Dear readers and friends,
2014 was a very productive year for me. In January, I staged and performed my first very own play for the Hanauer Marionettentheater, “KING”. And I discovered that one of the ugliest perfume vessels on the planet looked fantastic on stage. Yes, this awful “bottle” turned into an essential prop.
February saw the publication of my little book “99 Duftballons“:
In March, I tried some of Oriza L. Legrand‘s gorgeous perfumes for the very first time… and fell in love with this one:
“Foin Fraichement Coupé” – a perfect scent for spring.
In April I tried nearly 30 new fragrances, but most of them were not in the least memorable. Here’s is an acceptable one which stuck out:
And here’s is one I can’t recommend, because it’s just a copy of “Candy” with a French name.
In May, I watched a fascinating tv-documentary devoted to the house of Lubin and their perfumers Delphine Thierry and Thomas Fontaine. When Delphine said that her perfume “Akkad” was “résineux et représente la richesse florale de la Provence, mais aussi les choses dorées et une pierre chaude” I decided to try it. It has become one of my favourite scents.
June 2014 was a very warm month. On a trip to Munich I wasn’t sure which perfume to wear: an old friend or a newcomer? I finally opted for a timeless classic: “Christalle” by Chanel.
And I discarded that one:
In July I went to England. Here are some of the fragrances I brought back from Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Newquay:
Well, I have to confess that some of them were heavily reduced and that their vessels attracted me more than their contents. Madonna’s “Truth or Dare Naked” isn’t available in Germany and at the price of 10 Pounds, it was a bargain. Staying-power is excellent, the fragrance itself is a sweet, slightly woody gourmand.
When I travelled to Poland in August, I couldn’t find a single fragrance which was made in the country itself. Of course I’m familiar with “Pani Waleska“, but even this popular Polish perfume wasn’t on display. Instead I spotted Calvin Klein’s “Beauty”,
which I had wanted for quite a while and which cost half of the regular price they charge in Germany. And for those who don’t mind bootlegs from China, street vendors in Gdansk offered imitations of various French and Italian fragrances, for example:
September was a great month, because it’s always a pleasure to receive fragrant birthday gifts. This year, I was particularly lucky. A friend from Istanbul gave me a perfume he created only for me:
It’s a rich, deep, wonderful chypre. Thank you so much, Omer!
And I also got this:
“Fleur de Reine“, a big, fat tuberose.
And “L’Air du temps” in a collector’s bottle.
In October, I found out that Balmain’s “Extatic” comes in a fantastic vessel, but can’t be compared to the fabulous relaunch of “Ivoire“. Unfortunately, “Extatic” is just another triumph of form over content.
I also continued preparations for an exhibition of my perfume-vessels in the “Hessisches Puppen-und-Spielzeug-Museum” in Hanau, Germany. The exhibition will open in May 2015 and you’ll read much more about it on this blog next year.
In November, I bought some fragrant Christmas-presents and picked the following perfumes for my daughter Julia:
This year’s new releases like “Black Opium” and the latest “Euphoria“-flanker were totally repulsive, so I bought a beautiful Micallef-scent from 2012 and Etro’s “Rajasthan” from 2013 for my discerning offspring.
In December I discovered yet another fascinating perfume by Oriza L. Legrand. My wonderful Parisian friend Helene took the trouble of buying a set of samples for me at 18, rue Saint-Augustin and made sure it included the newly released “Violettes du Czar”.
Should you happen to love violets, this should go on your test-list.
The end of the year 2014 also saw the release of a new “city-fragrance”. Krefeld (a city in North-Rhine-Westphalia) released a fragrance which is supposed to celebrate the particular atmosphere of the hitherto famous fashion-town. Since I passed nine years of my childhood and school-life in Krefeld, I decided to grab a bottle of this limited edition fragrance:
The vessel is stylish, but as for the scent… it’s so “meh”: an uninventive mixture of greenish, fruity notes on a slightly woody base. I would have thought Henkel from Düsseldorf, the chemical giant behind the production, could have done better. By the way, Krefeld’s first fragrance was much nicer (it smelled like a copy of “J’adore”).
But isn’t it funny that my old hometown seems to be the only place in Germany which releases perfumes for promotional purposes?
Finally I received a stunning gift for Christmas last week: half a liter of “Shalimar” in the iconic Guerlain “abeille”-bottle. WOW!
I also received this one
“Wardasina” by Sospiro. (Shame on me, I had never heard of the brand before). It certainly is very beautiful from the outside, with the vessel being cled in red velvet:
The fragrance is an extremely potent mix of rose, aoud, saffron and other strong components done in the style of “Black Afgano”. Since I’m not into this kind of fragrances at all, “Wardasina” will probably be passed on to someone else.
So much about 2014 in terms of fragrances.
A happy and healthy NEW YEAR to all my readers and friends!
And please remember: In 2015, I hope to meet you at our exhibition in Hanau/Germany!
See you soon!
Let’s face it: Many of us haven’t even finished last year’s bottle of their annual Christmas gift-pack. With more than 1700 (!!!) NEW fragrances flooding the market in 2014 and the most popular mass-market fragrance family still being the fruity floral, I have to ask the question of whether it is really worth buying the latest releases.
Since “niche fragrance” has become the new hype, many so-called “niche lines” have been launched by well-known, big companies. So be concerning: an extremely high price and the aspect of “limited distribution” in a posh perfumery do not automatically entail a genuine, “artistic” niche fragrance. We all know that the big companies have to worry about budgets and focus groups, cost and saleability. That’s why you find so many repetitions and copies on the market: one mega-seller always becomes the model for other fragrances done in the same way.
But let’s look at some of this year’s mainstream launches.
Knot – by Bottega Veneta. Neroli and lavender rule. A white, clean bathroom-scent. Average. The first Bottega Veneta was much better.
Daisy Dream – by Marc Jacobs. Light, fresh, generic. Just another flanker in a pretty perfume vessel.
Forever Vera – forever fruity-floral? It seems as if they never change the basic formula, they just add some new aromachemical reaking of a new type of fruit/flower.
“Wunderwasser” by 4711- even Eaux de Colognes have to take the fruity road – no wonder and no admiration on my part here. An inoffensive EdC, not distinctive enough to be called “Wunderwasser”.
L’Eau d’Issey Lotus – by Issey Miyake: a nice flanker. But if you haven’t emptied your bottle of the original L’eau d’Issey yet and if you aren’t a collector, why bother?
The 2014 Karl Lagerfeld fragrance is the worst scent ever released under his name. I bet the great designer never tried this awful chemical soup himself.
L L’Aime Eau de toilette – by Lolita Lempicka. The Eau de Parfum from 2013 was called “Elle l’aime” and smelled much better. Why should you buy this 2014 Eau de toilette?
Coque d’Or Shimmering Powder – by Guerlain. Such a huge disappointment. The bottle is from cheap plastic and the powder itself doesn’t even emanate a distinctive smell. At the price of approx. 78 Euro this was my worst Guerlain-experience ever.
If you want to give your family&friends a good perfume for Christmas, try to find out what they liked/wore/loved/used in the past and don’t give them the latest flanker, the perfume in the most attractive vessel or the random designer fragrance recommended by the charming young shop-assistant.
Instead, follow your nose and start by looking at perfumes from the same fragrance family. If your friend is fond of a particular perfume, she/he will probably like others belonging to the same category.
Always remember that perfumes are a way of communicating without words. A fragrance expresses, represents and defines its wearer – and it always has an impact on others.
So what is it YOU want to communicate by choosing a particular fragrance for your loved ones?
Don’t make your choice in a few minutes, don’t be guided by the brand-name, the image, the campaign. Devote more energy than just a short visit at the perfume counter to your aim of finding the right fragrance for someone you love/like.
Thus picking the right gift could turn into an exciting journey off the beaten track of fragrance campaigns.
P.S. If you need further inspiration, you can certainly find some in my book:
99 Scented Balloons reveals the secrets of 99 different perfumes (niche and mainstream), an informative and entertaining bilingual guide.
Order your personal copy via e-mail: email@example.com
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“99 Duftballons” ist ein kleines, feines Buch für alle Parfum-FreundInnen, SammlerInnen von Flakons und DuftliebhaberInnen, die einen unabhängigen und kritischen Schreibstil schätzen. Wer Spaß daran hat, neue Parfums zu entdecken und alte Duftschönheiten wiederzufinden, dem möchte ich mein Buch sehr empfehlen, das mir als bibliophilem Menschen mehr bedeutet als meine Präsenz hier im Internet.
Durchweg sorgfältig und liebevoll mit wunderschönen Photographien der besprochenen Parfums bebildert, spiegelt “99 Duftballons” meine Tätigkeit als Parfum-Kritikerin wider und ist bewußt zweisprachig gehalten, wobei über 60 Texte in deutscher Sprache abgefaßt sind und der Rest in Englisch, denn auch meine Website ist bilingual.
Sämtliche Parfums, darunter viele Raritäten und Nischendüfte (u.a. von FriedeModin, Frapin, Parfumerie Générale und Atkinsons), aber auch bekannte und beliebte Klassiker von Guerlain oder Balmain, Patou oder Paco Rabanne habe ich selbst benutzt und ausführlich getestet.
Für das hochwertige Hochglanz-Cover des Buches wurden 1000 einzelne Flakons in einer außergewöhnlichen Fotocollage zusammengestellt. Eine wahre Freude und Augenweide für jeden Parfum-Fan.
Das Buch “99 Duftballons” können Sie per e-mail bestellen: