The best perfumes of 2016

The best perfumes of 2016

Fragrance expert Marian Bendeth shares her top ten fragrances of the past year.

It has been a challenging year in the fragrance industry. A plethora of fragrances arrived and vanished in a flash, but there were also real beauties for every temperature, fashion whim and warm memory.

Early morning songbird scent: Serge Lutens Laine de Verre (soft floral)

There is nothing more refreshing to wake to than the fresh airy notes of chopped white barks and ozone, which can be the signature of aldehydes. Throw in a crisp citrus accord and a dash of Cashmeran and musk to reflect nature’s earthiness. Serge Lutens Laine de Verre, €110.00 (100 ml),

Best twist on a classic: Chanel No. 5 L’Eau (soft floral)

Meet the fragrance remix of Chanel No. 5: By adding more lyrics of lemon, mandarin and orange, pumping up the ylang ylang as a solo, and taking away the base of sandalwood, the results are refreshingly familiar yet new. Chanel No. 5. L’eau, $119 (50 ml),

Best quirky but oh-so intriguing: Derek Lam 10 Crosby Blackout (Oriental)

Walk a dirt road in exotic India or Africa. In Asia, osmanthus is usually paired with black or green tea. Here, the sultry notes instead meet Chai tea and fresh green herbs. It’s an olfcatory silk sheet blowing in a hot Siroccon wind. Derek Lam 10 Crosby Blackout, $120 (50 ml),

Best I know it’s expensive, but so worth it: Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestiaire Trench (woody fougere)

When autumn arrives, our tastes drop a few decibels too. Lost in a forest of tangerine, fig and iris, we cross a bridge into darker notes of cedarwood, ambrette seeds and fir balsam. The season is aglow on the wrist. Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestiaire Trench, $280 (120 ml),

Best little sleeper that’s a keeper: Alaia Paris Eau de Parfum Blanche (floral Oriental)

The original Alaïa was based on a trip to the Alhambra Palace in Adulusia Spain—imagine chilled water thrown against a hot chalk wall, but Alaïa Blanche moves in another direction, one reminsicent of the arrival of first freshly powdered snow with notes of almonds, heliotroope and milky vanilla. Alaia Paris Eau de Parfum Blanche, $162 (100 ml),

Best swagger on the street: Elie Saab Cuir Bourbon

Bring on the ‘tude. Make it dark, enticing and electric. Throw in sexy smouldering notes of saffron, vanilla and bourbon and the mood is sensual. Add in musk and blonde suede and the atmosphere is downright provocative. Elie Saab Cuir Bonbon, €256 (100 ml),

Best chiselled in jeans look: Prada L’Homme (woody)

Some men hate wearing suits and ties. They prefer impeccable knits over jeans—casual-chic. L’Homme Prada comes with a twist, by adding floral notes of geranium and iris to patchouli, amber and pepper. Its warm heart makes this spritz polished yet still hunky. Prada L’Homme Eau de Toilette, $84 (50 ml),

Best I want to do the backstroke in this bottle: Bottega Veneta Eau Sensuelle (dry woods)

To find the pefect ying to a yang is not always easy. Bottega Veneta Essence takes you on two simultaneous journeys, one with soft gardenia and Sambac jasmine over darker streaks of patchouli, suede and soft vanilla. Soft and hard, can be the best combination. Bottega Veneta Eau Sensuelle, $206 (75 ml),

Best pony up and gallop off: Hermes Gallop d’Hermes (woods/leather)

We have come to identify rose and leather notes as spicy and dark but this Galop trots the nose in a new direction. By adding a dash of saffron to a brighter, rounder rose, the leather base is more like a paler texture of soft suede on the dry down. Hermes Galop d’Hermes, $222 (50  ml),

Best life raft on calm waters: The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus (aquatic floral)

Some days should be dedicated to total relaxation. Take a seabreeze accord, swirl in some Litsea Cubeba (similar to lemon oil), frangipani and then add lotus petals that are hand-picked and separated after being chilled. The result? An affordable languid scent. The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus Eau de Toilette, $25 (50 ml),

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Marian Bendeth is a noted Global Fragrance Expert and owner of Sixth Scents based in Toronto Canada. She consults with the general public, fragrance industry, retailers, colleges and media. She is also a six- times award-winning Fragrance Media Editorial Awards fragrance journalist and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Awards at The Canadian Fragrance Awards.