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.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s got the drinks, but does she have the right scent to match that party outfit?

Tis the season to be jolly, or completely merry, or if you’re British – absolutely trashed. The best thing about the holiday season is the many soirées, parties (office or otherwise), dinners and gatherings that we all inevitably get invited to, and for me this is the fun part, because after all the holidays are about seeing friends & family and having fun.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m going out I sometimes spend more time thinking about the fragrance I’m going to wear rather than the clothes. I very often find myself trying to match my fragrance to the outfit that I am wearing as well as the occasion. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing worse than not being able to find something that matches , but fear ye not – The Candy Perfume Boys is here to help you pick the perfect scent for the party season.

Wardrobe

Last weekend, after much nagging from my long-suffering partner, I decided to have a tidy of my perfume collection and samples box. Now, anyone who knows me well will be fully aware that tidying is not really something I do very often, in fact, it is something that I avoid at all costs.

Anyway, during my tidy up, I totalled up the number of perfume bottles in my collection and I was genuinely shocked when I came to the nice round number of 120. “How can I have so much perfume, I never feel like I have enough choice” I thought, “Do I really need so much?” and “Do I feel like I don’t know what to wear because I have too much choice?”

This led me to think in depth about my collection of fragrances, what would I choose if I were to reduce its size considerably?

Marc Jacobs

I don’t know about you, but when I wear fragrance I wear it for myself and myself alone. Sure, I love to share my passion with others, that is a huge part of my hobby, but when I wear perfume, I wear it because I enjoy it.

And I wear what I like!

Ever since I bought my first proper perfume (Kingdom by Alexander McQueen) I have loved ‘feminine’ fragrances. Looking through my collection it’s obvious that the ratio of feminine and masculine is weighted considerably towards the feminine. To this day I find myself drawn to the feminine releases much more than masculines. Don’t get me wrong I do enjoy wearing masculine fragrances but they just don’t wow me the way a lot of the feminines do.

I guess that I’m the King/Queen of fragrant gender bending.

Archives 69 is the latest fragrance release from those fun-loving perfume rebels at Etat Libre d’Orange and is supposed to represent ‘The Illusion of Sex’. The blurb that came with my sample (including a rather obscene image that I dare not post here, but let’s just say that it makes a play on the number 69) states that Archives 69 is ‘The End of Innocence’.

As mentioned in my review of Tom of Finland, I am somewhat of an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy, so you can imagine that the news of the release of Archives 69 (named after the location of the ELD’O boutique in Paris) was very exciting to me indeed.

Archives 69 is the first scent by Etat Libre d’Orange that I have found difficulty in linking the scent to the concept, to me it smells strikingly cosy and fuzzy and I certainly don’t detect any of the juxtapositions between light and dark mentioned in the ad copy. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like it, far from it, It’s just that there seems to be a good degree of discord between the scent, the name and the concept.

I have a confession to make:  I am unashamed to admit that I am an Etat Libre d’Orange fanboy. I enjoy their fun, pop art-like scents with wacky names and over-the-top marketing, which in my opinion needs to be taken with a rather large pinch of salt.

Tom of Finland was released by Etat Libre d’Orange in 2008 and was created by perfumer Antoine Lie who has created a number of other ELDO scents such as; Rien, Vierges et Toreros, Rossy de Palma Eau de Protection and the Infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques.

The fragrance is inspired by the drawings of Finnish erotic artist Touko Laaksonen who is more famously known as Tom of Finland. Tom of Finland’s drawings usually depict leather clad, muscular men in overtly sexual poses. Only Etat Libre d’Orange would even consider creating a scent for such an artist.