Perfume: best of 2011

I thought 2011 was a really great year for mainstream perfume, maybe not so hot on the niche side. Way too much new product has become the norm and hardly seems worth mentioning, but in 2011, just keeping track of all the new niche brands (is there a private citizen left in all of Italy without their own niche line?) was a struggle. As I said last year, I have given up on smelling everything that matters. I smell what I can and try not to worry about the rest. So once again, to all of my picks below, add “of what I managed to smell”.

My choices for the year are just below. Scroll down to see what Angela, Erin, Jessica and Kevin thought was noteworthy in 2011, or click over to Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Perfume Posse or Perfume Smellin’ Things. And of course, do add your own thoughts in the comments.

My favorite niche fragrance of 2011: Parfum d'Empire Azemour Les Orangers. Last year, there was an embarrassment of riches in this category and it was hard to narrow down to a favorite or two. This year, if I had not smelled Azemour in December, I really don't know what I would have picked.

The best mainstream fragrances: On the other hand, it was a very good year for the mainstream prestige category. My favorites turn out to be two from the "upscale sweets" category, Prada Candy and Thierry Mugler Angel Goût du Parfum. Honorable mentions: Bottega Veneta and Cartier Baiser Volé.

Did what they were supposed to do: Hermès Un Jardin Sur Le Toit, Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau, Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude, Diesel Loverdose, Tom Ford Violet Blonde

Particular disappointments: Prada Infusion de Rose, Chanel Jersey

Not quite as good as they should have been: Jo Malone Tea Fragrance Blends, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soleil

I've already forgotten what they smell like: Burberry Body, Givenchy Dahlia Noir

Best celebrity fragrance: Of what little I smelled in this category, I'm going with Jennifer Aniston, which was, mind you, no more than adequate. I have a feeling Rihanna would have given her a run for her money if I'd managed to get samples.

Best commercials: Once again, I thought the big-name-big-money efforts — this year, that would include Keira Knightley for Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Natalie Portman for Miss Dior Chérie and Emily Blunt for Yves Saint Laurent Opium — were duller than they should have been. My favorites this year were a trio of commercials that focused on brand (and humor) rather than star power: Prada Candy, Valentino Valentina and Jean Paul Gaultier Kokorico.

Best packaging: Jean Paul Gaultier Kokorico, with a nod to Harajuku Lovers Super G.

The We-Just-Can't-Stop-Ourselves Flanker Name of The Year: Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Things Noir Tease Temptation. I double dog dare them to add a word in 2012. Victoria's Secret Sexy Little Things Noir Tease Temptation Intense?

Cheap thrill of the year: The Body Shop White Musk Libertine.

Clive Christian award for aspirational pricing: DKNY Golden Delicious Million Dollar bottle.

Perfumer of the year: Andy Tauer. I do not like everything he makes, but Tauer Perfumes is exactly what an indie niche brand ought to be, in every possible way.

Angela’s Best of 2011

Favorite department store releases: Bottega Veneta is almost chokingly lush with suede, jasmine, apricot, and patchouli. I wear it at least once a week. Oscar de la Renta Esprit d’Oscar isn’t quite me, but I find myself sneaking night-time spritzes from time to time. Maybe I need a bottle after all.

Favorite drugstore releases: Love’s Baby Soft Jasmin. A Harlequin romance of a fragrance. Dana English Leather isn’t a recent release, but I appreciated it anew this year for its pure, fresh lime and wood.

Favorite niche and luxury releases: Neela Vermeire Créations Trayee for its intelligent, complex incense. Aftelier Secret Garden for its succulent romantic flowers. Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Vanille for its ability to waken the nose to the green, woody aspects of the people’s favorite, vanilla. Guerlain Arsène Lupin Dandy for a fragrance that, like Cary Grant, can go anywhere, anytime.

Old loves rediscovered: Gosh, I love Rochas Femme. Sure, I can only dip my toes into her cumin-enriched peach-oakmoss goodness, but oh how those toes tingle. Nina Ricci Fille d’Eve is an equally difficult but rewarding love full of sweet baby scalp and moss.

Bonus loves of 2011: This year I discovered Jonathan Latimer, a crime novelist in the 1930s and 1940s. Lady in the Morgue and Dead Don’t Care are tremendous. Check out Mabel Seeley, too, a 1930s-40s gothic suspense writer who set many of her novels in rural Minnesota. Other newly discovered loves: old muslin sheets, Monica Castiglioni rings, vintage Georg Jensen necklaces, and Self Service magazine for iPad (free!).

Erin’s Best of 2011

After the surprises of 2010, this year played out the way I (cynically) expected: a few interesting launches from consistent lines, a large number of indistinguishable mainstream releases that smelled like shampoo and some terrible reformulations. Overall, I thought it was a disappointing year — but the older fragrances I finally caught up with and my many incredible friends in the perfume community easily made up the interest shortfall.

 My 2011 favorites were: Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau and De Profundis, By Kilian Sweet Redemption, Parfums de Nicolaï L'Eau Chic and Parfum d'Empire Azemour Les Orangers. There were a few everybody else enjoyed and which I didn't like at all, including Prada Candy, Bottega Veneta and Cartier L'Heure IV Fougueuse. My favorite purchases and most worn fragrances of the year were Ormonde Jayne Frangipani and Dior Dune.

Jessica’s Best of 2011

Looking back on my reviews from the past year, I see that I was more often disappointed than delighted by the new launches I tried. However, there were a few pleasurable exceptions. In the niche fragrance category, Annick Goutal’s Mon Parfum Chéri, par Camille swept me away with its velvet-and-spice opulence. My favorite “indie” release was Sonoma Scent Studio’s cozy-yet-complex To Dream, and of all the natural fragrances I tried, Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s To Bee made me smile with its sunny sweetness.

I was happy to see that Lush continued to bring back former B Never fragrances (like Cocktail) under its newer Gorilla Perfumes brand, and I was sad to realize that Crazylibellule and the Poppies had closed its doors. My favorite scented body products ran the gamut from Duchess Marden’s high-end Damascena Body Serum to Salma Hayek’s drugstore Nuance line. I closed the year on an extravagant note, however, when I purchased a deluxe Tocca candle in a transporting tobacco-vanilla scent called Marrakesh. Wherever you spend this holiday season, may you be safe, serene, and well-scented.

Kevin’s Best of 2011

Kevin's favorites

It’s been a bad year for mainstream, and niche, men’s fragrance releases!* (Even brand-new scented candle releases didn’t thrill me.) Most of my 2011 perfume purchases were replacement bottles of old-timers. My favorite fragrance release of the year: L’Occitane Immortelle de Corse (reviewed in full, so I shall say no more). Erik Kormann Eau de Fröhliche (frankincense, raspberry, chocolate notes) and Olivier Durbano Citrine — a wonderful mossy-waxy ‘dark’ citrus — are making my credit cards twitch. Last-Minute Honorable Mainstream Mention: Ben Sherman Eau de Toilette (an interesting woody citrus with hay, coffee and vetiver notes… to be reviewed soon).

This all-around difficult year has taught me to be thankful for what I have; and, as far as fragrance is concerned, there are plenty pre-2011 perfumes in existence to satisfy me for life.

*the ones I’ve had the chance to try, anyway….

Shop for perfume

Luckyscent Parfums Raffy

159 Comments

Leave a comment, or read more about commenting at Now Smell This.

  1. lucasai says:

    I fully agree with Kevin! He’s 100% right! It’s been and awfully bad year for men’s fragrance releases.
    Come to think about it – particularly small number of male perfumes were released this year (wouldn’t you agree? There weren’t many)
    Many of them were just trying to copy something we already tried and know.
    My personal favourites this year are Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense & Dsquared2 Potion. I can’t even think of any other perfume this year that are significant to me and to my nose.
    Hope 2012 will bring some wonders in male perfumery

    • Robin says:

      Oh yes, I agree too — very few men’s launches at all, and what there was, wasn’t spectacular. I don’t think Kevin got to smell the DSquared at all…so far as I know, it is not in the US yet.

      • lucasai says:

        Exactly! This year was lacking some spectacular male fragrances. Only Prada and Dsquared2 drawed my attention so much I decided to buy full bottles.
        That’s too bad Kevin didn’t have a chance to try it yet. It’s even more bad it’s not available in the US.
        I feel comfortable enough with Potion to write a review of it if it is of any help.

        • Robin says:

          That’s so kind of you! Unfortunately we really don’t do “guest” reviews. Kevin will get to it eventually :-)

          • lucasai says:

            I was rather thinking of writing few words of my opinion on Potion directly to Kevin via mail if he wishes so, than writing a whole “guest review” that could’ve been published here

          • Robin says:

            Sure, you could do that!

          • lucasai says:

            If Kevin would be interested I’ll be happy to help. I guess you know how to contact me

  2. Luccia says:

    love the bonus loves of Angela’s–

  3. lovethescents says:

    My goodness, am I the only one who didn’t adore Bottega Venetta? It didn’t work on my skin at all. I love these lists, I always have so much fun reading them, and am also reminded of the year’s releases :-) My top picks are:
    -Violet Blonde
    -Vitriol d’Oeillet
    -Nectar des Iles
    Mona’s Vanille
    Armani La Femme Bleue
    PG Indochine

    Happy New Year!

    • Robin says:

      No, Erin says (above) that she didn’t like it either!

    • mals86 says:

      I keep trying to like Bottega Veneta. Can’t.

      It’s either the patchouli overdose or the raspy-powdery thing. Or both.

      • Robin says:

        I think it’s terrifically well done, but I am not dying to own it — hence it only got honorable mention from me.

      • StinkPretty says:

        I know EXACTLY what you mean. I do enjoy the first few minutes of it very, very much, but within the hour, it has become Gucci Rush–all way too sweet for me. If only it would stay on its top notes. I have to say, though, that I am quite pleased with Mary Greenwell Plum, which sadly got no mention today, and with my purchase of Cartier’s Baser Vole.

        • Robin says:

          I still have not tried Plum! And that was 2010, so it’s even worse.

        • mals86 says:

          LOVE Plum. But it was 2010, true.

          • Bela says:

            Oh, just. It came out a little before Xmas 2010 and the purse spray, for instance, didn’t make it until well into 2011.

          • mals86 says:

            I was sampling it at the end of November 2010.

      • Lil says:

        Mals, I don’t like BV either, so you have company on that one. Chanel Cuir de Russie still reigns as my favorite leather.

        • mals86 says:

          Sadly, I do not like Cuir de Russie either… it smells like our cattle working pens to me. Ew. Cuir de Lancome, that’s more my speed!

      • Sapphire says:

        I am relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one who didn’t think Bottega Venetta hung the moon. It is almost there for me, but there is a sharp edge I just can’t quit wrap myself around. I just prefer a softer leather scent (Cuir Beluga, though I am still having a hard time convincing myself that I was right to blow that much money).
        Best candle for me has been Marshmallow Fireside from B&BW. Sweet, but with a slight woodsy, smoky edge that keeps it from being cloying. If you can still get it at their big year-end sale, it’s great.

      • boojum says:

        Definite patch overdose on me. I’ve only tried it once, though, so it will get another chance…some day.

  4. Abyss says:

    For me, 2011 will be remembered for 3 things –

    1- The year when all 3 of my favourite houses managed to let me down – Amouage Honour, Chanel Jersey (and lets not forget the No19 flanker too!) and Hermessence Santal Massoia were all disappointing. The first two particularly so.

    2-The year when, in break with tradition, I liked both Lutens releases. I thought Jeux de Peau was great fun and, well, I’ve been unable to shut up about Tubéreuse Criminelle ever since I sniffed it.

    3- Bottega Veneta. Out of everything I got to sniff this year, this is probably my best new release. And it’s mainstream!

    P.S. after reading Robin’s glowing review of Azemour Les Orangers I went to PdE website only to discover that they have a very affordable sampling programme. All 13 fragrances for 16 Euros! I fully intend to order mine in the next few weeks.

    • Robin says:

      Worth it — the whole PdE line is very much worth trying, IMHO. I don’t love them all, but there isn’t a “stupid” fragrance in the bunch.

      I am sort of pissed about Tubereuse Criminelle. I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to hit the export line, but in my mind the SL fragrances were still around $80. Guess it’s been awhile since I looked at the prices. Oops! Now I’ve got to talk myself into $140.

      • odonata9 says:

        Or just wait for the next parfum1 sale! It’s $128.50 and 10% off that right now. I got my Chene earlier this year when they had the 20% off deal.

        • Robin says:

          Good point! Although really want it for $80, LOL…the last time I shelled out for Serge fragrances, I got them for half price anyway — I think they were less than $50 each. I’m really a tightwad now when it comes to perfume.

      • Abyss says:

        SL pricing is all over the place here and ranges from 65 – 105 GBP for reasons that are not immediately obvious (cost of raw materials in each scent, perhaps). TL is is one of the pricier ones but not as bad as Bois de Violette.

        Oh and I’m a complete tightward too. Even though I will be getting it with some goft vouchers that I was given and not ‘real’ cash, I’m still wondering if I should wait until the shop have their 10% off beauty & fragrance promotion :D Just trying to weigh up the benefit of saving £7-8 vs the risk of it possibly selling out before that.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Thank you so much for sharing that information, Abyss!! It did make me go “duh!” that I didn’t think of going there first. Happy New Year!

    • ggperfume says:

      Thanks for the tip on the PdE sample set, Abyss. The price is so right. . .

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Damn! Add me to the list of PdE lemmings!

    • Abyss says:

      I’m always happy to enable :D I remember checking their website a while ago (1, 2 years?) and don’t recall seeing this programme back then so I figured that it might be a relatively new development and possibly worth mentioning in case, like me, others weren’t aware of it either.

    • Lil says:

      Oh, that No. 19 Poudre, such a shame. I saw it in Bloomies, mistook it for the reissue of the No. 19 EdP, and sprayed away. Won’t make that mistake again.

  5. Rappleyea says:

    I’m usually working a year or two (or three!) behind, so my best “discoveries” of 2011 were actually prior releases: AG Myhrre Ardente and Mecca Balsam. Love them both!

    My favorite 2011 release though was SSS Fig Tree. The first fig that I want a FB of.

    The big 2011 scents that I did manage to try – Bottega Veneta, Mon Parfum Cheri, and Jeux de Peau did not work for me at all. I do NOT want to smell like the Karmel Korn end of the mall. ;-)

    • Robin says:

      It’s crazy to try to keep up any more. I don’t. There are whole niche brands I haven’t tried, and even whole lines from mainstream brands — I think I’m nearly the only blogger who hasn’t tried those Cartier Heures. My motto now is that if it comes my way, fine, but I’m not chasing things down anymore.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Yeah, it’s no longer fun if you feel like a hamster on a wheel! :-D

        But I really do appreciate all of the New Releases articles here. At least I can read the notes and the fun Eau Faux copy and decide if a scent should at least go on “the list”.

        • Robin says:

          We are definitely doing Prix Eau Faux this year :-)

  6. mals86 says:

    Best of the year? hands down, Tableau de Parfums Miriam.

    Others I like a lot: SSS To Dream (I’d forgotten that was this year, I had remembered it as the end of 2010), Esprit d’Oscar, Prada Candy, and Jeux de Peau. The latter two are sort of “guilty pleasures,” and I don’t think I’d enjoy wearing them except at home, so they’re not very practical, but gracious, they’re fun.

    Well-done but not me: Bottega Veneta, DSH Pandora.

    • Robin says:

      Miriam was also terrifically well done. But totally not me! I still need to try Esprit d’Oscar, and the newer one, Live in Love, which I haven’t heard so much about yet.

  7. I’m thrilled to see Azemour and Mon Parfum Chéri get a lot of love: it’s so good to find a proper, full-fleshed modern chypre, let alone two… Like you Robin, I’ve pretty much given up on checking out everything (and writing the book really slowed me down a lot), but I’m happy with what 2011 had to offer… My rediscovery of the year was Erin’s: Dior Dune. It may have taken a few knocks but it’s still compelling and deeply weird…

    • Robin says:

      Glad there are still Dior fragrances that have not been destroyed! I have not tried Dune in years, I should revisit.

  8. Angela says:

    I love reading lists like this. The only disappointment is realizing how many fragrances I haven’t tried: Mon Parfum Cheri, Azemour les Orangers, the new Aromatics Elixir, and even L’Heure Fougeuse being a few. It’s something to look forward to, I guess.

    • Robin says:

      Me too! The Aromatics Elixir is esp. silly since I’ve been close to a Clinique counter plenty of times — I just keep forgetting.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Robin, if I had to guess, I’d say you’ll like the new AE Perfumers Reserve.

        • Robin says:

          Hopefully I’ll remember on my next mall trip, if the darned stuff isn’t already gone!

  9. Bejoux says:

    Love Bottega – it feels very l’adylike’ compared to my usual choices but lovely. Biggest disappointment was Prada Candy – as a chemist friend said regarding the lack of sillage – it’s far too heavy to fly! Mary Greenwells Plum is well worth a try – very nice indeed.
    Desperate to try De Profundis. And loved the book additions!
    For a combination of crime, magic and history try Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch.

    • Robin says:

      I’ve seen so many people say that about Candy! But it also made lots of end-of-year lists. Must be a love it or hate it :-)

  10. victoriaf says:

    I was shocked at how poor the men’s market was this year. I could only come up with Kokorico as a men’s targeted launch I liked.

    All in all, plenty of interesting discoveries this year.

    • lucasai says:

      This is sad, but true. Oh, I didn’t have a chance to give Kokorico a try. I haven’t seen it on the shelves of Douglas or Sephora, It’s probaby not available in Poland yet.
      My two 2011 favourites include Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense & Dsquared2 Potion.
      Can you tell something more about kokorico?

    • Robin says:

      I still haven’t smelled Kokorico. I do love that bottle.

      • lucasai says:

        Neither have I! And yes, the bottle is great

  11. Lil says:

    One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the year’s end “best of” lists, whether about fiction, film, or fragrance. I am accordingly revising my must-try/second chance list to include Prada Candy, which I thought too sweet initially, PdE Azemour, SL Jeux de Peau, which I dismissed as too buttery, and the Guerlain. Happy New Year everyone, and have a safe New Year’s Eve!

    • lucasai says:

      Hope you change your mind about Prada Candy and you’ll find it interesting after all. I really think it’s well done fragrance. Would wear it if I were a woman ;)

      • Lil says:

        Hey, who says you can’t? Chandler Burr worships Angel. My husband recently bought Tom Ford Violet Blonde for us to share.

        Not saying everything on the opposite wall of Sephora is a switch hitter, but hopefully most are. ;)

        • lucasai says:

          I guess you’re right, some time ago I wore Mugler’s Angel few times, because to me it smelled quite man-lish. Maybe I’ll check out of curiosity how Candy works on my skin, or maybe I could layer it with something from my collection.
          I must say violet blonde is great, when I first smelled it I thought it was male/unisex fragrance. Must try it again

          • Lil says:

            Maybe layer Candy with one of the CdG Incense series, if you have one of those?

          • lucasai says:

            unfortunately I don’t have any of those

    • Robin says:

      A very happy New Year to you as well!

  12. Kelly Red says:

    Best frag commercial has to be Red Flag!! Oh, wait, you meant only serious ads.

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/red-flag/1358178

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Oh, too funny! Thank you for sharing!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, that was awesome — loved it.

  13. Happy New Year to everyone! Great lists! I am going to 4th or 5th the Esprit d’Oscar and Prada Candy – lost track…but they are both very “wearable”. They don’t replace any of my old favorites though.

    M favorite commercials were the Old Spice Guy ones and I even enjoyed the Old Spice Guy war – Fabio vs. Isaiah Mustafa!

    • Robin says:

      I liked the Old Spice war too, and the Old Spice Xmas series.

  14. Marjorie Rose says:

    This was my first year as a full-attention perfumista, so for me, new releases were less attention-grabbing than those discoveries which are starting to define my fragrance style!

    Scents I’ve discovered and fallen hard for this year:
    vintage Shalimar (I think my bottle is from the 60′s?)
    OJ Woman
    Amouage Memoir (I have lived for my little samples. . .some day it will be mine!)
    FM Lipstick Rose and L’eau D’Hiver
    AT Une Rose Chypree well may be adding to that list. I’ve nearly used up the little spray vial in less than 2 weeks!

    In the “maybe I didn’t need a full bottle” category:
    MJ Bang–I think it’s fun, but not versatile
    B. Paris–I like it, but I’m not wearing it as often as I expected to
    Guerlain Vetiver–which has become a room spray

    I have smelled and passed on Prada Candy, Boneta Venetta (which I admit, I don’t even remember), Chanel no. 19 Poudre, Jeau de Peax, and Baiser Vole.

    Best discovery of 2011? This wonderful community at NST! Thank you all so much for your tireless answering of questions, generosity, senses of humor, and constant abilities to surprise me! Really has added so much to my life, even if it takes away from my bank account! :) and :8]

    • lucasai says:

      thank you so much for being here too.
      Let’s all spend another fragrant year at NST together!

    • Lil says:

      Congratulations on perfumistahood! You have excellent taste, and you smell good.

      Just got a sample of Amouage Memoir Woman, looking forward to sniffing it. Thanks, by the way, for your info re ordering from Ormonde Jayne — now I’m just waiting for the right time (=excuse) to order a Discovery Set.

      I wanted so much to love Bottega Veneta, after everyone’s enthusiasm over its leather, but it gave me a scent headache and wound up a scrubber.

      • lucasai says:

        We’re a big perfumistas family, aren’t we Lil?

        • Lil says:

          Isn’t that the truth! Except without the attendant familial dysfunction. The perfume community (perfumity commune?) is as nice as its gets.

    • Robin says:

      Marjorie Rose, how nice — glad you like it here!

    • Meg says:

      Out “pass” list is the exact same! and I was so excited to smell them all too because there were generally good reviews across the board.

    • nozknoz says:

      Marjorie Rose, I’ve been appreciating your comments – glad you are here!

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Thanks! It’s mutual!

  15. Erin says:

    Ahhhh, so satisfying to check all the year-end lists. Who really cares if there was anything worth smelling – there’s always a bunch of great things to read! I loved the private italian citizen niche line comment and think the new flanker name category is a winner. Thanks to Angela for reminding me I forgot Espirit d’Oscar and to Victoria for picking De Profundis and Sweet Redemption. (And thanks to Daisy for the De Profundis sample!) Other happy news: Andy as your perfumer of the year, Denyse also re-discovering Dune, March and Marina saluting old loves, etc. Happy holidays to everyone – Tom is right, you folks are the best of all!

    • Robin says:

      Right back atcha! Perfume folks are the best folks :-)

  16. RusticDove says:

    I’m enjoying these year end lists so much – and I actually got to sample many of the new releases myself this year which has been fun! I’m firmly in the Love It camp for Bottega Veneta – I recieved a gift set for Christmas and have been wearing it like crazy. Prada Candy reminded me of Mariah Carey M on paper, but I haven’t worn it on skin yet to see if that remains the case. I wonder if anyone else got that similarity? I also really like Balenciaga Paris l’Essence VERY much – another really well done mainstream scent. Did Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend come out in 2011? If so, that would be the only celebrity fragrance that I liked. My favorite niches were SL Vd’O, 1000 Flowers Reglisse Noir (I think it’s a 2011 release?) and DSH Vert pour Madame – to name a few.

    Happy new year to Robin and the rest of NSTers! Hope it’s great for all of us! XO

    • Robin says:

      Boyfriend was 2010. It was really well done — more impressive than JA, for sure. I can never decide if Kate Walsh really qualifies as a celebrity, I mean, do people know who she is? Or another way to put it, are people buying that scent because of her name? She is so off my radar.

      Happy 2012 to you too!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Dove – I *really* misunderstood your question about Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend. duh!

      • RusticDove says:

        LOL Rapple! Happy New Year to you! XO

        • Rappleyea says:

          Happy New Year to you too! All the best to you in 2012. Cheers! :-D

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Ah geez! I missed that obvious misinterpretation on the first go-round! Hahaha!

    • poodle says:

      I’m not sure when Reglisse Noire was released but I asked for it for Christmas (unsniffed) and hubby got it for me and I just love the stuff. I wish he had gotten me the bigger bottle but I think when I said I never smelled it he decided to be cautious and go with the smaller size just in case it was a disaster. Someone on here had mentioned it in their post once and it went on my list. I love NST and all the folks on here even though my wallet sometimes does not.

  17. Kelly Red says:

    I don’t know about “Best of 2011″ overall, but I am glad that this year I was really able to educate myself in an area that I love. A dear friend has lived in the United Arab Emirates now for 2 years. She knows I love perfume and offered to seek out Arabic frags for me. I love oud (long before it became overdone LOL) and adore amber. She went to 2 perfume houses: Abdul Samad Al Qurashi and Junaid for Perfumes. She is home for the holidays and brought back dozens of samples!!! pure Oud from various countries, pure amber oil, amber mixed with florals, oud mixed w/ spices, oh the bounty was overwhelming. Plus they carefully wrote down top/middle/base notes and offered notes on how oud was obtained. I have spent the last 10 days sampling various scents and she offered to get me my favorite. She went on and on about how kind and informative they were and also how pleased the salesman was that as an American she was interested and that I loved traditional Arabian scents. She has commented in the past on how wonderful everyone smells all the time. Women scent their clothes with smoke from incense and layer oils to create their own personal scent. She said at first it was too much compared to the US which prefers lighter scents, but culturally they think we are strange for things like “fresh linen”. LOL. Anyway I finally narrowed it down to an amber/oud/seff combo, now I just have to wait until she’s back in June.

    • Lil says:

      Lucky you!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, what great fun!

    • nozknoz says:

      What a wonderful olfactory adventure – congratulations and thanks for telling us about it. By the way, which house does your fav come from?

  18. Alyssa says:

    Love these lists! And admire you all for keeping track. I feel completely hopeless when it comes to remembering whether something came out in 2011 or 2010 let alone trying to smell all the hot new things.

    But–Jessica!—say it isn’t so about poor Crazy Poppies! They were great and I was just about to recommend them to a friend’s teenager. Dang!

    • Robin says:

      It is sad but true about the Crazy Poppies people…I verified it earlier this year.

      I don’t know how anybody else does it, but I have to have a document with the categories started from the beginning of the year and add to it as I go along, otherwise I’d forget everything!

  19. arwen_elf says:

    My favorite perfumes this year are Azemour Les Oranges, Sweet Redemption, Incense Oud, and Patchouli Imperial, Shalimar Parfum Initial, Angel Le Gout de Parfum. I think this was an outstanding year for department store releases. Bottega Veneta is very nice, but I have only tried it once, instead I fell for the new Angel Le Gout, although regular Angels is my worst nemesis. Candy did not work for me. Esprit d’Oscar reminded me of the original Oscar, but perhaps more wearable and even Love, Chloe and Fan di Fendi are not bad.
    My greatest discovery this year is the sadly discontinued Plus que Jamais. I was very lucky to get a bottle from a friend who had two. I did not dislike Jersey or Santal Massoia, but they were disappointing. I expected so much more from Chanel and Hermes.

    • Robin says:

      I didn’t like original Angel either. Funny how amping up one note changes everything.

  20. Jada in GA says:

    I am a total newbie to the fragrance scene, and I am SO happy to have found NST! I have learned so much, and most importantly, am learning what notes to look for that I like. Just about every scent ever made is new to me, so a new 2011 scent may not reach my wrist for a while! :) Because I’ll be playing catch up for years to come, I’ll just mention my faves this year regardless of when they came out….
    Balenciaga Paris, Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, and Like This have been my favorites so far. But, this week I’ve been wearing Origins Ginger Essence almost everyday. My 10 year old “tweenager” and I are sharing a bottle of Amazing Grace by Philosophy. Just goes to show that you never know what might please the nose, and agree with the skin’s chemistry! Happy New Year to all of you…May we all have a sweet smelling new year with plenty of new fragrances to love in 2012!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      It is so much fun this little passion/obsession/hobby of ours, isn’t it? I completely agree about “catching up,” and after a few months earlier this year of trying to “educate my nose,” I got a lot more loose (and less OCD) and just started to smell whatever I felt like at the time. Now, I let my muse, and money!, guide my discoveries, and am doing better at just enjoying it!

    • Robin says:

      Jada, what fun to share a fragrance with your 10 year old!

  21. Meg says:

    I went on a huge sniffappolza in the past couple days trying to smell all the releases I’ve missed in the past couple months. I tried Bottega Veneta, Candy, Baiser Vole, Boyfriend…and just didn’t find any of them to be very distinctive or memorable. Oscar de la Renta Live in Love (which I think is 2011) made me go back for multiple tries but in the end I don’t think it’s my thing, although quite beautiful.

    All of this would be very disappointing, except a wonderful thing happened. I got to smell all the Les Exclusifs…and. oh. my god. I walked away with a bottle of Coromandel that I couldn’t afford and minis of Sycomore, Cuir de Russie and N. 22. I couldn’t be happier! Easily my best discovery of the year. This time last year I would not recognize the Chanel wearing, aldehyde-loving perfumista I’ve become. It’s been a great journey.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Oh what fun, Meg!
      I like Bois Des Iles, but I admit, I’m not sure I’ve “grown up” enough for most of the exclusifs! When I first sniffed them, most of my response was to the aldehydes, which I’m just kinda “getting” at this point. I bet you smell divine!

      My recent “sniffa” was cleaning out and organizing my perfume samples. It seems that I acquire them and then sort of focus on a few and forget about the rest. So I had a shoebox with a few dozen little vials languishing away. . .last week I mini-tested about half of them in one day! Ha! A good activity when there’s no company expected! No loves in the lot, but a few that I put in the “try it again later” bin (another shoebox. . .I really need a classier system!).

      • poodle says:

        At least you have a system. That’s one of my goals for the new year, to organize my fragrances in some fashion and to really tackle the closets and the basement and garage storage issues.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Yes, there have been conversations here before about various solutions to the organization dilemma. I even went in search of bullet boxes, since their little compartments appealed to me–apparently there aren’t a lot of hunters here in Portland, because I couldn’t find a local source! Good luck to you on your organizing. I find such projects surprisingly emotionally draining, but such a relief as they show progress!

      • nozknoz says:

        Marjorie Rose, I use white cardboard freezer boxes (for cryo vials) from a scientific supply company. They have dividers and come in a range of different sizes, so I have several that are perfect for the usual tiny sample vials and some larger ones that work for taller or thicker spray vials (like commercial samples and 2.5-ml vials). The company I’ve ordered from is Biologix (no affiliation).

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Good to know! I’ll look into it.

    • Robin says:

      Glad to hear that about Live in Love, I’ve been so curious about it.

    • CM says:

      I really like the original Oscar and Love the new Espirit d’Oscar. I sniffed the new Live in Love today and found it short-lived and rather forgetable, although there was about 15 minutes after the top notes faded that I really liked. It’s got a hint of tuberose (?) that peaks out and is really pretty without overwhelming the entire room. I’d like a decant or take-home sample to really give this a try, but on first sniff it is likeable and pretty.

  22. aftelier says:

    Wow Angela, what a glorious honor to be in your favorites of 2011! I loved your fantastic review of Secret Garden, and now this means so much to me, I am really touched! Thank you so much Angela and Robin,
    Mandy

  23. Tama says:

    Argh, why did I think Esprit d’Oscar was last year? It would have gone on my list, for sure, but too late – it is already out in the world.

    I found a lot to love this year – the mainstream was such a success for once, and then some smaller indies really made my day – Opus Oils had some great stuff, as well as En Voyage. I am hankering after a bottle of Huitieme Art Myrrhiad and By Kilian Incense Oud, and Mona Di Orio’s Vanille is already in my collection (I’m scared to try her Oud – everyone adores it and it is $$$$).

    It is impossible to keep up, though. I just try to smell whatever I can.

    • Robin says:

      Esprit d’Oscar seems like AGES ago, doesn’t it?

  24. Luccia says:

    I do wish I loved Violet Blonde like people do but it did nothing for me — the concept alone is gorgeous but found it a little like weak sweet champagne. Maybe I better try again.

  25. FragrantWitch says:

    Wonderful lists! Thanks for extras, Angela, they sound intriguing.

    Like others, this has been my first year as a full- on fumie and I have had great fun. Perfume people are truly amazing and restore my faith in humanity. Thank you all for your generosity, inspiration and motivation. I feel truly blessed to have found a community who gets me and who feels as I do about books, music, art and cinema. May you all have a happy, prosperous and fragrant new year!

    As I am playing catch up ( and will be for the foreseeable future!) I’ll list what I discovered and loved this year. Favourites are Bottega Veneta, AG Mon Parfum Cherie, par Camille, Vol de Nuit ( how could I have missed this! It’s right there every time I buy some Shalimar. Right. There.), Killian’s A Taste of Heaven and OJ Woman.

    In the ‘try again’ pile are Candy, and Shalimar Initial . I was gifted a bottle of the latter but wasn’t immediately taken as it smelled like a shadow of my beloved Shalimar. I need to come at it with a ‘not Shalimar’ mindset and see what happens.

    Rediscovered were RL Safari ( love) and Dior Dune ( love in all it’s weirdness) and original Fendi.

    Happy New Year everyone!

    • Robin says:

      I want to read Angie’s book recommendations too! I love old mysteries.

  26. Emily says:

    I’m also a relatively new perfumista, and like some others who’ve commented, I spent most of the year exploring older stuff. The only things I’ve purchased that were actually released this year are Aromatics Elixir Perfumer’s Reserve and a mini of DSH Pandora — love them both.

    I tried and liked Bottega Veneta and am considering whether I need a FB (probably yes, as it’s rare that I can find leathers that work on me). Violet Blonde, Love Chloe, and Basier Volé were nice but not my thing. Aqua Allegoria Jasminora turned out to be a disappointment — I liked it okay at first but now am hardly ever interested in wearing it (it was a blind buy, and is a good example of why I’m not doing that anymore). I feel like there was some other new release that I tried and absolutely hated, but I can’t remember — though I was involuntarily spritzed with the awful new BCBG thing (but then, I expected not to like that one).

    Finally, I heartily second Marjorie Rose’s comment — my best perfume-related discovery this year was this blog and the folks who are involved in it.

    • Emily says:

      Oh, and my New Year’s resolution is to comprehensively explore the Tauer, Ormonde Jayne, Fréderic Malle, and Lutens lines. I’m trusting that y’all will hold me accountable for that.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        What a great resolution! That sounds MUCH more pleasant to accomplish than the usual deprivation folks seem to resolve to put themselves through!

        • Emily says:

          I figured that this approach would maximize my chances of success.

          • 50_Roses says:

            Some years ago, I made New Year’s resolution not to make any more New Year’s resolutions. I kept it faithfully for many years.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, thank you Emily!

      Agree about blind buys — they’re dangerous. I had 1 or 2 early successes followed by a long string of disasters.

  27. Tara says:

    Some might have already mentioned this, but what about Esprit D’Oscar? It is lovely!

    • Robin says:

      It’s on Angie’s list above!

      • Tara says:

        Oops…sorry I missed that..

        • Robin says:

          Ha…you know we expect you to read EVERY word ;-)

          • Tara says:

            LOL… ;)

  28. Sonam says:

    I never did manage to find a tester or get a sample of Prada Candy. :( Such a shame because I am such a candy fan, and I was excited to try the one Prada perfume that actually sounded good to me (and was popular with people in general). I’ve never reached out to the lovely nst community before like this, but does anybody happen to have a sample of it that they wouldn’t mind mailing? I would be thrilled if anyone could….please and thank you. :)

    • Robin says:

      If you don’t find a volunteer, it’s in most dept. stores now…a tester shouldn’t be too hard to find.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        My local Nordstroms had empty vials ready to be self-filled right next to the Candy display just before Christmas. I suspect it would still be like that. . .

  29. Anna Stromberg says:

    My best ones this year was Lutens De profundis and Oscar de la Renta Espri d’ Oscar.
    For more mainstream – and commercial- I’ll go with Diesel Loverdose. It’s all about having fun and I love the playfullness Diesel add to their scents.
    For celebrity, maybe Tyler Swift? A bit boring, but a nice girly gourmand.
    Biggest disapointment: Prada Candy. I just dont like that suffocatingly powdery base they use in everything they release nowdays. Also Chanel ersey. It’s ok, but a bit dull.

    • Robin says:

      Agree about the Diesel! And it really seemed to get overlooked by perfumistas.

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        I think I would blush to ask for a sample of something called “Loverdose!”

  30. poodle says:

    I’m still sniffing my way through the mainstream stuff and have barely made a dent in the niche world but I resolve to do so in the new year.

    I did buy Baiser Vole this year. It’s not an overwhelming love but it reminds me of happy things so it was worth it for the ‘scentimental’ value. I sniffed a bunch of stuff but the two unsniffed fragrances on my wish list were Reglisse Noire and Avignon and I got them for Christmas and just love them both.

    I wish everyone a happy, safe, and fragrant 2012. I discovered this blog this year and it’s been one of the best diversions for me. Perfume people really are the best!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Oh, congrats on the Reglisse Noire! That one’s been in my “maybe” pile for ages!

  31. Sapphire says:

    Stumbled on a line of natural perfume oils called Kuumba Made at Whole Foods right before Christmas. Have pretty well fallen for Amber Paste (I am an amber fiend, a la Ambre sultan and TF Amber Absolute). It is very near TF AA at a fraction of the cost. Was wondering if anyone else had tried any of these oils.
    Mainstream frag from this year that is growing on me (it had better, since I bought a bottle) is the Jimmy Choo limited edition perfume. I would never have tried it until read a review by Tom on Perfume Posse, and it seems sexier to me every time I spritz it on. I am pretty sure it is going to be my New Year’s Eve party scent. What is anyone else wearing for New Year’s Eve?

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      What will I wear tonight? No idea, since I haven’t settled into any plans! Kinda a bummer, actually, since I don’t really want to stay home alone, but don’t know where else to go!

      If I *DO* go out, I’d want a big, sexy fragrance, of which I admit, I have few. In fact, I’d love more recommendations for sexy fragrances, since nearly EVERY scent markets themselves that way, even when they smell like bathroom cleaner or laundry sheets! Anyway, maybe some of my lovely vintage Shalimar to help me feel like a bombshell. . .

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Ooh, or some of the Memoir I jealously guard. . .

  32. austenfan says:

    It has been fun reading all of these.
    My absolute favourite was Mon Parfum Chéri; never has a perfume been named so appropriately.
    Other likes include: The 40th anniversary edition of Aromatics Elixir, Bottega Veneta, Weekend à Deauville and L’Eau Chic.
    Mind you I have hardly smelled any of the new releases.

    Have a wonderful 2012!

  33. Celestia says:

    Best Commercial: Red Flag
    Biggest Disappointment: Elie Saab. He is one of the greatest gown designers in the world but his fragrance is meh!
    Overrated: Jimmy Choo, Prada Candy, Bottega Veneta
    Worst Idea for a Name: Nina Ricci L’Air. I could just see the non-perfumistas storming in at the last minute to buy the original to replenish for their loved one at Xmas, ending up with the truly lovely pink-to-clear ombre bottle housing the vile swill of this atrocious flanker. The name is too similar to L’Air du Temps for the uninformed to differentiate.
    Best Gift: I received two vials with a Christmas card. They gave me an opportunity to smell what I otherwise would probably never be able to. They are Djedi and Derby. Both are wonderful!!

    • 50_Roses says:

      Nice samples! I really, really want to sniff Djedi, but even tiny samples are expensive, and what if I fell in love with it?

  34. lucasai says:

    Ok! Ney Year begins in 1,5 hour here in Poland, so I wish you a marvelous Party and see you all in next, 2012 year

  35. 50_Roses says:

    Reading this and other perfume blog “Best of 2011″ lists made me realize how woefully behind I am. I have sniffed hardly any of them. I did get to try out several this afternoon, though, and fortunately for my wallet, I didn’t love any of them.

    Baiser Vole does, indeed, start out as fresh lily–flower, stem, leaves and all. If I close my eyes, I can imagine I am outdoors, working in my garden next to the lily bed. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes, the fresh aspect disappears on me and it becomes dominated by a very synthetic, plasticky accord.

    Live in Love made almost no impression on me at all, good or bad. It just smells to me like generic department store perfume.

    The Jennifer Aniston perfume starts out OK, and fades to almost nothing in about 15 minutes. If I had to choose a celeb scent to wear, it might well be this one, but only because it does not have that icepick-to-the-back-of-the-eyes aspect of so many celebuscents. It might make a good stealth perfume to wear in places where you are not supposed to wear perfume. If someone did catch a whiff of it, they would probably think it was your detergent or fabric softener or shampoo or something.

    Esprit d’Oscar was by far my favorite of those I tried today. I find it intensely sweet and powdery. It smells happy, and in fact reminded my very much of Divine l’Ame Soeur, which is my “spray it when I want to feel happy” perfume. By the time I had returned from my shopping trip, it had faded too much for a good side-by-side (the Ed’O seems to have less longevity then l’AS), so I can’t say whether they really smell alike, but they both have the same effect.

    The only 2011 releases which I have actually bought (other than samples, that is), are two DSH scents, Vert Pour Madame and Pandora. I especially love Pandora, and may end up springing for a FB (I only have a dram of it).

    • 50_Roses says:

      Silly me, I bought one other 2011 release as well–a blind buy of l’Occitane Delice des Fleurs. Unsniffed purchases are usually risky, but this one worked out well. I had no chance to sniff this first, and I figured sugared rose and violet petals would be something I would at least like, if not love, and I was right. It is a very pretty, light, undemanding floral. Nothing earth-shaking, but nice. Although it was released as a limited edition for the holidays, I think it will make a very nice spring/summer scent.

      • Jillie says:

        OK, if you’re silly then I am too! I bought the Delice de Fleurs and the matching body lotion unsniffed (reduced in the sale), and like you, I think it very pleasant – the sort of thing I wear in the evening after my bath when I don’t want to think. At the moment I prefer the body lotion, which is more rosey and violety and less biscuity than the fragrance, but I find I am getting to appreciate it the more I wear it. Sometimes it’s good to be silly …….

        • 50_Roses says:

          I meant I was silly to say I had only bought two 2011 releases, completely forgetting the DdF I bought just last month. I got the gift set with the full size EdT and shower gel, the small sizes of body lotion and hand cream, and a lip gloss. I like everything except the lip gloss. I can anticipate that the lotion and hand cream will run out first. They are really nice and non greasy, with just the right amount of scent.

          • Jillie says:

            I think I am really silly – it’s now clear to me what you meant (blame the holiday brain fog!). That sounds a really good buy. I also bought the hand cream, but haven’t started using yet, as I am trying to be good and vowing to finish all the other tubes I have lying around.

  36. hongkongmom says:

    I really like BV and VB but they both disappear really quickly off my skin. Fallen hard for Fracas after really disliking it for years…now its love, love ,love…finally I am going back to sniff Le Gout for the 3rd time and I have always disliked Angel as well. Who would have thought!! I may need to get it when it goes to the discounters. HAPPY DAY to you all. Hope it was relaxing and revitalising

  37. thenoseknows says:

    Favorites of the Year:

    1. Elie Saab. MAGIC! Pure and Simple MAGIC! A Blazing Floral… So BRIGHT, So SENSUAL… SO MAGNIFICENT! A Potion of Immense Beauty! LOVE IT!

    2. Bottega Veneta. If for whatever reason this didn’t absolutely ROCK YOUR CORE… I Feel sorry for ya… this Elixir of Leather and Osmanthus and Patchouli Resonates like a Church Bell and Transforms in the most Complex and Sublime ways… GENIUS!

    3. Baiser Vole. Lyrical and Eloquent… this is one of those scents that simply slink quietly into a room, Like some Languid Black Panther… Shockingly Subdued but FULL of Power! RADIANT!

    4. Untitled Martin Margiela. Absolute Head Scratching Complexity! One Minute redolent of Rotten Oversweet Oranges, the Next a Brilliant Burst of all things Vert and then back to the oranges and so on… Addictive in it’s strangeness yet familiar in it’s beauty! MARVELLOUS!

    5. Gucci Guilty For Men. The fragrance that made me stop listening to the people on here before passing judgement on a fragrance (except for Angela… She is like My TWIN!) This KNOCKS MY SOCKS OFF! bought it unsmelled the DAY it released at my Local Gucci Boutique and have never been quite as sublimely pleased before! ALWAYS am told how delicious i smell when i wear it and personally i love the smell of it more than i can convey… after all the flack this fragrance has taken i am glad it Sells so Offensively well and reaches the wide audience it rightfully deserves!

    6. No, 19 Poudre. Ok, I hate to love this stuff, but i do. I am the most ardent No. 19 fan and thought this would be such a blemish to the legacy of Henri Robert… But Polge Pulled it out and i admit it’s J’adore! It’s the Kid sister to No. 19 (as i think Angela put it) and that’s… OK! it smells SIN-SATIONAL! the trace of the original is strong in the late dry down, but the Powdery aspect is an unforeseen Masterstroke of Brilliance that only a true artist of a Perfumer like Polge could have seen as working with this scent and then actually MAKE it work! For a Sophisticated yet Leger Fragrance… this is the one to grab! LUMINOUS!

    7. Live In Love. Just Buy This! Ok!?!? This stuff is like a true modern interpretation of one of those old Green Floral scents of the 50′s and 60′s, Very Miss Dior and even White Linen in it’s feeling but just Effervescent and Radiant with a deep cinematic Floral Heart! Live In Love INDEED! BRILLIANT!

    8. Candy. Sweetness Overdose with a Naughty Playful Edge and a Hypnotically Warm and Sexy Drydown makes this a total Home Run IMHO! Maybe a Bit too Eccentric for some to enjoy, for those without the proper sense of Tongue-FIRMLY-In-Cheek that could be the case, but if you do get it… then you can love the Sense of Subversive Wit and Humour… Only as Prada could do! YUMMY!

    9. Violet Blond. I pray to the Temple of Tom Ford. nothing yet has been a disappointment from this house of Sinful Fragrance Luxury… (OK… Discontinuing Velvet Gardenia should have been grounds to have him Shot in The Heart!) But this turned out to be such a Phenomenal Surprise i was quite taken aback… Violet can be SOOOOO Tricky… Look at Balenciaga which got it SO Wrong… it just comes off Treacly and Suffocating with no Edge or Spontaneity, I like Balenciaga, But i could Never EVER Love it… VB on the other hand douses That Violet with Ford’s Trademark SMUT and makes it so Deliciously Ripe and Luscious that it almost comes off with a unique Warm Sexiness that perhaps Violet has never seen before… don’t get me wrong… it’s fresh and transparent enough to start but as it dries down fully.. there’s almost a Tuberose like Carnality to it, very Imperceptible mind you. but there… and that’s why it’s Tom Ford! Sex, but this time under those glossy Satin Sheets instead of on top of them or just on the damn floor! ;-) SIZZLING!!!

    10. Burberry Body. Another fragrance that has taken a lot of Crap from Perfumnistas it would seem and i just haven’t the foggiest clue why??? it is Incredibly Warm and Opulent in an easy to wear kinda way and for some that is a bad thing? A full on Rose- Violet Explosion (although I don’t even think Violet is in the fragrance my nose senses it) VERY much in the same way as YSL Paris (and i already know the brimstone and hellfire i am gonna catch for THAT little comparison) but i can smell it very openly and apparently and I am a big lover and fan of this fragrance, one might say i am kinda addicted… it lasts FOREVER and is Sensually Intense, I’d wear it myself in fact! DELICIOUS!!

    A Few Honorable Mentions….

    Dahlia Noir… another fragrance that if i went from the reviews of it, i would have been damning it to hell for no good reason… it smells Blissful! it really does… no it’s not going to rock the world of fragrance and it’s not going to revolutionize anything but for what it is… it is Amazingly Wearable and Pretty with just this side of a Dark edge that gives it a lovely modernity… never again shall i listen to the besmirching of fragrances without firsthand sniffing (waiting to dispel the Horrible Miasma of hatred surrounding Chanel Jersey Les Exclusifs as well!)

    2. BCBG Max Azria… Ok, Not gonna win any prizes for rocking the door off the hinges of fragrance newness but again, Joyful and Effervescent and Pretty and Easily Wearable… I like it because it does not even try to pretend to be more than it is and is so comfortable with it’s Pink Pretty Fruitiness that one can’t help but love it!

    3. Esprit D’Oscar…. SImple and Short… HEAVENLY! Not as Perfectly SPECTACULAR as it’s Big Sister, but if you have the money… BUY IT! ‘Nuff Said!

    4. Diane by DVF… I LOVE THIS! LOVE LOVE LOVE! That Is All!

    5. Fan Di Fendi… PURE FUN! With a Leather Edge! :-) Makes Me smile every time i see the bottle and smell the fragrance…

    So Perfumnistas…. here’s to a Hopeful 2012 and By The Way… since this was about your faves of 2011…. what are you looking forward to in 2012 and beyond…

    for me…

    Tory Burch’s Fragrance
    Madonna’s Truth or Dare
    Marni’s Fragrance
    Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb (TRIPLE DECKER YEA FOR THIS!)
    Roberto Cavalli’s New Signature Scent

    Have A Happy 2012 Everyone!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Yes, but how do you REALLY feel? ;)

    • nozknoz says:

      I’m intrigued that you mentioned Diane by DVF. I’m very curious about that one, since Octavian gave it a very positive review. Must track down a sample!

  38. Bee says:

    Bit late for this, my last year’s top 4 discoveries: Réglisse noire, bottega veneta (FB worthy), as well as puredistance M and Armani’s la femme bleue (both too expensive but yummy, a couple of microdabs of M was my choice for last night).
    Wishing you all a happy 2012!

  39. nozknoz says:

    Most of my 2011 favs are 2010 releases or older. 28 La Pausa was the first Chanel (aside from old No. 5) that I’ve loved, and I also finally gave Guerlain Nahema and Knize Ten a good try and now have FBs. Also thinking I need Aftellier Tango. One wonderful 2011 release that hasn’t been mentioned yet (I think) is La Via del Profumo Sharif. I’ve become increasingly fond of Durbrana’s perfumes.

    Happy 2012, everybody!

  40. Merlin says:

    Happy 2008!
    I haven’t had a chance to try many of the latest releases – but thats ok, cos ‘latest’ isn’t really NB to me. Only I do regret not being able to join in and follow some conversations about them.

    The following frags are on my worthy to-buy list for this year:
    Songes (b.f loves it on me)
    Incense Rose
    Orange Star
    Evening Edged in Gold

    None are 2011s!

  41. helenviolette says:

    Happy New Year! This is going to be a bright year- getting married in May followed by my oldest graduating from high school (how can this be?!)…both events will require a special scent :)

    My best of 2011: Bottega Veneta- simply gorgeous. I will also honorably mention Esprit d’Oscar.
    New to me: AG Noel room spray- splendid!

    Stuff I thought was well done but don’t need: Violet Blonde and Prada Candy. A good friend of mine bough the VB and I am looking forward to smelling it on her :)

    Robin and Angela- SNIFF THE CARTIERS!!! particularly the Trezieme and the Foughouse- please!!! do it for your country :)

    • Meg says:

      Congradulations on your upcoming wedding!

    • Rappleyea says:

      Wow, Helen! Congratulations on BOTH of your upcoming events! You’re on line to have a great year! Happy New Year!! :-D D.

    • Robin says:

      LOL at do it for your country!!

      My country ought to send me samples, ha!

      • helenviolette says:

        I can send you some trezieme….look for it in a few weeks!

  42. Subhuman says:

    Painting with a broad brush here, but I feel like 2011′s mainstream releases were on the whole more interesting, varied, humorous, and fun than 2010′s. Last year seemed to be all brooding ouds and soulless flankers; this year we had fig chutney (Womanity ToF), sugar-glazed benzoin (Prada Candy), Gucci Rush grown up and living the good life (Bottega Veneta), home runs from unlikely hitters (CK One Shock for Him, Esprit d’Oscar), and things called Freak, Bang Bang, Too Too, and Kororiko. I dug the vibe around the fragrance counters this year, and actually looked forward to browsing the section of new releases.

    Letdowns for me were DSquared Potion, which I found threadbare and short-lived; A*Men Taste of Fragrance, which smelled nothing like A*Men to my nose and wasn’t particularly interesting regardless; and the new versions of Dior Homme and Miss Dior Cherie. (Off-topic, but what the hell is going on at Dior? One or two on-the-sly reformulations is to be expected from any fragrance house, but all the renaming, repackaging, and reformulating at Dior borders on performance art. It’s like they WANT to shoot their credibility to hell.)

  43. kizzers says:

    Life has taken over lately and I haven’t posted for a while, but I’m in a reflective mood and I’ve enjoyed reading this post and all the comments. Happy New Year to everyone!

    I’ve been spoiled with access to mainstream fragrances this year, as I’ve spent a lot of time in airports around Europe. Heathrow has Joe Malone, Chanel Exclusifs, Tom Ford PC, Miller Harris to name but a few, and I discovered the Juliette Has A Gun line in Schiphol.

    FB worthy releases this year for me: Bottega Venetta and Cartier Baiser Vole (Dear Santa, I’d really like the pure parfum of BV for next Christmas too, please!) I snagged myself a mini of Balencia l’Essence, which will be saved for Summer. I enjoyed Violet Blonde, but not enough to purchase, and I thought Prada Candy was pretty, but far too sweet for me. I had high hopes for Jersey, but it left me cold.

    Things I fell in love with this year (but not new releases) : Ormonde Jayne. I settled for an FB of Orris Noir, but can see Champaca and Woman joining the collection soon. I also finally understood the beauty that is Amaranthine, and this will be my first FB of 2012.

    Non-perfume things I fell in love with in 2011 : Pandora jewellery! Now I have to decide between charms and perfume, both vying for my attention and both heavily discounted in the Duty Free shops!

  44. Blimunda says:

    2011 releases?!?! I have NO idea!

    I smelled Ellie Saab and thought it was a gorgeous mainstream release, and lots of my non-perfumista friends love it.

    My personal discovery of 2011 (and classifies as a ‘new release’ in London) was the Le Labo city exclusive form NYC that was exported and available in London for the month of November…..Tubereuse! It is gorgeous, and I now have a bottle and am loving it!

  45. hollyc says:

    I closed 2011 with a fervent promise to myself and my dear husband that perfume buying will be suspended pending further notice. Now I’ve read all these lists and have already started another one in my head beginning with Private Collection Jasmine White Moss in both strengths, Tuberose Gardenia in Extrait. Onda in extrait, Dia, Tuberose Criminelle, Beyond Love, aaargh, I’m doomed to drown in perfume . . . .

  46. dolcesarah says:

    Dont get the Tauer love. I’ve talked to the man and off film and behind the scenes he is a spoiled, [ed note: profanity removed], know it all. I will NEVER by his Fragrances again. Shining points for me this year were niche lines I ventured into, now I don’t touch the stuff-the other stuff:Byredo, Mona di Orio, Serge Lutens, L’Artisan, Diptyque, Carthusia, Aqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile and Blu line which I have loved for years, The House of Guerlain and all that comes with it, Parfums de Nicolai (superb), Comes de Garçons, and Santa Maria Novello. It’s been a great year. Favorite three? Mona di Orio’s Vanille, Parfumea de Nicolai anything, and Bal d’ Afrique by Byredo. Barney’s carries Byredo. Order In the US. Try too, boost our economy. You can find it. I need either Voile du Nuit or Chanel #5 to complete my collection. I forgot I Profumi di Firenze. It’s all wonderf but very Italian. Also I got two new bottles of Amouage, the Lyric. And Gold. Chanticail deserves a mention it’s lovely. Carthusia wiill be a classic line in a few years especially their “1861,” enjoy the new year and to the writers, simply but a powerf thank you.

  47. Nile Goddess says:

    2011 was a year when fragrance mattered less to me. All I wanted was to wear something that is “me” spray that on and forget about it as there were other priorities to address. Unhappy with all new releases on both mainstream and niche varieties (Prague is not exactly the summit of niche launches so that selection is limited) I stuck to the tried and true all year. I did wear fragrance every day sometimes extravagantly and purchased quite a few bottles but none of these were new releases. One notable new niche exception – Oud Shamash – and I am surprised no one has picked up on this beautiful new classic just yet. Or of they did, I missed it.

    I second Robin’s cheap thrill selection as Libertine is the one and only Body Shop fragrance I’ve ever considered owning. I’ve got just the body mist but that is plenty, nice, cheap and cheerful. Whether that counts as a new fragrance – nawww, it’s somewhere in the area of Calgon Take Me Away, though nicer than all of them.

    In line with Angela’s choice though I am becoming quite obsessed with Bottega Venetta which is hands down the best mainstream release of 2011.

  48. cindo45 says:

    *****ARE YOU GUYS KIDDING???? I AM ABSOLUTELY IN SHOCK THAT THE ELIE SAAB FRAGRANCE IS NOT ON EACH ONE OF YOUR LISTS FOR THE **BEST** PERFUME OF THE YEAR!… OKAY – I WILL AGREE THAT PERFUMES ARE A PERSONAL CHOICE/PREFERENCE – SO PERHAPS I MAY BE A BIT DRAMATIC HERE – BUT COME ON GUYS – THIS FRAGRANCE IS AMAZING! I’M SO PUZZLED THAT IT’S NOT ON EACH ONE OF YOUR LISTS! SHAME SHAME SHAME ON YOU ALL! HAPPY NEW YEAR ANYWAY :) XXOOXOXOXO

  49. calvincurtis01 says:

    Kevin you’re the only guy so I look to you for guidance and forgive the others for their cynicism and bleak remembrance of 2011. Kevin, a word: Profumum (and your assignment is to respond by trying them if you’ve failed to and report back in the form of a revision, and just the masculine will do, Arso, Eccelso to start anyway.)
    I eagerly await your ideas.
    Cg.

Leave a reply