To abuse a cliché everyone over the age of thirty or so uses this time of the year – the time flew by. This year really went by in a blink, and when I seemingly just the other day wrote about the highlights of 2012, it is this time of the year again when we look back and take stock.
Perfume-wise this was a very interesting year for me in the sense that I experienced an entirely new relationship with scent. The wild ride of testing, testing, testing lay behind me and the plethora of perfumes I knew, wrote about or owned left me exhausted and craving stability. So I gave in to this impulse and wore what I wanted and nothing else.
It turned out that what I wanted was to have two or three, four perfumes at the outside, that I rotated depending on my mood.
I realized that there is a huge difference between admiring, valueing and respecting a perfume and wanting to wear it on a daily basis. The huge majority of the residents of my perfume cabinet remained safely in there this year, only to be brought out and sniffed at from time to time, but rarely being worn. They are treasures, and like such, like expensive jewellery, like ball gowns, like high heeled shoes, I did not want to wear them daily, but I loved to look at them, admire them, smell them and put them back.
For the first time in many years I did not feel the need, the craving, the urge to smell new things. On the contrary, I was very reluctant to do so, because I enjoyed my new-found distance to perfume. I did not want to be drawn into the frenzied search, the mad dash for everything new again. The addicitve side of our hobby was a bit scary, so I enjoyed some peace and quiet with what I have, with the status quo, without needing more.
As you all know, this is not an ideal state of mind for perfume blogging, and this was the only thing that bugged me, not being able to write as many reviews as I used to. But I wrote different things, the interview series was well received I believe, and fortunately I can still think of things to ask you on Mondays. Thanks to my faithful contributors (Thank you again Tara, Sandra and Jordan!) things never came to a halt here on OT.
The few fragrances that did make an impression, that did cross my “no perfume, please!” barrier, were truly outstanding though. For me to get excited over a new perfume this year was a rare occasion and therefore I treasure these all the more.
So here come the new releases of the past year that made me happy, that I admired deeply and that are worthy of our attention.
Best New Perfumes Of 2013
Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka: I am not alone in saying that the best new thing on the horizon the last few years was definitely NVC. All her perfumes made a splash and rightly so. The fourth release, the one to follow the huge successes of the first three, had big shoes to fill and great expectations to meet. In my opinion, Ashoka was the perfect follow-up to the India trio. Still with the theme (Neela’s India), but entirely different, it did not compete with its predecessors, but stands entirely on its own, incomparable, unique and touchingly beautiful. (Read Neela’s interview here.)
Viktoria Minya Hedonist: Hedonist was a surprise out of nowhere. I think it was a fabulous start for this lovely young perfumer from Hungary (read her interview here). I am very curious to smell whatever comes next from her, and seeing my rather reluctant state of perfume curiosity, that is saying something.
Hiram Green Moonbloom: Another white floral that stole my heart this year, Moonbloom is a natural perfume with outstanding longevity and an inspiring beauty that touches me every time I return to it. That it has a devastatingly well designed bottle does not hurt at all. (Read the lovely Hiram’s interview here.)
Aftelier Cuir de Gardénia: This perfume is the one that came out the latest of the four on my list. It fell victim to my unfortunate writer’s block (or whatever it is that keeps me from just getting to it!), but only in the sense that I do not have a full review for it yet. I do intend to make it the first review I write in 2014, because it so deserves it. Mandy Aftel’s creations always have a deep impact on me (please read Mandy’s interview here). They definitely do not belong in the wear daily group of perfumes, but are rare gems to be treasured and enjoyed in tiny doses. Usually Mandy makes me hear music, be it Eminem or Astor Piazzolla. This perfume spoke in rhymes to my arid soul, momentarily depleted of creativity. The poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke offered itself up for a metaphor to explain the particular beauty of Cuir de Gardénia. O süßes Lied. If those two, Mandy and Rilke, will not get me wrtiting again, nothing will… Watch this space.
Most Worn Perfumes 2013
So finally we come to my most worn perfumes of the past year. I really wore these, as the photo will show.
First up my beloved J.-C. Ellena creation Number One: Hermès L’Ambre des Merveilles. I am on my third, this one finally being the large size, bottle. I don’t know why, but I do not tire of this perfume, it just fits me like a glove and I not once have I regretted putting it on in the morning (or at night, at that).
Hermès Rose Ikebana, another J.-C. Ellena creation, is an old favorite that got back into regular use this year. I bought a bottle in January 2013 and finished that bottle in November. I have been missing it since. I was overjoyed to find it under the Christmas tree the other day and have been wearing it the past two days with extreme pleasure. Thankfully this is a scent my family unanimously adores and I keep getting compliments from friends and strangers on it, so I guess this is a keeper just like its stable mate above.
The house of Chanel always means luxury and elegance to me, and while I have been shunning N°5 completely this year, I found an extremely trustworthy partner for days when everything else feels too much in Chanel Eau de Cologne. What Karl wears is definitely good enough for me…
Chanel 28 La Pausa was my first love from Les Exclusifs and my first favorite iris perfume. For years I procrastinated, thinking it was too fleeting, but in the end. beauty is just that. So why fight it? On a lovely shopping trip with Sandra and Val the Cookie Queen, I bought a bottle this December and I absolutely love it. It has immediately secured its place on my daily rotation tray and I am seriously thinking of stockpiling a big bottle, since discontinuation is rumoured (the Viennese SA thought it might not be discontinued in all countries?! If you know anything, please chime in!).
And finally there was one more perfume I wore a lot this year and I even used up the (albeit small) bottle: Jo Malone Blackberry&Bay. Unassuming, uncomplicated, happy and simply pretty, this is a very easy perfume to wear, but it still is unusual enough to stand out, and not only in the sea of mediocre Jo Malone fruity-florals, but in general. A very good perfume. Eventually I will return to it again, probably when the summer comes.
Phew, if you are still with me, I congratulate you and thank you for staying with me for 1250 words.
Uncharacteristically for me, I am writing this on the eve of publication, while normally the anal-retentive side of me commands that I write posts at least a week in advance. I actually enjoyed this laid back approach of just sitting down and writing (having no other choice, because I committed to this group posting). The pressure was on, but not in a bad way and I am happy that it felt easy again after a long time of finding no words.
You all know my wish for myself for 2014: for my muse, my drive, my joy to come back, for words to start pouring out again. I know I have to take it slow and these 1500 words felt like a good start.
I look forward to seeing you again next year. Thank you so much for your readership, you don’t know how much I appreciate it. Many hugs to you all.
But now to you! What did you love in 2013? What did you hate? What did you get for Christmas?
And finally, please take a look at the “Best of” lists of my fellow bloggers today: