I'm not quite sure about these 'best of' posts. Everyone has got in on the act this year, collaborations flying left, right and centre. So, in the spirit of the blogosphere, I'm jumping on the bandwagon too, with a slight difference. As I looked back at my posts this year and also at others', I quickly came to the realisation that I hadn't tried that many of the new releases of 2011, niche or otherwise.
I was slightly surprised at first, but after ruminating for a while, I realise that I've got past that compulsive phase of having to try every new release. Some of that is down to sheer economics and geography. My local stores don't stock that many niche lines, and in actual fact there are plenty of mainstream releases this year that haven't got to my neck of the woods. Secondly, I just don't have a wallet resilient and rich enough at present to buy a lot of perfume, including samples. Oh, I have my ways and means of sampling, and at this point, I just want to thank some of my fellow bloggers and perfume lovers out there who have generously sent me perfume this year. You know who you are and I appreciate the effort you have gone to! While on the subject, I also want to thank some of the ladies at my local department stores for giving so generously and I've enjoyed the perfume chats. Again, one fine lady knows who she is!
So, instead of listing my top 10 releases of 2011, I shall simply mention some of the perfumes I have tried in 2011, in no particular order or preference, and not necessarily of 2011 vintage.
Christian Dior Leather Oud - I fell in love with this raunchy fragrance and a good sign of its quality was that I probably wore it more than any other perfume this year.
Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour Le Soir - mmm, mmm, mmm. Sex in a bottle and while raunchy, sophisticated too. My favourite of his line by a proverbial mile.
Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminalle - the most beguiling and innovative take on tuberose I have encountered and possibly the most unisex one too, I might add.
Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore - a superior Jeux de Peau. Not exactly the same of course, and released many years before, but is an absolute stunner.
Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan - need I say more. An honourable musky mention goes to Kiehls Musk.
Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure - I've tried a lot of incense fragrances and love most of them, but this one is beautiful. Actually, most of what I've tried from SSS is great.
DSH Cuir et Champignon - a genius combination of notes. Leather and mushroom, seems almost obvious, but I haven't personally encountered anything else that smells like this beauty from Dawn. There's a lot of good stuff coming from DSH.
Puredistance M - suave, sensous smoky leather. A beautiful creation by Roja Dove. I know I have mentioned Puredistance a lot on this blog and no, I am not in their pocket, but this is a genuinely good perfume.
L'Artisan Al Oudh - this line takes a bit of flack on the boards, but personally I like a lot from L'Artisan. Al Oudh is a complex and challenging perfume, but I love it.
L'Artisan Fou D'Absinthe - I teeter between loving and hating this one, but it is interesting to say the least.
Bottega Veneta - this has been mentioned all over the shop and yes, it is very good. More of this sort next year, please.
Guerlain L'Instant Pour Homme - I own a bottle and it is one of the best men's mainstream perfumes out there, in my humble opinion of course.
So, I could prattle on and on and part of me wants to. However, for the sake of sanity, I shall stop here. Is there a perfumer of the year, or a favourite of mine? I'm tempted to say Bertrand Duchaufour. I know he is like a fungus, everywhere at present, but I have to say there is very little of his that I don't like, which speaks volumes for his skill.
Finally, I just want to thank all the bloggers out there that give me inspiration. I could not possibly single out any, but look at my blog roll and you will get an idea. In recent months I've detected a bit of negativity among some bloggers, people moaning about nasty comments made, etc. I can't say I've encountered any of this personally, but as a wish for 2012, let us all remain friends and always put our love of perfume at the forefront, not our egos or personalities.