This has been my year of fragrance, what with setting up We Wear Perfume and all the sniffing and research that’s entailed. I reckon I’m in a pretty good place to tell you about the perfumes you might want to consider gifting to your girlfriends/mothers/daughters, or indeed to yourselves this Christmas.
The following selection is my choice from this year’s launches (as well as some classics below) and what I’ve learned from our WWP interviews on what hits the spot for other women too.
First up, my favourite purchase of the year has been from Perfumer H, Lyn Harris’s (she of Miller Harris fame) new range of quality smells. Velvet smells sensual, smooth and velvety, with hints of mossy woodlands and light clouds of patchouli. Lyn is not selling via the internet, you have to go to her stylish boutique on Crawford Street to buy, or phone her. Be warned, the place is addictive.
Close on its heals is the Annick Goutal Les Absolus range. All of Annick Goutal’s fragrances are beautiful, this new range is a tad richer and sexier, I am in love with the delicious Vanille Charnelle, but it is the Ambre Sauvage, with its warm spiciness that has my team of testers (both men and women) in a scented tizz. Did I mention that the AG team are all female noses? (Camille Goutal, Annick’s daughter, and Isabel Doyen, who has worked with both). Just sayin’.
I’ve been wearing Terry de Gunsburg’s perfume forever and I’m often drenched in Ombre Mercure currently, an almost orange amber scent with reassuring toasty depths and I alternate it with the more green-bright of Cartier’s Gold Must de Cartier, a surprisingly gorgeous, grown up oriental.
The hippy in me adores Bella Freud’s Signature scent, a quality wash-over of patchouli and coffee/vanilla, it’s so easy to wear and if you want a scent to coordinate with your 70s fashion this season, look no further than 1970, not as happy-hippy (imho) but still very acceptable.
All sorts of people who previously did other things end up in perfume, not least fashion hair stylist Michael Boadi, who collects top quality perfume oils for fun and is currently on his third fragrance brand (he launched and then sold Boadicea The Victorious and Illuminum) with Bohdidharma. It’s not for everyone, but the insanely delicious Black Nectar is a seductive rush of honey, cut through with the dry, green scent of black tea and pine cones, sounds weird and is a big hitter, but well worth a try.
If all this sounds a bit heavy, then look to the stylish Odin brand, whose Black Range is sexy and stylish and remind me of New York, but it’s the lighter walk-in-a-greenhouse botanical cloud that is Verte Resende which everyone loves.. Think geranium leaves, sage stems and sunny mornings. And for the modernists among you, Andree Putman’s extended range, relaunched this year (it was a limited edition) is good. L’Original -the perfume Putman designed herself before her death- is a crisp white shirt of a scent; clean, brisk and minimal but with a warm afterglow of confident style.
Finally, Columbia Rose, by the wonderful Angela Flanders, an East London based perfumer who celebrates 30 years in fragrance this year, and whose interview on WWP is one of my favourites we’ve done so far. It’s a rich mossy rose with a complex warm heart, I think it’s one of Angela’s best ever.
Good to see the wonderful Lyn Harris and Angela Flanders and other women noses getting a plug but Terry de Gunzberg? Really? Not quite sure how you can have been wearing her fragrances “forever” as she only launched the line in 2012 and unfortunately spends more on the bottles than the contents, though Ombre Mercure is certainly the best of a bad lot. Vera Kern would have been more deserving of that spot in your line up!