What an amazing year it has been for fragrance! For me personally, it has been quite the “nose opening” experience. I attended two fragrance shows in Italy, Esxence – The Scent of Excellence in Milan and Pitti Fragranze in Florence, as well as a visit to British perfume house Penhaligon’s flagship boutique in Singapore! Where ever I traveled this year, my nose seemed to always lead me to a new fragrant discovery. So, as 2014 comes to a close, I have compiled a small list of my top 10 must try fragrances of 2014 (in no particular order). These are the scents that I recommend to friends and family, or anyone who is looking for their next signature scent. Some are new this year and some not so new, but each one has left a lasting impression on me.
Blanche Immortelle, released this year, is the third fragrance in the latest Collection Métal series which includes Gold Leather and Silver Iris. Out of the Métal fragrances, this one is my favourite! It’s fresh and sweet with a mouthwatering drydown. Slightly metallic, as the name of the collection suggests, which adds edge to such a flirty fragrance. In fact, I am not the only one who loves Blanche Immortelle… fellow beauty editor Karine Raymond also fell hard for this Cologne Absolue, as she says that this fragrance doesn’t turn sour on her like so many others do. Win!
Top notes: Bergamot from Calabria, Mandarin from Italy, Mimosa from Grasse
Heart notes: Immortelle absolue from Corsica, Jasmine Sambac from India, Turkish Rose Absolue
Base notes: Heart of Patchouli from Indonesia, Vetiver from Haiti, Santalwood from Australia
Read more of my review here – Perfume Review: Atelier Cologne Blanche Immortelle Cologne Absolue Unisex
My when ever, where ever fragrance! This year I came across this beauty and fell in love. Stockholm-based BYREDO is a niche line that I was not too familiar with until a friend turned me on to it. My first purchase was Black Saffron – a devilishly sweet scent that I pull out for special occasions in the winter. A few months later, I discovered Bal d’Afrique – a multifaceted fragrance that meets my need for fresh, woody and sweet. Inspired by Paris in the late 20’s and its infatuation with African culture, art, music and dance, this is a fragrance that is a mix of two worlds. The intense life, the excess and euphoria is illustrated by Bal d’Afrique’s Neroli, African marigold and Moroccan cedarwood.
Top notes: Bergamot, lemon, neroli, African marigold, Bucchu
Heart notes: Violet, jasmine and cyclamen
Base notes: Black amber, musk, vetiver, moroccan cedarwood.
Le Galion is a historic French Perfume house that recently relaunched nine of it’s original formulas dating back as far as the 1930′s! I discovered Le Galion at Pitti Fragranze and was taken by one scent in particular – Snob. A fruity, spicy and floral fragrance that reflects the high fashion and high society of the 1950′s when women showed a bit more attitude, vaguely haughty and somewhat snobby. Love the name, love the line, love it all!
Top Notes: Mandarin, Bergamot, Saffron, Apple
Heart Notes: Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Iris
Base Notes: Sandalwood, Cedar, White Musk
I was first introduced to Penhaligon’s new The Trade Routes Collection at Pitti Fragranze which included Empressa. At the time, I was probably overwhelmed by scent and didn’t pay too much attention to this lovely eau de toilette. Lucky for me, I had a second chance when I was in Singapore this past October. I stepped into the Penhaligon’s London flagship boutique and was reintroduced to the collection. Empressa became a fragrance that I could not forget and if it wasn’t for my already full and overweight luggage, I would have surely picked up a bottle. Empressa is a a pale fruity – sweet – spicy scent with a short life, but one that is worth a few extra spritzes throughout the day.
Top notes are blood orange, bergamot, mandarin orange, peach, black currant and dewberry; middle notes are rose, geranium, neroli, cardamom, pink pepper and black pepper; base notes are vanilla, cacao, olibanum, amber, musk, woody notes, patchouli and sandalwood.
Read more of my review here – Penhaliogon’s London Singapore
Ramón Monegal Impossible Iris
It is “impossible” not to LOVE this fragrance! I dare you to try. I am not usually a fan of iris scents, but Ramón Monegal Impossible Iris is special! I first discovered Ramón Monegal on a trip to Barcelona earlier this year. There are many reasons to love the Ramón Monegal line, but for me in particular, I love it for its quality, effortless elegance and lasting power. Like with my Atelier Cologne obsession, I have a few favourites in this line which includes Impossible Iris for women and men.
Key Notes: Italian Iris Concrete, Cassie Egypte Absolute, Raspberry, Comoran Ylang-Ylang, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute, Virginian Cedarwood.
Read more of my review here – Perfume Review: Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris.
My first whiff of Olfactive Studio Ombre Indigo was back in March of this year at Esxence – The Scent of Excellence in Milan, Italy. I met with Olfactive Studio creator Celine Verleure who introduced me to the 6th Olfactive Studio fragrance – Ombre Indigo. Olfactive Studio is known for marrying perfumery with photography. Ombre Indigo is the first olfactive imagery in the line that contains boldness, deep colours with a focus on shadows. The photographer is Gustavo Pellizon (São Paulo, Brazil) and the perfumer is Mylene Alran of Robertet.
Top Notes: Petit-grain Bigarade Absolute tuberose Saffron Plum
Middle Notes: Vetiver Essence Papyrus Essence Leather Incense
Base Notes: Benzoin Resin Amber Musk
Read more of my review here – Perfume Review: Olfactive Studio Ombre Indigo.
While sister fragrance from Escentric Molecules, Molecule 02 focuses solely on the ambroxan molecule, Escentric 02 combines this note with vetiver and muscone, a gorgeous natural smelling musk. Orris, elderflower extract and accents of jasmine from hedione add an effervescence feel to this light and refreshing fragrance. Since I was first introduced to Escentric Molecules, I have been fascinated by this unusual fragrance concept. What I like about Escentric 02 is the warmth of ambroxan that surrounds the ISO E Super note. Still simple, yet complex.
Notes: ISO E Super, Ambroxan, Iris, Jasmine
Read more of my review here – Perfume Review: Escentric Molecules Escentric 02 (Unisex)
EVODY is a French fragrance line concerning a family history and tailor-made by a mother/daughter duo. The aim was to create and market innovative, high-quality fragrances. For the creators, well-versed in the luxury market, it was mandatory to select only the best essences for their concentrates. This fragrance line responds to the need for refinement and elegance. I met with Régine Droin (mother) and Cérine Vasseur (daughter) at Esxence back in March and the two lovely ladies walked me through the entire line and explained the very personal stories behind each fragrance. Initially I fell in love with Pomme d’Ore, but later I discovered Fleur d’Oranger in my sample kit and have been wearing it every since.
Top Notes: Bergamote, Mandarine
Middle Notes: Jasmin, Fleur d’Oranger, Néroli
Base Notes: Musc, Bois Blanc
Read more about my top picks from Esxence in – Esxence – The Scent of Excellence 2014 Recap
ARQUISTE The Architects Club EDP *Awarded Ca Fleure Bon Best Scent of 2014*
Back in September, we had a chance to catch up with Carlos Huber at the Pitti Fragranze show in Florence and discover The Architects Club, Carlos’s latest scent! With The Architects Club we are taken right to cocktail hour in Mayfair in the 1930’s as a young group of architects enjoy a frosty cocktail before heading out into the London evening. This is in my opinion the perfect every day scent for a man or a woman. The masculine side of this scent is herbal and fresh, with notes of spicy pepper, juniper and angelica. A softer feminine side sweeps in with soft layers of vanilla, amber, and velvety woods.
Key Notes: Juniper berry oil, Angelica root, Lemon peel oil, Bitter Orange, Pepperwood, Guaiac wood, Oakwood, Vanilla Absolute and Amber.
Learn more about the man behind ARQUISTE here – The Etiket Questionnaire: Carlos Huber of ARQUISTE Parfumeur
Simon and I discovered HEELEY at Fragranze in Florence this past September. What a gorgeous selection of perfumes! There were so many that I loved, but Sel Marin had something special. The ability to transform me to the ocean. I am an acquaholic by nature, so the scent of the sea always brings me back to a feeling of awe, purity and deep respect. Crisp, clean and refreshing notes of lemon mix with aquatic green algae, while notes of drift wood dry slowly in the sand surrounded by salty, sea air.
Top Notes: Lemon, Italian Bergamot, Beech Leaf
Heart Notes: Sea Salt, Moss, Algae
Base Notes: Cedar, Musk, Leather
As you can see, I have discovered some amazing new scents this year, many not included on this list. One important thing I have learned is that my taste is evolving all the time! I remember a time when I cringed at the smell of leather fragrances, now I love them. At one point all I wanted to wear was fresh, fruity scents and now I love oud, and oriental. My fragrance mood seems to change with the winds these days, but I always remember to keep an open mind, or nose I should say. This new year, I challenge you to step outside of your fragrance comfort zone and try something new. Sample a perfume you normally would not dare to try. Wear it, even if you don’t like it at first. Give it a chance and it may just open up a new world of scent that you did not know exists.
Happy New Year and Happy New Fragrance!
The Etiket Insider Beauty Editor