Candies 2012
The Candies 2012

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…

APOM
APOM (A Part of Me)

As we go through life we share pieces of ourselves with those around us, building relationships and leaving impressions on those we encounter. Our smells and the fragrances we wear, just like our actions, act as time capsules that tie people’s memories to us like silver threads. It is this idea that inspired Francis Kurkdjian to create APOM Pour Femme and Pour Homme.

“APOM (A Part of Me), a bit of oneself that one leaves on others. A relationship inspired from the beauty of the Orient: movement of people, flavors, colours, and scents rediscovered from Lebanon. A combination of softness and strength.”

Both masculine and feminine APOMs centre around orange blossom, a flower that evokes sensuality and closeness, and cedar wood, a material that speaks of arid landscapes. In typical Kurkdjian style both fragrances are exceptional examples of their style and the duo itself offers a stark contrast of both softness (Femme) and strength (Homme).

Having spent a good deal of time with most of the Maison Francis Kurkdjian line I feel as if I am well-versed enough to be able to pick favourites. I think OUD, Aqua Universalis and Absolue Pour le Soir (review coming soon) are standouts, perhaps because they are so bold and unique, but it is in the subtlety of APOM Pour Femme and Pour Homme that I have found real enjoyment.

Seville - One incredibly fragrant city
Seville – One incredibly fragrant city

Séville à L’Aube (Seville at Dawn), the lastest fragrance from renegade niche house L’Artisan Parfumeur, is a fragrance like no other. It is a fragrance born from a chance encounter between fragrance writer/blogger Denyse Beaulieu (of Grain de Musc) and renegade perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who, after hearing Denyse’s story of a hot summer night in Seville during the holy week said the magic phrase: “Now that would make a very good perfume!” [1]. Thus Séville à L’Aube was born.

Well obviously that was after roughly 130 mods and a whole lot of to-ing-and-fro-ing between perfumer and muse. The devil, as they say, is in the detail and I would suggest that anyone interested in the creation of Sévile à L’Aube should pick up a copy of Denyse’s book The Perfume Lover (you can read my review here) and immerse yourself in the full story of Séville à L’Aube’s birth. It really is fascinating.

For Séville à L’Aube Bertrand Duchaufour had the mammoth task of capturing the sights, sounds and most importantly the smells of one of Denyse Beaulieu’s most unforgettable nights. Neither being known to shy away from a challenge they have managed to create an orange blossom soliflore that one does not hesitate in decreeing as being the absolute best of its kind. That’s right, you heard me: the best!

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).

Elie Saab Le ParfumElie Saab Le Parfum is the first perfume to be released by Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab. It was composed by Francis Kurkdjian (Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, Narciso Rodriguez For Her and Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance etc) and is billed as a Woody Floral.

Ellie Saab Le Parfum is described as an ‘ode to light’.

From the Press Release:

“Composed as an ode to light, ELIE SAAB Le Parfum celebrates the splendor and the brilliance of radiant femininity with a floral solar woody theme. The permanent exchange between flowers and wood is what gives the fragrance such captivating resonance.”