Awards night is always a tad emotional…
2011 has been a big year for the perfume industry, it has seen a total of 1200  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.
I’m not entirely sure why, but ever since the news of Kokorico started hitting the Blogosphere I have been absolutely desperate to try it. Perhaps it’s the fact that Jean Paul Gaultier, despite being somewhat over-exposed, is a solid line of well-made fragrances or, perhaps it’s the fact that I’m a sucker for a quirky bottle, and Kokorico’s bottle is definitely full of quirk. Whatever the reason, I was very glad when esteemed perfume blogger Persolaise gifted me a sample of Kokorico to try.
Kokorico (isn’t the name fun to say?!) is the latest masculine release by Jean Paul Gaultier and it has big shoes to fill. Following in the footsteps of such a colossal bestseller as Gaultier’s Le Mâle is no mean feat, and after the discontinuation of Gaultier’s second masculine release Fleur du Mâle, the pressure is on for the brand to have a success.
This latest addition to the Jean Paul Gaultier line is composed by the olfactory dream team of Annick Menardo (Lolita Lempicka, Hypnotic Poison and Bvlgari Black) and Olivier Cresp (Angel, Kenzo Amour and Juniper Sling) and is described as “a powerful and explosive aphrodisiac, emphasising woody and cocoa notes”  and the name ‘Kokorico’ comes from the french name for the rooster’s cry, their version of ‘Cock-a-Doodle-Doo’. Everything about the marketing of this fragrance; the bright red ‘graffiti’, the pushed up feathers and the confident strutting of Jon Kortajarena in the tv/print ad screams cockiness and masculine confidence, I’m just not entirely sure the fragrance is on board with the idea.
Fleur du Mâle had some big boots to fill, released in 2007 it came a whole 12 years after the tour de force that was Le Mâle. Le Mâle is one of the greatest ‘Marmite’ fragrances, it has its lovers and its detractors, but very rarely does it provoke a feeling of indifference and despite whichever camp you find yourself falling into you cannot deny that it is a well made and interesting fragrance.
Gaultier isn’t one to shy away from controversy and Fleur du Mâle, with it’s name that is a play on Baudelaire’s collection of poems ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ (The Flowers of Evil) and overdose of orange blossom doesn’t either. Sure, a masculine floral is nothing new, us boys have been wearing florals for yonks, but the idea is rarer in the mainstream and one so overtly floral (and advertised as such) as Fleur du Mâle was a breath of fresh air.
As you can see from the above advertising image (which I have included for informative purposes only, not because it’s a picture of a VERY attractive man in a bath, honest *cough*) Fleur du Mâle aims to strike a softer chord than the ultra-sexed, ultra-metrosexual image of Le Mâle.
If like me, you’re fed up with the constant wave of flankers (please see my review of the two new CK One flankers) then I hope you will take this post as some kind of remedy, a tonic if you will. I could spend hours and hours moaning about how I hate flankers and name and shame some of the worst, that would be very easy, and not entirely true. What I would like to do instead is just make a few personal recommendations of what I think are some of the best.
What is a Flanker?
Most of you reading this blog will be familiar with flankers but for those who aren’t; a flanker is essentially a fragrance released using the same (or similar) name as another fragrance by the same house, think of it as a sort of sequel, so for example; Live Jazz is a flanker to the original Jazz by Yves Saint Laurent. The actual juice can be very similar, slightly similar or completely unrelated to the original fragrance.
Flankers are a cheap way of marketing a new fragrance without having to spend a huge amount of money on new concepts, bottle moulds and advertising. They are also a great way of marketing a ‘new’ product to consumers who are already fans of the original fragrance.
Not all flankers are bad, some brands use the opportunity to create a new interpretation of an established fragrance and these tend to be the flankers that work best, they bring something new and interesting to the table.
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.