As we come to the end of 2016 here at We Wear Perfume HQ, we’ve started to reflect on some of our favourite fragrance launches of the year. We try hundreds of new scents in our role as fragrance editors. In 2015 around 2000 new fragrances were launched, according to Fragrances Of The World, the industry’s bible on the matter and 2016 could see that figure go higher. Coming up with our favourite three should have been hard with all that choice, but actually, it was really easy.
There’s been a multitude of fragrance launches featuring warm, sensuous notes this year, which happily we love. Ambers, resins, woods, patchouli and leather notes have been very evident, perhaps because in times of instability, we want that comforting feel-good scented wrap. The cosy sensuousness of amber or the familiar warmth of wood.
Our selection is a very personal one, we’ve picked the three that made us swoon with admiration for the quality and beauty of the scent. They are the three we’ve ended up wearing ourselves, the ones we recommend the most and the ones that others love too. All three are unapologetically rich, warm and heady on first spray, but their subtle power is in the stealth quality of their ingredient mix, they all quieten down to be a cloak of scented gorgeousness that lasts all day.
‘Enough waffle!’ we hear you shout, what are the top three? Well here, in no order at all, are our absolute favourites of 2016.
Francis Kurkdjian has been on top form this year at Maison Francis Kurkdjian. We’ve interviewed him frequently and he is always informative and inspiring. Grand Soir, part of a duel launch which also included Petit Matin, was inspired by a night-time walk through Paris, read more of what we thought about it here.
Why did we pick it? The scent is a beauty; warm, soft and sexy without being try-hard and brilliant on both men and women. It almost glows from within as a scent, gently spiced with tonka bean (a coffee and vanilla scented Caribbean spice) and with a comforting edge of dry, non-sweet vanilla. It’s a masterclass in atmospheric amber.
Aquilaria by Nancy Meiland
Nancy Meiland is a young British perfumer with a great talent and sensitivity who’s at the beginning of her perfumer journey. We like all her fragrances, but it’s the warm, rosy Aquilaria, a chypre with a very light touch of oud (Aquilaria is the name of the tree oud originates from) that we completely fell in love with.
Why did we pick it? It opens brightly with fresh bergamot notes and a gentle smokiness, which reminds us of bonfires and crisp winter walks in the countryside. There’s an amber-warmth at the base which makes it sensual on the skin and it also lasts a very long time. A total joy to wear at any time of the day or night and with the wearability of a signature scent: by that we mean once you’ve tried it, you may well want to wear it everyday and for it to be very much ‘your scent’. We look forward to many more great fragrances from Ms Meiland.
Vert D’Encens by Tom Ford
Tom Ford’s Private Blend collection is all terrific, but the newest addition – the Vert range – has layered a delicious, stemmy greenness (by this we mean the scent of crushed green leaves) over some classic formulations. We wrote about the beautiful bohemian qualities of Vert Boheme in our recent evening scents feature, but Vert D’Encens, with its rich, smoky texture narrowly comes out tops for us.
Why did we pick it? It’s a classy slick of smoky incense, an addictive hit of aromatic resin-rich green that reminds us of late night summer bonfires at the edge of a forest. Imagine the smoky fumes from the fire mixing with crushed pine needles and herby grasses overlaid with a wisp of summer floral. Luscious, delicious and very original.