And, while I'm at it, some disappointments, and then the whole monster list of everything that I smelled for the first time in 2009.
Top Ten fragrances first experienced in 2009:
- Parfumerie Generale Tubereuse Couture. This one broke through my dislike for tuberose and my distaste for florals. (To clarify my definitions, I don't consider Chanel No. 19, for example, to be a floral - it's galbanum that happens to consort with flowers.) I don't know where it got its magic from, but it was strong enough to make me buy a bottle.
- Serge Lutens Un Lys. This needed Tubereuse Couture to pave the way for it. It's a sweet, gentle, nearly conventional floral, a category that I officially don't like, but I'm in love.
- Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. And this freakish mothball- and gasoline-powered tuberose followed right along. At least it didn't have to fight the "conventional" label.
- Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan. I can't do this one justice right now - I'm indifferent to it in cold weather. But I know that in the summer its soft osmanthus with an edge of tea will knock me over.
- Parfumerie Generale Harmatan Noir. A wonderful tea. Harsh desert and scrabbled comforts and... Oh, I can't describe this one. Get a decant. I keep telling myself that I can't buy another tea, but it haunts me.
- Le Labo Patchouli 24. The closest thing to the real scent of tea leaves that I've ever found in a fragrance. Yes, I know it's really birch tar, but to me it's tea.
- Chanel Cuir de Russie. Utterly satisfying leather.
- Fendi Theorema. The culmination of my orange quest; I finally have my winter orange.
- Shiseido Feminite du Bois. I didn't know that I was on a cedar quest, but it turns out that I was, and this is the destination.
- Balmain Vent Vert vintage parfum. A wonderfully dangerous green, like blinking carnivore eyes at the edge of a twilit forest. Tragically reformulated into a merely nice scent without the least hint of danger. I must get a supply of the vintage.
Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss, and Issey Miyake A Scent, and Serge Lutens Nuit de Cellophane. I even bought the Lauder and the Miyake, but none of the three floated to the very top of my personal list. Perhaps this isn't surprising - when a note isn't fully established in fashion yet, I suppose there's a limit to the risks that can be taken with it.
Top Five disappointments first experienced in 2009:
I'm saying "disappointments", because I'm not comfortable calling these "bad". Some are highly regarded fragrances that just clashed with my nose. The good news is that only five entries on the 2009 list were real scrubbers for me.
- Creed Aqua Fiorentina: This started out nice, if over-fruity and with a taste of Kool-Aid. Then it turned a little cloying. That got worse and worse and worse, until phrases like "saw my arm off" came to mind. Maybe it's my skin.
- Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps D'Une Fete: It's a well-regarded fragrance from a well-regarded perfumer. It's a green and loved by green freaks. I'm a green freak. I should have loved it. But not only didn't I love it, it was a scrubber.
- Andy Tauer l'Air du Desert Marocain and Incense Rose: Again, well-loved by many people I respect. And I couldn't bear it. I suppose that I should have anticipated this result from the notes lists. There's a limit to what even the most talented perfumer can persuade my nose to like, and myrrh or coriander with ambergris go past that boundary.
- Fresh Violette: I had high hopes for this one, but it was sweet, powdery, aldehydic, and without anything interesting enough to make up for those sins. And not even anything particularly pretty - the violets were unconvincing.
Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise
Andy Tauer Lonestar Memories
Andy Tauer Incense Rose
Andy Tauer l'Air du Desert Marocain
Ava Luxe Sweet Absinthe
Ava Luxe Milk
Ava Luexe Figuer
Ava Luxe Moroccan Mint Tea
Ava Luxe Midnight Violet
Balmain Vent Vert EDT
Balmain Vent Vert parfum, vintage
Bois 1920 Come la Luna
Bois 1920 Vetiver Ambrato
CB I Hate Perfume Tea/Rose
CB I Hate Perfume Wildflower Honey
CB I Hate Perfume Cedarwood Tea
CB I Hate Perfume The Fir Tree
CB I Hate Perfume Just Breathe
CB I Hate Perfume CB93
CB I Hate Perfume Walking In The Air
Comme Des Garcons Tea
Chanel No. 19 EDP
Chanel Cuir de Russie
Creed Original Vetiver
Creed Aqua Fiorentina
Czech & Speake No. 88
Czech & Speake Citrus Paradisi
Czech & Speake Cuba
Czech & Speake Neroli
Czech & Speake Oxford & Cambridge
Czech & Speake Mimosa
Czech & Speake Rose
Czech & Speake Dark Rose
Czech & Speake Frankincense
Diptyque Tam Dao
Estee Lauder Jasmine White Moss
Estee Lauder Tuberose Gardenia
Estee Lauder Private Collection
Estee Lauder Sensuous
Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin et Cigarette
Frederic Malle Une Rose
Guerlain Mitsouko Vintage Parfum
Hermes Kelly Caleche
Hermessence Rose Ikebana (I really never reviewed this? I'm surprised.)
Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan
Hermessence Vetiver Tonka
Hermessence Vanille Galante
Issey Miyake A Scent
Jean Desprez Bal A Versailles
Le Labo Jasmin 17
Le Labo Patchouli 24
L'Occitane Bergamot Tea
Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka
Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka Man
Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate
Lorenzo Villoresi Musk
MDCI Un Coeur en Mai
MDCI Peche Cardinal
Miller et Bertaux No. 3: Green, green, green
Parfumerie Generale Aomassai
Parfumerie Generale Bois Blond
Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba
Parfumerie Generale Cadjmere
Parfumerie Generale Drama Nuui
Parfumerie Generale Felanilla
Parfumerie Generale Harmatan Noire
Parfumerie Generale Iris Oriental/Taizo
Parfumerie Generale L'Oiseau de Nuit
Parfumerie Generale Musc Maori
Parfumerie Generale Tubereuse Couture
Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique
Parfums de Nicolai Le Temps D'Une Fete
Parfums de Nicolai Number One
Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu
Parfums de Rosine Ecume de Rose
Possets The Gingerbread Whorehouse
Raphael Replique (Vintage)
Robert Piguet Fracas
Robert Piguet Visa
Robert Piguet Bandit
Robert Piguet Cravache
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Serge Lutens A La Nuit
Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle
Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles
Shiseido Feminite du Bois
Tom Ford Private Blend Velvet Gardenia
Yosh White Flowers