2010, A Perfume Retrospective

There were tons of fragrance launches in 2010, both in the mainstream and from niche houses, and I sampled (or bought) very few–comparatively speaking. I smelled lots of things that didn’t move me. I smelled some things that I liked. And, I met a few new loves that I hope will always be part of my fragrance wardrobe.

Perfumes that moved me:
To list each of the fragrances that I tested from Sonoma Scent Studio is a waste of finger strength—Laurie Erickson’s work moves me; even her tuberose. While they weren’t new in 2010, SSS was new to me, and made a huge impact on how I view perfume, and deserves the top spot on this list.

From L’Artisan Parfumeur, four releases in a row rocked my world: Havana Vanille (technically 2009, I think), Al Oudh, Nuit de Tubereuse, and Traversée du Bosphore. Each different, each beautiful, each a new love. Each affirming my Bertrand Duchaufour fan-girl status.

Perfumes that surprised me:
Parfumes DelRae Coup de Foudre, with it’s delicate, perfect feminine beauty, is a surprise every time I wear it.

Tilda Swinton for Etat Libre d’Orange, Like This: surprisingly pretty, and not the weird, avant-garde piece I expected.

Perfumes that grew on me:
Via del Profumo’s Balsamo della Mecca* (also technically 2009), which at first brought back too many negative associations, became my gateway scent to appreciating… “headier” notes in perfumes.

Guerlain Shalimar Ode a la Vanille: I expected to love this, and I was surprised that I didn’t—at least at first. I expected a chewiness and sweetness to rival or exceed the beloved classic, and it took a while for me to appreciate Ode as an entity unto itself. It’s my grocery-shopping Shalimar (a limited-edition boutique exclusive, of course).

There were many more companions on my 2010 perfume journey, new to me, but not new to the world at large. Exploring fragrances as they launch is exciting, but no more so than exploring the glorious back-log of wonderful scents still available from years past. I’m looking forward to 2011!

Image: John William Godward The New Perfume
*edit: I listed this as Il Profumo, but it’ Via del Profumo! Yikes. Please excuse 😉

9 thoughts on “2010, A Perfume Retrospective

    1. Coup de Foudre is stunning! It’s not ground-breaking or anything, but it’s just SO lovely. Yeah, the SSS bug… she’s got a new fragrance that will be coming out early in the new year (so I hear), and I can’t wait to try it!

  1. Great list, D! I completely agree with many of choices, and the rest I just have not tried, like DelRae Coup de Foudre. I was at Aedes just before I left NY, and I saw it there, so once I am back, I am definitely going to sample it. Your description pretty much pushed me over the edge. 🙂

    1. Thank you Victoria, and thank you for reading! When I embarked on this fragrant journey, I had no idea how much delight it would bring to my life; through the perfumes themselves, but also through the wonderful perfumista community. We’re a pretty rad group, if I may be so bold. 🙂

  2. Ah, so! Another voice/nose who enjoys Havana Vanille. Not too much sweet, not too much vanilla, not too much cigar, not too much liquor. Still enjoying it.

    As for Laurie Erickson and what she does with Sonoma Scent Studio…well, I’ve been singing her praises for a surprisingly long period of time now. “Surprisingly long” because when I fell down the rabbit hole of perfume, I didn’t have any idea how long I’d stay. Apparently, the answer is “a while”–one of the things *I* learned in 2010. 🙂

    Not sure if I am a Duchaufour fangirl, but for sure an admirer. That Oud was serious business, while the Nuit de Tuberose is a pretty without shouting kind of something. Bophosphere goes too sweet on me, but I see how many are loving it, and I can appreciate that.

    I’m afraid when it comes to perfume–as with so many things in life–there will always be a backlog of experience, whether it’s current launches or The Lost Vintages. That’s okay; it will help each of our paths be our own.

    Which is part of the fun when we find them crossing.

    Happy New Year!

    1. RE: Havana Vanille, I drained my sample more quickly than anything before it, and I bought a FB *retail*! It’s been surprising to me how many people were disappointed with it, then again, I’m not a big vanilla fan, so I had no expectations.

      I was hesitant to try SSS, because I had such an unpleasant experience with another small indie-perfumer’s work. I think that is part of the reason I love Laurie’s work so much—because I expected head-shop oils, and what I got was on par with what the finest niche houses are putting out!

      BD seems to have tuned his nose to mine 😉 Because almost everything that I’ve smelled from his portfolio isn’t just “like,” it’s “LOVE.” But then I haven’t smelled everything he’s done, so I’m sure I’ll meet something one of these days that doesn’t ring my bell. LOL.

      The back-log has been a lot of fun. One of my most fun blogging experiences was talking about a 30-year-old perfume that no one cares about. I feel, in an instance like that, that I’m helping to fill in the blanks for other ‘fumies.

      Thanks for reading, and thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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