I love perfume. I’m obsessed, really, and my collection would embarrass most people. It’s weird. I know. I can’t help it. The bottles, the juice, the scent, the EVERYTHING.
I can see most of you thinking that you’d rather poke your eyes out than meet me, for I likely waft a cloud nine feet thick around me, right? Wrong. Because I like perfume so much, I respect how it should be applied: LIGHTLY and carefully. Sillage is one thing, but pre-announcing one’s arrival with a viscous vapor of scent is the surest way to ruin a lovely fragrance and terrify your friends and neighbors.
Last summer, a bunch of my fragrance blogging buddies did a circle of their Top 10 Fragrances for Summer. Because I was so busy moving to the tropics, I couldn’t participate. However, I’m thrilled to report that we’re doing our top 10 scents of 2005! Hoo-rah!
I should note that these are not scents that launched in 2005, nor are they those that I even discovered throughout the year. Rather, they are those scents that either captured me during the year, or continued to be an important mainstay above all others (and there are many, many others to compete with!). So, without further adieu, my top 1o favorite fragrances of 2005 :
1. Clinique Wrappings. In many ways, this is a summer scent – the cool notes lend a bright, refreshing glow to the fragrance that is wonderful on hot days. However, it’s limited holiday availablility demands that it be worn in winter: Clinique, in a moment of sheer insanity, discontinued this fragrance in favor of more insipid, yet likely better-selling offerings such as Happy, Happy Heart and Simply. Commence vomiting at any time. After what I can only imagine and/or pray was an uproar, they opted to bring it back each Christmas in a limited edition holiday set. Wrappings is neither insipid, nor typical – it’s green, crisp notes are refreshing, yet appropriate for the holiday season – think ice-cold fragrant pine needles fallen on a forest floor on a cold snowy night. The result is a wonderfully unique, cool and wintry scent that is perfect for any occasion. Stock up each holiday at your local department store or at Gloss.com.
2) Dinner by Bobo. Yes, yes, the name is ridiculous. Big deal. And yes, yes, the risky inclusion of cumin makes this a precarious wonder, subject to the mysteries of skin chemistry. On the wrong wearer, this has been observed as a sweaty man eating a taco, post-workout body odor on an obese horse, and other truly appetizing olefactory images. On me, however, it’s marvelous, and one of the few winter scents that doesn’t make me feel like puking in the perpetual Florida heat (remind me to tell you of playing tennis wearing Ambre Sultan. GROSS). It starts off with a blast of cola with citrus – like a slightly warmed Coke with Lime with some cloves floating on top. While that sounds disgusting, it’s actually lovely, if too sweet. The sweetness quickly disspates, however, to the briefest moment of violet – dry violet, not candied violets – mixed with incense. This is by far my favorite phase, and it’s terribly short-lived. In the end, it morphs into a warm, soft skin scent touched with sweetened spices, amber and incense. I never tire of this, and it’s one of the few scents I’ve gone through multiple bottles of.
3) Chanel Allure Parfum. The lovely Debra B is going to have my head for this, for I’ve fought a somewhat tenuous, good-spirited battle with her over the beauty of Allure in its many concentrations. I was firmly in the EDT camp, insisting that EDP and parfum were too rich for normal people to wear, while she was adamantly pro-parfum. Upon first sniff, I found this to be way too heavy and rough – powdery, like a snootful of talc, with a sandpapery quality that felt a little like having a low-grade headcold. Mmmm. However, after obtaining a proper-sized mini of the parfum, I was able to test this extensively, and found that it really is as stunning as D. has insisted for all this time. Chanels have a wonderful quality that always feels sparkling and slightly aldehydic, even if aldehydes aren’t present. The Allure parfum has that odd, lovely quality, but it’s warmed with a non-foody dry vanilla tempered by warm vetiver and what smells like a crisp, slightly unripe peach. While the other concentrations smell similar, they lack the softness and subtlety the parfum affords. Available everywhere.
4) Serge Lutens’ Fumerie Turque. Not all of Serge Lutens scents do it for me, but I really do appreciate all of them, if only as strange little works of liquid art. The man does some seriously complex compositions, with notes that seem bizarrely out of context in a personal fragrance. Fumerie Turque is a mix of smoked leather, tobacco, honey, candied rose, patchouli and a ton of other things I can’t smell, but add to its loveliness. On my skin, it’s a rich, smoky leather mixed with loukhoum, a rich almondy-rosy candy – like edible, candied leather with a dusting of powdered sugar. I realize that sounds kind of gross, but trust me, it’s amazing. And, perhaps most unfortunately, Fumerie Turque is only available at the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in Paris. They will not ship outside of Europe, alas, so pick one up on vacation, surf eBay for overpriced bottles, or find a friend who’s heading there who will pick one up for you (that’s what I did!).
5) Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. It’s ubiquitous, yes, but that does not diminish its beauty. The wonder of Mademoiselle is that each of the different concentrations affords a wholly unique and gorgeous experience. The EDT is crisp, fresh and fruity, with an air of creamy citrus, while the EDP is a journey in fruited vanilla and patchouli. Do not fear the patch! This is not your local stoner’s patchouli – It’s friendly, soft and lends an important grounding element to the rich fruit. Unlike other Chanel creations, Mademoiselle was not originally designed in parfum, and the formulation launched earlier this year. Also unlike most Chanels, Mademoiselle parfum is not its best showing. They took the fruit notes and amplified them to a dangerous degree, and the overall composition is far too sweet and chewy, reminiscent of an overripe cantaloupe. Go for the lotion, EDT or EDP. And, as with all Chanel products, the bath products are beyond divine, so pick some up at your next trip to the department store!
6) Robert Piguet Fracas. Pronounce it however you like, Fracas is one incredible, classic scent. Many claim they can discern other notes such as jasmine, gardenia and musk, but I am simply clubbed into submission by the buttery tuberose, where it maintains the starring role it so richly deserves. If you’re not familiar with tuberose by name, I’m fairly certain you would be by scent. It’s a rich, sweet, heady flower with a creamy, buttery quality that prevents it from poking you in the eye and driving white-hot needles through your frontal lobe. Fracas takes advantage of its natural butteriness, and mixes it up with cream. The result is a soft, creamy tuberose milkshake without a hint of candied yuckiness. Here the parfum is essential, as it clings close to the skin and prevents one from wafting mad Fracas everywhere and screaming “HI, I’M WEARING TUBEROSE!!!” to everyone who comes within nine feet of you. I got mine on eBay for a song, and I’m sure you can, too – it’s perpetually available.
7) Serge Lutens’ Bois de Violette. Perfumers who work with violet have a tendency to destroy it by preying upon its natural melancholy sweetness and turning it into a candied nightmare. Violet is a sad little flower, for most perfumers believe that she needs to be dressed in vanilla or sugar to be palatable, and in no way can she stand on her own two stalks. My first experience with violets was with Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose, followed shortly by the dangerously sweet Bond No. 9 Broadway Nite – both cloying, tooth-rotting compositions evocative of candy, and I wrote off the little flowers as pathetic little wanna-be pretty girls. Mercifully, Lutens’ interpretation is simple: fresh, clean, dry violets on a bed of cedar and soft leaves. Nothing more than the beauty of the flower with a little help from nature. Simply elegant. I dare you to feel frumpy wearing this. Like Fumerie Turque, Bois de Violette can only be found in Paris at the Salons, but unlike Fumerie Turque, I do not own a bottle. So if you’re in Paris and feeling benevolent, give me a ring. I’ll pay you.
8) L’Artisan Tea for Two. Cardamom’s most shining hour. Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti created a stunning blend of cardamom, spices, black tea and honey blended with milk for a truly incredible chai latte experience. The ultimate comfort fragrance, the composition is warm, soft and spicy without being overpowering. To prevent it from being too sweet, a touch of smoke is added to the opening, like the vaguest hint of clove cigarettes. But it’s the cardamom that really glows here: blended with tea, honey and milk, the spicy warmth of the pod is evident, with none of the greasy, meaty weirdness that many cardamom-based scents fail to conceal. Pick it up at LusciousCargo or Aedes.com.
9) Coty Wild Musk. My Aunt Anne Marie wore Wild Musk when I was growing up, and I loved it then, but I adore it even more now. Musk is hit or miss for me, and too much can smell overly bodily – like animals having sex in a dark alley. Here it’s just perfect, and the overall effect is of soft flowers in the woods, with incense burning somewhere in the distance. Interestingly, a friend and I noticed, through literal and repeated side-by-side comparisons, that it is a dead-ringer for Lorenzo Villoresi’s Musk, which is infinitely more elusive and expensive. And at less than $10 a bottle, you can afford to pick this one up on your next trip to Target.
10) People of the Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo body cream. I’ve owned the parfum concentration of this for about a year. While it’s lovely, it’s difficult to truly deconstruct and appreciate consistently. A perpetual chameleon, one day it could be stunning semisweet black cherry incense, and the next, Play Doh. Just Play Doh. The body cream, however, is consistent, pure perfection. Sweet hay mingles with grass, fresh cherries and incense, while a small, non-sweet vanilla comes late to the party to help the scent last all day and into the night. The lasting power is truly amazing for a body cream, and the strength, quality and astonishingly long-lasting moisture help to justify the $95 pricetag. I was lucky enough to score this one on a sale at BeautyHabit, but would gladly shell out the $95 when this one is through.
Want to see more Top 10 Lists? Visit our blogging circle o’ perfumistas.
- An Alabaster Brow
- Beauty Addict
- Blogdorf Goodman
- Bois de Jasmin
- Brain Trapped in Girl’s Body
- c’est chic
- Crazy Jay Blue
- The Great She Elephant
- Koneko’s *Mostly* Beauty Diary
- Make a Mental Note
- Monkey Posh
- Mothers Hen’s Place
- my life my words my mind
- no one knows why the wolf laughs
- Now Smell This
- Peppermint Patty
- Perfume-Smellin’ Things
- She’ll be feverish after so much thinking
- Slap of the Day
- Victoria’s Own
33 comments December 30th, 2005