I can’t believe it but it’s the end of 2012 already, which means that it’s time for us perfume bloggers to put together our lists of the very best and very worst perfumes of the year, honestly, where did the time go?! This year I’m affectionately entitling my awards ‘The Candies’ as a short, punchy alternative to The Candy Perfume Boy Awards. Neat huh?
Across all genres there have been many interesting, exciting and unique perfumes unleashed on to the market along with the usual amount of celebrity dreck, dud flankers and down-right-bizarre niche offerings. All-in-all it’s been a busy year with over 1,300 launches. Impressive but exhausting!
Below you will find my awards for Best Masculine, Best Feminine and Best Unisex Fragrances for both niche and mainstream houses. In addition to this I’ve also included awards for Best Flanker, Best Celebrity Fragrance and Best Ad Campaign. But we’re not just celebrating the very best of perfumery in 2012 here, no sir, we’re also highlighting the very worst with the Sour Candy Award, reserved solely for the naffest perfume of the year.
So I hope you’re wearing your very best frock (or tux for the boys, or frock if you prefer, it’s up to you really) and sipping on some fine Champagne as The Candies 2012 are underway…
Some perfumes come surrounded by so my hyperbole that it is impossible to approach them with an open mind. The perfume community does have a habit of hyping things up to god-like levels so that when one comes to trying something regarded as the divine ambrosia it’s almost too easy to be completely disappointed.
Still, disappointment isn’t such a bad thing, after all it allows us to reaffirm our tastes and what we do or don’t like. Anyway, sometimes it’s good to stand out from the pack, you might be miffed at the time but individuality is something to be celebrated. But there are times when a whole heap of hype can be substantiated and one fine example would be Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir.
“When the night takes on its own life, the tempo changes. Take a long, languorous breath. Linger till dawn. Keep your head in the stars. You’re suspended in time.”
Absolue Pour le Soir (Absolute for the Evening) is a “more concentrated and sophisticated” version of Kurkdjian’s Cologne Pour le Soir. If I had to sum it up in three words I would choose; “beautiful, filthy beast” because it is a fragrance that has the power to shock due to its strong dichotomy of ugliness and beauty.
Madonna; no other name is more instantly recognisable, no person is more likley to divide opinion. Arguably the most famous woman on the planet, Madonna is a force that is hard to define; singer, dancer, performer, entertainer, provocateur, feminist, business woman, calculating she-devil, love her or hate her, whatever moniker you throw at her will most likely apply.
The fascinating thing about Madonna is that her ratio of talent to fame is perhaps slightly off balance. She’s not the greatest singer or dancer in the world, or even the best looking, but she has that je ne sais quoi that makes a person a star. Some say that she’s just a good business woman and I’m sure she is but that does not make for such longevity. By pushing people’s buttons and having something to say (and saying it rather noisily) Madonna has ensured that she is more than a just a star, she’s that rare commodity: an icon.
Madonna is well-known to be a lover of perfume and is reported to be a loyal wearer of Fracas and practically anything containing tuberose, including her very own (and rather good) fragrance ‘Truth or Dare’ which was released earlier this year. A diva needs her diva-fumes y’all and in honour of the Queen of Pop and her love for perfume I present to you some of my favourite Madonna albums, each with their very own olfactory accompaniment that captures the spirit of the music and all that is ‘Madonna’.
You may or may not be aware that I am somewhat partial to the odd floral or two. OK, that’s a severe understatement, I am a floral addict and if you were to examine me under a microscope you’d probably discover that my genetic makeup has been significantly altered by the sheer amount of white flowers that I wear. Maybe I’ll wake up one day and I’ll actually have become a flower? Is that pushing it? Thought so.
When most people think florals they think of summer; of golden sunlight beating down on fields and meadows of fragrant flowers shouting their narcotic odours into the warm summer breeze. But for me florals aren’t exclusive to spring or summer, in fact one of my favourite times of the year to break out my bottles of trapped flowers is the time, for the most part, when they are not blooming in the wild. My favourite time for florals is winter.
Floral fragrances are surprisingly versatile in winter, they can provide warmth and comfort or they can react with the cold stiff air to create a sparkling aura that freezes on the skin. So as the weather appears to be quickly changing and the mercury is heading closer and closer to the 0 mark (well it is here at least) I thought I would share with you some of my favourite florals for my favourite time of year.
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as she is more commonly known, is undeniably one of the more interesting pop stars around today. Forget Britney, Christina, Miley and all those other pretenders, Gaga is a true visionary and a real star. Oozing with talent and more than her fair share of batshit-craziness, Gaga is like the rebellious love child spawned from the spliced DNA of David Bowie and Madonna.
OK you get it, I’m a fan and whilst I refuse to class myself as a ‘little monster’ I must admit that I was genuinely excited about Fame, I mean if anyone was going to do an interesting fragrance then it would be Gaga.
Apparently cooked up in a laboratory deep within the bowels of the Haus of Gaga (Lady Gaga’s fashion collective) Fame is described as an “opulent, crushed floral”  that, with it’s black coloured juice that is invisible once air born, represents the black soul of fame. Crazy huh? – Not really because Fame is all style and no substance…
Fame had the makings of a truly great celebrity fragrance; great bottle? Yep! massive gimick (the black liquid)? Yep again! and amazing ad campaign? Hell to the yep! But the one area that Fame disappoints is most definitely the most crucial, that’s right folks I’m talking about the smell and as much as it pains me to say it one cannot hide the fact that in terms of scent, Fame is a complete dud.
Due to my recent mini-hiatus there was no Saturday Poll last week but if you can cast your mind back to the week before you will remember that we focused on a ‘clash of the titans’ question – Guerlain vs Chanel.
Guerlain were the runaway winners, gaining two whole thirds of the vote. The success of Guerlain in the poll seemed to be down to their variety of styles and Chanel appeared to suffer due to their relatively consistent signature, if you love it – great, if you don’t – poor you!
On to this week’s poll…
Yesterday I review Madonna’s first perfume ‘Truth or Dare‘ and it got me thinking about celebuscents and what the general perfume-loving population’s opinion of them is. I can probably figure out the answer but my readers have been known to surprise me and of course there is nothing quite like a good discussion involving celebrities…
So, how do you feel about celebuscents? Do you love them? Loathe them? Or do you not give two hoots? Register your vote and let me know your thoughts in the comments box below!
This post should come with a disclaimer – I am a Madonna fan, or as I put it ‘a royal subject of her Madgesty’. I just can’t help myself – I love her music, I admire her immensely for doing everything a man can do but better (and for getting away with it), for doing a lot with average talent, heck even this blog is named after one of her songs, so yes it is fair to say that I kinda like the Queen of Pop. I am also a HUGE fan of white florals, which may lead you to think that I was destined to adore Madonna’s first perfume ‘Truth or Dare’, I mean after all how could I not be biased when one of my favourite icons releases a perfume that fits very nicely into one of my favourite genres?
The truth is that the release of Truth or Dare was quite nerve-wracking for me. First things first, there have been many rumours about a Madonna perfume over the years and it would be fair to say that she should have done it a long time ago, back when she was more of a leader and less of a follower. Secondly, aside from a few glorious exceptions (Rossy de Palma, Tilda Swinton and Sarah Jessica Parker etc.) celebrity perfumes tend to be naff, thoughtless concoctions created as a quick cash cow for whoever feels the need to put their name to one. But as news of Truth or Dare startled to trickle into the blogosphere my fears were put to rest and I was particularly encouraged by the fact that her perfume would be a Fracas inspired white floral – a genre that she is known to love.
Truth or Dare, Madonna’s first and long-awaited foray into the perfume market is created in conduction with Coty, it is also part of her new lifestyle/fashion brand of the same name and was developed by perfumer Stephen Nilsen (Donna Karan Gold, Hillary Duff With Love). With Truth or Dare Madonna was looking to create something personal that was an expression of herself and her love for perfume, but could also be accessible to others, she wanted “something classical and timeless and yet modern” . It is aimed at women between the ages 25-45, with the main focus being on the 35-45 bracket, a fact that I find baffling seeing as Madonna is currently 53 (at the time of writing). Anyhoo, on to the fragrance…