Luxury and perfume go hand-in-hand, so it should come as…
Fragrance expert Marian Bendeth chooses her top 10 fragrances of the past year: Her picks might surprise you.
It wasn’t that long ago that fragrances were barely there, politically correct wisps of scent. Then came the double-double order with sugary gourmand perfumes more suited to collegiate keg romps.
With the proliferation of moving cultures from The Middle East and South America, a higher percentage of today’s consumers have started moving toward deeper, richer scents. This movement caused a fragrance rebellion of sorts; a floral, leathery, resinous defiance, replete with names and even bottles that taunt our darker sides.
In my opinion, a standout fragrance should make me literally jerk back for another sniff. It should bear all the hallmarks of a well-blended, original blend. Here are ten of my top perfumes—the rebels—of 2015.
Best perfumes of 2015 are…
Sisley Soir d’Orient (floral oriental)
The sounds and smells of Andulusian castanets clacker out dark notes of saffron, earthy galbanum, incense and Turkish rose in this Sisely spritz. Malagesy black pepper marries smouldering woods with Somalian incense and Indonesian patchouli, which quietly rumbles below. Whispers of the Middle East meets the Moors of Spain.
Sisley Soir d’Orient, $325 (100 ml), www.holtrenfrew.com
L’Occitane Grapefruit-Rhubarb Eau de Toilette (spicy citrus)
When celebrated master baker of macaroons, Pierre Herme was asked to create a fragrance for L’Occitane, it had to jibe with his culinary juxtapositions of edible treats. By tempering the slightly bitter white skin of a grapefruit with the stalk of a rhubarb and cedar base, the end result is utterly delightful with all the edges softened and moulded into a crisp warm bouquet.
L’Occitane En Provence Grapefruit-Rhubarb, $65 (75 ml), www.loccitane.com
John Varvatos Dark Rebel (dark woods)
He walks towards you, he appears pleasant looking, casually dressed but a whiff of aromatic herbal davana, cardamom, sugarcane and Jamaican rum wafts your way when you least expect it. A back note of black leather, with a thimbleful of flowers and styrax, buckles the knees.
Is he a rebel? A silent one for sure and deadly.
John Varvatos Dark Rebel, $89 (75 ml), www.sephora.ca
Christian Dior Sauvage (aromatic fougere)
Having Johnny Depp, the ultimate swashbuckler, as the face of the brand is alluring enough, but Sauvage cracks a sultry whip of bergamot, elemi, Sichuan pepper, lavender and patchouli to nearly split the defences of decency. Almost stepped-out-of-the-shower soapy qualities make the nose want to lean in for more.
Christian Dior Sauvage, $102 (100 ml), www.thebay.com
Flower by Kenzo L’Elixir (oriental gourmand)
The fragrance ad provocatively announces the “Militant” Flower, based on a 1967 anti-Viet Nam war symbol. This Elixir’s sultry overtones of Bulgarian rose and pralines swell out the heart, and raspberry and Bourbon vanilla powdery accords are not the sugary-sweet notes one would anticipate, but rather reflect a voluptuous hour-glass accord of sophistication.
Flower by Kenzo L’Elixir, $140 (100 ml), www.thebay.com
Valentino Uomo Edition Noire (dry woods)
The grenade-like bottle is a teaser of things to come. Perfumer Olivier Polge certainly dipped into the testosterone pool for this scent, subtly weaving notes of bergamot and myrtle and folding in toasty notes of coffee and hazelnut Rustic cedar balances the brew. Utterly charming and disarming.
Valentino Edition Noire, $98 (100 ml), www.thebay.com
Emozione Salvatore Ferragamo Eau de Parfum (mossy woods)
Standing ovation here. The elegant sillage unfolds discreetly. Emozione oozes femininity with the slightest hint of dry peach notes, Flortentine iris while a daub of Bulgarian rose and heliotrope gently surround. The base of suede, solar white musk and patchouli unravel without dominance.. This scent literally floats like a pink ballerina across a stage.
Salvatore Ferragamo Emozione, $140 (100 ml), www.sephora.ca
Bvlgari Goldea Eau de Parfum (floral oriental)
If I ever fancied myself a Grecian Goddess, I would reach for this generous, classical beauty. Perfumer Alberto Morillas plays with light and dark with notes of orange blossom, crystal musk and ylang ylang and then juxtaposes the blend with a trendy woody note of papyrus and patchouli. It literally sparkles with warmth with beautiful effusion.
Bvlgari Goldea, $165 (90 ml), www.thebay.com
Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin Pure Perfume Metal Collection (woody oriental)
Black raincoat, double agent: This scent, created by perfumer Jérôme Epinette under the direction of Sylvie Ganter, teases in the best of ways. Morse code scent notes trail with bergamot, lime and saffron. Then comes the silent and shadowy, slip-of-the-wrist notes of guiaic wood, sandalwood and woody papyrus. Smoky vanilla plumes from Madagascar finishes off the drydown. This fragrance is all disrobed, sensuality trailing.
Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin, $200 (100 ml), www.sephora.ca
TokyoMilk Dark Femme Fatale Collection Excess (woody)
Bordering on raunchy, this blend is a throwback to a modern-day Woodstock. Hippy-chic notes of patchouli rise up through hanging notes of blood orange, oak bark and resin. Funky and carefree, one can sense the olfactory abandon long after the first spray.
Tokyo Milk Dark #28, $44 (50 ml), www.sephora.ca
Do Bendeth’s choices for best perfumes of 2015 surprise you? We’d love to hear about your favourites. Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter!