Best Perfumes of 2012 – Perfume Posse Picks

Best perfumes of 2012We looked to the Cookie Calendar and well, we’re still here, we’re still eating cookies annnnd..we’re looking at our 

Best Perfumes of 2012! 

This has been an interesting year, with Industry Drama and more IFRA speculation, new niche houses, some odd mainstream celebrity fronts…but when all is said and done, there were some amazing standout fragrances – and that’s what it’s all about innit?

So, without further ado, here are the Posse picks for Best Perfumes of 2012 (note :  not all of these may have been launched in 2012.  I put no restrictions on our writers’  choices, so perhaps you will find a few herein that were just perfect for them in the year 2012!)

Me (Musette)Amouage Interlude Woman.  Launched in 2012, it took me quite awhile to get with the Interlude Woman program.  I was a big ol’ fan of Man straight out of the bottle…but the grapefruit/coffee opening in Woman took some getting used to.  In fact, I thought I was just going to have to put on my Lady Smile and let this one fade into the back of the closet.  To quote Mr Darcy ” I cannot fix the hour or the spot…..I was in the middle before I knew I had begun”  and that is exactly how it was with Interlude Woman.  One minute it was not tempting me.  The next, I was in love.   With no urge to pander to mass-market focus groups Amouage, under the auspices of Creative Director Christopher Chong, continues to release perfumes of staggering complexity and quality.  I, for one, am exceedingly grateful!

Maria Candida Gentile Luberon.  Oakmoss, rose de mai, lavender.  Clean.  Perfect. Beautiful.  This perfume smells like the most perfect Spring morning EVAH!  I was having a really crappy couple of days and decided to spray a bit of this on my hands as I made the  bed….within 3 minutes my mood lifted and I  was on a balcony overlooking a garden in the South of France.  The fact that lavender in perfume usually gives me a headache is what makes this one so memorable.  Not only did I not get a headache (or that skritchy feeling I get, like when I wear too much fleece)..I actually found myself craving the slightly medicinal tang of the lavender in this composition.  Go figure.  It is a lovely, lovely scent with an incredible drydown. 

Hermes L’Ambre de Merveilles.  I never could get the hang of the original Merveilles because of the chocolate note that Patty says isn’t in there so I ignored the offspring.  L’Ambre slipped under my ‘Danger!Danger!’ radar because I was yapping with Alyssa Harad at Barneys and before I knew it I had it on my wrist.  See???  Sometimes yapping is a Good Thing.  This is a salty, ambergris-y bit of loveliness, without the chocolate note (That Patty Says Isn’t In There).  It’s a golden glow scent with enough salty tang to suggest a sweater-snuggly walk along the Brittany coast.

L’Artisan Seville a’Laube .  I don’t even know what to say about this, it is so beautiful.  Orange blossoms and zest under a starlit sky.  Sensual delight. It is one of the most blissful scents I’ve ever experienced! 

(Musette sneaking back in here to say) “d’oh!  I completely forgot the uber-Gorgeous Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient was released in 2012″ (yeah I copied off Patty’s test paper.  Sue me).  I can’t say it any better than she says it below.  But I’m on my third decant of the stuff, so that orta tell you something!

from Ann:

Opardu — The latest from Puredistance is flat-out gorgeous, right out of the gate. The back story talks about the past, and as I wore this, it did indeed hit a few retro buttons for me. Its lovely lilac note sweetly called to mind the divine, belated Vacances; in the mid notes something from way-back-when tickled my brain but I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then its drydown with a gentle, creamy hint of coconut had me thinking of Ysatis from the ’80s. It doesn’t last as long as I’d like (oh, 8 hours would be nice, wink-wink), and it’s not overly complicated, but sometimes beautiful things are like that: simply lovely and a joy to behold while they last.

Amouage Interlude Woman — Now this one IS complicated (at least on my skin). When I wear it, I expect to be surprised. In my mind’s eye, it’s as if a beautiful, seductive veil of incense has come down over my wrist and little sweet puffs of other notes (marigold? grapefruit? bergamot?) keep peeking out to playfully tweak my nose and keep things interesting and a bit off-balance. Then they shift and recede and other notes pop out to take their places through the life of the scent. End result: an amazing melange of sweet, sour, smoky and even a little ashy, but in the best way. 

Portia has these beauties:

Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations: That soft, subtle and sensual rose mix gets me every time. Spicy, ethereal and exotic it brings back wonderful memories of India every time I spritz. I feel like an Empress when I wear it and LOVE the bottle too which is gorgeous and hefty and feels as rich as the juice within.
Un Jour D’Ete by Keiko Mecheri: This is the ultimate in salty tropical splendour with bergamot, coconut, jasmine, ambergris and woods. From my very first spritz I knew this would be a bottle in my collection and I pined for it. Sweet, spicy, interesting, sensual, heartbreakingly beautiful and lasts for nearly 11 hours on my skin.

Pear + Olive by Slumberhouse: If you want to smell blue cheese, pears, olives, wine and spices all at once and have them make up a sweet, sour and savoury scent that harnesses your own personal fragrance and amplifies it with embellishments that will have people around you coming closer for a sniff, this is the one. Pear + Olive is follow me home and f*ck me fragrance. Wear it cautiously and with bodyguards. 

Tom sez:

Of all the scents I tried this year, I have to say that the one that was the most arresting to me was Vero Kern’s delightful Mito. It’s a breath of summer and right now I think everybody in the US could use one.

Patty picks:

Best Perfume Note of 2012gardenia.  Illustrated best by Arquiste Boutonniere, Ineke Hothouse Flower and Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire.  That this note finally got some love and continues to get love and great perfumers’ attention perfumers is a great thing.

Best Perfume Flanker of 2012Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles. There really isn’t another choice.  Ellena does great flanker since this is about his only series.  Always paying homage to the base ambergris confection, he layers on a warm amber accord.  This is an exceptional flanker and the one anyone considering doing a flanker should look at to see how it’s done.

Best Perfume Limited Edition of 2012 that I hope fervently will become permanentParfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin and L’Artisan Seville a’Laube.  The sinner and the saint, each are both.  

Best New Perfume Houses 2012Naomi Goodsir, Neela Vermeire and Ann Gerard.  The year of the woman designer perfume house.  These three come from different artistic backgrounds, and every scent in their new line has been beautifully made, artistic and lovely to wear.  This is all I ever ask from a perfume line, new or old.

Best Perfume Mainstream return to class 2012Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs isn’t groundbreaking or something that will make you stop in your tracks with how different it is, but it will make you stop in your tracks and just admire it for the orange blossom profusion of lovely it is.

Best Perfume Mainstream Limited EditionGuerlain les Deserts d’Orient.  I like all three of them.  They aren’t over the top weird or unusual or anything memorable even. They do what Guerlain does so well – make perfume beautiful to wear.

Best Perfume Indie Release of 2012 that surprised meCB I Hate Perfume 7 Billion Hearts.  Never thought vanilla and Christopher Brosius would be in the same sentence, but it is, and it was really good for me.  You?

Best Perfume House of 2012Amouage. Christopher Chong has year by year transformed Amouage from a regional perfume house that most associated with sultans, attars and eastern perfumery into a mainstream niche perfume house that puts out some great scents. This year saw Amouage Beloved and Amouage Interlude Man and Woman.  All great scents, each with their own unusual story and beauty.

Best Perfume House that keeps putting out great, wearable perfumeAtelier Cologne.  They just keep impressing me with what they do.    Everything in this line is easy to wear, pretty, and the line shows a longevity that’s impressive.  


So what’s your favorites for Best Perfumes of 2012?


For more fabulous scent insights on Best perfumes of 2012 , please visit Now Smell This , Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Smellin Things & Grain de Musc

  • I did a lot of sniffing this year, but I didn’t keep up with new releases as much as I’d like. Ones that I did try and loved were (in no particular order):

    1. MDCI Chypre Palatin
    2. Diptyque Volutes
    3. Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin
    4. L’Ambre des Merveilles.

  • Ramona says:

    I am sadly behind everyone when it comes to sniffing. However, I am really enjoying L’ambre des Merveilles and Volutes EDT and I have just ordered a little bit of love in the form of 7 Billion Hearts from Surrender to Chance- I love me some vanilla in any way, shape, or form. Safe and Happy New Year to all!

  • Coming in a bit late to the party, and waving to all… I’m so happy Séville à l’aube is getting lots of love, and am now very intrigued by Pear and Olive — the brand hasn’t crossed over to France yet — and Opardu (there *is* a Puredistance retailer in Paris, the fabulous Jovoy).
    A happy and wonderfully fragrant New Year to everyone!

    • Musette says:

      Happy New Year to you, too, sweetie! Seville is worth every sigh, it’s that beautiful! I am eager to try Opardu but like so many on here have said, there are just so many, many releases. I want it to stay a pleasure and an honor, not a chore…so I am slowing down and taking my time!


  • furriner says:

    There still are a lot I haven’t had a chance to try yet. I got bottles of Epic Man and Tribute this year, so I kinda avoided trying any new Amouages lest i get tempted further. I guess my top five of the year are:

    L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l’Aube
    Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin
    Aedes de Venustas Signature edp
    Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu du Riz et des Agrumes
    Neela Vermeire Trayee — I liked all three, actually.

  • FearsMice says:

    Dear Posse, it’s so much fun to read your lists and all the comments! I’m so far behind in sniffing that I’ll never catch up on all the “bests” that everyone mentions, so maybe I should just save up for a bottle of the wonderful Opardu that Ann loves, too, and not worry about it anymore! A very happy 2013 to you all!!

    • nozknoz says:

      FearsMice, I’ve been reading all these best of posts and making what has turned out to be a very long and daunting list of must tries, so you Opardu idea is VERY tempting. I’ve sampled the other perfumes in this line and adore the quality and balance – I’m very much hoping that Opardu is The One for me.

  • shylotus says:

    I was most impressed with The Exotic Island perfumer (indie) Juan Perez’ releases – Flora Azteca, Gardenia Exuberante, Oud Nawab, Waters of Aswan, and Magnolia de Verano. They are unusual, fresh, and his discovery set is quite affordable! I hope to see more perfume bloggers review Juan’s progressive and unique creations. Happy New Year, all!

  • Irina says:

    great lists you all and a special thank to Tom for not letting Mito out
    a wonderful 2013 to all of you

  • Kathy says:

    Adding my appreciation for the Atelier house, they are doing some really wonderful things, can’t wait to try Mistral Patchouli

    • Ann says:

      Kathy, I’m very curious about their new patchouli as well. Do let us know what you think if you try it soon. Alas, I haven’t spent as much time with this line as I’d like; they had it at my Neiman Marcus for a bit and then poof! It was gone. 🙁

  • This has been the year for Mona De Orio for me. I love her Musc and Vanille. They wind around your body like smoke instead of instantly saying their names. No one recognizes them, all to the good. They actually help me sleep. RIP Mona.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Looks like the only new release I”ve tried is Interlude for women. It was difficult for me to like let alone enjoy.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, E! I understand completely about the Interlude — I can see it being kind of a tough nut to crack. But there are plenty of other great scents to try whenever you get time …

  • Sherri Miller says:

    Wow, it has been such a great year for perfume! I’ll have to narrow it down:

    1. Guerlain Encens Mysthique and Amouage Beloved are tied for first in my book.
    2. Guerlian Rose Nacree
    3. Guerlain Songe d’Un Bois d’Ete
    4. Interlude Man
    5. Cuir de Nacre
    6. Guerlain L’heure de Nuit: I love this wearable interpretation of L’heure Bleue, the blue juice, the bottle, everything!

    • Sherri Miller says:

      7. Dior Oud Ispahan
      8. Xerjoff Oud Stars Mamluk
      (Sorry for so many!)

      • Musette says:

        No apologies! This is a gorgeous list and I’m thrilled you found so many to love in 2012. I would definitely encourage you to try CBIHP 7Bill, if you haven’t yet – given your Encens love (mine, too) I think you would be blown away by this one! xoxoxoA

  • lucasai says:

    Nice choices. I also made my little perfume summary at Chemist in the Bottle. It’s more personal rather than general but I’ve written it that way and am not gonna change it 😉

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Lucas! Just visited your page and saw that you, too, loved the AG Nuit Etoilee. So fresh, crisp and easy to wear — and that blue bottle is divine. Lucky you! One day, when funds allow, I’d like to get the small one. Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!

    • nozknoz says:

      Lucas, I love that your year end post combines a personal summary, scientific analysis and esthetic choices. Just left you a comment there, too. Thanks for the energy you put into your blog and your comments on other blogs!

      • lucasai says:

        Thank you Nozknoz for being a dear and supportive friend. I’m glad I met you over at NST and I hope our journey will continue together – at NST, Perfume Posse, BDJ or Chemist in the Bottle.

  • Suzy Q says:

    Seville a l’Aube. Period.
    OK, I also liked Vetiver Fatal and Interlude Woman and L’Ambre des Merveilles.
    And I never got to try the Neela Vermeires which just isn’t right, considering my admiration for B. Duchaufour’s work.
    But, I found Seville so perfect that I can’t imagine anything else from 2012 topping it.

    • Musette says:

      Well, I don’t know about other perfumes topping Seville but you should definitely give the Neelas a whirl. Mohur is exquisite and…….I found myself wildly loving Bombay Bling! which surprised me no end! xooxA

      • Ann says:

        I’m seconding the Neela love. I adore Trayee but need to try the BB and Mohur. Yum!

        • Ann says:

          Guess I should have listed Trayee as one of my 2012 picks but just wasn’t thinking straight. So many releases it boggles the mind …

  • rosarita says:

    So many scents I still want to try, esp. Slumberhouse Pear + Olive. From my own experience, my favorites are Jul et Mad Amour de Palazo; Kerosene Copper Skies; Tom Ford Noir and Spicebomb.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, lady! I’ve not tried any of those you mentioned, save for the TF Noir (nice) and the Spicebomb (really nice — so nice, in fact, that if DH doesn’t start using the samples I got for him — I will reclaim them!).

  • Heather Wood says:

    The gorgeous 7 Billion Hearts is my favorite of the year. Dry dark smoky resiny vanilla is my idea of heaven. I’ve spent my adult life avoiding vanilla perfumes because of their gooey quality, but I’ve always loved huffing really good vanilla extract, and it turns out that my Platonic vanilla was out there waiting. 7BH also sent me on a tour among the driest, most adult vanillas, and now I have several new loves and am a lot poorer. I second Patty on gardenia as the note of the year, but I haven’t sniffed some of the newest ones. Can’t wait.

  • anatu13 says:

    My favorites of the year are:
    1. Vero Profumo Mito
    2. L’Artisan Seville a l’Aube
    3. SL Une Voix Noire
    4. Neela Vermeire Mohur
    5. SL Santal Majescule

    • Musette says:

      Neela’s Mohur is absolutely gorgeous, isn’t it? I still don’t get the rose – but I don’t have to, to think it gorgeous!


      • anatu13 says:

        That’s so funny! I don’t get nearly as much of the spices that everyone raves about, but _plenty_ of a very sophisticated and gorgeous rose.

  • Angelique says:

    *Sigh* Opening the link so that I can immediately add to my wish list. Seriously.
    That would be: Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient, Arquiste Boutonniere, Ineke Hothouse Flower, and Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire. Yes, I’m picking all of those gardenia scents … I’ve been trying to find a good one that doesn’t stink like waxed nastiness with an overlay of mace.
    Well, fine. I just added another 8 perfumes to my wish list.
    *L.O.V.E* it!