The Best Of 2011 – My Favorite Perfumes Of The Year

I love to read lists. I adore it, in fact and the end of a year always brings many a good list to savor.

But I don’t particularly like making lists. That is because I always, and I mean always, forget something. Inevitably as soon as I finish a list and look it over proudly, I realize I forgot the most important thing, so I start over, and over… It takes me ages to finally be happy with what I come up with.

But I was asked to participate in a lovely collaboration of four blogs – Persolaise, Eyeliner on a Cat, Fragrant Moments and yours truly – to publish a Best of the Year list and I gladly accepted. I love to read lists after all, so I might as well contribute my own, as hard as it might be.

Note: These are my personal discoveries of the past year, not necessarily perfumes that have been released in 2011.

So, without further ado, here come my Top 10 of 2011, in no particular order:

1. Mona Di Orio Oud THE oud! Amazingly beautiful duet of osmanthus and oud. Powerful and evocative, wild and soft.

2. Aftelier Cepes&Tuberose Touches me deeply. Not for every day, but the best things are enjoyed in small doses.

3. Mona di Orio Oiro Brings memories of golden moments frozen in time, to be cherished forever.

4. Dior New Look 1947 Smells like me, says Dee. Who am I to argue?

5. By Kilian Back To Black Honey revelation, love at second sniff. My gateway drug to falling for almost the entire Kilian collection.

6. Chanel 31 Rue Cambon Elegance and sophistication in a bottle. My aspirational scent for the Lady in me.

7. Bottega Veneta Elegance and refined beauty goes mainstream. Proves that it can be done. Yippie!

8. Sonoma Scent Studio To Dream Violet and rose on oak. Perfection. We live to dream.

9. Vero Profumo Onda My suit of armour. A source of strength. Not every day is easy, Onda absorbs the worst blows.

10. Parfums MDCI Enlèvement au Serail A classic chypre, a true beauty, a ray of hope for the future of perfume.

Special mention: Guerlain Angelique Noire, a very recent discovery, but it totally captured my heart. Review will be up soon (ish).

Of course now Iwant to know your Top Ten! Which perfumes made you swoon, which tugged at your heartstrings this past year?

And finally, please take a look at the Best of lists of my fellow bloggers:


Eyeliner on a Cat

Fragrant Moments

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56 Responses to The Best Of 2011 – My Favorite Perfumes Of The Year

  1. Pingback: The Five Fragrances of 2011 You Should Remember |

  2. Lovely list, Birgit! I’m starting to see the true beauty of our little blogging collaboration- Persolaise and I thought that our widely varying tastes would make a very interesting group, and indeed, that’s the case and I couldn’t be more pleased.

    You know, every time I read Vero Kern’s name, my heart feels a pang of desire for a bottle of my beloved Kiki. I just need to DO IT!

  3. barneyabishop says:

    I must try Mona Di Orio Oud. It’s made a few lists this year and has me intrigued. I liked Creed’s Royal Oud because it put a spin on it that made it quite different from all the rest. But I’m not on the hunt for Mona DI Orio Oud.

  4. Persolaise says:

    I really enjoy lists that combine the new with the old… and as for Onda, it’s just sheer genius.

    All the best to you for the new year 🙂

  5. Marie, DK says:

    The scents that have meant the most to me in 2011 have been:
    EL Sensuous EdT – this was a surprise,as I started out not liking the EdP – but this is perfect for me.
    Prada Candy,- an easy love for smooth everyday comfort in a very stressful time.
    Teo Cabanel Oha – a big new love – it is so very me and thank you to Ruth for enabling 🙂
    AP Strip – well, more comfort, please, and add a bit of sensuous interest – thank you.
    AP L’Agent – this is getting embarassing – this time it’s a smooth leather comfort scent
    Parfums de Rosine Rose Kashmirie – a soft, oriental rose
    JHAG Lady Vengeance – more rose, I love rose – this is a bit of a melancholy rose for me.
    Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil – I wore it a lot during spring and summer and will again next year I’m sure
    Mona di Orio Vanille – my favorite vanilla scent so far – deep, satisfying, soft, elegant. A decant. Will be FB in the future
    Miller Harris Fler de Bois – love it for an elegant, dry everyday scent for the milder seasons. Discontinued.
    Penhaligon’s Amaranthine – found out it’s perfect for cold weather – more so than mild days. It unfolds beautifully on me when served cold.
    And there were others of course: Tested By Killian Back to Black recently – wow. Lalique Flora Bella – lives up to its name. Lancome Hypnose Senses – a suave rose – it still holds its own. And Chanel no. 5 – my eternal love.

    A happy new year to you and your family, Birgit! Looking forward to having Olfactoria’s Travels as my travel companion in 2012 😀

    • GeM says:

      Lalique Flora Bella!, always a favorite of mine in my sniffing-tours…!!!!! a hard-to-find now in my country, do you know if it’s being discontinued? :/

    • Olfactoria says:

      Comfort scents are great, there can never be too many of those! 🙂
      Thanks for sharing your lovely list, Marie!
      I look forward to travelling through Perfumeland with you too next year! 🙂

  6. andrea says:

    You have 2 of my favourite discoveries on your list, MdO oud and by kilian back to black, I would also add MdO vanille and PG tonkamande to my list as well as Frapin 1270. I have just aquired a sample of Frapin 1697 but was too ill yesterday to attempt a sniff, today may be the day it gets added to my top 10. 🙂

  7. GeM says:

    Best discoveries of 2011: my first bottle of Après L’Ondée / Santa Maria Novella’s Porcelana / Nicolai’s Odalisque & Le Temps d’une Fête / The Different Company’s Osmanthus / Atelier Flou entire line / Puredistance entire line / Histoires des Parfums entire line / Amouage’s Ubar & Lyric (too much wood in the latter, not for me though, sigh :() / Carner Barcelona line / Chanel’s Bois des Iles & Eau Première / Penhaligon’s Cornubia / happy reencounter with LouLou

    It has been the greatest year ever in my perfume life, very FULLFILLING!
    I have Great Expectations for next 2012! 🙂

  8. lady jane grey says:

    I’m happy you added that we don’t necessarily need to limit the list for scents released duirng 2011… ;-).
    My list is very “concentrated” (I just couldn’t find them 10):
    Mona di orio “Oud”
    Armani Prive “La Femme Bleue”
    Frapin “1697”
    Keiko Mecheri “Mulholland”
    Van Cleef & Arpels “Bois d’Iris” (and in fact their whole Collection Extraordinaire)
    Guerlain “Iris Ganache”

  9. vanessa says:

    I just looked at Carrie’s and now your list and agree that it is fascinating to see the variations in people’s tastes – I actually have less crossover with yours than I thought I would, just Dior New Look and Bottega Veneta. Though you have been exploring some lines this year that are not on my radar. I could add 31 rue Cambon in there, because I do like that also, albeit I came across it a couple of years back. And I would like to try To Dream after your recommendation!

    Hurrah for lists – I am still working on mine, and Marie’s has jogged my memory with a few things!

  10. Kjanicki says:

    I must do a list! I may do one today. I know for sure I would put on it 2 perfumes I fell in love with over Christmas From samples: Mary Greenwell Plum and Parfums d’Empire Azemour. Oh, and Hermes Eau des Merveilles which is.

  11. deeHowe says:

    New Look is the scent of kindness and elegance combined— of course it smells like you! 🙂
    Here’s my top-ten! (obviously not all released in 2011, but new to me this year)

    Roja Dove Unspoken spoke volumes to me, and gave me hope that the glory days of perfumery aren’t over.

    Ivoire de Balmain demonstrated that a vintage fragrance can feel as fresh as if it were launched just this year.

    Mona di Orio Musc was the first musk I’ve genuinely fallen in love with.

    Tokyo Milk Bittersweet is cheap, overly sweet, then almost weirdly skin-oily… And is divine. If this were packaged in a L’Artisan bottle, I would have happily dropped $150 on what actually only cost $29.

    Fougere Bengale is such a recent discovery that it shouldn’t proabably be here, yet alas, it was love at first spritz. More androgynous than truly masculine (“fougere” where?), it instantly makes me feel more powerful.

    Mona di Orio Vanille, for knocking vanilla out of the park.

    SSS Fig Tree, the first fig-centered fragrance to make me swoon.

    Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir, which recently became my first OJ full-bottle!

    Frapin 1697, for the heart-achingly beautiful sense of deja vu it inspires.

    And the last spot goes to two perfumes: Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose, and Plume Tuberose Vanille, because they taught me (in two very different ways) to appreciate tuberose. And they smell good 🙂

  12. Lavanya says:

    Lovely list, Birgit! I’m still working on mine but finding it difficult to keep to just ten.Cepes and Tuberose is definitely on mine too- It was such an easy love for me that I thought it may not last but it has- my love for it has only increased with numerous wearings- I need a mini!! I also loved MdO oud and caved to buy a split because of you..:)

  13. Aaron says:

    Hi Birgit, do you get good longevity out of MdO’s Oud? I think the scent is outstanding from my very brief initial test, but I’ve heard reports that, like Roja Dove’s incredible Aoud, it disappears within 4/5 hours. I’m going to test it on myself once more this month and, if everything goes according to plan, save up for a full bottle.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Aaron! No, on me it wears for twelve hours! It has exceptional sillage and longevity. That is why I really think it is worth the money, there is just no fault to be found with this perfume. 🙂

  14. Tama says:

    Very nice list – I don’t think there is anything on there I can’t appreciate. I still have not tried Mona’s Oud, and am not sure I want to. If it’s love, it’s also ka-ching! But I did spring for her Vanille and her Cuir, both amazing. And yes! Onda! I finally got my hands on a mostly full bottle of extrait this year – swoon.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Tama, lovely to see you here! 🙂 Oud is serious ka-ching, that is true, but it also really delivers… A split is the way to go for me, with these kinds of prices.

      Onda – I received an enormously generous gift of the extrait this year and I cherish it like liquid gold. 🙂 So great you got it too!

  15. Tara says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous list. I love that you included fragrances that you fell in love during the year too. I HAVE to try Les Nombres d’Or before Jan is out – that’s my New Year’s Resolution!
    So glad you’ve properly fallen for 31RC as it’s one of my “special heart perfumes”. It’s great you found New Look 1947 this year too. Like dee said, a perfume that “smells how you look”.

    Bottega Veneta was my new release of the year. I’d never be able to list 10, unfortunately (or fortunately). I think I’d have liked Indochine if I’d got round to trying it, though.

    Looking forward to your review of La Femme Bleue. The SA said today they only sell it in Selfridges and Harrods here and apparently there was a big rush on it before Christmas so not sure if there’s any left. I’m hoping that Equistrius is a good choc/iris substitutue but I’m guessing it’s not quite in the same league. It certianly doesn’t last long. I tired the new Armani Prive Cuir Noir today and guess what? It smells of oud!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for the info on La Femme Bleue, I am sorely tempted by it, but it is so very expensive, hearing there might not even be any left sets the lemming on fire of course. But I should relax, if it is meant to be, I will get it eventually. (Check out my new Zen attitude! 😉 )
      Cuir Noir is another oud, well, well… 🙂

      I’m so curious tomhear your thoughts on the MdO’s.
      And thank you for introducing me to 31 RC, I adore it!

  16. Mandy Aftel says:

    Thank you Birgit – I’m so excited & honored to be in your 2011 top ten favorites! Congratulations on your own illustrious year – your writing is superb! I love the close connection we’ve developed over perfume (& music!).

  17. Parfumista says:

    Great list! My Best of 2011 list just includes 2011 launches. There are two perfumes sharing the first place, both great from different angles: Serge Lutens De Profundis an exceptional dark flowery-incense composition and Mona di Orios Oud. Oud is so beautiful, fascinating and relaxing. At each wearing I find different facets in Oud and just as Mona wanted with her perfumes- it makes me dream. For my complete list

  18. Natalie says:

    I’m glad for our sake that you wrote your list. Your blog is always a source of temptation/inspiration. 🙂 I wish you all the best for 2012, B!

  19. Pingback: Some thoughts as the year ends « Perfume in Progress

  20. Suzanne says:

    Fabuolous list, Birgit, and I quite agree with you on MdO Oud. In addition to Oud, the other perfumes I fell for this year: Puredistance Antonia, Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady, Frapin 1697, MFK Absolue Pour le Soir, Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan, Chanel Coco, Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche, Annick Goutal Heure Exquise, Prescriptives Calyx, Frederic Malle Noir Epices. Do we really have to limit this list to ten? 😉

    • Lavanya says:

      *hijacking the comments section* Suzanne- i totally forgot to include Noir Epices in my list- it satisfied my craving for the older Caron Poivre and is a beautiful perfume in its own right..How could I forget it??!!! *hijack over*

    • Olfactoria says:

      Aside from MKK, I love all of your dicoveries as well, Suzanne! I find Absolue pour le Soir so very puzzling, it is majorly skanky one time and a cuddly comfort scent the next. Thank you for sending such a generous decant. I love the puzzling ones the most. 🙂

  21. Undina says:

    Even though you’ve included 2011 discoveries and not just releases, I have to admit that from your list I’ve tried only four perfumes! I’ll have a lot sniffing to do the next year.

    With holidays, traveling and out-of-state friends staying with us I’m so behind on everything blog-related that I just started working on the year stats. When I finish it I’ll know better what made my Top N list. Right now I can think of Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk and Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I look forward to your end of year statistics. It’ll be interesting to see what stands out.
      I vividly remember your Sweet Milk review, it was really touching and I always think about it when I see a Jo Malone bottle.

  22. Pingback: New Year Resolutions, Part I: 2011 Round Up « Undina's Looking Glass

  23. Pingback: My Top 5 Favorite Perfumes | perfumes and fragrances, cosmetics and skincare, perfume and cosmetics

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