Random – and what was the worst

(Hey, folks — since the Posse was down much of the day Tuesday, we’re leaving this post up Wednesday, and March will be posting on Thursday.)

I was going to talk about Comme des Garcons Monacle II – Laurel.  But I don’t have a lot to say about it.   Nice, woody, laurelish.  Definitely very laurel’ish, wish it were a candle.

How about Juliette Has a Gun Calamity J? Well, okay.  Little powdery on me.  If something has a Calamity Jane tie-in, why would you make it powdery? Why not some leather, gunsmoke and sass?

Trying to work up some enthusiasm for anything on my desk.

What have we here?  Oh, dear, the Limited Edition DKNY Delicious Candy Apples.  Raspberry? Raspberry apples with the Tampax Fresh Accord TFA is just what I was hoping to smell after I spritzed it on my hand.  How much worse can the Sweet Caramel version be?  That one could have actually been fun if it didn’t have the TFA curling up in the background.  Both of these are actually really fine for young girls. They have this cute little stick coming out of the top like a candy apple, but I think they are marketing this to girls above the age of 18, right?  Just say no and pass it along to your favorite young niece.  It’s absolutely appropriate and perfect for them, how little girls should smell.

None of these are the worst thing I smelled this year. That honor goes to Marc Jacobs Lola, which not only was foul, but let me down because it was so unnecessary. Daisy wasn’t a breakthrough of any kind, but it was a great little scent that wore well and easily and fit the name.  Lola could have been great, and they snagged a great name that should have been on one serious floozy of a perfume and instead put it on a big mess.

As we wind up the year, and before we start talking about the bests of the year (are we doing that, ya’ll?), what was your worsst for 2009?

  • I have to agree that Lola was one of the worst. According to all the reviews I read from the undiscerning, people seems to love it but I find it to be horribly boring. It lacks complexity and the bottle is a tacky disaster. Before I ever tried the fragrance — it was ‘forced’ upon me at Sephora by an uneducated fragrance consultant — I found the bottle to really cheapen whatever integrity the perfume might have had.

  • Elizabeth says:

    This thread is the most entertaining one I’ve read in a long time! I haven’t tried man of the ones mentioned, but the one that I’ve tried that I ran screaming to scrub off was Field Notes. It smelled like cheap aftershave on me, but I couldn’t wait to see how it developed. And since I adore Andy and his work overall, it pains me to say the Une Rose Chyprée was hauntingly horrible on me. I was so excited about it that I nearly bought it blind.

    The best of the year? That’s a lot tougher. Maybe 1. Girls in Stilettos and 2. Soivohle Tobacco and Tulle followed by 3. Soivohle Love Speaks Primeval. Clearly, I am on a skank-hunt lately, eagerly awaiting a sample of Al Oudh after what I’ve heard about it. 🙂

  • lisa67 says:

    Several 2009 releases are still on my LS and TPC wishlists (VC&As, Boadicea line, Havana Vanille, L’A Oudh, Amaranthine, Fille en Aiguilles), but of those 2009 releases I have tried and actively disliked, I’d nominate:

    1. Les Nez Manoumalia – I know this one is quite popular with so many, but on me, it was like a stinky 80’s home perm with a Glade Tropical Air Freshener chaser. Absolutely vile in every way on my skin.

    2. SL Serge Noire – A little cumin I like, but this is BBO (beyond BO) levels of cumin.

    3. Ineke’s Field Notes From Paris – This was one I really looked forward to, but it just went all wrong on me. Very harsh and sharp…not the leathery coffee I was longing for. Not awful on the level of Manoumalia, but just deeply disappointing.

    4. Le Labo Oud 27 – Band aids. Just band aids. Not terribly offensive, but if I wanted to smell like band aids, I’d save $266 and just buy a box of the things. (I *truly* hated Patchouli 24, but I think that one came out in 2008??)

    There were several others that earned a “meh” from me (Nuits de Cellophane, CDG Daphne Guinness, Vecchi Rossetti, L’eau de l’Hermine, Une Rose Chypree, the Six Scents and Red Flower lines), but the ones above stood out.

    Enjoying reading everyone’s lists (and they’re helping me “clean up” my wishlists!). Look forward as well to reading everyone’s favorites.

    • Musette says:

      Shelley gave me a samp of Manoumalia and it was one of those horror-morphs! We both thought it would be The Thing. And it was. The Thing.8-x

      Another ‘dang’.

      xo >-)

      • Shelley says:

        Did I tell you the story of the broken sample? I was one of those lucky folks that got sent a vial directly from Les Nez. Oh, the excitement of a foreign stamp and cancellation mark. Oh, the horror to realize the package was…flat…shards and a beautiful aroma within. I put it in the bathroom vanity, thinking it would smell up the joint in a good way. Nope, just the usual way. :-s

  • AnnieA says:

    Going for worst disappointment rather than worst, as it was not horrible in and of itself. Cristalle Eau Frache smelled NOTHING like Cristalle, but was identical to some other perfume so boring I couldn’t remember what it was. It was as if Chanel suddenly went into the imposter-perfume business…

    • March says:

      Cristalle Eau Fraiche does smell a bit like a fake copy, doesn’t it? 😕 I liked No. 5 Eau Premiere a lot better.

      • AnnieA says:

        Hmm, will have to give that a sniff to see whether my Chanel faith is restored…

        • March says:

          Wait … Les Exclusifs didn’t restore/maintain your Chanel faith?

          Eau Premiere isn’t precisely “me” (I’m not wild about rose, and I like the original better) but I think it’s a lovely composition. I’d give it as a gift for sure.

  • Olfacta says:

    Reading these comments made me say to myself, “Self, remember to wait at least five minutes before lemming after the newest thang!

    I tried some of that Boadicea (Wode, I think) at the Scent Bar. I had to ask the SA for some alcohol to scrub it off. Good Gawd almighty! And oh yeah. Finally got around to trying Dans Te Bras. (I know, that’s so Last Year but so am I.) It was hilarious, going back and reading the reviews when this stuff first came out. People really, really, really, really wanted to like it. A study in cognitive dissonance, it was. But…was this a joke? It wasn’t? Really?

    Likes include Field Notes From Paris (became only a casual relationship after the FB arrived), Amaranthine, By Kilian Midnight Aoud (sorta) some vintages (My Sin, L’Aimant, Joy perfume) and I know there are others. Rosine’s Rose d’Homme. And I know there are others.

    • March says:

      Your Bra Dances was one of the nastiest fragrances I have ever smelled. It smells like old mushrooms on 99.5% of the population, and the other three people it smells amazing on.

      Ooooh, you liked Amaranthigh? You smutty thing. My Sin makes me swoon, and Rose d’Homme is probably my fave. You have eggsellent taste. 😉

      • Winifreida says:

        ooooh nooooo speaking in tiny whisper..another one I love…I put it in the same category as the other gravedirt scents -Thunderstorm,Bolt of Lightning, Wild Hunt… that dank earth mildew effect..yes, crazy I know! The other great CdG Stephen Jones is probably a much prettier version tho’!

        • March says:

          But I love Thunderstorm, BOL and Wild Hunt. Those are glorious. I don’t get the mildew in DtB, just mushrooms. Old, slimy mushrooms.

        • Musette says:

          W, THAT is what I’m smelling in the early minutes of SJones! Thanks! I LOVE that gravedirt smell (Shelley calls it ‘violets in space’ ,the SJ I mean). But what happens to me after that is = well it’s not quite b-( but there’s this weird, plasticky note that I find intriguing but couldn’t be comfortable wearing as an actual fragrance

          Dang. Cuz I really like those space-frozen violets in the open!

          xo >-)

          • Shelley says:

            I think somebody else started the whole “violets in space” thang…the meteorite dirt bit was part of the gimmick…and while the CDG/SJ was an interesting place to visit, I prefer my dirt from the woods or the garden. I, too, am a Wild Hunt fan. :)>-

      • Francesca says:

        I must have really weird skin chemistry (ooops, sorry Luca, skin physics) because I loved In Your Bra and thought it smelled great on me. I’ll have to give it another whirl and see if I even *get* the mushrooms.

        • Robin R. says:

          My skin physics are the same, Francesca. Dancing in Tess’s Bra smells like violets and sunbaked skin on me and I love it. Didn’t get mushrooms. But then again, what’s wrong with ‘shrooms? That’s why I love all those funky gardenias out there — not to mention the earwax thing. 😡

  • mariekel says:

    Serge Noire was dreadful and made me wonder what the hell M. Sheldrake was smoking when he formulated it. It reminded me of an old sweater left in a musty attic for years. Also on my hit list are Nasomatto’s Black Afgano (thoroughly mystified by this overpriced mediocre line), which smells like an afghan hound that has just rolled in a big pile of rotting leaves, Humiecki and Graef’s Multiple Rouge, which instead of being fun and wacky was just whack. One of the few scents ever to make me feel queasy. And last but not least, Olivier Durbano’s Jade, which smells like an industrial cleaning fluid that is trying to “go green”. Too bad, since I quite like his other perfumes.

  • Heidi says:

    Lola was almost too nondescript for me to dislike. It was just nothing at all.

    I thought Badgley Mischka Couture was particularly hideous. Did Kors’ Very Hollywood come out this year? That one was so bad it was almost cartoonishly hilarious.

  • dleep says:

    I was not impressed with Estee Lauder Jasmine & White Moss or the Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise. Also boring were Lola, Hollywood and the D&G series with the naked models. After a while all of the department store perfumes started smelling the same to me. I did fall in love with some niche lines this year. There are some really funny posts in this thread!

  • Linda says:

    Gack! How funny!

    I hated Lola, too.

    But this year’s massive failures have been all my own fault… the blends I make in my little lab turn out delicious, if they are composed of things that I don’t care about, but I am trying to compose my mother’s HG vanilla scent and … aieeee! I hate blending vanilla scents. I didn’t know until I was well into this that it easily stuns my nose into anosmia, but it does. And I either make things that are boooooooring, or turn to cat-pee once applied to the skin, when I am crafting straight-up vanilla scents. (Mom has a cat-pee-skin-chemistry thing that is remarkably immediate and brutal.)

    And don’t get me started on roses. I want to love them, but I don’t. I really don’t. And my own blends featuring rose have been the worst of all. Le sigh.

    • Linda says:

      SOMETIMES they turn out delicious, I mean. But the vanilla thing has me distraught… I’ve had to turn to other ideas for mom’s Christmas gift for the second year in a row. Do you know how tired of vanilla I am after a year and a half of it? Argh.

      • Masha says:

        How about the “near vanilla” that isn’t vanilla? Like coumarin, isobutavan, benzoin, methyl laitone? How do those do with her? Also, I tried some real vanilla pod absolute and it is heaven, not “vanilla” in any gourmand sense, more woody and multi-faceted. Have you smelled it?

        • Masha says:

          Oh, and tolu balsam!

          • Linda says:

            Masha, thank you!

            She likes coumarin, benzoin, & balsam, but she’s iffy about isobutavan and I haven’t tried methyl laitone yet… maybe I should! I am working with a very lovely vanilla bean CO2 extract & with absolute, as well as ethyl vanillin, and those give the best results for the main note (with support from benzoin & balsam), but they aren’t quite what she wants. What she wants is a very foody, French Vanilla ice cream kind of smell… did you ever have the chance to smell Love’s French Vanilla when it was around in the 70s/early 80s? That was her HG, or she remembers it as such. Love’s discontinued it, and when she’s bought bottles off the internet, they have soured.

            She cannot, and I mean absolutely cannot, stand the “vanilla orchid” accord, does not like the apricot overtones of isobutavan, and cannot wear any kind of citrus scent because it immediately turns to the dread “cat pee” accord on her. Seriously, immediately. And she is not in love with simple dilutions of vanilla absolute or CO2. 🙂 She does love tobacco, but I am afraid it will turn to the “CPA” on her. Balancing the vanilla base with — well, any kind of scents to round it out — is very tricky for her in particular. She seems to like a whisper of ethyl maltol in the blend but oh, it DOES want to take over.

            I DO so appreciate your advice — please let me know if you have any further ideas, and I will try methyl laitone.

  • March says:

    Heh heh, these were so fun to read! Without going back and browsing through my posts for Mr. Yuck, I’d say … off the top of my head … well, I sorta hate nominating Daphne, because it was at least INTERESTING. And obviously some people lurve it.

    That Idole d’Armani still terrifies me. I hated Mousson but that might have been last year? Havane Vanille hates me, but I think it’s me that’s the problem.

    Never even tried the Boadicea stuff, and after reading these comments, I probably won’t. :d

  • saran says:

    boadicea the victorius exotic. Worst perfume ever. I have never felt that bad from a perfume, massive headache and gagreflexes, couldnt eat anything for the entire day. It was all over the place, sweeeet, herbal, masculin, feminin… completely weird and nauchious. Maybe its my nose.

  • Rockrose says:

    Maybe I’m old fashioned and just like the pretty ones like une Fleur de Cassie, but i just couldn’t bear the new Cartier’s, especially la Treizieme, the one that smells like an old ash tray.

    • Musette says:

      Rockrose – you didn’t like VI (the sparkling hour)? That is the ‘pretty’ one, imo and I am entranced by it. I love that you find FdC ‘pretty’ – I love it a WHOLE lot but wouldn’t have thought to call it pretty. This is the stuff that makes perfumista-ing fun!

      xo >-)

  • Shelley says:

    Erm…I feel like a mixed-up wench…Daphne was just silly to me, not something I’d likely ever want to wear, but not nose wrinkling or Gah or scrubber…I enjoyed my one test run of Oriental Lounge (yesterday’s blech)…add on to that, I’m one who had more happy from Wazamba than Filles en High Heels…okay, thinking; what did I not like from this year?

    Come to think of it, I’m kinda mad at the Filles. What I enjoyed about it was the heart, which was Serge redux, and I’d much rather get that from, say, Chergui. But this is not “what scent irritated you,” but what did I not like…

    Gonna have to go rummage through the samps. I think this is kinda tough because for the second half of this year, I segued into “you have permission to not smell everything” mode. So if I suspected I wouldn’t like it, and had no inkling that I’d learn anything from sniffing, I didn’t bother. Benefits of approaching a certain age: believing there’s too much good in the world to waste a lot of time on the bad. 🙂

  • jen says:

    Tampax Fresh Accord! Ah, that made me laugh.

    Most of my newer scents were not too terrible. Lola at least has a pretty bottle.

    I did manage to smell the worst scent ever made. (not new, but it was new to me this year)Secretions Magnifiques by Etat Libre d’Orange was so strange that I wanted to throw up.

    The sad thing was that I had to try it 3 times to come to that conclusion: This makes me sick. Stay far away!

    • Graham says:

      Wow – you made it to THREE attempts! I’m impressed. I wussed out at 1, scrubbed and scrubbed, and STILL couldn’t get it off! The. Worst.Ever.

      • jen says:

        I want to know what was in it to make it smell as rank as it did. Maybe the name says it all.

        • Graham says:

          Only the “secretions” part. Nothing “magnifique” happening here….. Unless “magnifique” is a little-known French euphimism for “makes ya barf….”

      • Louise says:

        I refused to apply Secretions to my skin. So I applied it to my now-ex macho bf. He ran screaming out of the room. Hmmm, he is now “ex”-any correlation 8-| ?

    • March says:

      oh my god. You put that thing ON three times?


      • jen says:

        :(( The first time I was trying on a few at once, so I was not sure that it was the one causing the sickness.

        The second time was alone and it was so terrible, but I thought it was just me.

        3rd time I was 100% certain and sold it on Ebay. I feel sorta bad for the new owner.

  • Jemimagold says:

    Another vote for horrid CdG Daphne. In case TF Purple Patchouli was a 2009 fragrance, I nominate that sickly sweet mess as well. Last of all, the 5-minute lasting power of the Honore des Pres perfumes merit them honorable mention.

  • monkeytoe says:

    The reformulation of Sisley Eau de Campagne was the worst thing I smell this year. I was having a crappy day to begin with, but I actually got a little verklmpt. I went straight to the airport, then sniffed and bought a couple of bottles of Cristalle edt and Pour Monsieur before they are changed beyond my appreciation.

    • I’ve worn Sisley Eau de Campagne off and on for years. I bought a bottle unsniffed (didn’t need to) and OMG! :(( 😮 It was totally different. I thought at first it was me. It smells completely different and unremarkable.

  • Fernando says:

    I guess the one that comes to mind, partly because I was expecting something good, was Patchouli Homme from Parfums de Nicolai. It has a green pimento thing in it that absolutely eats up everything else… and of course, it stays on and on. It contaminated my samples box and got on my watchband. Horrors.

    My wife hated Wazamba because of the pepper. “No one should smell like roast,” she said.

    Those are, of course, pretty good quality in a technical sense. Most of the department store stuff just struck me as boring, not sufficiently present to be actively bad, along the lines of Pauli’s famous “this isn’t right; this isn’t even wrong.”

  • Francesca says:

    I’ve smelled a few GAH things this year, but they were older. The newish scent (Oh, thanks, Luca with your 5 stars) that was a horror for me was Le Labo Oud 27. It was my own fault. I was hoping it would be something that would make The Party seem like….ummm…4711. All it did was give me an instant migraine and make me feel violently ill. As a science experiment, I sent the sample to Carter, and it somehow disappeared in transit. I’m sure it’s in some counterterrorist lab in Langley even now as I type.

    • Masha says:

      Did LT really give Le Labo Oud 27 5 stars?? That thing was screamingly awful! I’d rather wear diesel fuel as perfume than that one,and I like real oud. I didn’t buy even a decant of a single new release this entire year, even so many of the niche lines were ultra-synthetic, cheap-smelling, and dull. But Oud 27 was a real eye opener, and not in a good way.
      Still waiting to try Rose Chypree and Amaranthine, they might rehabilitate this disappointing perfume year.

      • Francesca says:

        Yup, in the revised paperback edition (just out from Penguin, folks!:d). He didn’t use the word “skanktacular,” but that was the gist…

        • Francesca says:

          Well that was a hot little mess, wasn’t it? instead of big grin guy I got &#100 winking guy.

    • Erin T says:

      Um, hate to be the party pooper, but he gave it 4 stars in both the newsletter and paperback version. Same diff, you may say. And I agree, he still liked it and I couldn’t stand the ‘fume either. But this was a bete noire of mine in the discussion about The Guide. People would rave: “They make so many mistakes!! They give Guerlain AA Pamplelune 5 stars!”

      • Francesca says:

        Aha! I stand corrected!x( (And I worked on the durn thing, too.) I just remember thinking, “Wow, I *have* to try this stuff.

  • london says:

    I liked Daphne, Prends Garde a Toi, Oriental Lounge, Havana Vanille and even a couple of the Boadiceas (though strictly I think the original range counts as 2008) so clearly I have no taste at all! I’d vote for Peche Cardinal, Keiko Mecheri Iris Pourpre, Chaman’s Party, Paris-New York and Boise Torride all of which I couldn’t wait to scrub off my skin. Omnia Green Jade, Pucci Vivara Acqua 330 (the blue one) and L’Eau par Kenzo Eau Indigo were big disappointments given that I think Bvlgari, Pucci and Kenzo generally do a really good job with their lines. Tom Ford Musk Collection, La Prairie Gold, Micallef Mon Parfum, Heeley Ophelia and Byredo Blanche were the big “how come this is so expensive and smells so cheap?” ones for me this year.

    • Erin T says:

      Hey, I forgot Ophelia! Thanks for reminding me of the pain…. 🙂

      • Musette says:

        I forgot about Oh. Phelia meself! It wasn’t painful but it was one of those “ooh! oh. huh.” kinda scents. I have a sample back at home – will have to revisit to see if it still lead balloons on me. I had high hopes for Selmarine as well and … zzzzzzzzzz.

        xo >-)

    • Shelley says:

      Totally with you on the Ophelia and Blanche. All this fuss over what??? For how much????

  • Louise says:

    Not to be repetitive, reiterative, and redundant-but Daphne was a horror on me 8-x

  • hongkongmom says:

    serges filles in high heels thingy was ewie after the brain stopped being intellectual, and just said..LIKE or NOT LIKE!Definately not like.
    all the dg anthology fumes were just so …weak
    the new prada also disappeared from my skin before i could get ANYTHING from it so just to end off on a positive note…
    Thank G-d for jubilation 25:d

    • Francesca says:

      Oh, how funny! A friend of mine calls it “Filles in high heels” too. Luckily for me, it smells great on me and I loves it.

  • Andrea says:

    L’Artisan’s Cote d’Amour was such a disappointment on me: cold raw sweetish mortar, nothing else. The Kenzo Indigos were so underwhelming, Parisienne and Rose the one, too, most of the mainstream stuff, in fact. And as a whole line: ‘Les Parfums Suspendus’ and ‘Ineke’. No fragrances, just concepts. And the biggest flops were my Ensoleille Moi by GasBijoux, which I ordered, payed and never got (neither the money) and my Amouage Homage (which had gone bad and smelled of camel dung. Which was interesting, at least). Maybe you just get so jaded and start thinking ‘been there, done that’ most of the time?

  • Fiordiligi says:

    I’m quite timid about “new releases” and stay away from department store fragrances so have not necessarily been exposed to the really bad screamers, but I inadvertently sniffed a few with the hideous melon note which made me retch….see, I’m easily upset. And I disliked Serge Noir intensely, too.

    I have no doubt that I too would loathe Lola. Talk about over-hype.

  • Oh, and March: we’re doing a best of winter perfumes in late January (usual suspects): I’m in charge of managing it this time. But I’m game for a best of 2009.

  • Seems a couple of “worsts” in the above comments are among the ones I really thought were good: Havana Vanille is the only really interesting vanilla in my opinion, and I enjoy Al Oudh’s whiffs of the animal.
    These are well made scents, even though they may not appeal to everyone (and because they’re strongly opinionated, they won’t).

    But some scents smell terrible because they’re badly composed, so that liking them or not isn’t a matter of personal affinity or repulsion for such or such a note.

    I would nominate the entire Boadicea the Victorious line: over-hyped, over-priced and such a spectacular mess that I kept smelling them in fascination, thinking: “someone’s actually thought these were good enough to offer to the world”. No structure, no balance, and they feel they were mixed in someone’s basement, though they probably weren’t. They probably really reflect Michael Boadi’s taste. He should have stuck to being a hair stylist.

    • Winifreida says:

      Yes, I might be in the old hippie minority with Daphne, but those Boadicea things I actually resented paying sample money for. You would have to wonder why the ‘artistic directors’ would not concentrate on getting a couple of really nice perfumes worked out properly…when the experts at Guerlain and Dior can’t seem to get it right, what hope do the rank amateurs have?

    • Francesca says:

      Denyse, you should become the lovely Ms Obama’s ‘fume stylist. Didn’t she wear all the Boadicea the Victoriouses when she was in London? Well at least it wasn’t the one that goes on blue….

      • carmencanada says:

        The blue one is actually by a cutting-edge fashion house called Boudicca (same British queen, different spelling) and was composed by Geza Schoen. It’s actually quite spectacular: the blue “wode” really does disappear in seconds, even on a white dress!

    • Louise says:

      I feel bad for Michael Boadi…we had an exposition of his scents at the London sniffa. He was so nice, but the scents were awful-I had to leave the room after too much dipping and spraying, very sick b-(

    • Ouch, I think I just got spanked for being opinionated and not knowing enough about perfume to distinguish what is well made from what I don’t like. Well, OK, blush, that makes me feel small and stupid. But it’s also true—I would never wear something decreed to be well made or in a beautiful bottle if I don’t like the scent on my skin. As I interpreted that we were being asked for personal opinion, I gave mine. I’ve disagreed with the likes of Luca Turin and Serge Lutens, so CarmenCanada, you are in good company!

      • March says:

        Uh … testing the waters … if I could wade delicately in here … because you know I am so diplomatic and indirect … I *think* what was being attempted to be said/opined is that those two particular scents are of strong character and thus are not going to appeal to everyone. Also I think CC was attempting to raise an interesting, valid, alternate discussion about scents that are terrible just because they *are* terrible, vs. scents that are technically well composed or interesting but are by their nature going to be divisive.

        Now you know that I am the person who got on here on Monday and peed all over the new TDC. I defend to the death people’s right to like or dislike whatever they want, for whatever reason. Certainly it’s been argued convincingly that Oriental Lounge is a quality fragrance that was thoughtfully composed, and I still think it’s meh. Many people loathe Mitsouko, which (if backed into a corner) I’d declare as the greatest perfume ever. Please get on here and say anything you want.

        • Erin T says:

          I must be honest, though… while I respect D/CC very much, the “well-made” argument is just as subjective as the “I like” discussion. I proclaim Havana Vanille poorly made, and while an expert may know a huge amount about perfume, and may have spoken to the perfumer about it…hey, I smell a lot of product, too. I like a lot of distinctive, divisive scents. I just don’t like this one, and it’s because I think it’s poorly made. You can’t argue that the nose thought carefully about something and is a genius – geniuses make a lot of bad movies, write a lot of bad books, etc. And they can chat very intelligently about the bad film, book, art, perfume they made.

          • monkeytoe says:

            Always beware of posts that start, “I must be honest,” With all due respect,” or I don’t mean to offend you, but”….
            I disagree with your point that well-made is subjective. If perfumery is an art and/or craft then well-made is not subjective. The attractiveness of a structure such as a house is subjective, its ability to keep the occupants out of the elements and not fall down during a storm are not. Articles of clothing may be judged on the subjective criteria of beauty, but whether they are well-made is evidenced by observation and use. “Blood Meridian” is a well-made novel with a story arc, rounded characters and well-crafted sentences but I do not care for it. Aesthetics and craftsmanship are two different things.

          • Erin T says:

            Monkeytoe, while I (doubly) agree with you about Blood Meridian, you’ve set up a completely false analogy with the house. Perfume has no use except beauty (unless it is being used to cover up a smell). Longevity and sillage are necessary but not sufficient conditions for well-craftedness, as many worthless scents have both. Aesthetics and craftmanship are two different things when they can be seperated: in perfume, as in many of the so-called “pure” arts, they can’t be.

            March, come on in – the water’s fine! :d

          • March says:

            March has had her kids home in the blizzard and just spent the morning driving her 87-year-old father around in the snow, so March’s patience is a little low …

            I find it hard to judge craftsmanship. Presumably you’d have to know a lot about the craft to judge, yes? So — I trust, say, Luca Turin when he goes on about how something is well made, some other critics too. And yet I can dislike the scent and find it a hot mess on me. One could argue that some very commercial, drecky scents are “well-crafted” — they’ve been carefully calibrated to appeal to a broad swath of consumers, of which I am apparently not one. How do we judge the result, whether it’s L’Artisan or Britney Spears? I can only offer up an opinion about whether it appeals to me.

          • Erin T says:

            Exactly my point. (Sorry about the blizzard, kids and patience, by the way, and hope Dad is doing well.) Despite your modesty, you know about craft in perfume. You have years of education about the monuments of perfumery, just like I do and just like CC/D does. And we disagree. If you saw a comment on a visual art blog that said: “I am surprised by those of you who are saying this particular painting of de Kooning’s is not his best work. It is well-crafted and interesting, and so you must just not like it” and then offered no evidence or argument to prove it was either interesting or well-crafted, then you might not expect that statement to pass without criticism.

          • Shelley says:

            Hey, I went out to beat a fresh blizzard, and look at all the thoughtful back and forth! Good on all of you; all this discussion is like putting oh-so-many locating pins on the map, isn’t it? Helps each of us individually better understand our location in whatever space we’re exploring (here, perfume)…and adjust our concept when necessary. 🙂

          • carmencanada says:

            Erin, I offered no evidence to back up my statement because a) it this needs space and I’d rather develop my thoughts over a blog post than a simple comment and b) because, as March said, the point wasn’t to defend a specific fragrance which I liked and someone else didn’t, but to distinguish beetween scents that take a strong aesthetic option though they may be loathed by many, and those who just don’t have an aesthetic.

            Of course, that has nothing to do with wanting to wear a scent, or finding it lovely but “not me”. It’s not really a consumer-oriented view, but then, it’s not quite an opinion about its “well-craftedness” (ie it’s got sillage, doesn’t turn, lasts…). Well-crafted is just the minimum requirement. Pretty is something any perfumer can do: there are tricks of the trade.
            I don’t defend perfumers because I happen to know them: I sought them out because I thought they were innovative and interesting.

            I don’t know quite how to conclude this comment: yes, I know I’ ve been getting snappier these days and yes, I’ve been feeling a whiff of a backlash lately against my high-falutin’ Parisian intellectualism, but I think that more clearly drawn positions, while less cosy, may actually help the genre (criticism) and thee art (perfumery) by pushing the field towards a new maturity.

      • carmencanada says:

        Quinn, I hope you don’t think I was after your particular fingers (or any spankable body part). I’m a bit of a verbal spanker in real life, and it’s been coming out more of late in my written comments. As March says below, I just wanted to introduce a new factor beyond “I hate it and would cut off my arm rather than wearing it”, which is perfectly legitimate…
        But please don’t take it personally, that wasn’t my intent!

        • It was the timing, Denyse. I read your blog (in French!) and have learned much from you. I admire that you can write vividly and with syntactic elegance in two languages. While intellectually I didn’t take your comment personally–you don’t know me–I did feel that in this space, of all the perfume blogs, clever dishing is an honored sport, and I value it for the edgy banter. So when I dished and the reply was a comeuppance, I bristled. Art–I consider perfume an art–is a tricky to define or explain either purely emotionally or purely intellectually. I think combining both approaches leads to a deeper understanding of why we like a fragrance, or at least an excellent justification of some serious rationalization! Thanks for writing, I appreciate it, and you.

          • carmencanada says:

            Fair enough, Quinn! Again, I was reacting more to a series of comments read over the past few days and the proverbial cup runneth over. I agree the Posse is a great place to hang out and dish. And of course, I couldn’t agree more with you about perfume as art. Thanks for reading me, and in French to boot!

  • Winifreida says:

    Dang, I don’t live close enough to the city to be able to smell new releases etc, but the thing that I’d call close to a scrubber that I smelled this year (love ‘fume too much to actually scrub, usually try to drown it with something else) was one of Luca’s five ***** stars – Montales Oud Cuir de Arabie OMG, in fact if we have a note of 2009 that didn’t go too well for moi, it would have to be oud – yes, I know heresy, just shows that despite thirty years of Mitsouko I still havn’t earned my perfumista stripes!!! Will keep trying tho’!!

  • There was a lot of meh this year: Estee Lauder Jasmine and White Moss, Jo Malone Vanilla and Anise, Serge’s Cellophane–all just meh. But you asked for awful. Lola. Apothia Velvet Rope. L’Artisans Oud thing. CDG’s Daphne. Idole D’Armani. And then there were the disappointments. . .L’Artisans Havana Vanille and anything with way too much cedar or curry in it.

  • Musette says:

    If we’re talking New Release, then it would have to be Havana Vanille – that thing stunk up the jernt and gave me a terrible sinus headache.

    Did I mention it stunk?

    If we’re talking New to Me, the list is too long….tooo long.

    xoxox >-)

  • chasa says:

    Ego Facto Prends Garde a Toi…beware, indeed (at least on me). Started out OK and then a quick descent into noxiousness.