This year, 2018, marks my twelfth year writing about perfume. I’ve passed a period where I bought a bottle of fragrance a month, and I no longer need to study my way through the classics to understand fragrance benchmarks. I’ve given up on trying to sniff most new releases, and I only bought two new bottles of perfume this year. But I still wear perfume every day. In other words, by now I’m living with fragrance the way I’ll probably live with it the rest of my life.
Now that I’ve lowered your expectations, here are my perfume highlights for the year:
The two new bottles of perfume I bought this year were Le Galion L’Ame Perdue and Masque Milano Luci ed Ombre. I smelled L’Ame Perdue in Paris and loved its throwback feel — I am such a sucker for a good fruity chypre. When I couldn’t track it down for sale online in the United States, I walked to Jovoy and handed over my credit card. (At Jovoy, I was sorely tempted to buy Revillon Detchema, too, but somehow resisted.) I don’t wear L’Ame Perdue more than a few times a month, but when I do, I’m happy to have it.
My spray sample of Luci ed Ombre sat on my desk for a few months before I caved and bought a bottle. It smelled so moody yet easy, and so unlike the dozens of other samples I’ve smelled that have felt too much like some other scent calculated for market share. Twisted Lily’s cyber Monday coupon tipped me over the edge. Luci ed Ombre gets lots of wear. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t mess with my vibe. Plus, it’s accommodating enough to let me layer on something else after three or four hours.
The bottle I’ve turned to for comfort most this year has been Neela Vermeire Créations Mohur Extrait. I wrote an article for Nez magazine about NVC, which led to tea with Neela Vermeire under the massive stained glass dome at the brasserie on top of Le Printemps department store. Mohur reminds me of the glow from that stained glass: rich, lovely, serene, and uplifting. When I’m fed up with the political situation, I reach for Mohur. When I’m nervous and want to feel my best, Mohur calms me and lends confidence in a soft, subtle way.
The fragrance I’ve sampled that has intrigued me the most this year, but that I haven’t yet come to fully understand — but I will! I’ll give it more time on skin and get to the bottom of it — is Naomi Goodsir Nuit de Bakélite. It’s one of the shape-shiftiest fragrances I’ve smelled in a long time. Wearing it was like playing pinball, where the fragrance pinged through green, leather, flowers, and a phenolic tang, racking up points as it traveled, yet somehow staying on the same canvas.
As always, this past year deepened my appreciation for the terrific people in the perfume community. I’ve made wonderful friends and had opportunities I never would have otherwise, thanks to perfume. Fingers crossed, next year will bring more of the same.
What have been your fragrance highlights of 2018?