My Favorite Things – End Of 2012 Edition

It’s been a while since I have posted about my favorite things, the end of the year lends itself perfectly to such endeavors, and don’t we all love lists?

The year 2012 has been an interesting one. I mostly stuck to my one bottle a month rule (mostly, I swear!) until I met my current signature scent at the end of October and have stuck with it since. But, since I am not one to break my own rules (ha!), I did manage to buy a bottle for December as well, one that will probably be a serious competitor for daily wear – the newest work of my beloved Jean-Claude Ellena. His L’Ambre des Merveilles and now the surprising and gorgeous Jour d’Hermès have all my attention. This is kind of funny, for it feels like I have come full circle this year. I started with JCE, who I fully blame for my fall down the rabbit hole and now I’m back with him and his tender world of transparency and light (for good?).

So here is a list of my favorite things of the year and I cannot wait to read about yours…

Luxury (or the thin line between indulgence and delusion):


While Jean-Claude Ellena dominated my fragrant obsessions this year, the entire house of Hermès did as well. While I have been a fan of its timeless luxury for years, I must admit that it has become a bit more recently. Maybe it is impending middle-age that has me contemplating investment pieces… as a friend put it: at a certain age we have to think about investing in quality. So enjoy a stroll with me through the gorgeous offerings of the esteemed house of Hermès.

In my quest for the perfect cashmere shawl and a flattering way to wear my silks, I stumbled upon this wonderful blog, by an impossibly elegant and sophisticated Frenchwoman: take a look at MaiTai’s Picturebook.



Donna Tartt: The Secret History I have read this book at least five times and I love it more every time. Beautifully written, witty, intelligent and very, very strange, it is a fascinating read.

Kathleen Tessaro: Elegance A lovely book! Officially “chick lit”, it is that and a bit more. A woman transforms her life after finding an old book about being elegant (that book really exists, find it here). I have a penchant for these kinds of duckling to swan things…

Lessons from Madame Chic This little book, written by blogger Jennifer L. Scott (The Daily Connoisseur) is a quick read that is entertaining and fun, with some great tips, if a bit repetitive. Her blog is also well worth checking out. Jennifer gives advice on how to better your quality of life in all respects, from make up to table culture, from wardrobe changes to art appreciation.



Louisville, Kentucky Modjeskas My husband brought these home from a business trip – oh my, I almost wish he had never introduced me to this delicacy. Marshmallows dipped in soft and salty caramel is so much better than it sounds. Decadent and SO delicious!!!

Dr. O’s Turducken was a great, quite unexpected success. The Russian-doll-type food preparation style will have its rightful place in our kitchen from now on.

Daisy’s Bacon and Pecan Nougats Dear and generous Daisy from the food blog Cool Cook Style sent me her amazing Bacon and Pecan Nougats, the only problem I have with them is that they were gone in a flash. (Should have kept them all to myself instead of offering them to greedy guests. 😉 )


paule skin recovery

Paula’s Choice: I couldn’t be happier than with this very affordable and extremely well-researched line. I can highly recommend the products. No non-sense, effective and gentle, they make my skin the best it can be.



As a child, I had a phase when I was absolutely convinced that my future occupation would be Broadway Star. I wanted to be a musical performer and going to Broadway seemed to be the thing to do from a ten-year-old Austrian’s perspective. It seemed quite feasible at the time, and that dream took turns in my wishlist of professions with becoming a cover model for Vogue, being the next Anne-Sophie Mutter or marrying Prince Edward of England.

My musical star aspirations have seen a great revival this year, when I watched the DVD’s of Glee. What can I say – I love it. Showchoir is the coolest and I wish we had had such a thing in highschool. I might be living in NYC by now… 😉

And finally, this being a perfume blog after all – for all of you who made it through this long post so far – here is my nowhere near complete list of top-picks for the best perfumes of the year 2012:



Vero Profumo Mito: the best new release, because it is timeless and captures a deceptively simple beauty that is ultimately heartwrenching.

Neela Vermeire Creations India Trio: Officially launched only in January 2012, it seems as if these three glorious perfumes have always been here. I can only hope they will stay with us forever too! And don’t make me pick a favorite among the three, I couldn’t make up my mind the entire year…

Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles: yes, I’ll shut up about it now…

Ann Gérard Cuir de Nacre and Perle de Mousse: Those two perfumes by Bertrand Duchaufour are delicate beauties and worthy additions to an ever-expanding (hopelessly oversaturated?) market.

Amouage Beloved: Bewitching, beautiful, expensive and hard to find.

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin: Another Duchaufour that is exceptional. Make it your starting point to discover the entire line (make sure to try Peché Cardinal!)

Puredistance Opardu: the fourth release by Jan Ewoud Vos’s ultra-elegant niche house doesn’t let us down. Tender and wistful, soft and nostalgic.

Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires: A classic case of love at the hundredth sniff, since I was not very taken with it from the start, but it grew on me to the point that I believe it has earned its spot in the Top Ten of 2012.

Nabucco Amytis: the ultimate luxury – an oil-based perfume that is enveloping you like the much-cited cashmere wrap, but what can I say? It’s true!

Hermès Jour d’Hermès: will be the next big thing in 2013.

So what are your favorite things right now? What do you love and want to share with us?

These blogs are also listing their end of year lists today, so don’t forget to hop on over to:


Eyeliner on a Cat

Fragrant Moments


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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65 Responses to My Favorite Things – End Of 2012 Edition

  1. Ines says:

    That’s a great list Birgit! 🙂
    I especially enjoyed the fact you put books on it (will check those out in a minute).
    And the Modjeskas sound yummy! (I am a huge caramel fan)

    I haven’t tried all the perfumes from your list but I couldn’t agree more about Mito, Opardu and Neela trio. That’s what has me believing I will love the rest on your list too. 😉

    Wishing you and your family all the best in the New year!


    • Olfactoria says:

      You would love the Modjeskas! 🙂
      I’m glad you enjoyed the list, I wanted to branch out a bit from perfume only, it’s always interesting to find out about the obsessins of others, so I thought I’d start… 😉

  2. Kafkaesque says:

    What a lovely post. Combining books, food and perfumes…. three of my favorite things. (I would just have an added category for German shepherds. lol) I smiled a lot while reading your list. For one thing, Prince Edward?! 😉 I’m very impressed that you tried a turducken, let alone doing one that was entirely gluten-free. The final result looked amazing! And funny you should mention Anne-Sophie Mutter; I was just listening to her an hour ago in a Von Karajan recording.

    Have a lovely New Year. May it be the best year ever for you and your loved ones.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m happy you enjoyed reading, Kafkaesque. I’m very afraid of German Sherperds, so I’m glad we at least agree on so many other things. 🙂
      I hope your new year will be excellent!

  3. Gisela says:

    Great list, Birgit – and with Mito and Donna Tart I couldn’t agree more (I also love her “The little Friend”)! Guten Rutsch! And a wonderful fragrant happy and healthy New Year for you and yours. 🙂

  4. lucasai says:

    I still didn’t have a chance to try L’Ambre des Merveilles but to tell more I haven’t tried almost any of the fragrances from your list 😦 I simply have no access to them, they’re not available in Poland.

  5. poodle says:

    Thanks for putting some books on the list. I’m always on the lookout for things I wouldn’t normally stumble upon in my quest for a new book to read. I’m going to have to try a few of the perfumes you listed too. Have a happy and healthy New Year!

  6. Sandra says:

    I love your list! Must seek out the skin care you recommend. I have you to thank for Agent Pendergast and many hours of entertainment, so I will also be looking into your book list. Happy New Year!

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  8. Persolaise says:

    Thanks for a wonderful list, B. And I’m glad we both liked Mito and Ambre Des Merveilles.

    A very happy new year to you and yours 🙂

  9. B, I love the breath of your list. A very nice look back at 2012. There’s a few scents on there I need to sniff out. Happy holidays to you.

  10. ringthing says:

    I enjoy these lists very much, and I look forward to drooling over the Hermes site. One of my favorite discoveries of 2012 has been your blog, Birgit! Best wishes to you and yours.

  11. What a wonderful list…and you are spot on with the NV Creations…I love all of them. You have just made me want to bring out my Chypre Palatin sample out from the bottom of the pile; I liked it, but it’s so long since I have tried it that I need to give it another go. I’m just scared that I will love it…and I have spent waaaaay too much money this past year. Of course I say that every year! Happy New Year Birgit!

  12. Suzanne says:

    This “Best of” list is outstanding, Birgit. I’m really busy today, but I’m going to be back to click on all of those links, particularly the book links (and also the link to Daisy’s recipe). 🙂 I’m so happy to see Chypre Palatin on your list … and a very sweet friend is sending me samples of your beloved L’Ambre des Merveilles, so I’ll be looking forward to trying that one in 2013. Don’t think it will affect me the same way it has you, but between you, Natalie and some of your readers’ comments, I’m intensely curious about it.

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are too kind, dear Suzanne! I’m glad you enjoyed the list. I’m dying to know what you make of L’Ambre (and so hope you are not disappointed, the poor thing has quite a lot of expectations to live up to by now!).

  13. Wonderful list, Birgit! I so enjoyed reading it. I loved “The Secret History”, too. I’ve been thinking about my “best of” list for this year. But the only post I have been able to write is about a few of the best books I read this year.

  14. Happy New Year, Birgit! Thank you so much for the mention. I am so pleased that my bacon nougats were one of your favorite things this year!!!

    I love your other picks as well. The Secret History is a great book, strange and unsettling. Such a page turner. I am currently plowing through Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84. Have you read that yet?

    L’Ambre des merveilles is wonderful. Can’t wait to check out Jour! And Neela Vermeire’s trio is gorgeous. That Bombay Bling is happiness in a bottle 🙂

    Thanks again for the shout-out!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Murakami is mostly in the strange and weird category as well, I have not read this one yet, but I’ll make a note to do so soon.
      Your nougats were fabulous indeed and your kind gesture to send them was very much appreciated!

  15. Vanessa says:

    Ooh, I love The Secret History too. I think you would also enjoy The Fig Eater by Jody Shields, which is a thriller involving Freudian therapy set in Vienna!

    Myrrhe et Delires was a highlight for me this year, also Mohur.

  16. Tara says:

    I’ve been trying to swear off the internet over the holiday but I couldn’t miss this wonderful list. I love that you included non-perfume items too. So fascinating to read and it’s great to share things others might like too. I have been wondering about the Secret History and Elegance for ages so I will take the plunge. A book that is special to me is Paula by Isabel Allende, though it’s non-fiction. A few of faves are –

    Kindle Paperwhite – this has re-ignited my love of reading. I adore it.

    Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – Probably the best skincare product I’ve ever used. I will never use an abrasive exfoliant again!

    Parlux hairdryer – this has cut down the time it takes to blow-dry my hair straight from 40 minuties to 20. Amazing.

    Ormonde Woman – after finding it scary on paper, I now find it the most calming perfume I own. Who knew?

    Thanks for a great post, B! I’m glad your JCE obsession is as strong as ever.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for coming out of online-abstinence to read my list!
      It’s fascinating how you came around to love Ormonde Woman, it was like that for me as well.
      Thanks for sharing your faves, that Dermalogica scrub sounds really good…

  17. annemariec says:

    Ah, I recognise that book image you use above!

    I must try The Secret History. It’s been on the ‘to read’ list literally for years. I’ve just re-bought a copy of A.S. Byatt’s Posession, resolving to re-read it this summer to see how it stands up after all these years. So far I really am wondering if I can wade through all that Victorian symbolism all over again. I must have had a lot more reading energy before I had children.

    I still cannot get over the fact that you got through a whole bottle of L’Ambre so fast. Have you cloned yourself?? 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I definitely had more reading energy pre-children!!!
      No cloning involved, apparently that happens when you just use one perfume all the time. I’m astounded too. 😉

  18. Madeleine says:

    Hi Birgit,

    Thanks for a wonderful list and for reminding me of Donna Tartt. I love that book and must re-read it. You’ve got me drooling over those marshmallows in caramel too :). Perfume-wise, my fave new releases were Santal Majuscule, Une Voix Noire, Arquiste Flor y Canto and Perle de Mousse. I now must try the Ambre and Mito thanks to you!


  19. Interesting to see what you’ve been getting yourself into besides perfume! And for the record, marshmallows covered in caramel sounds AND looks amazing to me. 🙂

  20. ginzaintherain says:

    I am not quite the Ellena fan that you are but I do love Hermes, especially vintage Caleche parfum…that to me is PURE, heartbreaking elegance and I adore it…

    Interesting post

  21. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Dearest B., I’m so curious, where your parfum-path will lead you in 2013 (or will the evil JCE keep you in his cave for ever?). His Diary of a Nose is on my list though.
    I truly enjoyed Stephen Chbosky’s The perks of Being a Wallflower (here&there I need a positive reading too…). These days I’m all for Cosmetics27 by M.E.Skinlab and parfum-wise it’s Ouris from Sooud (the latter brings out the better “me”, a somewhat softer one).
    Happy 2013 to everybody !

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  23. Civava says:

    I agree about Mito, lovely new creation with some excellent twists. Just like you, I couldn’t make my mind about Neela’s trio. I like all trhee a lot. I found Ramon Monegal’s Mon Cuir also among favorite perfumes of this year and Arquiste Anima Dulcis, although I somehow expected more…I’m sure I’ve missed out many good perfumes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I feel the same about Anima Dulcis, I liked it, but somehow didn’t connect with it (that is probably my fault though, not the perfume’s! 😉 ).
      Glad we agree on some favorites, Civava!

  24. brie says:

    I love this list! eager to try Daisy’s treats as well as getting my hands on the books that you mentioned!
    Happy New Year!

  25. Axum says:

    It’s nice to know someone else fell in love with Secret History 🙂 By chance I read it in translation (I was learning French at the time)…it was so gripping that I passed up social invitations, just to keep reading. I’ve thought about re-reading it in English, but somehow I fear that that would render mundane the experience of enlarging my French vocabulary while slogging through this deliciously nightmarish story.

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  29. Alexandra says:

    A slightly belated: Happy New Year! Like Tara I swore off the internet for the holiday season and am now catching up on my favourite blog. I love your list and it was nice to include non-perfume items too, can I add myself to the general A Secret History fandom too? It was a favourite read for a long time but has recently been replaced by Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna. I didn’t know you were a Glee fan either; I have been tempted to watch the new US series Smash, which is set on Broadway…
    In terms of perfume I couldn’t agree more with Neela’s India Trio, I adored all of them although it is Mohur that has become one of my absolute favourites.
    I am hoping to develop my love affair with lush heady florals in 2013!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Staying away from the computer for a while is a good idea, I hope you enjoyed it.
      Thanks for the book recommedation, I will definitely take a look at the Lacuna.
      Happy New Year, dear Alex!

  30. Pingback: The Best Of 2013 | Olfactoria's Travels

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