Everyone of consequence in the perfume blogging sphere comes up with lists of the best and worst at the end of the year. I am not of consequence and anyhow a bit out of step. Not impressed with Narciso and not a fan of the rapidly metastasizing Francis Kurkdijian display at Neiman Marcus. I like the sparkly light frags he specializes in, but not endlessly. A gal’s got to wear something other than the perfume equivalent of sequined pasties and ostrich feather thongs you know-even if she currently lives in Jersey! Though it is only fair to say that the husband thought he could see an upside to the style.
This was the year in which I really went and explored the offerings of US perfumers and I have to return to that exploration at the end of the year and say again how impressed I was. Most impressed by how well two genres of fragrance had been mastered by these perfumers: the floral oriental and the floral aldehyde.
Neil Morris is fast becoming my go to for modern floral aldehydes. Thank goodness, because I was beginning to think that no modern perfumers were pushing that envelope. He is though and the results are impressively wearable. Try Intimate Lily, a fragrance that combines aldehydes with water lily while the heart is lilies of the valley and Casablanca oriental lilies. The base is musk sandalwood and vanilla. It’s so lovely and so easy to wear. He also does Le Parfum C’est Ma Vie with raspberry, aldehydes and warm narcissus and peony bouquet over the woody dry down he favors. His prices, by the way, are very fair though his website can be difficult.
I am lastingly impressed with Shelley Waddington. She is a real talent to watch. It’s not just Zelda, her original magnolia oriental, but also her Go Ask Alice patchouli mix, and her chocolate perfumes, combining floral notes with edible ones in truly innovative melanges like Indigo Vanilla. This woman is a sorceress with oriental notes whether floral or spicy. She’s reasonable as well, and I worry that one day her prices will shoot up.
Then too I fell in love with Aftelier in 2014. I suppose everyone does sooner or later but this is a house that is practically unavoidable to anyone who loves fragrances and flavors. Mandy’s perfume work is so rich and resonant now that I can hardly see the point of non naturals. Her flavored oils as well are something not to miss if you cook, nicely profiled by Kafkakaesque.
Also there’s Providence Perfumes whose Osmanthus Oolong became a rainy day staple for me, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz whose perfumes always have been in my wardrobe, and my newer discoveries of Soivohle Perfumes. I love Liz’s Rasbberry and Black pepper fragrance and her Rosa Sur Reuse. (Notice though once again the floral oriental prevalence?). Jeffrey Dame’s Black Flower Mexican Vanilla struck me as being one of the best of his new company, and also impressed vanilla lovers like Vanessa at Bonkers About Perfume and my daughter the vanilla addict.
Belatedly I will say that I also liked one of the Diana Vreeland releases. The Yves Cassar composition Absolutely Vital is yet another oriental floral with vanilla and sandalwood mixing in with the expensive jasmine and rose of its core, but this perfume is made of unusually good materials for a mainstream release, and will probably not remain unaltered.
Not as long lasting as its fellows because the scent contains more naturals, this is expensive but not unfairly so for the quality. Try this. All the rest of the line is good but is much more derivative. Only this perfume struck out on its own. Give AV a sniff.
Bottom Line, not everything worthwhile is sold at exclusive new York or LA boutiques. You can find top notch perfumes at US perfumers’ sites and you owe it to yourself to look. You will love what you get, you will not smell like chemicals, and you will save money. What’s not to like here?