Lavender Field

There is no sight more pleasing than the sight of rolling fields of lavender.

Lavender is beautiful, whether you like the smell or not you cannot fail to be moved by the sight of purple fields of lavender rolling under the summer sky.

Lavender is a smell that I have learned to love. For many years I couldn’t abide its smell, which to me was reminiscent of old ladies, underwear drawers and cleaning products. These connotations give lavender a bad rep that it absolutely doesn’t deserve for it is one of the most complex and pleasing fragrance ingredients available.

What I have found most interesting on my lavender scented journey is despite the fact that it is such a bold and distinct smell, it is also incredibly versatile and there are a melange of superb perfumes that showcase the note in unique and fascinating ways.

Lavender

Lavender is part of the mint family and there are approximately 39 species within its genus. It grows in abundance across the world, mainly in; The Canary Islands, Madeira, North and East Africa, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia and India. [1]

The Smell

The smell of lavender is arguably one of the most distinct smells on the planet. It has many facets, it is herbal, sweet – like burned sugar, fresh, green, minty, menthol and floral. Despite its distinctive aroma, lavender is an incredibly versatile material that can be interpreted in a plethora of interesting and surprising ways.

To me, lavender is the smell of summer.

Halle Berry

Awards night is always a tad emotional…

2011 has been a big year for the perfume industry, it has seen a total of 1200 [1] new perfume releases and as expected with such a high volume of perfumes being unleashed onto the market, it was a mixed bag – some were great, some were good and some were downright terrible. Sifting through the plethora of perfume releases this year has been great fun and for this end of year round-up I have picked out those fragrances that I feel are the very best of 2011, my ‘best picks’ if you will. These fragrances are the ones that deserve to be celebrated for their artistic merit, flair and quality, oh and because they smell good too!

There are a four main categories; Best Feminine, Best Masculine, Best Niche and Best Flanker, each with a winner, and because there were quite a high amount of fragrances worth celebrating this year I have also included a number of runners up for most categories. In addition to the first four categories I have included an extra one entitled ‘The Candy Perfume Boy’s Best Discoveries of 2011’ which celebrates three fragrances that I have discovered and fallen in love with this year.

Before moving on to my ‘Best Picks of 2011’ I would like to thank each and every one of you who reads and supports this blog. As The Candy Perfume Boy is just about to reach 50,000 hits in the next day or so, I must take a moment to reflect on how great this experience has been so far. I truly value everyone who visits and interacts with me on this blog and my absolute highlight of this year has been the interactions and friendships I have formed through The Candy Perfume Boy and Twitter (you all know who you are!). They are as important, if not more so, than the perfumes that have brought us all together.

A Taste of Heaven

“Pure, unadulterated love at first sniff.”

Like many others, I was lucky enough to receive a sample set of By Kilian’s entire L’Oeuvre Noire line through the By Kilian Facebook page. I have already tried a couple of the scents from the line, I’ve also reviewed two (Sweet Redemption and Back to Black) and my thoughts so far are generally very positive.

The L’Oeuvre Noire (The Black Masterpiece) collection consists of 10 fragrances and “evokes a Faustian atmosphere that casts an iniquitous alluring spell, pervading the spirit and senses, while transporting the soul to nirvana. Inspired by a search for perfection, the poetry of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, as well as the lyrics of modern day poets like Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dog. The Black Masterpiece ‘By Kilian’ is revolving around ingenues, artificial paradises and Parisian orgies.” [1]

This week I gave each sample a quick spritz to see which one I would review first and there was one that instantly stood out – A Taste of Heaven (Absinthe Verte). When I say it stood out, I mean that I literarily died and went to heaven, and if this is just ‘A Taste of Heaven’ I cannot wait to experience the whole thing.

Dita Von Teese

I have started a love affair with By Killian, the line of perfumes that is, not the man himself (although he is rather dashing). Having been introduced to the line only a few weeks ago, I have found myself spending lots of time pouring over my samples, oohing and ahhing each time I spray one on my skin.

So far I’ve only had very limited exposure to the line (a total of five) and out of the ones I have tried, Back to Black is by far my favourite. Back to Black is everything a perfume should be; complex, high quality, long lasting and most of all – dramatic.

Sweet RI have to admit that I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to By Kilian, I have pretty much dismissed the line up until now, predominately due to the high prices (a rookie perfumista error, I know) but my financial restraints prevent me from considering über expensive fragrances, so I don’t try them just in case I fall in love, which is pretty much always the case.

But thanks to some excellent reviews by my Evil Scent Twin, Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels I have found myself officially intrigued. I wanted to see what all of the fuss is about so I managed to blag a few samples from the By Kilian counter in Harvey Nichols.

Seeing as I’m such a latecomer to the By Kilian party, it seems fitting that I should start at the end, with the last fragrance in the L’Oeuvre Noire (The Black Masterpiece) collection, Sweet Redemption (The End).