Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of 2009


Oh, what a year! It was definitely a good year for perfumery, with many new perfumes that are worth writing about. 2009 was also an overwhelmingly busy year for me in every possible way - both professionally and personally. A lot of work, a lot of travel and a lot of change. I can't say that I had a chance to test even a minuscule amount of the many fragrances that came out this year. The opposite problem from last year, when I had to scrape the bottom of my memory to put together a list...

Favourite New Perfume:
Si Lolita. I enjoy every sweet pea and spice moment it has to offer. I think I will be running out of this one about as fast as I did with L from the same house. The elemi note in here is so wonderful!

Funnest packaging:
Si Lolita. Excuse my repetition but it’s true. The bottle is whimsical,


Best Sequel of the Year:

I was intentionally ignoring those, so no comments this year. I find it disconcerting that the Harajuku Lovers Snow Bunnies smell the same but have different outfits. I think that’s outrageous.

The Classic Discovery of the Year:
Eau d’Hermes. With its sultry, slightly salty culinary cumin and lemon on top of immortelle and jasmine this scent refreshingly unique and timeless.


Favourite New Niche Perfume of the Year:
Emotionelle by Michel Roudnitska, has a gorgeous melon or rather cantaloupe note paired with sultry jasmine and sensual violets. It’s hard to believe these will get along, but they sure do. And the result is magical, a little disturbing, like striking the right chord in the right time. It reminds me of the warm sun settling in the west after a hot spring day in Southern France.


I also really enjoyed Champaca Absolute, even though I find it a tad too artificial to my taste. But it certainly made 2009 more bright and cheerful.

And than of course there’s also Manoumalia, which won my heart long ago when the year has just began…

Note of the year:
Cantaloupe. It keeps attacking me from every possible direction, and every time I fall in love with it again. I’m yet to post a full blog about it and why this all happened, but it has a lot to do with my visit to Grasse in May.
The other note I paid more attention to this year which I also work with is tobacco. I love it and am glad to find more layers to it than I have before – both when formulating with it and when experiencing it in perfumes. I enjoyed a few tobacco scents this year - Gabriel's Aunt Bohem candle, Tabac Aurea by Sonoma Scent Studio and Field Notes from Paris by Ineke.


The Surprise of the Year:
Hermèssence Vanille Galante. Who would have thought that a scent with such a name will smell like lilies, cantaloupe and salted caramel?! I thoroughly love it.

The Re-Discovery of the Year:
I absolutely love Bois des Iles. I worn it a lot this year, and it is more versatile than I imagined.

This Year's Change-of-Heart:
Clary sage. I used to not be able to stand this note and now, after shaking hands with it in person in Grasse, France I noticed its similarity to bergamot and tea, I am truly enjoying smelling it on its own and working it into some of my compositions.


Ambivalent Entries:
This year there are a few new scents I can't decide how I feel about - I swing from loving them to feeling ambivalent or disappointed.

Sweet Lime & Cedar Smells either exotically fresh and invigorating with the kaffir lime, coconut and cedar; or too artificial, tame and Westernized with the gardenia and musk taking over, as if shutting the kaffir lime notes so they don't get too weird.

Private Collection Jasmine White Moss first smelled amazing, like an old classic expansive fresh-chypre; but than smelled too flat and synthetic. A few more wearing will seal my final verdict.

A Scent by Issey Miyake is a little odd, and has something special about it. It is how I would imagine a tea garden to smell at the top of a mountain. But than it also smells quite sharp, too sharp; or other times it feels too floral and perfumey... I still can't decide if I like it or not. And I feel the same way about the bottle - it's clean-cut but also a little too cold and crude.

Celebrity Fragrance Release:
I was conveniently ignoring those most of the year. But I did enjoy Sarah Jessica Parker’s Twilight. An ambery floral, with an incense and frangipani feel to it. It’s warm and diffusive and a little too synthetic to my taste. Yet I wish it was launched on its own to get more attention rather than along with those two generic meh scents it was surrounded with (and probably were a lot more popular too).

Favourite New Natural Perfume:
Scent Systems’ Oeillet was launched in 2006. But I didn’t try it till this year, so to me it’s completely new. I’m mentnioning it here because I think it’s one of the most stunning natural perfumes that can be found in the world today. Dusky, salty and sensuous in a surprising way and nothing like what you’d expect from a scent that has the name carnation all over it.

I also quite enjoyed Demeter's Vintage Naturals, even though none was extremely surprising or original they were all well-done. My picks would be Vintage Naturals Mimosa, which is more of a white floral; and Vintage Naturals Geranium.

Favourite New Perfume for Men:
Field Notes from Paris by Ineke, although it is just as gorgeous on a woman (I love wearing it myself) is the best new scent that men can enjoy from this year releases.

The Ugly Duckling of the Year:
Cannabis Rose by Fresh. It's not as pretty as its sisters from the same genre (Narciso Rodriguez for Her or Lovely), but it has an edge to it. It's interesting and it's more patchouli than rose.

The Disappointment(s) of the Year:
Coming back from Paris only to discover that my Sous la Vent bottle cracked… Thankfully, I was able to save the jus.

As far as perfume releases go, I was disappointed of
Narcisso Rodriguez’ Essence, which comes in a disturbingly intriguing bottle but smells like an old aldehydic fragrance that was stuck on the shelves for too long.

Also, Nuit de Cellophane turned out to smell like shampoo, rather than osmanthus. But my Japanese friends told me that osmanthus in bloom smells kind-of artificial actually… Yet in a most beautiful way. I am yet to discover this for myself.

Favourite Scented Body Product:
J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream smells like lemon wafers and is rich and smooth yet fast absorbing. The shea butter gives it a heavenly quality. And did I mention that the scent is just to die for?
I’m also still smitten with the summery Terracotta Eau Sous La Vent
And last but not least - Velvet & Sweetpea's Tuberose & Gardenia Whipped Body Frosting, hand-whipped by Laurie Stern herself.

Best Organic Skin-Care Line:
New Zealand based Carol Priest creates hand-made organic skin care that has the right consistency, texture and scent. I’m particularly enamoured with a few of them. The lavender and active manuka honey facial cleanser leaves the skin soft and seems to melt away make up residues. The rosehip and vitamin E regenerative night cream is rich but easily absorbed into the skin and although it does not seem to have an impressive scent from the jar, it turns into a wonderful Melissa (lemon balm) scent once applied to the face, which helps me fall asleep… The jasmine floral tonic water spray is cheerfully refreshing, and the marshmallow root day cream
which smells beautifully of jasmine as well. The line is free of parabens and synthetic chemicals, and mostly seems to be scented with pure essential oils only (I’m a little confused about a couple of the products which indicate “fragrance” as an ingredient – the rose body lotion is one example).

Favourite Scented Candle:

I’m partial to my own candle line (Bois d’Hiver in the winter time and ArbitRary in the summer time). This year, Gabriel’s Aunt Lemon Bar by Gabriel’s Aunt (who also hand-pours my own candles) captured my attention and satisfied my eternal craving for buttery lemon wafers (here we go again!).


Promising new line:
Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Scents I wish I tried but haven’t yet:
Two new agarwood fragrances: Aoud Leather by Montale and Soivohle’s all-natural Oudh Lacquer (and a few others by Liz Zorn). The list goes on with Ormonde Jayne's Tiare and Andy Tauer's Un Rose Chyprée.

Most Fabulous Fragrant Moment this Year:

Sitting among the roses awaiting distillation in the rose fields' extraction plant in Grasse, France.

Most worn this year:

Bois des Iles
Le Parfum de Therese
Si Lolita
Un Jardin Apres la Mousson
Aveda Key Element Fire No. 3
And my own Hanami and Les Nuages de Joie Jaune in the spring, and Espionage and Ayalitta in the fall.

Read the best of the best for 2009 lists of other participating blogs:

Perfume Shrine

Mossy Loomings

1000fragrances

Bittergrace Notes

Shoes,cake,perfume

Scent Hive

Eiderdown Press Journal

Olfactarama

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal

A Rose Beyond the Thames

The Non Blonde

Notes from the Ledge

Under the Cupola

All I am a Redhead

Perfume In Progress

Savvy Thinker

I Smell Therefore I Am

Labels: , , ,

10 Comments:

At December 31, 2009 1:31 AM, Blogger Rose said...

hello- great to find your blog via the best of the best. I am going to need to try Si Lolita- it's obviously quite something! A sweet pea note sounds delicious. I am big fan of the Ineke scents too. Hope 2010 is a very good year for you

 
At December 31, 2009 8:42 AM, Blogger Perfumes Bighouse said...

Hi Dear!
FELIZ ANO NOVO! Beijocas de Elisabeth

 
At January 01, 2010 10:31 AM, Anonymous Thierry said...

Hi Ayala,

Like you, I love Eau d'Hermès by the great Edmond but you made a mistake with your illustration. Parfum d'Hermès isn't the same perfume at all.
I may understand that your trip in Grasse is marked in your memory.

Thierry from Paris

 
At January 01, 2010 2:07 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Rose, you really should try Si Lolita. It's so easy to wear and a little different from all those endless sweet florals out there. Quite refreshing to have something more dusky and spicy, yet light enough to wear day or night or anywhere really.

 
At January 01, 2010 2:07 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Elizabeth, Happy new year to you too!
xoxoxoAyala

 
At January 01, 2010 2:09 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Thierry,
It was so great to meet you in Paris, even if for just a short time. This was an unforgettable visit to France! I want to come back there as soon as possible because there is so much more to see and smell. But first I should get some French under my belt... It would be really handy.

And you're right about the image, so I deleted it. Strange we don't have Parfum d'Hermes here in the Hermes boutique; and the Hermes website makes no mention of Eau d'Hermes.
Is it that obscure?

 
At January 01, 2010 2:09 PM, Blogger Ayala Sender said...

Thierry,
It was so great to meet you in Paris, even if for just a short time. This was an unforgettable visit to France! I want to come back there as soon as possible because there is so much more to see and smell. But first I should get some French under my belt... It would be really handy.

And you're right about the image, so I deleted it. Strange we don't have Parfum d'Hermes here in the Hermes boutique; and the Hermes website makes no mention of Eau d'Hermes.
Is it that obscure?

 
At January 01, 2010 11:31 PM, Blogger Qwendy said...

Ayala, that picture of you is one of my faves of the year, it looks like a French film from the 50's! Your outfit, the hat, expression, the carriage and the roses, what a grown up fairy tale! Happy fragrant new yearf to you!

 
At January 02, 2010 3:28 AM, Blogger Ines said...

Very interesting list of the best of 2009. And I love that you listed Si Lolita - one of the releases this year that is in my wardrobe as well. :)

 
At January 04, 2010 8:52 AM, Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

Simply exhaustive darling! I was sitting there nodding my head and agreeing with most (I was also thinking about Si Lolita, it has a bracing mothball strangeness in the start which is surprising, but I couldn't locate my sample to re-indle my memory...)

That photo of you with the roses is truly magnificent!

 

Post a Comment

<< Home