Perfume: the best of 2012

Some years seem better for niche, others for mainstream. Writing this post and looking over the 2012 releases confirmed my suspicion that this was not a stellar year (in my humble opinion, obviously) on either side, despite the usual avalanche of product. Or maybe it is just getting harder and harder to pick out the gems? Another possibility is that I didn't chose the right things to smell — as always, I didn't manage to test everything.

My choices for the year are just below. Scroll down to see what Angela, Erin, Jessica and Kevin thought was noteworthy in 2012, 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 fragrances of 2012: L'Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l’Aube, with nods to Diptyque Volutes and Parfums de Nicolaï L’Eau à la Folie.

The best mainstream fragrances: Hermès Jour d’Hermès and Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue.

Did what they were supposed to do: Chloé L’Eau de Chloé, Stella McCartney L.I.L.Y. and Lolita Lempicka L’Eau en Blanc.

Didn't: Chanel Coco Noir.

Flanker of the year: Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles.

I've already forgotten what they smell likeBvlgari Omnia Coral and Roberto Cavalli for Her. And obviously many more that I can't remember.

Much ado about nothing: Lady Gaga Fame.

Best celebrity fragrance: Madonna Truth or Dare, although it was hardly innovative, and it did not exactly take the market by storm. Runner-up — Nicole by Nicole Richie.

The year in perfume commercials: Every year I say this, but I'll say it again because it's true again. The big-name-big-money efforts — Liv Tyler singing for Givenchy Very Irrésistible Electric Rose, Julia Roberts for Lancôme La Vie Est Belle, Blake Lively for Gucci Première, Gwyneth Paltrow for Boss Nuit Pour Femme, and above all else, Brad Pitt for Chanel No. 5 — all seemed duller than they should have. My favorite commercial this year was the fabulously tacky and over-the-top (and a perfect fit for the brand) ad for Versace Eros. Runner up: the not-Brad-Pitt Chanel No. 5. Best abs: The One Sport.

Best packagingBalenciaga Florabotanica, with nods to Lalique Hommage a l'Homme and the 10 Corso Como 20th anniversary edition.

The We-Just-Can't-Stop-Ourselves Flanker Name of The YearFlora by Gucci The Garden Gorgeous Gardenia, Gracious Tuberose, Glamorous Magnolia, Generous Violet and Glorious Mandarin.

Best perfume news of the year: Eau de Parfum versions of Diptyque's big sellers (although I wholeheartedly agree with Kevin's take on the packaging; see below).

Cheap thrill of the yearAftelier Ancient Resins body oil. My kind of celebrity fragrance — you pay $40, you get to wear what Leonard Cohen is wearing.

Clive Christian award for aspirational pricing: Victoria's Secret Bombshell Fantasy — a cool half million for purple passion fruit, Shangri-la peony and vanilla orchid.

Death by jasmine, 2012 edition: La Via del Profumo Tawaf.

Perfumers of the year: Mark and Simon Constantine of Lush, who go on turning out unusual, well-crafted and reasonably priced perfumes whilst seemingly paying no mind to the conventions that rule the rest of the fragrance industry. If you think large corporations can't do interesting fragrance, take another look at Lush.

Angela’s Best of 2012

Scrolling through Now Smell This's list of new perfumes, I'm overwhelmed. Where have I been all year? I've probably smelled 5% of the year's new releases — if that. With that disclaimer, here's what I smelled in 2012 that went on my "I'd love a bottle of this" list:

L'Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l'aube. Smelling this fresh-dirty, warm orange blossom fragrance evokes the three weeks I spent last spring in Languedoc, when I wore the sample Denyse Beaulieu brought me until it ran out. When I returned home, I bought a decant, then a bottle. Smelling it brings back tempestuous spring weather, long walks in the woods, afternoon naps, and the scatter of clay roofs and trees down the hills from Cabris to the Mediterranean. 

Cartier Baiser du Dragon in extrait. Truffle, skin, and lilies. A Jean Harlow-worthy knockout.

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin. I'm not sure I need to wear this one, but I do need to be able to smell it from time to time.

Sonoma Scent Studio Nostalgie. Feminine and sparkling.

Other loves of the year: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Pandora (this one really grew on me), Aftelier Pear, Fir, Coffee body oil, and Vero Profumo Mito.

Erin’s Best of 2012

For the third consecutive year the mainstream launches disappointed me, with Donna Karan Woman and Chanel Coco Noir the two bloopers I resented the most, but I thought niche fragrance had a great 2012. Not since the bumper crop of 2007 have I so often raided my wallet for new scents: bottles of Aedes de Venustas Signature Eau de Parfum, Parfums de Nicolaï L'Eau à la Folie and Vero Profumo Mito are already mine. There was plenty in the "Nothing New, But Perfectly Pretty" category, too: I enjoyed Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule and Parfumerie Generale No. 22 Djhenné particularly. L'Artisan Séville à l'Aube didn't suit me, but I applaud it as a unique addition to the brand and like to picture muse Denyse Beaulieu (and other admiring bloggers, including Robin) wearing it. I only caught up with a few stellar Winter 2011 releases this year, including the dangerously rich Arquiste Anima Dulcis and a really extraordinary debut trio from Neela Vermeire Créations.

On the indie front, I was sad to miss Andy Tauer's limited edition Dark Passage for Tableau de Parfums, but glad to find John Pegg's Kerosene line, disarmingly direct fragrances in awesome bottles: Fields of Rubus and Copper Skies are my favorites. If there is an award for Lifetime Achievement in "One Man Brands" (including, of course, female perfumers), my vote would go to Christopher Brosius, whose open creativity and sense of humor have made CB I Hate Perfume one of the most fascinating ranges in scent, from 2012's 7 Billion Hearts, a smoky vanilla solinote, to evocative gems like Greenbriar 1968 and In the Summer Kitchen. Of course, perfume continues to attract the most interesting and warmly inviting people around; thanks to all of you for this wonderful community and a happy 2013!

Jessica’s Best of 2012

In my personal life, 2012 started badly and ended very well; however, I felt like it was a good year for fragrance all the way through.

As usual, most of my favorite new releases came from niche perfumeries. I enjoyed Diptyque’s Eau Rose so much that I added a small bottle to my collection, and I’m still savoring my samples of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Séville à l’Aube (a limited edition, alas!) and Etat Libre d’Orange’s Bijou Romantique and Fils de Dieu.

I also found two new niche perfume lines to love: Olfactive Studio (Lumière Blanche is my favorite) and Jul et Mad (especially Stilettos on Lex).  I even added a new niche-fragrance shopping destination to my list: Osswald Parfumerie is now one of my favorite NYC boutiques. I honestly can’t remember any mainstream fragrances that impressed me this year, other than Madonna’s Truth or Dare, which deserved to be a big hit (although it apparently wasn’t).

In the body-product category, I fell hard for L’Occitane’s new Bonne Mère Honey products and Lush’s Twilight shower gel. My hair and face benefited from Aroma M’s fragrant Camellia Oils, and I kept our home smelling fresh and Caldrea’s Sea Salt Neroli products

I also did some very satisfying perfume-related reading in 2012, from Alyssa Harad’s Coming to My Senses to Denyse Beaulieu’s The Perfume Lover, with M. J. Rose’s The Book of Lost Fragrances in between as a lighter pleasure. 

Wishing you all much happiness and many pleasurable fragrance discoveries in 2013!

Kevin’s Best of 2012

Diptyque, old and new packaging

Best Mainstream: (A short list indeed.) On the mainstream front, I enjoyed Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb (I liked it much better than the similar, but more subdued — and expensive — Diptyque Volutes). The only other mainstream release I liked as much was Cartier Déclaration d’un Soir.

Best Niche: I admired many niche fragrances: Aedes de Venustas Signature; Kinski; Memo Luxor Oud; La Via del Profumo Tawaf. Some great-smelling scents were released late in 2012; next year I plan to review Jardins d'Écrivains George, Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin and Naomi Goodsir Bois d’Ascèse.

Worst Idea: The change in Diptyque’s packaging…from classic, understated chic to dainty (less substantial) “girly” ovals. I hate the new bottles. Diptyque: why not take Annick Goutal’s lead and offer consumers two bottle choices?

Best Ad: Cartier L’Odyssée. OK, it was not a perfume ad, but a gorgeous ad celebrating a great design house and its connections to Russia, China, India and its home turf, Paris.

Biggest Insult to Oud: Estee Lauder Wood Mystique

Best New Scented Home Product: Anya’s Garden Room Candy; small wax “candies” made from organic beeswax and natural aromatics. Melt the candies over a tea light to release their strong, but not overpowering, scents. I tried Outlaw (oakmoss, bergamot, lime) and Lemon-Vetiver (lemon myrtle, vetiver). Burning these scented candies does not present the same “commitment” posed by a 60-hour candle; a tin of candies is $30.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Ari says:

    Kevin, no passing the cringeworthy new Diptyque bottles off to us!! We don’t want them either!

    Thank you for another great year of perfume talk, NST! I agree with everyone that Truth or Dare was the best celeb fragrance of the year, unless we’re counting Seville a l’Aube (she’s a celebrity to US!)

    • Robin says:

      Totally agree. But then, I also prefer the masculine AG bottles — at least I can buy the one I want!

      • Dionne says:

        I’m thirding the comment about the new bottles – blech! but then I also prefer my AG bottles square.

    • Merlin says:

      I haven’t seen them IRL but I prefer the look of the rounded Diptyque bottles. Some say they are nicer to hold, but for me its just that I’ll take curves over corners any day! Idiosyncratic, I know!

      • Daisy says:

        I have a bottle of Philosykos EDP and I really like the new oval bottles…they are more girlie….but *I’m* kind of girlie so I guess it makes sense that I’d like them.

        • Merlin says:

          You sent me a sample of it – but since I already have the EDT I am too scared to try it!

  2. Zazie says:

    Judging by my own purchases, only one fragrance from 2012 made it, in the shape of 2 full bottles (one is for back up), on my shelves.
    It’s a limited edition flanker, which annoys me, but the perfume is amazing:
    Shalimar ode à la vanille (Madagascar).
    I thought I loved Seville à l’aube, but I am not sure anymore: my sample does not get any wear.
    The best niche launch of the year is Rodin’s perfume: it’s also the best jasmine ever, IMO, though the price gives me pause.
    I give a special mention to la petite robe noire, in the mainstream category.
    I join Ari in thanking the NST team for this year full of great and informative perfume reviews, and wish everyone a wonderful 2013, blessed with health, love and many splendid perfumes!!!

    • Robin says:

      It was a good year for jasmine! The price of Rodin gave me pause too, and ditto on Tawaf, which I like even better.

      And thanks!

  3. lucasai says:

    Angela, don’t you worry. I tried like 2% of this year’s releases.

    I made my own 2012 summary at Chemist in the Bottle too. It’s not as great as yours or from other great perfume blogs but I still find it satisfying what I needed to share.

  4. CM says:

    I really liked LAP Séville à l’aube as well, but was really blown away when I wore it to bed the other night and woke up to the beautiful dry down that reminded me of saffron. When I unwrapped the covers on the bed, I got a big hit of incense and saffron and orange and vanilla and…. I don’t know what else… Delightful! This one rose a few notches and makes me glad I sprung for a full bottle.

    Other than the Hermes Amber d’Merveilles – which I love and need to get a bottle of – I haven’t tried a lot of the 2012 releases and think I may order a few samples to see what I’ve missed.

    My favorite of 2012 is the new Guerlain L’Heure d’Nuit – as soon as it makes its way to stores, I’m snagging a bottle or two… or three.

    • Robin says:

      Argh, have not even tried the Guerlains yet. Haven’t even announced them, for that matter. Do wish Guerlain had better distribution in the US, it’s such a pain.

      • Ari says:

        Don’t worry, Robin- L’Heure Nuit isn’t at our Saks yet. (The Guerlain rep sniffed at me, “I suppose you mean VOL de Nuit?”)

        • Robin says:

          My NM doesn’t end up getting most stuff at all, even though they do have a Guerlain counter. Guerlain is nearly off my radar these days.

          • CM says:

            My NM (closest to me) didn’t have the new Jour d’Hermes either – she was baffled and seemed to think I was wanting the (new) Voyage perfume version or hte Ambre d’ Merveilles. The same rep sells Guerlain and, of course, that particular NM doesn’t have the exclusives, or even the parfum versions of the regular line either. It’s so frustrating when a particular store doesn’t carry the line. I wanted to try the L’Heure Bleu extrait and they didn’t have it.

          • Robin says:

            I think Jour d’Hermes is still exclusive to Hermes boutiques — IIRC, until February?

        • Abyss says:

          I just love being patronised by ignorant SAs. Happened to me recently when I commented to the brand rep that I was getting cardamom from one of the new Killians. Checked their website when I got home and it’s right there, in the official copy *sigh*

          • C.H. says:

            It’s amazing. I’ve only been at this a measly four months and yet am constantly told things even I know are wrong. At a Diptyque display in Bloomingdale’s today, an SA insisted I was looking at the EDPs…when in fact they were the EDTs and he did not know those two things were not the same. Not just, he didn’t realize Diptyque now has EDP versions of some fragrances…I had to explain that an eau de parfum meant it was a different concentration than eau de toilette.

            It just kinda blows my mind. Twenty feet away, the shoe salespeople know minute details about the craftsmanship of their wares. (I.e. I got a seriously in-depth course on the care of suede.) Why not in fragrance?

          • Robin says:

            I may be wrong, but I think there is “more to know” in fragrance than in shoes, also, so much of what they are taught is utter nonsense. A Diptyque person at Nordstrom recently told me their sandalwood candle was made of real Indian sandalwood, which is a) extremely unlikely and b) would be irresponsible if true.

          • Robin says:

            But sort of left out my point, which is that I’m sure she was trained that it was real Indian sandalwood. When I told her real Indian sandalwood was endangered, she was quite surprised to hear it.

          • Abyss says:

            Lack of knowledge among perfume SAs so common that it stopped bothering me a long time ago especially since it’s often not really their fault (very poor or no training, etc). What still irks me, though, is that some will try and cover it up with snooty attitude and the implication that *I* don’t know what I’m talking about. Nothing wrong with a simple “I don’t know, sorry”.

          • CM says:

            That’s it exactly, Abyss… the snooty attitude. If you don’t know, that’s fine. It’s the ‘I know better than thou’ attitude that irks me, and the adamant (Adam Ant!) denial that there are other sources of correct and valid information. Unknowledgable SAs are everywhere in the beauty industry and I get tired of asking for help. The other day I was buying lip gloss for my neices for xmas. There were 2 kinds (same brand) in slightly different packaging and neither had testers or labels. I asked, “Can you tell me the difference between these two…” and I got back, “Well, this one is slightly bigger.” Really? (I got rollerballs instead).

          • Lys says:

            Top Two Fun Facts I Learned from SAs in 2012: Tom Ford Private Collection is 100% natural, and it must never be suggested that Jour d’Hermes could be good on a man because it is made of 100% pure flower extract.

          • Robin says:

            LOL! Those are particularly excellent, Lys.

          • Abyss says:

            Ah, yes, I recently impulse bought a Tata Harper face oil and then noticed the following message on the packaging – “Our Fragrance comes from Flowers not chemicals”

            This is copied verbatim, btw, including the random capitalisation. I guess that in Ms Harper’s world the Flowers get their Fragrance from magic fairy dust.

          • C.H. says:

            Ha the Jour d’Hermes is a good one. Along similar lines, I’m so surprised by the willingness to push unfounded or misinformed conceptions even against economic interests. Had an SA try to stop me from buying Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily “because that line is for men.” Seems odd for an SA to be discouraging me from paying full retail for any bottle of perfume…

            Robin I think you’re right that there is more to know, and lack of training isn’t so surprising for that kind of job. Where do you suppose the misinformation in training comes from though? Is that just the PR department taking liberties?

          • bookgirl says:

            Oh, snooty SA’s are delightful, aren’t they? I was told by one SA that “the holidays are over” when I inquired about one of the holiday Diptyque candles (which they had sold out of): 1) I consider New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as part of the holiday season, so no, lady, the holidays are *not* over; 2) The candle in question is the very wintery pine scent, so I think it’s perfectly in line with the winter season; and 3) I really don’t care for your opinion on the matter – a simple, “I’m sorry, we sold out of that candle” will do.

            Rant over. :-) And congrats to anyone who made it this far. Ha!

          • Dilana says:

            Remember, a great many SA’s at the beauty counters are part time employees of specific cosmetic’s brands in whom the companies invest just about zero training. They are more likely to be underemployed actresses and elementary school substitutes than fume heads like us.

    • Dilana says:

      L’Heure De Nuit can be purchased from the Bergdorf Guerlain boutique. You may have to call the store itself. I believe the gentlement who runs it is called Jason Beers.
      I sniffed this, and the new Guerlain Myrrh (I forget what it is called). Neither smelled like a must buy to me. The L’Heure De Nuit was a lovely, somewhat airier version of L’Huere Blue. It seemed to lack the mystery of the original. Its about 60 dollars less than buying a full bottle perfume stregnth for the original.

      I love Seville D’Aube. However, I experience it far differently than Angela. To me, there is nothing dirty about that. It is very elegant and refined, a little black dress (or fine suit) of perfume, but not today’s spangled peplumed “little black dress”. To me Seville D’Aube is one of those little black dresses Audrey Hepburn wore, utterly simple and utterly elegant. Now, I will never be able to afford a couture black dress, but I could afford the perfume.

    • bookgirl says:

      What a beautiful scent memory, CM! I love that. Must give that frag a whirl.

  5. thegoddessrena says:

    Guerlain Shanghai and Bond No9 Central Park West were my favorite releases of 2012, with Volutes and Boutonierre No7 close behind

    • Robin says:

      Nice picks!

    • thegoddessrena says:

      Looking back at my notes, I decided to count how many I sampled this year–between doing the Mon Mail and moving close to Manhattan I have sampled over 250 (!) different scents on skin this past year. Wow!

      • Robin says:

        That’s impressive. I have no idea how many I test, I should keep track.

        • Lys says:

          Should you really though?

          • Robin says:

            I’m sure I’m too lazy to pull it off, so it’s moot :-)

          • C.H. says:

            Robin, curious, do you keep notes on all of them or at this point are there some you just don’t bother with?

          • Robin says:

            I used to update my notes every time I tested something. Now, yes, there are many I don’t bother with. It just isn’t worth the time, but it is problematic because I don’t have the world’s best memory.

      • C.H. says:

        Ha, Rena you make me feel better. I am at 190 and was feeling like maybe this was excessive.

  6. Abyss says:

    I hope I’ll love Jour d’Hermes when I finally get a chance to try it or else it’ll be a year when I didn’t adore a single new release.

    My discovery of the year was probably OJ Tiare which it makes me happy every time I sniff it. Otherwise, I spent the year hunting down all the things that I’ve been lusting after for years (Diorella, Sycomore, Dia) and finally crossing them off my Must Own list.

    Like Jessica, I also discovered Olfactive Studio this year although my favourite is probably Chambre Noire.

    And – I guess just to teach me a lesson in the importance of keeping an open mind – I’m finding myself unexpectedly enjoying Tauer’s Incense Rosé despite always carping on about how I don’t much care for either rose or incense.

    • Robin says:

      Not a one? That does seem hard, so hope you’ll love Jour d’Hermes too.

      • Abyss says:

        Nope! There were a couple I liked well enough (Séville à l’Aube and Beloved, just off the top of my head) but nothing that I really loved.

        I notice that Space NK have a few of the old style Diptyque bottles on sale at 50% off. Sadly no Philosykos, I would have loved to snag a bottle at that price.

        • Robin says:

          Yes, and Selfridges has Eau Lente in the old bottle — can’t even remember if Eau Lente is still in production.

        • CM says:

          I also really liked Beloved but wish the price were a bit more within reason – $400?

          I forgot about the Diptyque perfume versions that came out this year. I recently tested the EDP verion of Philosykos and really liked it – I got a lot of green in the opening and it lasted a long time. Since I don’t have the EDT either, I don’t know which one I prefer. Maybe I can get samples of both to try side by side… and I also want the candle!

          • Lys says:

            Don’t forget the solid Philosykos.

          • Robin says:

            I liked one scent better in EDT and one better in EdP, and now I’ve gone and forgotten which – ha.

          • Abyss says:

            I once received some samples of Philosykos shower gel & body lotion. If I could afford to, I’d totally use them all summer long :D

          • Robin says:

            The soap is darned nice too.

  7. Beata says:

    Damn I think I need to open a niche perfume boutique in London as I cannot try and smell many of the fragrances you mention here!
    Not a word about Amouage releases?:-)
    My favorite perfume of 2012 is Amouage Beloved and I would happily add Ormonde Jayne Montabaco (but the price is a killer so this will have to wait).. Biggest disappointment: Chanel Coco Noir…

    • Robin says:

      I did not adore the Amouage releases this year but sadly can’t even remember if I tried Beloved. I know I didn’t get to try the new Ormonde Jaynes. So we all need our own private niche boutique :-)

      • Jessica says:

        I did like Amouage Beloved, although I seem to have forgotten about it since I sampled it…! We could consider it a postscript to my list. ;)

      • mough says:

        Can not fathom anyone forgetting Beloved. It just knocked my socks off. I bought a back up bottle. Good GOD, I had to suck on a Valium the size of a hockey puck to get past that credit card transaction. I had to sacrifice a couple horses to a traveling circus to buy this stuff, but I have to admit, I wear it 70% of the time. It makes me happy on so many levels. Feels very vintage and elegant and a bit odd and compelling. I also loved Une Voixe Noire. Bought it. And I just got a decant of Seville a la Aube and love IT, so it was a banner year. Was really disappointed in the Amouage Interlude duo. But Aftelier’s Ancient Resins was a hit!

        • nozknoz says:

          That’s what fine pharmaceuticals are for, mough! ;-) Agree, Beloved is amazing. I haven’t bought it so far because I have enough vintage perfume to be embalmed in (and because I’d actually have to organize myself to call BG instead of just hitting the LuckyScent button), but it persuades me to agree with Patty at Perfume Posse who picked Amouage as perfume house of the year based on Beloved and Interlude.

        • Alyssa says:

          Goodness. I have a sample of this that I haven’t tried yet. Will have to do so ASAP.

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      I don’t think it’s officially available, yet, but Amouage Interlude I predict will be popular–I found the masculine version especially lovely and hope to give it a further try whenever it finds its way onto shelves.

      • hajusuuri says:

        Marjorie Rose – Amouage Interlude Man and Woman are available at luckyscent and at aedes. I actually like Interlude Woman better…Interlude Man made me “sneezy” the first 10 minutes!

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Oh, really? Maybe I should go in search of samples. My sense of the two scents was that the women’s one was less distinct than the men’s, but I’d be happy to give more time to both!

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Ordered my samples! Feel free to put a gold star on your enabling pin. :) Thanks for letting me know!

      • Daisy says:

        I think the Interludes are currently available from MiNNewYork as well as Luckyscent…..but just a note that MiN is currently having a huge 20% off sale.

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          I’m on to you, you scented vixen! Trying to protect your position as Queen Enabler?! I am going to pretend I didn’t read this, as I feel a second testing is in order before I purchase a bottle–even if 20% sounds really great!

  8. ringthing says:

    I’ve read this blog daily since 2006 and the hard work from all of you has provided me with hours of pleasure and the acquiring of truckloads of samples; thanks to you all, especially Robin. More perfumes are discontinued every year than I ever get around to trying and I’m more interested in wearing my favorites these days. That being said, I did get to sample the Neela Vermiere trio and I could smell Trayee every day. It’s a spice lover’s dream.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you Ringthing!

    • Annikky says:

      Trayee is my firm favourite of the three NVs, and this is saying something, as I like the other two a lot as well. I realise that it must be a technical marvel (all those notes and nothing out of place!), but despite the perfection(ism) it’s not aloof. Complex and intelligent, yes, but also approachable.

  9. farouche says:

    Robin, you must be my scent twin as I love and bought bottles of Seville a l’Aube, Volutes EDP, L’Eau a la Folie, and Infusion d’Iris Absolue. Since the Boston Hermes store was out of samples of Jour d’Hermes, I ordered a small decant, which I predict will be quickly used up!
    My very best wishes for a happy 2013 to all the NST folks. Thanks so much for all you have given us through your informative blogs this year.

  10. Lys says:

    When I saw your best news about the Diptyque EDPs, my first thought was, worst news is the oval bottles! But Kevin has thoughtfully beat me to it.

    As a girl, I don’t find them “girly” but rather “functional” looking, in that they mimic the oval Diptyque closet scenters. And that’s ironic considering they actually function quite poorly. They’re cumbersome, painful to hold and spray b/c you wind up digging the edge of the narrow oval into the inside of your fingers as you clasp to spray. Ironically the girly packaging is designed for giant man-hands. And thankfully I will now not be buying a tempting-smelling Diptyque EDP b/c what’s the point of an ugly bottle you can’t hold and spray.

    Wow, Holiday rant. I digress.

    • Robin says:

      But they really bug me too, so sympathize w/ your rant.

  11. Marjorie Rose says:

    Nostalgie is the only new-to-this-year release that I sniffed and found FBW, although admittedly, I did sniff as much this year as I did last.

    As I mentioned above (and elsewhere), whenever Amouage Interlude becomes available, I have every expectation of a deep and difficult-to-shake Jonesing for the masculine version. The drop I sniffed at Our Lady this fall was pure heaven!

    I think this year was defined by my nearly complete loss of interest in mainstream scents. I have had an increasingly difficult time even wanting to take the time to sniff new releases when I’m at the mall. I’m feeling cynical and assume mediocrity is the best case scenario. I recognize that it may mean I am missing out on a diamond in the rough here or there, but I don’t really believe it!

    Many thanks to the NST staff and community for another year of entertainment, support, and enabling! You are such a source of joy in my life (despite my bad attitude)! :D

    • Robin says:

      So glad! And we support and enable bad attitudes, too :-)

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        Very generous of you!

    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Whoops! That’s “I *didn’t* sniff as much this year as last!”

    • nozknoz says:

      Marjorie Rose, I’ve enjoyed our comments this year, and also totally agree with giving up on mainstream. I mean, this was the year in which Chanel turned two of the universe’s most golden opportunities – Coco Noir and Brad Pitt – into garbage. How was that even possible?!?

      • Marjorie Rose says:

        It really is the disappointment that keeps me away! They can only raise my hopes so many times before they’ve spent their optimism bank accounts! Now they have to refill the piggy with some unexpected beauties before I’ll believe in them again.

        And thank you for being such an enjoyable member of the community, Noz!

  12. Merlin says:

    My favourite categories: ‘Did what they were supposed to do’; ‘Didn’t’; ‘I’v already forgotten what they smelled like’; ‘Much ado about Nothing’; The we-just-can’t-stop-ourselves flanker name of the year’; ‘Worst insult to Oud’.

    Thanks to all of you for testing, assimilating and evaluating all year long – AND for writing it all up in such an engaging way!

    • Robin says:

      Hey, thanks — really glad if it’s fun to read.

      • Daisy says:

        It was very fun to read :)

  13. Emily says:

    I’m pretty sure that the only new releases I acquired this year were DSH Le Smoking and Volutes EDT. (And while I would very much like FBs of Vero Profumo Mito and Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Desert, I didn’t get *that* much Christmas money.)

    • Robin says:

      Ha — I didn’t get that much $ either!

      • Emily says:

        Oh, and as long as I’m spending Christmas money that I didn’t get, I’ll also take a bottle of Decennial Lys du Desert (the Tauer creation for Luckyscent’s anniversary line). Beautiful stuff.

  14. Veronika says:

    My favourite of the year is L’ambre des merveilles! I tried Jour a couple of times and liked it a lot. I went to an Hermes boutique today deliberately to buy it – but I bought caleche eau delicate instead :) go figure… By the way – here in Moscow it’s kinda cold and windy – but people have been buying Jour d’Hermes almost at a rate 1 per 5 minutes! I think that was partly the reason why i decided not to buy it now. Everyone will be smelling like this one after New Years! :) I’ll wait till it’s a vintage classic)

  15. Rappleyea says:

    Robin, Kevin, Angela, Erin and Jessica –
    You all had me literally laughing out loud as I read your comments, regardless of the perfume being described. Great job as always! Echoing others’ comments thanking you all for a tremendous job all year.

    I’ve smelled so few new perfumes this year, although in reading the comments, I realize maybe a few more than I thought. I’ve just forgotten. HA! That doesn’t say much about the scents does it? But by far my favorite new release was SSS Forest Walk. It managed to be slightly quirky and beautiful at the same time.

    Testing LVdP Tawaf today as a matter of fact. Still a jasmine solifleur…

    Happy New Year all! :-)

    • Robin says:

      Forest Walk is great. Next year I may add a “best indie” category.

    • Annikky says:

      I, too, find Forest Walk lovely. It is beautiful on its own, but sometimes I layer some Wood Violet on top, to add a few flowers to the ancient trees and moss.

      • Rappleyea says:

        Interesting idea as FW already has a little violet in it. Layering would amp that note nicely.

        • Annikky says:

          Exactly. And Wood Violet has wood notes, of course, so they complement each other perfectly, in my opinion.

    • nozknoz says:

      Forest Walk is on Gaia’s list, too – “irresistible even for a city girl.”

      • Rappleyea says:

        Oh, I missed Gaia’s list. Must go check her out. Thanks for mentioning it.

    • Emily says:

      Ah, you’ve reminded me that I *still* haven’t gotten around to trying my sample of Forest Walk. Gaia’s endorsement gives this city girl hope that I’ll like it, too. I think there are at least three other SSS samples I need to catch up on, too, though none from this year.

  16. mals86 says:

    I liked Seville a l’Aube very much, and the Neela Vermeires, but I have recently fallen very hard for Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince. It’s a new company, and the fragrance is composed by Duchaufour and based on blackcurrant. I’m not a huuuuge Duchaufour fan, but this one is just gorgeous.

    Despite my huge longing to test the new Silences EdP, I haven’t run across it yet, and to my knowledge none of the usual decant services have any inventory. I may give in and buy unsniffed. Maybe.

    • Robin says:

      That is on my list of things to announce, so you are way ahead of me!

      • mals86 says:

        I managed to snag a sample from Fragrantica, and I love it. Technically I suppose it won’t be sold until January, so it isn’t a 2012 release.

        • mals86 says:

          Oh! And meant to say, I loved your category of “Death by Jasmine 2012″… that’s a useful thing for a jasmine-centric-avoider like me to know. Plus, it made me laugh.

          • Robin says:

            Ah, you really don’t want to try Tawaf then! I wouldn’t mind having a bottle.

        • Robin says:

          Good, because it will probably be 2013 before I manage to announce it. It’s getting harder & harder to keep up.

    • nozknoz says:

      Mals, I’m VERY intrigued by what I’ve read about Enchanted Forest, and now you’ve stoked the fire (stroked the lemming?). :-)

      • Daisy says:

        …we need to have a chat in January about Enchanted Forest. ;)

        • nozknoz says:

          Daisy, O Scented Vixen Empress of Enabling Plenipotentia, it’s great to see you – I’ll be in touch in 2013!

    • Annikky says:

      I looked up Enchanted Forest after reading your comment and it sounds really, really good. Thanks for mentioning it!

  17. Persolaise says:

    Another great list, thank you. It’s wonderful reading them all and seeing where they overlap. There certainly seems to be a lot of love for Vero’s Mito. And deservedly so.

    • Robin says:

      It does not suit me, but agree it deserves praise.

    • nozknoz says:

      Persolaise, I also enjoyed your book very much – another 2012 highlight!

      • Persolaise says:

        Oh, wow! Thank you :-) It’s very sweet of you to mention it here.

  18. relleric says:

    I was smitten recently when I encountered Lubin Galaad in a completely unexpected place in Santa Fe. I almost caved but decided to order a decant to make absolutely sure before spending that much on a stunning bottle. I also got decants of two of the other new Lubin releases that they didn’t have in the shop, Akkad and Korrigan.
    As always, thanks so much for all the sights, scents, and cheerful reviews of the multitude of fragrances out there. Here’s to a very fragrant 2013!!!

    • Robin says:

      That trio is still in my “to smell” basket. I never catch up!

    • Annikky says:

      These three sound really facinating to me. I need to constantly remind myself that buying something just because it bears the name of a city I find very interesting is maybe not the most mature of plans. Have to get samples.

      • Rappleyea says:

        It’s a better plan than I ever have! ;-)

  19. victoriaf says:

    This is such a fun list! You’ve reminded me that I should have added Diptyque’s Eau de Parfums to my list. After testing L’Ombre dans L’Eau EDP at the store, I bought a bottle, something I almost never do.

    Hope that we will have lots of great discoveries in 2013!

    • Merlin says:

      I got a friend from London to bring me the refills of L’ombre dans l’eau and also a sample of the EDP (which I hadn’t tried). I find the difference quite interesting in that the rose note in the EDP seems front and centre – and its quite a nice rich rose note, as well. The other notes hedge the rose and make it more vibrant.
      In the EDT I could not detect rose at first – not until I compared it to another light and airy scent which has no rose at all. Once I did that I could quite clearly understand it as a ‘rose scent’. The thing is that the green and tart black-current are not merely accents in this one, they blend totally with the rose so that it is possible to miss the rose altogether. The EDT is much more effervescent, but the EDP is richer.
      Sorry to go on at such length!

      • Merlin says:

        And after all of that I wasn’t even very clear: I meant that the rose note in the EDP is very distinct, while it infuses the EDT in such a way that its hard to find it as an actual note…
        (Perhaps I had better not give up my day job!)

    • Robin says:

      Aha, I think now I remember that I preferred Philosykos in EdP but L’Ombre in EdT — I think I am alone in that. If it’s even true. I obviously need to spend more time at the Diptyque counter.

      • CM says:

        You’re not alone on the L’Ombre dans L’eau – I prefer the EDT as well.

      • Merlin says:

        I think the EDT is more piquant so I prefer it too – but I may be a little swayed by the fact that the refills of EDT were about 30 or so pounds and the bottle of EDP (only comes in 75ml) were over 80 pounds…

  20. Annikky says:

    As I am still relatively new to perfume, my “Wows of the Year” were mostly classics (Cuir de Russie!) or at least several years old (Iris Silver Mist!). But I managed to smell some new stuff as well and my personal winners are:

    In the category Elegant Comfort is Not an Oxymoron: Lumiere Blanche
    In the category Magical Forest in an Affordable Travel-Size Bottle: Forest Walk
    In the category How to Get it Perfect First Time, Thrice: Neela Vermeire Creations

    Best OMG-This-Happened-to-Me-Too-I-Just-Cannot-Write-That-Well!-Moment: Coming to My Senses
    “But I thought I hated lavender” special mention: Twilight shower gel

    And, of course, the much-coveted Nicest (And Also Very Useful) People on Internet Award goes to NST.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, how sweet! And sounds like you had a very good year.

    • Rappleyea says:

      Best Commenter Categories: Annikky!

      • mals86 says:

        Oh, I agree! Enjoyed this list very much.

        • Annikky says:

          Oh, thank you both, that was a kind thing to say. It can be a bit daunting to comment as a perfume- beginner and in a foreign language. But fortunately everybody is so nice that I feel like my two cents are appreciated.

          • Rappleyea says:

            We were all “newbies” at one time or the other, and the more the merrier here!

    • nozknoz says:

      GREAT categories and perfect choices!

    • Emily says:

      Applauding the discovery of Cuir de Russie, and enthusiastically seconding your pick in the Best OMG-This-Happened-to-Me-Too-I-Just-Cannot-Write-That-Well!-Moment category.

      • Annikky says:

        I am wearing Cuir de Russie right now and definitely need a bottle of this.

    • austenfan says:

      My favourite of your categories is: “But I thought I hated lavender”.
      One of my perfume discoveries is lavender, and anise (and some others).

      • Annikky says:

        These unexpected discoveries have been really great fun. And I now refrain from insulting any notes, as I will definitely fall for them sooner or later :)

  21. Great categories! And I’m truly touched to see Séville à l’aube getting so much love. No confirmation yet, but it seems it could become part of the permanent collection next year.
    The lists and comments reminded me I forgot to mention the Diptyques — like Volutes a lot, found L’Ombre dans l’eau edp quite glorious. Ambre des Merveilles may turn out to be an amber I can wear… So overall, 2012 was a pretty good year! Here’s hoping 2013 treats us all kindly…

    • Suzy Q says:

      Seville a l’Aube is so good it makes me feel deliriously happy. Thank you for your part in its creation.

    • hajusuuri says:

      I agree with Suzy Q above and thank you for your part in creating Seville a l’Aube. I also enjoyed The Perfume Lover which I was lucky enough to get from the B&N Marketplace, straight from the U.K. since it is not yet available in the U.S. retailers!

    • Robin says:

      Oh, it deserves it — I hope so. And then I hope they put it in a nice 15 ml bottle :-)

  22. hajusuuri says:

    Like Farouche above, I am probably Robin’s scent twin as well … or maybe an NST scent twin.

    I love (and own FBs) of many on Robin’s list: L’AP Seville a l’Aube, Diptyque Volutes (I have the EDT), PdN L’Eau a la Folie, and Prada Infusion d’Iris Absolue (I sprung for the 100mLs which I normally don’t do if smaller sizes are available!), Hermès Jour d’Hermes and Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles. I also went LUSH/Gorilla Perfume crazy and have many of the travel spray sized perfumes. I caved in to the really nice Chanel Coco Noir bottle and also like the juice. I also agree that the Balenciaga Florabotanica packaging was to-die-for but alas, even now thinking about the perfume is making me shudder at how awful it was.

    From Angela’s list, I have Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin — truly beautiful and a surprise “gift” from a swap buddy from the NST Swapmeet and I bought 15 (!) of the SSS mini-sprays (and gave away one of them).

    From Erin’s and Kevin’s lists, I have Aedes de Venustas Signature EDP although I did first read about this in the NYTimes and Kevin’s review induced me to seek this out.

    Finally, from Jessica’s list, I am currently using L’Occitane’s Bonne Mère Honey products (the hand wash) and I’ve read all 3 books mentioned.

    Of course now I have to hunt down some of the ones mentioned here which I haven’t yet tried.

    Thank you for a wonderful year of reviews, announcements and musings and here’s to a great 2013!

    • hajusuuri says:

      …and I also have V&R Spicebomb from Kevin’s list!

    • Robin says:

      Wow, you really are an NST scent twin! Or we all just have good taste :-)

  23. Lys says:

    Agree with most of your calls Robin. Might add Puredistance Opardu for Niche but that’s just coming out now. Also, just how is that Victoria’s Secret perfume price aspirational? Do you know how hard it is to extract the precious essence from all those Shangri-la peonies?

    • Robin says:

      Have not yet smelled Opardu! Many, many things I did not manage to smell this year.

      And ha…to say nothing of the uber rare purple passion fruit!

    • nozknoz says:

      Good point, Lys – it’s a big up-front investment just for the unicorns to gather them! ;-)

      • Lys says:

        At least it’s fair trade b/c the unicorns get a paid a living wage.

  24. I also enjoyed the categories as well as reading about everyone’s choices. And these lists just served to remind me how little I have smelt this year, though I am another Seville a L’Aube fan, also Myrrhe et Delires and Santal Majuscule. Have yet to catch up with this Diptyque Volute everyone is talking about!

    • Robin says:

      Pretty sure I did not smell Myrrhe et Delires, so we’re even :-)

  25. nozknoz says:

    Most of what I’ve bought this year is not new, but I did get Seville a l’Aube, Tawaf, and a decant of Chypre Palatin. I also plan to purchase Volutes (but can’t decide which concentration). I’d add a category for great niche exploration sets and decant-sized samples, and nominate Ys Uzac, Ann Gerard, Maria Candida Gentile and Neela Vermeire. Extra points for wonderful packaging on the first two, also.

    • nozknoz says:

      Forgot to mention: enjoying both Seville a l’Aube and its book, The Perfume Lover, in the same year was a highlight, and it was a great year for perfume books (Alyssa, Persolaise and others), in general.

    • Annikky says:

      Good point about the discovery sets! I have long been tempted by the Ann Gerard one, but they seem to be slpash bottles and this has given me pause.

      • Lys says:

        Buy some travel atomizers. $5. Transfer 1-2 ml. Consume at your leisure.

        • Annikky says:

          Thanks, Lys, I really should do this, as the scents sound great to me.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, we ought to have a category for discovery sets!

    • Emily says:

      I bought Volutes in EDT, though I do think it’d be nice to have a bit of the EDP as well. They’re both lovely and well-thought-out variations on a theme. (In my fantasy world, I would get a gift set with a 30 mL bottle of each. In the square bottles. And with a candle.)

      • nozknoz says:

        Ah, that would be perfect!

  26. annemarie says:

    Nostalgie was a stand-out for me this year and it took no time to decide on a full bottle. An honourable mention goes to Houbigant’s Orangers en Fleurs – a luscious and sparkling orange blossom.

  27. poodle says:

    Everyone has such good lists. I get very excited when I actually know some of the things on them too. I didn’t smell as much as I would have liked to this year but I did get to try a few things from perfume houses that I had heard tons about but never got to try such as Amouage, Serge Lutens, and Ormonde Jayne. In some ways it was a good perfume year for me.

    • Robin says:


    • Marjorie Rose says:

      Recognizing the names, if not always recalling the scents, *does* help one feel like less of a newbie, doesn’t it?

      • C.H. says:

        I’ve been thinking a lot this year about how broadly true this is, as I had a freelance gig in an industry pretty far from my own (academia). There too, even though I had essentially no experience, just developing a basic command of the lingo and references went such a long way toward being “in”. It’s good and bad–sometimes jargon can scare people off unnecessarily, but on the other hand, sitting one’s behind in a chair and looking up what terms mean is something basically anyone who wishes to can do! (Although I will say I badly wish there had been a website that explained my job as thoroughly and accessibly as NST does perfume!!)

        • Marjorie Rose says:

          Yes, yes, and yes! Completely in agreement with you. I enjoy knowing enough about something to be able to have a competent conversation, but I also recognize that there is something inherently alienating about learning specialized language. And while the information is generally available in one way or another, it *does* take time and focus to learn enough to get to the point where you are able to feel competent. (I will very much appreciate the day when I don’t feel so out of touch at Home Depot, for example!)

          • poodle says:

            When I was doing a lot of stuff on the house I went to home depot with a new credit card that I hadn’t signed yet and I asked if the cashier wanted my ID and she said ” no, that’s okay, I know who you are. You’re a regular here.”. Wait until you get to that point.

        • Dilana says:

          I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it. When I was looking for a gifts for a guitarists, I assumed that there would be blogs which were unbiased, knowledgable, (and good writers) to steer me in the same way that this and other perfume blogs provide a sense of what is respected and coveted by people into perfume. There were no equivalents.
          We sniffers should be so grateful Robin and Keven and Angela and Erin and Jessica, the folks at the other blogs, and for this space and for each other.

    • C.H. says:

      Ha yeah I hear you on this. The upside of having lots of things I’d never encountered is that all the new-to-me’s create this feeling of, gosh, you wouldn’t believe how many great scents there were in 2012! Bumper crop! ;)

  28. FearsMice says:

    I’ve had a really fun year of sniffing, even if I’ve tried only a few of the things that have made the 2012 “Best” lists everywhere. One of my favorite discoveries of the year is Pierre De Velay’s Extrait No. 11 (no idea when it came out), and I also really like Byredo’s Black Saffron. Thanks so much to all the NST writers and commenters who have educated, encouraged, and entertained me this year!

    • Robin says:

      Ah, one I have not heard of! Will have to investigate.

  29. Jillie says:

    So happy to see that you, Robin, and others are liking PdeN’s L’Eau a la Folie as it was my absolute favourite this year. To be honest, none of the other new perfumes appealed to me, but maybe I just didn’t test enough and have missed some beauties!

    Thanks for all the interesting reviews, and a very Happy New Year to everyone!

    • Robin says:

      I’m sure I didn’t test enough this year either. It almost feels like I test less each year, but that might be just because there’s more product every year.

  30. 50_Roses says:

    I really enjoy reading these “Best Of” lists at the end of the year, even if it does make me realize how little I have actually tried. Part of it is that I do not live very near any good perfume shopping. I have to drive 50 miles or more to get to where there is a reasonably good selection of even mainstream fragrances, and I simply don’t do it very often. I have no problem with ordering samples of indie scents or the very niches frags, because I know that I have little or no chance or ever being able to try them in person, but I tend to resist paying for something I think I ought to be able to sniff for free. The trouble is, even though in theory I could make the trek just about any weekend, in practice I only manage it once or twice a year. Then I usually end up spraying way too many things on my skin and it gets to where I can’t tell what is what. I am starting to make a list of what to sample on my next outing, and will try to limit myself to things I really want to try.

    • Robin says:

      That’s a sensible attitude.

    • C.H. says:

      Department stores are pretty convenient for me but I still totally hear you about needing a list of priorities. For a while I was trying to smell literally everything, which turned out to be kind of an overwhelming and even discouraging enterprise! (Besides being, y’know, impossible, it meant spending too many days wearing things I don’t like!) Limiting to just ones I am really excited for is a lot more enjoyable, even if I get wounded looks from SAs when I have to rebuff their recs.

      • Lys says:

        I often feel an expectation on the part of SAs that I buy something if I try a bunch of stuff. I always feel like telling them I already have 50+ bottles of perfume and this testing thing is just sport and education. Of course if I find something I love I would buy, but I try so much I know I won’t love just to keep current. Also, the stuff I’m interested in is usually the stuff that’s “online exclusive.” Grrrrr.

        • Merlin says:

          What works is if you keep going back to department stores and trying everything – without buying. Eventually, they get the point. Also, if one persists in this practise they eventually stop being annoyed and start treating you like a good old friend. So there is stages!

          • Lys says:

            I don’t know why but this makes me LOL. But maybe that’s good advice.

          • Merlin says:

            It is funny, because of course I didn’t start off with this ‘game plan’ in mind. Its just that I really wanted to sniff things and really couldn’t buy that much, so I simply fortified myself against any resentment from the sales assistants. And then, eventually they just got used to it and went from ‘tolerating’ me to actually being friendly. So I thought I would formulate that into a how-to guide :)

      • hajusuuri says:

        I work in NYC but don’t really have the time to do much of anything by the time I leave the office. The most recent “day in NYC to do anything I want to do” was on December 1st. Knowing that I will be hitting some stores specifically for a personal sniffa, I actually created a list by house and whipped it out at Henri Bendel and Barneys, to the amusement of the SAs I already had a specific perfume in mind to purchase at Barneys (FM Portrait of a Lady) and I showed great restraint in scooping up a few other bottles. I will have to revisit the L’AP boutique at Henri Bendel — it was overwhelming indeed to have the ENTIRE line (except the limited editions that are no longer available) at my disposal!

  31. nozknoz says:

    Thanks for reminding us of the Versace Eros ad – it’s the essential antidote to the Brad Pitt Chanel ad. ;-)

    • Robin says:

      It makes me smile every time — more than I can say for most. Loved the Donatella quote this year about “Tacky – never mind. What is tacky?”

      • nozknoz says:

        :-) That’s so perfect! When the next quarterly damage poll comes up, I can just say, “Extravagant – never mind. What is extravagant?”

        By the way, I just heard NPR’s This American Life program on mapping. It includes a a fascinating segment on an electronic nose and some very interesting olfactory info. You can catch the podcast on the This American Life website.

        • Robin says:

          Oh, good! We subscribe to the podcast so we’ll get it eventually.

      • Rappleyea says:

        A friend of mine once received a pretty massive, multi-stoned diamond ring from a wealthy gentleman that she was dating. Another friend of hers called the ring “tacky” to which my friend responded, “It’s only tacky until it’s yours!”. :-)

        • C.H. says:


        • Lys says:

          Loves it.

        • Merlin says:

          Tacky = what you can’t afford, lol!

        • Emily says:


        • Abyss says:

          Reminds me of the story that Joan Collins told in a documentary about Elizabeth Taylor when Princess Margaret told Taylor that her huge diamond ring was vulgar. Taylor let her try it on and then quipped “Not so vulgar now, is it?” as Princess Margaret was admiring it on her own hand :D

          • nozknoz says:


  32. dolcesarah says:

    Great Article
    This year I bought thousands of dollars of fragrance. I erected a new addiction( candles ), they have to be volcano candles. Or the peach Bellini ones from Bath and Body. Or, any old niche house that armors with candles. I Likie!
    Vero’s Rubj
    ETAT’s line
    Oud or Aoud as it is
    No mainstream buys. How could I? Mazzorlari , L’Artisan, Rochas, Tokyo Milk, Mona d’Orio, M. Micalef, Arquiste, Delray, Serge, and many more. I love Muscs, Aoud that lightens. I love Timbuktu !!!!!! I love Mon Número 10, I love Barney’s New York. Life is good.

  33. Merlin says:

    The reason I haven’t tried most new niche releases is because The Perfume Court, and similar services charge an exorbitant postage fee to South Africa. If I know someone going overseas and I can afford a bottle of something, then I ask them to ask the store for a couple of samples as well – thus I have some of the Diptyques!
    An American Perfume Angel did make some wonderful decants and samples for me, but she did not seem to have any 2012 releases.
    So, I have one more category to suggest: Perfume Releases of 2012 that I would most like to sample! (this way one might remember it for next year).
    Mine would be: Seville a’ l’Aube, Jour d’ Hermes, Nostalgie, DSH Pandora, Mito, Aedes de Venustas, the Neela Vermeire Creations, Musc Tonkin, and anything from Kerosene (the bottles are snazzy *blush*).

    • Emily says:

      Merlin, I’ve been sampling some of the Kerosenes (with the goal of eventually settling on one of those gorgeous bottles). The two I’ve tried so far are Copper Skies and Whips and Roses. They’re not necessarily easy to wear (esp. Whips and Roses in its first 15 minutes) but I think that’s a big part of what I like about them. I also have R’Oud Elements but haven’t busted it out yet. Whenever I wear Whips and Roses, I can imagine Germaine Cellier expressing her profanity-laced approval from that big perfumery lab in the sky.

      • Merlin says:

        Emily, yes, the name whips and Roses does give me pause – especially as I can’t wear Citizen Queen as even though I love it, it seems to trigger anxiety spells! Funny, because I know some people spritz their pillow with it in order to sleep.
        Lovely image of Germaine Cellier: perhaps she would express it with a great sulfurous thunderstorm : )

    • Erin says:

      Yeah, Merlin, I agree with E, there should be no shame about coveting those bottles. I’m not a packaging hound, but they’re awesome – I think John has put a lot of work into them. The scents are really interesting, too. If you want to email me at erin at nstperfume dot com, I should be able to get you a small package of samples of 2012 releases like the Aedes, Folie, one or two NV Creations, Seville, etc. (as long as you’re patient! I need to wait for some new decants supplies…) I have sympathy with the international postage situation.

      • Merlin says:

        uhm, let me think…well…OK!!!
        I hope I don’t sound over-enthusiastic, but you might find my e mail in yesterday’s inbox; hee hee…
        (sound of palms being rubbed together in delight)

  34. austenfan says:

    I love your oddball categories. I think “The We-Just-Can’t-Stop-Ourselves Flanker Name of The Year” is my favourite! As is Much Ado about nothing and Clive Christian and Death by Jasmin 2012. Thank you for another great list!

  35. aftelier says:

    I love having Ancient Resins as the cheap thrill in your Best of 2012, thank you so much Robin for this amazing honor!

  36. Alyssa says:

    I feel completely hopeless about remembering which perfumes came out when. I’m always putting together a “best of” list that includes things from five years ago and forgetting the names of all the ones I tried and lusted for that came out this year. :-) (Example: Did Profundis come out this year? Can’t remember…) That said, totally agree on your best flanker pick and Kevin’s bottle complaint and I really have to try Mandy’s resin sprays. Also, L’Ombre Dans L’eau in EDP is quite amazing.

    • Alyssa says:

      Oh, and meant to say *thank you* for the little shout out and all the help this year. xo

  37. KRL says:

    While I bought many bottles this year, I only bought one new release – and that was a blind buy as it’s a LE and wasn’t available to sniff locally. And to be honest, I don’t really love it.

    I also bought a bottle that was released last year. Otherwise – nothing new interested me.

  38. aftelier says:

    Thank you Angela, I’m so excited to have Pear, Fir & Coffee Body Oil as one of your loves of 2012!

  39. Tama says:

    Fun lists, all!

    My nominee for the Just Can’t Stop Ourselves would be Shalimar Ode a la Vanille Sur la Route de Madagascar which I still haven’t seen or smelled.

    “Still haven’t seen or smelled” is my continuous complaint, even as a reviewer who gets stuff in the mail fairly often. It’s just impossible to keep up!

    Chypre Palatin and Seven Veils won my top honors this year, with lots of runners-up.

    • nozknoz says:

      I really need to try Seven Veils – thanks for reminding me!

    • Robin says:

      Yes, that’s a mouthful!

  40. Joe says:

    It was great to read all the lists, and I wish the entire NST clan a Happy New Year. The following scents rose to the top for me, though “favorite” lists are an ever-moving target. In purely alphabetical order by brand:

    CdG Play Black
    Creed Feuilles Vertes
    Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert
    Heeley L’Amandière
    Neela Vermeire Mohur
    PdE Musc Tonkin

    honorable mentions: Séville à l’Aube, L’Heure de Nuit, Turtle Vetiver Front, Djhenne, Amouage Beloved

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