, well, just about anything? Patricia de Nicolai? It has been a pretty good year for niche. 

Best Mainstream:

Um, wait, don’t tell me....don’t tell me! Ok....I hear the new Cartiers are pretty good but I haven’t had a chance to smell them yet.

Best Vintage Finds this year:

It was a very good year. Real Joy perfume. My Sin in perfume -- I’ve said it before and will again: a mink stole in a bottle. Teatro Alla Scala from Krizia, a new discontinued discovery. Woodhue: orange, sandalwood and a glorious drydown that is so not-modern. Old Cotys like L’Origan (in perfume) and L’Aimant (in any form). Finally, some vintage Cabochard perfume (a mini). I’m collecting. Not hoarding, just collecting.

My mother’s (and grandmother’s) elaborate costume jewelry from the 60’s, a la “Mad Men.” I never thought I'd wear it. But it's so amusing, a little campy, especially at parties.

Best Packaging/Advertising:

I love the bottle and box for Field Notes From Paris. And I think that virtually all perfume advertising (especially television) is silly at best, gag-inducing at worst (here’s looking at ya, Parisienne!)

Best in Home-Scenting:

Diptyque’s Opoponax, hands down, thank you Elena!

DIY: a favorite fragrance in an aromatherapy diffuser, with a base of Neutrogena's fragrance-free body oil. (A hint: works on skin, and hair, too.)

Notable Perfumers for their Excellence in 2009:

Sandrine Videault for Manoumalia: I love the idea of anthropological perfume. I hope there will be more from her.

Andy Tauer: Still the smartest one, the most linked-into the early adopters (that’s you, btw, if you’re reading this.)

Best Brand Revival:

Penhaglion, for Amaranthine.

Um, not exactly a revival, but it sort of feels like one, doesn't it? From staid and stuffy to Amaranthigh?

Best Hype:

Tom Ford. Tom Ford. Tom Ford. Tom Ford. Tom Ford. Can you hear me yet? Tom Ford. Tom Ford!

Best scent-related realization:

That I’m different now, because of this constant luxury.

That it is possible to feel glamorous at 3 in the afternoon while wearing flannel pajama pants and a paint-stained T-shirt (and perfume).

Best Admission from within the industry:

That the IFRA just might have gone a lee-tle bit overboard when they put vanillin in the crosshairs. (Hey, wait a second; don’t we put this stuff in food, by the ton!?) Ooops. We don’t really want to mess with the likes of of Archer/Daniels/Midland, do we? Um, no. Never mind.

For immediate release: Regulations pushed back to April.

And an honorary Worst Piece of News:

Is this news? Or just a rumor? Have the Patricia de Nicolai fragrances been reformulated as per the new regs?

Best Perfume Term Coined this year:

“Hiney.” From Perfume Posse. (As an example of the use of “Hiney” in a sentence: “It’s a very fine floral, with top notes of bergamot and aldehyde, followed by rose, a bit of musk, beautifully rounded and anchored with that ever-so-subtle note of Hiney.”)

Best Inexpensive Finds (beauty & scent-related):
Cucumber and white musk shower gel, at Walgreen's.

L'Oreal Original Voluminous Mascara. It really works.

Always and forever: Prestige Eyeliner Pencils. Lots of colors. Drugstore. Cheap.

Best Light Reading: Hmmmm. Don’t do much “light,” except for armchair travel, and the best of these are Paul Theroux's. Just finished “The Happy Isles of Oceania.” Dying to go native in the South Seas? Read this first!

Best Gift I Got: A bottle of Amouge Lyric for Women, from my beloved DH, for my birthday.

Best Episode of “Mad Men”: “The Grown-ups.” Where were you on November 22, 1963? Not born yet? No matter. You'll feel like you were there.

What were YOUR favorite finds this year?

Surprise packages from perfume pals. “You’ve gotta try this!” from people whose taste I trust and admire. In this way, I’ve discovered Le Labo’s Patchouli 24 and Le Poivre, Teatro Alla Scala, Torrente d’Or, Cuir Maresque, AL Midnight Violet, Rochas Mystere, vintage Balmain de Balmain, TF Japan Noir and many others.

Some real-life perfume pals. Some real life pals now getting seriously into perfume.

Scarves and gloves, from the back of my closet.

Rosine’s Rose d’Homme. Le Labo Patch 24. LL Rose 31. Coromandel. TF Arabian Wood. Creed's Bois de Portugal. And Timbuktu.

A long, midnight blue velvet dress I wore to a Christmas gala this year, with opera-length black velvet gloves.

That I still love vintage Bal a’ Versailles as much as I ever did.

More participating blogs on these links, please don't forget to visit:


Suzanne said...

Great list -- and the thing I'm most jealous of: "A long midnight blue velvet dress...with opera-length black velvet gloves." Ooh, sounds amazing! Which 'fume did you wear with it?

Scent Hive said...

I think Tom Ford heard you!!

Happy New Year Olfacta, love what you do and keep on doing it :-)


Elizabeth said...

I have also become a huge fan of Prestige eyeliners! Thanks for the list, which was a great read. :-)

Rose said...

sorry you have lost your sense of smell- it's so horrible for a perfume fan!

I am a big Penhaligon's fan and am very happy everyone is enjoying their stuff this year so much.

Happy new year and it was fun being part of the best of best with you

Olfacta said...

Hi Suz -- It was Amouge Lyric for Women -- my lush-est. I'd hoped to wear the dress again for New Year's Eve. Instead, I'll be spending it in a terry cloth bathrobe, wool socks and my bottle of Lenny Bruce Memorial Cough Medicine by my side.

Good to hear from you!

Olfacta said...

Hi Trish -- Thank you and Happy New Year to you as well!

Olfacta said...

Hi E -- I'd much rather buy inexpensive cosmetics and save the money for perfume...thanks for the comment!

Olfacta said...

Hi Rose -- Here's hoping it (the sense of smell) will come back soon, along with my voice. Happy New Year to you!

brian said...

You continue to be one of my favorite blogs, Olfacta. Your mix of culture, scent, and personality is so perfectly judged, like a good perfume itself. You drag it all in, in just the right proportions. I'm so happy you do it. I just wish I'd had more time to enjoy it most of the year.

You know, I'm really curious about Teatro. I read about it and see it compared to Opium, Coco, Cinnabar. How do they relate? Luckily, it's still available.

Happy New Year. Can't wait to work on a project together somehow.

Olfacta said...

Hi Brian --- Thanks! Stay tuned; I'm going to write about Teatro.