Best Perfumes of 2010

Best Perfumes of 2010

Is it true?  Is 2010 almost over?  I don’t even remember it starting!   But I do remember my favorite new fragrances from the past 12 months or so, that counts for something, right?  Alas, most of them were vintage finds, which misses the point of this kind of post…..but! there were a few  new-release gems . Here’s what ‘we’ think are the Best Perfumes of 2010 – I can’t wait to read what you guys think was ‘best’ in 2010~

Bas des Soie (Serge Lutens).  Everybody take a minute to catch your breath at this one.  Yes, it’s iris.  Yes, I can smell it.  Yes, I love it!  Well, I don’t LOVE it, but I liked it a whole heckuva lot – it’s the first Serge I’ve ever taken a second/third/possibly FB look at!   I love the initial blast of cool, ladylike iris and the hyacinth followup, though warmer than I expected, was intriguing.  I kept sniffing my wrist and wondering what that great scent was  (don’t ask – my short-term memory is gawwwwn).  I like it!  I really like it!

Frederic Malle 1er Mai candle. While not technically a perfume, it could – and should – be (and you know that came up at the Candle Thingie, right?)!  If I could scoop this out of the Red Glass Jar and apply it to my wrist, I think I just might, though I’d be thrilled to just have it sitting on a table in my clean, newly-renovated house (that should give you some idea of the fantasy of this whole concept).  An absolutely beautiful scent, redolent of May flowers, with no waxy buildup!  And here I thought I hated candles!

Dior Diorama.  I’m not exactly sure if this qualifies as a 2010 release since it’s 61 years old.  But the current iteration was released in the States in 2010 so I’m running with it, okay?  March thinks the new iteration dries down like current Diorella and she’s not wrong – ish.  I get   a minty note in both drydowns but Diorama seems a bit embarrassed by it, rather than embracing it, as has Diorella.  So why am I so keen on it?  Well, I’ll tell ya :  this entrance into the US market makes my heart go pitty pat in hopes they might send Diorling over soon!  Hope springs eternal…

Tom steps in with this elegant review (and I should beat him because I do NOT need to be lemming any more perfume):

My best of 2010 is the one I’ve found myself reaching for most frequently since the bottle was acquired: Mocktail by smell bent.  The sparkling citrus and almost aldehyde-like woods make for a perfect answer to drab winter days, spreadsheets and 4:30 sunsets, while the price point makes spritzing with abandon a guilt-free pleasure.  I couldn’t be happier if I found zero-calorie champagne!

March: 2010 marked the year when I gave up trying to keep up with new releases – even from the niche houses.  If you’d like to torment yourself, go browse the list at Now Smell This, I throw up my hands in defeat.

So this is (what else?) my highly subjective best-of list for 2010, what I enjoyed the most or thought most interesting from the scents I got around to smelling.

Serge Lutens Boxeuses, in which Monsieur Lutens quits goofing around (has anything been more disappointing than his L’Eau?) and gets back to what he does best – those Hammam/Souk Delirium scents which I, and apparently many of you, never tire of.  I’d wear this in a heartbeat, and would love a bottle.  This also marked the year that I developed a new appreciation for some of his older scents, including Chene and the cumin-y El Attarine.  I will not be surprised if Arabie is next, god help me.

L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse and Traversee du Bosphore – in which I am forced to eat my whiny-baby words about how Bertrand Duchaufour can’t make a scent that doesn’t smell like old vase-water, at least on me.  Love it or hate it (and I loved it) NdT was a fascinating new take on tuberose, spicy and dark and strange.  Traversee du Bosphore sounded even less promising (Turkish Delight?  Rose and pistachio?  no, thanks) and yet is lovely, not too sweet, with a nice tobacco note.  Some of you have complained it’s too light.  I find it, a la the Three Bears, just right.

Finally, I find myself reaching (on crappy winter days) for my Tauer Eau d’Epices.  I should note here that, no, it’s not particularly spicy on me.  It’s less the list of its notes, which sounds all spicy – cardamom and clove and what have you – and more what I’d think of as Tauer-ade – if you took just the drydown of Andy’s fragrances, that rich, warm ambergris base, this would be it.  It’s the sort of scent I spray on at the end of a tiresome day, and delight 0n finding traces of on my sweater.

Patty: Ive been pretty simple this year, and I’m giving my best of to what I keep wearing more days than not – L’Artisan Nuit de Tuberose (March already picked this one).  There’s something spicy, rich, deep and lovely about it that makes it easy to wear, but stays interesting from start to finish – not so interesting that I’m trying to figure out if I can leave the house in it, though.  It’s also the one people compliment me on.

Do I need a second one?  Well, yeah, and I do this with trepidation since I”m not quite certain that it rises to this because I’ve only been smelling it for a couple of days – Dior New Look 1947. More on this on Thursday, but it is also a tuberose entry, one that captures a time, a look, a place, but keeps it modern so you can avoid all of those ignorant “old lady perfume” comments.  I think that one is going to see me into 2011 for a couple of months and is now putting some pressure on Nuit de Tuberose for what gets worn more.

Nava: I didn’t get the opportunity to sample much this past year, but one standout for me was Thierry Mugler Womanity. I know; the house that brought us that devil, Angel. But I’m helpless when it comes to salt and fig. The other was Balenciaga Paris: violet, musk, labdanum, and just a hint of chypre that doesn’t send me screaming in the opposite direction. I wore it constantly in the spring, but it turned a bit suffocating on me in the hot weather. Honourable mention goes to L’Artisan Havana Vanille. I blame the shivering Musette for this one. I have been coveting a bottle of this for months.

We’ll leave this post up on Wednesday; please join us on Thursday while Patty reviews one of the new Diors.  For other Best Perfumes of 2010, please see Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc, Now Smell This, and Perfume-Smellin’ Things.

Photo:  Best of Halter Class Stallion – 2010 World Percheron Congress/ “Moose” of Windermere Farms. My new stallion – just as soon as I can figure out how to pay for him/buy the farm/build the state-of-the-art barn to house him/feed him…

79 Comments
Ann December 30, 2010

I am so enjoying everyone's picks and thoughts on 2010's fragrances. There were so many great ones to choose from. And thanks to all you wonderful folks at the Posse for educating and entertaining us about so many of them. My faves were: Amouage Memoir Woman (FBW one day): A dreamy, smoky, warm and wonderful scent, and the first Amouage I could wear happily. MFK's Absolue Pour le Soir: The term "skankfest" being bandied about on this one had me a bit gun-shy as my skin amps cumin something fierce. But I found it to be amazingly good on my skin -- deliciously dense and rich, like a deep burgandy velveteen throw lined in heavy satin. Diptyque's Eau Duelle: This one got a lot of mixed reviews but it was love at first sniff for me (an admitted vanilla 'ho) with its gentle spices and lovely vanilla. L'Artisan's Nuits de Tubereuse: I'm not usually much of a tubereuse fan(save for a blast of SL's Tubereuse Criminelle once in a while), but this one wasn't a "hit you over the head" tubey, and it had an impish, changeling vibe to it that kept me on my toes. Interestingly enough, it turned out to be a bit of a gateway drug to none other than ... Carnal Flower (new to me): I can't get enough of its lush, gorgeous beauty. Who'd a-thunk it? On that same note, am also feeling the love for Musc Ravageur.

Flora December 29, 2010

Love all your choices! I have not smelled nearly as much new mainstream stuff as I usually do this year, and I just got tired of what was in the department stores, to the point of AVOIDING the fragrance counter at Macy's to avoid yet more disappointment. Yes really! I did fall in love with a bunch o' vintage frags as well as some Rosines (Rose Kashmirie is swoon-worthy) and a lot of indie creations, too many to list. Musette - "Moose" will be yours over MY cold, dead lead line. :-D

Mary December 29, 2010

I have really enjoyed learning more about fragfrance this year, and am very appreciative of the Posse and all the ways you folks have helped open up the world of perfume for me. For the holiday season, I have been enjoying some old loves (Infini, Nocturnes, Parfum Sacre) plus some fun vintages I picked up this year-- Chanel Gardenia, Caron Tabac Blond, Hermes Amazone. New to me: Caron L'Anarchiste--has a beautiful cinnamon note woven in with some minty top notes--and I perceive it as an easy to wear leather in the drydown. This past week, Nuit de Noel has been fun to play with, although I had to give it a few chances before I settled in with it. PdN Sacre Bleu was the fragrance for Christmas Day-- it did seem to create a calming space in the middle of the whirlwind. Enjoying vintage Shalimar at bedtime; Aimez Moi on warmer days, Field Notes from Paris on rainy mornings when my neighbors are burning wood in their fireplaces. I checked out Portrait of a Lady--not my cup of perfume. Called up memories of convalescent hospital smells from visiting my grandmother back in the 60's--maybe it was context, from smelling other things earlier in the day, feeling tired, and needing coffee-- I will give it another try. New release favorites of the year for me: Amouage Opus II, from last summer--the rich incense in the drydown, mmmmm; and Ineke Gilded Lily, from just a few weeks ago. Gilded Lily is really lovely, fizzy and cheerful. I also love the Nuit de Tubereuse, but it doesn't seem to be a cold weather perfume for me. Thanks again, all of you on the Posse! :)>-

Rappleyea December 29, 2010

Count me as one of the overwhelmed and under-sniffed! But my absolute favorite 2010 release is SSS Incense Pure - best incense evah! It's a tie in the "new to me in 2010" category: Iris Ganache (thankfully, I don't get the plastic-y note I've read others get), and Solange Cosmic - all I can say is WOW! I think both of these are 2007 releases; at least I'm in the right decade! :-D

nozknoz December 29, 2010

Just enjoying the contrasting opinions here on everyone's 2010 favs: one perfumista's HG is another's 'orrible swamp water or total bafflement - vive la difference! BTW, Musette - I was strolling in a park in Amsterdam a few years back and suddenly heard what sounded like gunfire. It turned out to be one of those giant horses - or, rather, its giant horseshoes on a cobblestone street.

Kym December 29, 2010

Where o where did you find Diorama? I went to Saks, they didn't have it (nor had even heard of it), I went to the Dior Boutique, the salesperson never heard of it! I'd really like to give this one a sniff, but cannot find it...

mariekel December 29, 2010

Quite a number of 2010 releases seemed to focus on notes that mainly I shy away from: tuberose, vanillas, candied florals. yucky. There were a number of new vetivers I wanted to try but sadly, I was wearing Vetiver 46 on a day last Spring when I started to feel terribly unwell. Ever since that day, vetivers have been tainted for me. I feel queasy in their presence. WAH! This is a note I have loved all my life. does anyone know a good hypnotherapist to help me blast way the association of nausea/vetiver so I can love it again? I thought I would adore Bas de Soie since I am a big hyacinth fan but it seemed like an etch-o-sketch of Gucci Rush. And, on my skin, it has an odd, just perceptible note i can only describe as baked potato chip. I am fond of the Tauer Epices but I have had a large sample of this for 2 years, so it was not new to me. I think if I had to choose a favourite from this year it would be Pierre Guillaume's Fareb. but I am not sure it merits a full bottle lemming just yet. I need to get back to smelling the leather and the woods which has lately disappeared in favour of cumin.

odonata9 December 29, 2010

Out of the lists, I've only tried Womanity (sooooooooooooooo sweet! loved the salty popcorn part, but it was too sweet for me) and Havana Vanilla (which was nice, but did not live up to all the hype). I'm so new to perfumista-hood that I've been catching up with everything, rather than just new releases. One new thing I enjoyed this year was One by Smell Bent, and can't believe I didn't get a sample of mocktail when I ordered that since I love citruses - next time! I did enjoy their Sunshine and Blimey Limey as well. I braved the fancy mall today to try and sample some things at Hermes and Neiman Marcus - was so sad that Neimans no longer carries L'Artisans so I couldn't try NdT, CdVS, and TdB :( They did have the Tom Fords though, so that was nice to sniff. And there was a very friendly SA at Hermes who gave me lots of lovely samples!

Dante's Bra December 29, 2010

Hey Patty-- just got my Kiss Me Tender today-- love it, and I usually don't like sweet heliotrope, but it's warm and lovely in a way that I wanted Havana Vanille to be (but HV was too much of a good thing to me). Thank you! I was surprised by Eau d'Epices-- so far the Tauers haven't worked for me, just too shrill for my nose, but the radiant orange blossom of E d'E is perfect for winter-- I also love finding little bits on my coats and sweaters! Some classics that I didn't connect w/right away snuck up and charmed me this year: Mitsouko, which I finally smelled in vintage form and made me want to cry; Timbuktu, which was too squeaky but one day became radiant and clear like a song; Apres l'Ondee (I can't say anything new, it's perfect). Bas de Soie was the biggest surprise, the perfect balance of chill, greenish and quiet. Thanks to all perfume peeps for your love and sharing and enthusiasm!

Kate December 29, 2010

Gawd, how could I forget Ninfeo Mio! I used about 1/3 of the bottle this spring/summer! The only Goutal I own. Sorry delightfully wonderful Tom Crutchfield.

Kate December 29, 2010

2010 loves: Like This, Nuit de Tube, my one and only By Kilian love: Love and Tears, Surrender, and I think its new, the Mary Greenwell modern floral chypre, Plum. My head is down my cowel neck sweater right now. I'm pretty sure Amaranthine is love and I've yet to try the Turkish delight one. Not sure I love the new leathery Serge. The maple syrup note weirds me out a bit.

karin December 28, 2010

I'm still stumped on Bas de Soie. Smells 'orrible to me. All swampy. Surprised by all the love it gets. I still think I must have a bum sample or something. It was unmarked, afterall, so could it be something else? I've tried it a couple of times, still swamp. Need to try some revamped Diors. I suppose I've stayed away from the reformulations, thinking they couldn't possibly be any good. But sounds like they're not so bad? Loved Diorissimo years ago, and haven't gone near it since cause I'd hate to be disappointed! Curious about Boxeuses, and I have a sample set of all the Dior La Collection scents on their way to me from Perfumed Court. (Also ordered Vetiver Pour Elle which I'm really curious to try.) Here's my favorites list as duplicated from my post on NST: Favorite 2010 releases: Kilian Love and Tears Nuit de Tubereuse Traversée du Bosphore Favorite new to me: Attrape Coeur (sigh!) Eau de Sisley #3 Nuit d’Amour Chanel No. 19 EDT Bois de Violette La Treizième Heure Amouage Dia

Claudia December 28, 2010

My bottle of Bas de Soie is due to arrive this afternoon, if the snow on the East Coast hasn't thrown deliveries out of whack. My first Serge! Very excited!

carmencanada December 28, 2010

In the Frédéric Malle candles, I'd definitely rub myself with the Gardenia and the Lily... Glad to see a lot of my favourites (both those that made it to my own list and those I had to leave out) get so much love... Diorama has indeed changed even in the last couple of years. I find it's like a warmer, less sparkling version of Le Parfum de Thérèse. Worth trying out for those who feel averse to the aquatic note in LPdT!

Robin December 28, 2010

Ok, I had heard about Diorama but then forgot all about it. So it's ok, not reformulated to absolute death? That might be worth going to Saks for...it takes a great deal to get me to go to Saks.

Shelley December 28, 2010

I am still waiting for my flight of Dior decants. Hopefully, they'll arrive before the weekend, and I'll close out 2010 with them. Or will I? I am so fickle about trying new things...fortunately, I never fully got on board with having to keep up with new releases. Probably because by the time I landed at the bottom of the rabbit hole, there were already too many launches a year to even pretend to, let alone want to. Of course, I'm the kind of person who not only doesn't balk at the One Week Scent Challenge, I tend to live it. Which means, I suppose, I should call it an Embracing rather than a Challenge. Things I learned to love in 2010: FK Absolou Pour le Soir. Coeur de Vetiver Sacre. Things I could not love in 2010, despite trying: Bas de Soie. (Sorry, veers too much into hyacinth for me.) Traversee du Bophosphere. (To be fair, I need to approach with caution again. But it opened SO sweet on me, and seemed to stay that way for half an hour at least, that I cried uncle.) Things I loved despite myself in 2010: Kiss Me Tender. (Which goes to show I guess I can handle a certain kind of sweet.) Things I just loved in 2010: Havana Vanille. L'Accord. Swapping. :) Thanks for all you guys have done to contribute to my 2010!

Sherri M. December 28, 2010

Oh, and I also thought Love & Tears was a very nice entry into the "pretty" category.

Victoria December 28, 2010

"Serge Lutens Boxeuses, in which Monsieur Lutens quits goofing around (has anything been more disappointing than his L’Eau?)" March, you've said it! I was trying to write a review for L'Eau (trying to get this off my chest before the end of the year, so that I no longer have to think about in 2011), and reviewing it is worse than reviewing the new thing from Britney Spears. Utterly insipid! Totally agree with your choices, both of which are on my list too. Mom says hello! She read your list earlier today and said that she now needs to smell Nuit de Tubereuse. :) xoxo

marina December 28, 2010

Everybody loves Raym...um, Nuit de Tubereuse :) I am with Nava on Havana Vanille or whatever they call it these days! :)

Sherri M. December 28, 2010

I second everyone's choices--Bas de Soie, Nuit de Tubereuse and Traversee au Bosphore. I would also add Vamp. Like TaB, this is one I didn't expect to like. Granted, it goes on like a bubblegum lipsmacker, but, like TaB, it dries down beautifully and draws alot of compliments from everyone. My greatest disappointment of 2010 was Tonka Imperiale. I suppose my expectations were too high. I just love L'art et la Matiere line, and I waited so long for that one. All the notes sounded lovely, and it's really not horrible at all, but not what I was expecting (esp. for $235).

Debbie R. December 28, 2010

Nuit de Tuberose, and that's it.

Winifreida December 28, 2010

P.S. Musette, noice pony!!

Winifreida December 28, 2010

Well count me in for Nuit de Tuberose too...there is something so sexy and evocative about it. I think Womanity could be signaling a real turn in the mainstream too, away from the flouro fruit/wood/floral things. Maybe there is a new dawn breaking in our loved art...I'm hoping for a whole lot of tune-ups (flankers!!!) for Womanity that really extend its strangeness. I have not yet smelled Shalimar Vanille but am really hoping it also signals change for Guerlain. Funny how the non-perfumes like Serge's Eau contrast with the likes of Kurdjikans (sorry, sp) Absolue Funk-funk. My best of 2010 is hope that perfumerie lives!

Kim December 28, 2010

Like March, I gave up tying to keep up with the new releases- reading about them let alone sampling. I just couldn't get that deep into it - is that a perfumista stage? Anyways, I fell in love instantly with Cartier Les Heures XIII. Same with Diptyque Eau Duelle, of which I actually broke down and got a full bottle - soooo happy with it. :)) Also fell in love with Piguet Visa which I think was a re-release this year - sorry if I'm wrong but I suspect it will be my next full bottle purchase. For some reason I have gone for the dense, heavy scents this year. No aquatic melons for me!

Suzy Q December 28, 2010

I'm with you March and Patty. I joined the Bertrand Duchaufour love train this year. Nuit de Tubereuse is at the top of my list. I wore it so much over the summer that it permeated my car's air conditioning system! Now that's it's winter I'm suddenly in love with my little sample of Havana Vanille. Traversee du Bosphore is FBW. Did Amaranthine come out this year? If so, it goes on the list, too.

DinaC December 28, 2010

My top releases for 2010 were Balenciaga Paris, such a transparent, woody violet, and violet leaf on me. I've gone through two samples and want a FB. The other favorite new release was Nuit de Tubereuse. I wore it many times this summer. I'll have to break out my samples again come the warm weather and see if my affection for it holds up. I'm not usually a tuberose kinda gal, so this one was a surprise. I'm of two minds about SL's Bas des Soie. I love the iris-hyacinth scent, but if I'm in the mood for that particular "flavor," why not wear my all-time favorite No. 19 edp, or Safari, or Heure Exquise, or one of the many other iris and/or hyacinth scents I already own? I don't think I'll be buying a FB of this one. Just now getting around to sampling some other 2010 releases like Iris Ukiyoe and Traversee du Bosphore, so those may also creep onto my best of 2010 list in a couple more weeks.

ElizabethN December 28, 2010

I am happy to see that there is someone out there who appreciates Bas de Soie. I do *love* it, and wear it quite often, even in winter, when it reminds me that spring is not far off...