Adios 2007, Bring On 2008
It’s that time of the year again, when it’s coming to an end and we all feel we need to figure out what happened in it. The more I tried to think about it, without looking at my perfume collection, the more I realized that I simply can’t recall a scent that was released this year that truly rocked my world. I enjoyed many perfumes this year, just not new ones really. Even though I can’t say I haven’t tried. In desperation, I went to Basenotes’ fragrance directory to see what was new this year. It was early December, and there were already 499 new fragrances to choose from. This is actually pretty good, last year there were 643! But I have a feeling that perhaps the Basenotes team was just too overwhelmed with the new releases and haven’t finished enering it all, as other sources tell me there were about 800 new releases.
I scanned through the several pages of perfumes and fragrance houses, trying hard to avoid staring. Somehow, even though there were less than last year I just wasn’t able to bring myself to be interested. And that is, I think, the most remarkable thing about 2007. The sense of saturation and exhaustion is finally starting to sink in. The huge variety, instead of creating excitement, is bringing on my face the reaction of a bored “next!”. So I’m sorry to say, there is not going to be very much new here for you to read. As far as trends go - I think Robin of Now Smell This summed it up pretty well saying “fruity florals are on the wane, but they're not going to be replaced by variety". We’ve seen more of the so-called “pink chypres”, which are to me not much more than a fruity floral with a dry woody base.
In such an environment, it is really hard to get excited about anything. This perhaps is most obviously reflected in the recent action (or lack of action) on many formerly active and enthusiastic fragrance blogs. It just seems impossible to cover it all and at certain point, the hunt for new fragrances loses it’s appeal and is replaced by a new form of olfactory fatigue… As a result, I personally find myself becoming more introverted and just minding my own business (literally) and wearing more of my own perfumes as well.
All I can say is, bring on 2008, and let’s hope it’s going to be a lot more exciting year for fragrance world wide. I would love to see more free thought and less commercialism; more sincerity and less commercialism working behind the scenes and coming through in the scents that are put out there; less celebrity fragrances (or, at least, let’s see if they can at lease smell different for once) and more fresh ideas to kick in to the fragrance market’s blood stream…
I tried hard to come up with a “best of” list though, and make it as close as possible to last year’s, so at least you can have something to compare it too… So there you go:
The Discovery of the Year:
Bois des Isles
After years of ignoring and mostly “not getting” this beauty (disregarding it for its aldehydic floralcy which I usually don’t care much for), I fell in love with the suave, mellow, mysterious accords of this unusual beauty. Sandalwood, aldehydes, a sprinkle of spice and the mysterious allure of ambrette seed are what makes Bois des Isles’ quiet beauty irresistible once you finally notice it. It is abstract and timeless, and despite the fact that it is a very intelligent scent I consider it a comfort scent.
I finally gave in and got the last bottle from the Chanel boutique, a formulation that was discontinued, sadly, due to the big buzz around the Les Exclusifs (shame!).
Favourite New Niche Perfume of the Year:
Cognac from Aftelier brought me back to the olive grove and the scent of crushed green olives when preparing them for pickling. The cognac note is not so dominant as the notes of olive fruit absolute, oliander, ginger and orange. There is so much olive in this that if you happen to lick your nose after sniffing you’ll find it terribly bitter.
The Surprise of the Year:
DSquared2 He Wood
I did not expect much from this scent, but instead of just another designer fragrance with an advertising campaign more appealing than it’s smell, He Wood actually smells like something I could wear…
The Re-Discovery of the Year:
(And by this I mean a scent I haven’t worn for a long time and re-discovered it’s beauty this year).
Nuit de Noel
I have found myself cuddling in the dark, inky fur of Nuit de Noel several times this autumn and winter…
Celebrity Fragrance Release:
I would have chosen Prince’s 3121 even if just for my love of the musician… But alas, the bottle did not stay on my shelf for very long. Instead, I passed it on to my brother, which I’m now regretting. He loves it and everytime he puts it on the entire house smells like it…
Another disappointing celebrity fragrance is Sarah Jessica Parker’s Covet. Although it’s not as unoriginal as most celebrity fragrances, it completely failed to excite me on any level (except for the fun photo shoot me and my brother did, parodying the packaging of the compact).
Most worn this year:
The perfumes I have been wearing the most this year are also more simple, and tend to be more dry than sweet. I think the top-worn are:
L de Lolita Lempicka
Bois des Isles
Nuit de Noel
Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
The Disappointment of the Year:
2007 was full of disappointments, but the highlight of them all was in no doubt Les Exclusifs de Chanel – not only because they fell short from their mark, but also because of the manner in which the original “exclusives” (i.e. the Rue de Cambon fragrances) were treated as a result – the parfum extrait discontinued in favour of the watered down eaux de toilettes.
The Proud To Ignore Line of the Year
Tom Ford Private Blend
Even if I had it nearby I wouldn’t be rushing to the stores to try it. And for sure I would not be supporting this line. Like many other women, I feel that the ads for his new men’s scent were distasteful and demeaning for women… And if I may add, the fact that they come from a gay designer does not make them any less offensive.
Favourite Scented Body Product:
Lemongrass Sugar Scrub (Crabtree & Evelyn) with its creamy, buttery texture not only polishes the skin but also gives it a smooth, soft texture and is wonderfully scented with lemongrass and what to me smells like frankincense and peru balsam.
Favourite Scented Candle:
Diptyque’s Figuer was a nice candle for spring and summer, and as in last winter, I’m still enjoying Annick Goutal’s Noel candles, with their sweetly coniferous fir scent that fills the room without overwhelming it.