Best of 2015

Hey there, Posse peeps!  First off, a shout-out to Patty for the new look for the Posse website — I don’t know about you, but it loads faster and is much less laggy for me.  I like the clean, modern look.

2015 — I can’t believe we’re at the end of it!  Where did the time go?  Do you ever feel like the days last for weeks but the year goes by in a moment?  This year (like the last few) had a lot of big changes for me.  Among them, I went back to work full time in a downtown office, which is fantastic but which has cut into my blogging.  It makes me very happy to pop on here and read other people’s posts and the comments, even for a few minutes (anonymously) on the train to and from work.  I love perfume people, and talking about fragrance.

This Christmas I was tasked with/asked for a fragrance recommendation for my teenage nephew who wants to trade up from Axe (lol).   I ended up getting him Terre d’Hermes, which he loved, my sister-in-law loved (and wants to steal) and doesn’t reek of adult male masculinity in a way that would make me uncomfortable.  I also ended up having a chat and sniff-fest with my daughters about Parfums MDCI, always worthy of a revisit.  I also took a couple of perfumed trips to New York — once with Patty earlier this year, and more recently to Twisted Lily in Brooklyn with some perfume buds.

But I digress.  Here’s the Posse list of delights (old and new, frankly) for the past year.  Let us know in comments what you’ve fallen in love with, and please visit Bois de Jasmin, The Non-Blonde, Now Smell This, and Grain de Musc for their lists as well.

Perfume Posse LOVED 2015

Ann: Mmmm, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Ciel de Gum. Not a 2015 release per se, but since it was not really available here until this year, it’s fairly new to most of us, so I’m including it. It’s a slightly sweet, slightly spicy, totally yummy floriental but with a plush, elegant feel to it. Enough so that it wouldn’t have been out of place had it been released under the Guerlain banner. Jo Malone Tuberose and Angelica: This bright, fresh-ish tuberose was a pleasant chill earlier this year on a torrid summer day. And the green, slightly spicy swirl of angelica tethered it, keeping it from veering toward that sometimes iffy buttery territory that Fracas and others visit. A great tuberose for those who think they can’t wear tuberose. My mainstream pick: Clinique Aromatics in Black. There’s nothing really all that black (or “noir”) about it, but it does have what I think of as a “dark lite” vibe. The notes list fruit, but I didn’t get much, being happily enveloped instead by a warm, smooth cloak of myrrh, vetiver and jasmine. It’s not terribly complicated, but a versatile, easy-to-wear offering from Clinique.

March:  I’m counting this because I smelled it THIS year — I lovelovelove the Unum Lavs.  I smelled it first this summer and was … not delighted.  I said I needed to try its incense-y goodness when it cooled off.  And man — is it incredible!  You hardcore incense freaks — and you know who you are — this deserves a place on your altar next to CdG Avignon, Armani Bois d’Encens, and whatever else you have up there.  Honorary mention for 2014’s (yeah yeah) Amouage Sunshine, which is stupid crazy expensive and doesn’t fit into their line AT ALL and really is the happiest, creamiest almond-y thing.  Mostly for 2015?  I’ve been shopping my closet.  Really, what a delight it is to revisit and actually wear some longtime loves.  In heavy rotation recently are the Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient, which I love so much I trolled fellow perfumistas for a bottle, and and my old-ish bottle of Teo Cabanel Alahine, along with the sublime/ridiculous Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger.

Musette: This was a Very Good Year for Perfumes, both old and new.  After many years of Sniffing and Moving On, I revisited – and fell madly in love with – and entire LINE!  Acqua di Parma.  Oh, behave.  Like you haven’t done that before – you have, haven’t you?  Of course you have.  I don’t even know how…oh, yes, I do!  Surrender to Chance had a jar of Gelsomino Nobile body creme and I thought ‘oh, why not?’.  That led to the other Sisters Nobile, Rosa and Magnolia.  Full bottle of the Magnolia edp is half-empty already!

My fave finds for 2015:  Neela Vermeire Pichola.  It’s lovely and lighthearted but not lightweight.  There’s a substance to it that keeps it firmly grounded and very interesting,  A BANNER year for Amouage Fate Extrait.  Yes, you heard me.  EXTRAIT!  Talk about gilding the lily!  Fate Extrait is ….well, it’s just phenomenal.  Big, gorgeous…’s one of those perfumes you really do need to be worthy of.  I was wearing fleece and a hoodie when I first spritzed it – after 5 minutes I felt..unworthy.  I put on a cotton blouse.  It felt…flimsy.  I ended up wearing knit wool pants & a cashmere sweater, which was perfect.  In Summer I would pair this with a polished cotton sundress and my Bombay.  Yes, it is all that. A big departure for Amouage:  Sunshine.  It is at the opposite end of the Regals (Gold, Jubilation25, Lyric…Epic) with a twisty little shiv of sunlight (pun sort of intended) that becomes a prism of prettiness.  Sunshine Man is gorgeous as well!

I would like to list one other but, to be honest, I cannot remember much about it.  I was at Chicago Barneys, my sweet little (new) SA took me over to a display yapping about dressmaking and the link to the bottle design, there was a Chypre, among others, and the samples were bisque buttons in various colors.  It was a lovely display and there was one major standout.  And it’s a cautionary tale about being too avant-garde in your merchandising.  The buttons were just that – buttons.  No branding.  So…while I fell madly in love with the scent it’s now a month later and  I have no idea what line it is (it’s a Fashion House line, that much I know – Old School.  Either Dior or Givenchy.  Maybe).  I haven’t been back to the Barn since so it’ll have to wait until 2016.  Too bad.  It is a gorgeous scent!

Oooh!  before I go, I do want to mention Juan M. Perez’s Magnolia de Verano (his Etsy shop is Exotic Island Aromas).  It is  the most gorgeous, fresh, green-tinged Magnolia!  I have a little sample of it but the Full Bottle will be in my paws, come early 2016.  It would be here now except I think it’ll take longer than 5 days to reach me.

Patty:  I have such a long list of loves this year.  Join in on the Unum Lavs love, and up it with Dior Feve Delicieuse, MDCI Les Indes Galantes, Atelier Vanilla Smoke, Cartier Oud & Musc, Frederic Malle Night, Serge Lutens L’Incendiaire (was that this year? – doesn’t matter), Maison Francis Kurkdjian Ciel de Gum, Arquiste Nanban, Tom Ford Noir Extreme, Ormonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris, Le Labo The Noir (I know I may be alone in this, but I.don’  I see a theme in my list – mostly dark and snuggly. It was one of those years.  For sheer audacity on the smut scale – Papilon Salome is perfection.  Best really pretty soliflore’ish perfumes – Eric Buterbaugh line.  Best effort to make a gorgeous iris perfume that is different from the rest – Naomi Goodsir Iris Centrea – really beautiful and not referential to anything else really. I thought this year was pretty great for perfume.

Portia:  There was so much to love this year. Of everything tried (and my list was hardly exhaustive so please don’t get frosty and thin lipped if your fave isn’t here) I was most enchanted by Amouage Sunshine Woman, Chanel Misia, Annick Goutal L’lle au Thé, Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola, Eau d’Italie Morn to Dusk, Eric Buterbaugh Florals Apollo Hyacinth, Amouage Opus IX, Ormonde Jayne Vanille d’Iris, The Different Company Le 15, Naomi Goodsir Iris Cendre, Aftelier Vanilla Smoke, Christian Dior Fève Délicieuse.

What did I put down money to purchase in Full Bottle?
Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola, the most easily accessible of the NVC line. I love it’s effortless white floral beauty that never overwhelms but remains cool, calm and collected through its whole lifespan.
The Different Company Le 15, I love the way they have reworked the cologne style and made it modern and beautiful. A wearable fragrance that I found delightfully different. Yes, I do know that most of the hardcore perfumistas found it dull and wan but my skin lifted it and gave it a really gorgeous spin.
Aftelier Vanilla Smoke, I bought a small parfum of this beautiful fragrance that wears like a Shalimar hybrid at the campfire. Mandy Aftel has done another great job. YUM!

The ones I haven’t bought yet but will on holiday in January:
Chanel Misia, because it’s freaking gorgeous. Swett, fruity, resinous and rosy! Be still my beating heart.
Christian Dior Fève Délicieuse, this is DIOR’s answer to Guerlain and they have done it flawlessly. If only Guerlain was making such lavishness these days, a lovely, stylish, witty and warm spiced up vanilla that wears perfectly in all weathers.

Tom: I have two top picks for 2015, both by local perfumers. They are:

Call to Prayer by Joanne Basset. From her website:

“My Call To Prayer Perfume was birthed this Ramadan on July 8, 2015. This precious perfume is a high vibration perfume with rose, frankincense and oud – agarwood in a base of organic jojoba oil. Vintage Bulgarian white rose (alba) otto the “flower of light”, Vintage Rare Frankincense Oman, hydro distilled, and a combination of Cambodia and Thai wild oud – agar wood. The general feeling is peace, meditation and reverence when applied.”

I found it to be just beautiful.

The second one was Figure 5: Bois from Roxana Illuminated Perfume. From her website:

“Figure 5: Bois is like a weathered and warm embrace from the undergrowth of a mystic forest. The notes are warm and earthy primarily of wood with tobacco, leather and smoke. Typically masculine, although worn by both men and women.”

Nobody captures the spirit of Southern California and especially the hills of Malibu like Roxana, and Figure 5: Bois is a triumph.


  • Vasily says:

    +1 for the Fashionista theme selected by Patty. Clean and simple is always better in my book. This is the season when I wear Creed Orange Spice a lot, and my New Years’ Resolutions are to purchase a new bottle of Bois du Portugal (which I’ve run out of) and something by Uncle Serge since I don’t have a bottle of one of his juices in my collection.

    And thanks to all of you who keep this site going, it’s on my daily read list.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Vasily, and thanks! Glad you like the look of the new site (it is great, isn’t it?) and happy you are a daily Posse visitor. Lucky you to be adding a Serge to your collection; let us know which one you decide on.

  • Suzy Q says:

    1. The website looks terrific!
    2. I love end-of-year lists! It’s fun to compare notes, and also to be reminded of the perfumes I meant to smell…but didn’t.
    3. Portia, I bought myself a bottle of Misia for Christmas. It felt as if Olivier Polge had created my bespoke perfume!
    Musette, I had a similar reaction to you regarding Opus IX (in a review). It’s beautiful and very wearable.
    Sunshine smells kind of like Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille. I’d wear it in the winter…if I owned it.
    A friend has Unum Lavs and Le 15. I love them on him, haven’t tried them on my skin yet. Will make that happen.
    Musette, I fell hard for Rosa Nobile this year.
    I sure do need to try Ciel de Gum.
    Thanks Posse peeps! I check in with you every day. Happy new year.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Suzy Q! So glad you stopped by and loved a lot of things we did, too. Do give the Ciel de Gum a whirl when you get a chance. Happy holidays to you!

    • Portia says:

      SuzyQ, I love that you feel that way about Misia. It’s pretty darn perfect, the only surprise is that I don’t already own it.
      Portia xxx

  • cinnamon says:

    2015 and perfume. I liked Misia, but the love wasn’t there. A number of things I would have like to try were out of reach due to geography. Roxana Illuminated is available on etsy, but the shipping is ridiculous, Slumberhouse is no longer stocked at RoullierWhite (and they don’t offer samples in any case). But, I’m looking forward to trying Salome. Oddly (at least to me) I’m craving a couple of Uncle Serge’s older, stranger offerings, Arabie and Tubereuse Criminelle.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Cinnamon! I hear you on the “out of reach”; it’s like that for me as well. Thank heavens for places that sell decants and samples. I want to try Salome, too, and now you’ve got me craving Serge’s TC. 🙂 It’s warm enough here that I could really use that whomp of scent.

    • Portia says:

      Funny you should mention old Serge I had Datura Noir on today. It was perfect for the Sydney heat.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Portia, you win the Musette internet Prize today for ‘frost and thin-lipped’. <3 xoxoxoA

  • Shirley Munoz says:

    Best of the season. So happy you made it to Twisted Lilly. I was totally enchanted especially because PhyoUniverse is closing and with it the Caron Shop. While at Lily I fell in love with Nishane Vjola my new scent for the new year.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Shirley! So sorry to hear that two scent spots are closing. Boo-hoo! But glad you found love with Nishane. That wasn’t on my radar, but now it sure is — thanks!

  • caseymaureen says:

    Clearly that should say Harrods – bloody autocorrect!!

  • caseymaureen says:

    Some great suggestions for a good mooch in Harrodsburg next time I’m in London! By the way the links don’t lead to other lists…..
    Happy New Year for next week March

    • March says:

      Harrodsburg made me giggle — it’s kind of the right name, you know? Like its own city.

      I know! Robin at NST has her list up, but the other blogs don’t have lists. This was all discussed beforehand (Robin has the same set of links we do) so I dunno what happened.

  • Suzanne says:

    Great list!

    Musette, was it Givenchy L’Atelier de Givenchy Chypre Caresse? I remember getting button samples last year at Saks for that line – the SA had the sense to put them in little envelopes and put names on them for me. Hope this helps!

    Happy New Year!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Suzanne! Lucky you to have tried the whole Givenchy line! My Saks doesn’t have it 🙁 But I did try the very nice Ambre Tigre from Surrender to Chance. Must sniff the chypre one soon. Thanks!

    • Musette says:

      Suzanne, that sounds like it might be it. It was a quick in-and-out/down-and-dirty/dog-and-cat moment (I was going to continue but decided I was teetering on the edge of Goofball there) – I always think Dior when I think ‘dressmaker’ because his clothes suit me more than Givenchy – but that’s the ONLY reason; so Givenchy it is. The button idea is cute but it has Art Director written all over it (no disrespect to the fabulous ADs out there) – much like billboards with some gorgeous, non-branded graphic and some truly tiny type. Those billboards are always at the most dangerous highway merges, have you ever noticed? So you can’t even take a nanosecond to try to figure out what the gorgeous billboard is advertising.

      Whoa! I went on a tangent there, didn’t I! Anyhoo – while cute, a button with NO NAME on it sort of…..well it’s dumb. Cute. But dumb.