The Best Perfumes of 2017 according to our contributors

30th December, 2017

As has become tradition, we ask our contributors, writers and forum moderators to look back at the last year and let us know which have been their best scents of 2017. If nothing wowed them in 2017 they could choose something new to them.


Carla Seipp


If I had to sum up my fragrance experience of 2017, it would be encapsulated in the following two words: orris root. Perhaps we can also throw in iris for good measure, seeing as it is the flower that this root gives birth to.

Iris Silver Mist

For most perfume lovers, the quintessential scent when it comes to this category would probably be Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens (a fragrance friend once told me he found it so beautiful that he was on the verge of tears upon first smelling it), but I prefer my orris root creations with a little dash of unexpected raw materials thrown into the delicate, powdery mix.

Bruno Fazzolari's Feu Secret

Playing off of the ingredient’s earthy notes, Bruno Fazzolari’s Feu Secret is what I would describe as a rugged, slightly smoky scent, erring on the masculine side of things (although one of my favorite aspects of orris root is its ability to be perfectly unisex). The spruce, eucalyptus, turmeric, pink pepper, cedar and birch incorporated into this aromatic spicy blend takes the raw material from the pristine world of Lutens and places it into the woodsy outdoors.

Sticky Cake

I adore the creamy, buttery texture of orris root, and while Comme des Garçons’ relaunch of Nathalie Feisthauer’s 2005 concoction Sticky Cake contains only notes of iris, alongside pistachio, almond, honey, myrrh, sugar and milk, it certainly makes use of and amps up said texture to a blissful level of baked goodness. Upon smelling this scent for the first time, I was surprised to learn that its levels of sweetness weren’t nauseatingly high, but instead the thing that really emulates a, well, sticky cake, is its tactile smell of a decadent, calorie-laden, spongey treat. It’s a gourmand fragrance alright, but it’s the comforting feel of this scent that keeps me coming back for seconds, thirds, and more.

Lune de Givre

However, my olfactory raison d’être in 2017 is surprisingly a release from 2013. Call it cheating, but this choice appeals to my idea of discovering scents at your own pace, as opposed to the calendar releases. Yes, as a fragrance writer it is of course crucial to stay up to date, but there are not enough days in the year to keep up with every single release, not to mention the fact that once I fall in love with a fragrance, I fall hard. The most captivating scent of the past 12 months, and the reason for me becoming a die-hard orris root lover, is Lune de Givre by Cloon Keen Atelier. Created by Delphine Thierry and translating into Frost Moon, it is the orris root/iris scent I have been searching for. For while some might be on the hunt for a perfume that recreates the smell of vintage lipstick, or a delicate powdery floral, I want mine to smell like space. Cold, ethereal, star-filled, nebular space. It is most challenging to find a fragrance which has metallic components denoting the satellites floating about, but that still throws an odd glance back at Mother Earth and its human inhabitants. Something extraterrestrial yet natural smelling at the same time. The notes of angelica, vetiver, galbanum, ambrette and woody notes mixed in with my beloved orris root make Lune de Givre a beautifully melancholic, delicate yet otherworldly scent. Smelling this fills me with the exact same sense of awe and wonder that I get from staring up at — you guessed it — the moon.

Carla Seipp is a Freelance fashion, art and fragrance journalist. Contributor for Twin, A Shaded View on Fashion, Dazed Digital and more.




It was a good year for tuberose. Two of my favourites were Hermès Twilly and Atélier Cologne Café Tuberosa.


Twilly is a cheerful, light-hearted tuberose, accenting the coconutty aspect of the flower, with a soft sandalwood base. A great creation from the new in-house Hermès perfumer Christine Nagel. Nothing earth-shattering, just easy to wear and uplifting, and we could all use a lot of that in the midst of all the global chaos.

Café Tuberosa starts off with an enormous coffee note that calms down after the first half hoir into a beautiful floral drydown that doesn’t even smell particularly tuberosey. This one is another compliment-getter along with Twilly for me. An odd-sounding note combination but it works.

Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours

Honourable mention goes to Bottega Veneta Eau de Velours, a truly worthy flanker that adds plummy rose to the original Bottega Veneta leather base. I haven’t liked any of the other flankers but this one hit it out of the park. It’s said to be a limited edition, but I hope they change their mind and keep this one around, and add some body products too while they’re at it.

Cazaubon is one of our forum moderators


Claire Vukcevic


2017 has been a fantastic year for perfume. I’m not really talking about the designer segment, even though the commercial safeness of Gabrielle by Chanel, Gucci Bloom by Gucci, and Twilly by Hermes was at least offset by the daring Guilty Absolute by Gucci, a scent that briefly put a halt to the drift of modern masculines towards the clean and the sweet. But neither am I talking about the big name niche players, because as much as I thought it was cool to see Atelier Cologne’s Café Tuberosa prove that the creamy tuber-chocolate accord associated with Tom Ford could be done by anyone, nothing really grabbed me on a personal level.

Dryad by Papillon

No, in 2017, the clear standouts came from the independent, artisanal sector. In spring, a vitamin shot to the arm in the form of Naja from Vero Profumo, MEM from Bogue, and Dryad from Papillon cleansed our blood after a long winter. After 2016, it was like waiting for a bus and then having three arrive at the same time. With the Bogue-Papillon-Vero Profumo trio, the floodgates seemed to open: Ummagumma by Bruno Fazzolari, Mx by Eris Parfums, Attar AT by Tauer Perfumes, Fumabat by Couteau de Poche, Fleur de Lalita by Parfums Dusita, Camel by Zoologist, Lanz by Slumberhouse, and Slowdive by Hiram Green. Also Grimoire by Anatole Lebreton, L’Animal Sauvage by Marlou, and Violet Moss by SP Parfums.

And that’s not even covering the incredible attars, ouds, and sandalwoods I’ve smelled this year, from Rising Phoenix, Ensar Oud, FeelOud, Imperial Oud, and Al Shareef Oudh. Or the wide range of Aftelier perfumes that I and fellow Basenoters got to explore thanks to Mandy Aftel’s generosity on a sample pass, here. All these perfumes were brought to us by the madhatter soloists of the fragrance world. What I really like about them is their clear lack of design-by-committee and focus-grouping. The risks that indie perfumers take don’t always pay off, of course. But when they do, it’s a thrill for anyone fishing in non-mainstream waters.

Under my Skin

Any one of these would have made this a good year for perfume, but to have so many is an embarrassment of riches. I found something to love and admire in all of them, but the two 2017 releases that connected most with my emotional solar plexus were Siberian Musk by Areej Le Doré and Under My Skin by Francesca Bianchi, both perfumes that tackle sensuality in ways that seemed unique and wearable. The former I bought, even though the price gave me spasms, and the latter I intend to buy at some point in 2018. I also felt emotionally drawn to New Sibet by Slumberhouse, a 2016 release I only discovered this year. New Sibet smells to me like cold, empty tack rooms, fur, cigarette ash, and my mother’s potato cellar, which means it’s more than just a perfume to me. It’s memory.

Claire Vukcevic is an Irish freelance writer, contributor at Basenotes,, and author of the blog




I’ve mainly looked backwards this year, grabbing a number of older bottles that I’ve been thinking about for some time. For example, I’ve been wearing CB I Hate Perfume’s Where We Are There Is No Here a fair amount — a brilliant, barely-there vegetal cedar.


From what little I did try out of this year’s releases, I quite liked Malle’s versatile Superstition (although it’s migraine-inducingly strong), Bogue’s Mem (I would never have guessed it was lavender), and thought the overall concept of Bruno Fazzolari’s Unsettled was smart and engaging (jtd has a good overview of it here). I liked some of the Byredo extraits (La Botte, Le Gant, La Selle), but the price point is scary. Anyhow, I have a lot of catching up to do in 2018, it seems!

Deadidol is a writer and academic working in the arts. He’s a contributor, editorially as well as in the forums, and is also one of the site’s moderators

Advertisement — article continues below


Eddie Bulliqi


More and more we see the medium of perfumery being cast into cultural categories to which it has never existed as strongly, as pronouncedly, as forcedly as before – gallery spaces, artistic discourse, theoretical discussion, philosophy. Initiatives such as The Institute for Art and Olfaction are testament to this growing cultural movement. Of note is the tendency to only discuss the panorama of why fragrance memories are artistic experiences, accompanied by an industry shyness to analyse which particular structures, materials, and olfactory specifics form artistic design details.

Magic : Lavender Illusion

I choose Victor & Rolf’s Lavender Illusion, part of its limited distribution ‘Magic Collection’, as my favourite fragrance of 2017 as it displays masterful manipulation of both structure and experience to evoke perfumery’s own type of trompe-l’oeil – in this case, a vibrant concealment and reveal of ingredients as the composition develops to surprise, delight, and enchant.

Lavender Illusion is not a conceptual perfume by any means; more a fun formalistic achievement that bears testament to the technical tricks available to the scent designer to force the smeller to confront contrast, comparison, and olfactory time.

The journey starts with an effervescent slightly dirty lavender that boldly claims its space – that type of lavender that feels endlessly deep and carnal in its sappy girth. The base is barely decipherable, hidden by the intensity of the opening. Within a very short time span, the purple floralcy sharply declines as an acidic blackcurrant dials itself up, making clear that tomcat-spray ephemera is the common ground between the two materials. You realise you never smelt the fruit in the top but it was there all along. After 10 minutes, the lavender dies abruptly and you find yourself in fruity floral territory, albeit a good one. There is juiciness, naturality, sharpness, followed by a slow fade to sweetness that retains its balance. Quite beautiful.

Eddie Bulliqi read History of Art at the Courtauld Institute and has been working in the fine fragrance industry for the past three years. A Londoner at heart, but with American and Kosovan descent, his primary interests lie in interdisciplinary research and how olfactory associations form. He loves cats, playing the jazz sax, and being by the water.




If you like the old style oriental fragrances from Serge Lutens I think you will like Bibliothèque by Byredo. It has the stewed fruits notes of a Lutens but it's not as ambery sweet (though it is sweet) and the woods are sharper. It dries down to a dusty vanilla note mixed with raspberry.


If there is a leather note in there, I can't pick it out, nor do I get any notes of paper, so it doesn't really remind me of old books or of a library. Despite the oriental notes it manages to lift off the ground and doesn't feel that heavy to wear. The lack of heft means that the longevity is not great, but I get a good 4 hours out of it and prominent projection for the first couple of hours. An excellent autumn/winter fragrance, graceful and cosy.

Furrypine is Basenotes’ Community Manager and is a contributor to the fragrance directory. He is based in Norway.


Grant Osborne


This year I’ve been asked to be a judge for one of the categories of the Art & Olfaction Awards. As a result I’m in the midst of smelling a large amount fragrances that have been submitted to one of the categories. And some of them are amazing.

The trouble is, I have no idea what any of them are, and my only reference to them is a number code.

So, this being the case I’m going to have to choose my favourite fragrance of 2017 that I actually know the name of.

Queen Street by Grenson

I’m picking Queen Street, created for UK shoemakers Grenson, by Haeckels. The scent was named after the site of their original factory in Rushden, UK, and contains notes inspired by factory and the craft of shoemaking such as brick, stone, leather, cork and glue.

It’s a strangely additive scent which I have worn nearly every day in the last six months.

The Writer by St Giles

I also want to give a shout out to The Writer by St Giles, created by the legendary Bertrand Duchaufour. I only had the chance to smell it briefly, but the rosemary, ginger, leather and rhubarb notes appealed to me, and I’m likely to be wearing this a lot in 2018

Grant is the founder and editor of Basenotes




My favorite niche fragrance of 2017 is Parfumerie Generale Suede Osmanthe. It's a nice mix of apricot, aldehydes and suede. There's also black tea, cashmeran and musk. It's a light, floral leather that is lovely and easy to wear. There isn't actually any osmanthus in this but you'll think there is. Other favorites are Perris Monte Carlo Tubereuse Absolue, 4160 Tuesday's Eau My Soul and Parfums d'Empire Le Cri de la Lumiere.

Parfumerie Generale Suede Osmanthe

My favorite designer fragrance of 2017 was easy to choose, it's Hermes Twilly d'Hermes. The notes are ginger, tuberose and sandalwood. It's fresh and yet spicy and a delight to wear. Other favorites are Guerlain Joyeuse Tubereuse, Gucci Bloom and Elizabeth & James Nirvana French Grey.

My favorite house of the year has to be 4160 Tuesday's. I tried most of their line in 2017 and really enjoyed them. Sarah McCartney is really talented. If you haven't tried them yet, you're in for a treat!

Here's wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2018!

Kiliwia is one of the forums moderators


Krishnaraj Iyengar



Nurtured for over two centuries by upholders of one of the world’s oldest fragrance traditions, the House of Gulabsingh Johrimal in Delhi, India’s national capital boasts of versatility, sophistication and class.

‘Khalifa’ by nose Kushal Gundhi, eighth generation torchbearer of this great tradition specializing in non-alcoholic ‘attar’ concentrates, is at crossroads between India and the Arab World. Khalifa, Arabic for ‘successor’, is a classic floral with oud minus the rugged gang of comrades-amber, labdanum, spices and woods! Oud is truly a complete hero-a rugged, tough ruffian with testosteronic notes, and a chivalrous gentlemen with the softer ones, enhancing their charm with his undying valor and masculine persona!


Khalifa is a classic floral with oud playing the softer, estrogenic role in giving dimension and bounce to the vanilla, tuberose, lemon, subtle amber and understated woody notes offering a neat backbone to the particularly feminine profile of the fragrance. It explores the ‘other side of oud’, the softer, more feminine mélanges of Arabesque notes that take me back to the old medinas where songstress Mayadah Al Hannawi’s famous number ‘Ana Baashak’ playing in the rustic, corner perfumery sums-up the personality of the blend!

‘BENAZIR’ (2017)

Another 2017 floral musk masterpiece by Gundhi is a bouquet of varied flowers, typical to Indian blends that evoke spirituality and calmness in people of all faiths.


‘Benazir’, Persian for ‘unparalled’ takes to you the realms of spiritual traditions that employ fragrances as aids to worship. The marriage of jasmine, India’s indigenous kewda ( pandanus), gilt-edge saffron, rose and white musk are a journey into the sanctum sanctorums of the mausoleums or ‘Dargah’ of Sufi saints where attar is smeared on the ‘chaadar’ (sacred sheet drapes) that cover their tombs. An instant feeling of devotion is evoked with the opening as the bouquet begins therapeutically enveloping you until the heart, and leaves you serene with a gentle, clear dry-down.

Benazir also reminds you of the ancient temples of India where floral garlands and offerings sanctify the ‘pooja’ and ‘aarti’ adorations. The energy of this blend is purely spiritual, with an underlying innocence leitmotif of Gulabsingh Johrimal’s sublime repertoire.

Krishnaraj is a musician, composer, writer and multi-linguist from India who relates spiritually to fragrances. Having traveled internationally, he delves into the diversity of fragrance traditions from around the world and even blends his own, bespoke scents.


Marcy Goldman


My 2017 scent journey somehow ended up being a nostalgic and fragrant memory lane. That was in part mood and in part the difficulty in obtaining some unique, non- big brand samples. Frankly, and I say this as a pastry chef and perfume person, it was hard to get hold of pure vanilla extract ! (typhoons wiped out 2017 crop).

Green Tea

So instead, I meandered between a few decades of yesteryear perfumes as well as some classics (Femme, Fracas, Diorissimo). I also strolled through the bargain bin (drugstores) and found some choices that still seem to work (Love’s Baby Soft, Heaven Scent, Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea). I found an inexpensive (Chanel) Cristalle in Yardley’s Jade and a dollar store treasured cache of original (for men) Canoe. A fun trip to be sure but for me, when it comes to (many) perfumes, I found you can’t go home again, i.e. one of us has changed or perhaps my olfactory sensibility has evolved to be in step with now, versus the past.

One scent that refutes time was found in a wee and pricey vial/decant of authentic Yardley Oh De London (not the Tuvache version!), purportedly a heady mix of violet, bergamot, sage and chamomile, geranium, clove, rose petals, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang, heliotrope, sandalwood and styrax. Oh De London, unlike quite a few of those old fur-coat and purse smells of the latter half of the 20th century is still special: feminine, spunky and surprisingly complex (or that could be because I am now smelling it out of context and alongside current scents).


Not to get totally lost in the past, I befriended Zoologist’s Nightingale which is earthy and as artlessly warm as an ingénue.

For holiday season, I have a split vote which goes to Nathalie Lorson’s/Van Cleefe’s So First. So First shows a rare, deft touch for a gourmand and is a subtle, romantic charmer to both wind down the year and warm up the nippy weather. The other choice (2015 launch but it took ages to get a sample) is Carven’s Absolu by Francis Kurkdjian. Billed as a bouquet of white flowers, and while not dramatic or earth-shaking, Absolu shows Kurkdjian mastery, a certain sedate warmth, and is happily void of any harsh edges or ‘white flower metallica’. No one could be faulted caught wearing this daytime or early evening. For a white flower scent, it’s a ‘perfect little black dress’ scent Smile.

DSH Vanilla Bourbon

The combination of the world wide vanilla shortage and my pastry-chef’s bias towards vanilla-heavy perfumes make DSH Perfumes’ Vanilla Bourbon Intense a shoe-in for my 2017 favorite scent.

This fragrance is a magically-crafted vanilla that is a mist of bourbon vanilla, amber, and a ‘little moonshine’ . From Indie perfumer Dawn Horowitz.

Marcy Goldman is a Montreal based pastry chef and host of and


Marian Bendeth


There were a few this year that brought a smile to my face and Truefitt & Hill's Apsley was a major contender for me. Most reformulations never hit the mark but this is beautifully blended with just the right touches of citrus with a hint of grapefruit, pepper, cedarwood and patchouli.  The restraint on the hero of the blend: a woody vetiver is beautifully tamed thereby allowing the fragrance to breathe up and out in a fresh yet vintage way. Very clever and current.

Luna Rossa Carbon

Ironically, it was also another men's scent that also caught my nose.  Prada Luna Rossa Carbon EDT elevates a mainstream juice into a very sophisticated blend.  The clever notes of lavender mixed with a fresh citrus bergamot brought the aromatics to a perfect pitch intro. The patchouli notes are not garish and the ambroxan base is powdery yet understated. A great little find with a very cool blend.

White Tea

For mass, Elizabeth Arden's White Tea made me smile because I sensed Rodrigo Flores-Roux's touch in there and I was right, well partly correct as the press kit also acknowledges Guillaume Flavigny and Caroline Sabas as co-perfumers. Not a fragrance to jump out of the bottle and slap you silly, it conversely haunts and teases with a mandarin burst then sensual sea-breeze accord and aromatic clary sage married with white tea extract and Paraguayan Mate Absolute. The white iris accord is powdery, almost sublime mixed with the most delicate notes of Turkish rose absolute. The luminescent triple musks on the base against Madras Wood, Ambrette Seed Absolute, Venezuelan Tonka Bean are sewn together flawlessly to create a streamline creamy yet clean sillage.  Well priced and beautifully balanced, well done.

Marian Bendeth is a Global Fragrance Expert based out of Toronto, Canada. Marian has won six fragrance industry editorial awards for her writing. You can find out more on her website

Advertisement — article continues below


Nick Gilbert


2017 has been a year of amazing launches in the niche world - we’re really seeing some incredible creativity coming out of it again, which is a pleasure and almost a relief! Here in London, too, perfume appreciation started to enter the world of arts and the mainstream. The Perfume exhibition at Somerset House was an the first major exhibition in the UK with perfume at its heart. Co-curated by the wonderful Odette Toilette, it showcased mainly niche perfumery to the general public. We’ve also seen Jovoy open, bringing some brands that have long been missing from the UK market to London - including my favourite perfume of the year.

Fugit Amor

Fugit Amor, from Jul et Mad, signed by the talented Stéphanie Bakouche (famed for Invasion Barbare and Rose Privée), is one of the most beautiful and intriguing fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Inspired by a Rodin sculpture, Fugit Amor is a tale of hot and cold that expresses both the sensuality of the sculpture and the cool touch of marble. It’s a carnation - but not as you’ve smelled before - with a huge dose of pink pepper and the salty, solar power of salicylates. It dries into a warm blend of cedar-vetiver, maintaining its spicy-floral edge the whole time. I’m obsessed, as the team at Jovoy will probably tell you.

Nick has been working in the world of fragrance for over 15 years. He is co-founder of Olfiction, a creative scent agency offering fragrance development, training, copy and content production. He is frequently quoted in the press and has provided perfumery training globally, from London to Seoul.




In a year when several mainstream brands tried to convince us that their creations contained a prominent tuberose note, Isabelle Doyen put them all to shame with Nuit De Bakelite, her first (but hopefully not last) piece of work for Naomi Goodsir.

Nuit De Bakelite

A tour de force of expertise and talent, it takes all of the flower's most grandiose, most assertive facets, and somehow manages to imbue them with an approachability that borders on the affectionate, attributes not normally associated with tuberose. But then, that's precisely what geniuses like Doyen can do: make us smell a familiar material in an entirely unexpected way.

Persolaise is a twice Jasmine Award winning writer and amateur perfumer with a lifelong interest in the world of fine fragrance. His perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published in English by Hardie Grant and in German by Süddeutsche Zeitung. His blog is at


Redneck Perfumisto

Redneck Perfumisto

Chanel Gabrielle & Creed Viking


"Gabrielle! A pleasure! Please - sit down."

"Why, thank you. And thank you for the invitation. I might have been on my own for lunch had you not called."

"Preposterous! Had I not been so lucky, time itself would have brought five young men to your door."

"Five! My lucky number."


"Beauty's lucky number, too. We only borrow her. But you borrow her spectacularly!"

"Why, thank you."

"I only speak the truth. Perfume City is blessed by your arrival! It's the talk of the town. Biggest thing since your dear sister favored our idyllic hamlet."

"Speaking of whom, I have not laid eyes upon her since I arrived."

"Surely you jest."

"I last saw her at a sniffing with that far-too-charming young American, Tiffany, who wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise."

"Really. There must be a reason. Mademoiselle L'Eau is a saint."

"Oh, I can tell you why. It's the mayor's wife. Every spare moment, L'Eau is on her arm. Lunch here - gallery there. She is with Madame even at this moment."

"Trust me, Gabrielle - you will have your moments with the good lady very shortly. Madame Perfumisto says only the best things about you."

"And the mayor?"

"Ah. Yes. As well."

"Doctor! You're blushing. Don't worry - I've heard the rumors."

"It's scandalous. Absolutely scandalous! Normally I'm a supporter of the mayor, but to nominate a fragrance he hasn't even smelled for Basenotes Fragrance of the Year! It's beyond preposterous. Corruption! It should be you!"

"Oh, you silly thing. Don't feign such protest on my account. All the women know Viking has the boys in a swoon. It's absolutely charming. The men outside my boutique argue about him endlessly. Who knows him best. Who refuses to risk their money against him in the casino - allegedly on principle. Who's a friend and not a sycophant. It's all deliciously ridiculous. I want to place my couch outside for them to faint upon. I can hear them now. 'Oh, Viking! Oh, Viking! I feel the death of me coming on! Bring Creed Viking immediately!'"


"Well, it's still quite scandalous to nominate a fragrance one hasn't even sniffed."

"And why not? Perhaps it's all the more reasonable to judge a fragrance by the crowd it creates in the plaza, and not the cloud it creates in the love-struck mind."

"Gabrielle - I assure you - I have it on good authority that Mayor Perfumisto would have nominated you, were it not..."

"That I'm persona non grata amongst the diplomats of perfume?"

"Such error! As with your cousin Bleu, they fail to see that Chanel creates future, not past."

"Then if so, I welcome it. But this I know. I have no regrets. None. I live my life on my terms and no one else's. My tutor, the younger Monsieur Polge, taught me this."

"Good. Then let me speak honestly for a moment. To praise your beauty in ways you may not come to appreciate immediately."

"Why Doctor! I shall appreciate your flattery on my own schedule, thank you kindly. Don't think me so shallow as to not appreciate your deepest thought immediately!"

"Then I may proceed?"

"By all means - I would have it no other way!"

"Beauty and truth are tricky things, deeply related, both blessed and enslaved by time itself. The houses of Chanel and Creed are by these things likewise blessed and cursed, each in their own ways. This is the beauty of perfume - utterly inseparable from legend and scandal - caught forever between highest civilization and basest desire."

"Do go on. I am with you and absolutely adoring these thoughts!"

"The Chanel perfumer is cursed by the impossibility of truth. Sabotaged by time itself against the impossible task of describing the indescribable Coco and her legend, yet creating that legend anew. Neither the Chanel perfume nor its perfumer is ever truly appreciated for younger greatness in younger days."

"But this is the fate of all true art and artists - and it must be accepted as a beautiful thing."

"Yes, but such a crime! The genius of your floral abstraction - a symmetric polynomial of true blooms equated to unknowns and vanishings - the silent song of the beautiful yet scentless camellia which Coco so loved. The cunningly unexpected androgyny of such a classically feminine form as the white flower - an ode to Coco's brilliant and unique nature. The quiet beauty of an introspective fragrance - a lens into Coco herself which only reveals its complexity upon study and contemplation. That such should be cast in vain before those who would sooner praise something called 'Burning Tyre Through Window'! Madness!"

"Then I say let them love the spectacular now, and my faded charms later! That some should love me now, must be seen for the true gift that it is. And what of Creed?"

"The Creed perfumers are cursed by the infinite possibilities of fiction. Free to create any story, now or bygone, they suffer greatest for their brilliant odes to history itself. These legends of Creed are burned at the stake, or vanish like sparks - forgotten, true or not. Memories of memories - lost forever."

"But we all talk endlessly of Viking now, in his glorious debut. Is it not enough that young Creeds are celebrated, even if the old are not? Surely you're not made miserable by these thoughts, Doctor, for I find them beautiful. Tragic, but beautiful."

"It's the injustice, Gabrielle. The realization that both young Chanels and old Creeds are never truly appreciated as they should be - Chanel youth gloried in youth, Creed age respected in age."

"Doctor - I beg you. Believe it no tragedy, other than beauty that can only exist through tragedy. As proof, let me promise you now. As you predict, so one day we meet again - at my invitation - and I will tell you of all the glorious appreciation that both you and I know must come. We shall toast joyously to the fulfillment of your prophecy. Do we have a deal?"

"You gladden this old heart by your faith in beauty's triumph. Yes - we have a deal!"

"Good! Then I say - shall we order?"

"Momentarily. Waiter! Is that charming young Norwegian still here? I wish to introduce him to beauty he cannot possibly appreciate at this time."

"Doctor! You're scandalous!"

"Maybe so. But with no regrets, Gabrielle. None."

"Then let us toast in the now as well, to the truth of beauty!"

"And to the beauty of truth. Whatever these things truly are."

'Red' is one of the sites moderators and his interests include Science, Politics, Anime, Snowboarding, Programming, Rock Climbing and Hiking




2017 has been an odd year once again. Quite disappointing in terms of new releases with nothing catching my eye as such. Perhaps a better way to summarise the year has been more about finding out about my likes and dislikes.

Cacharel pour Homme

The dry woody/chypre genre is more my sort of thing compared to ultra sweet offerings of today. My specific finds of the year have involved rediscovering some old classics, such as Cacharel Pour Homme which has been one of the best finds of the year.

In addition, the year has been a great journey of discovery into leather. Rediscovering an old favourite, Polo by Ralph Lauren, the nearest thing to a signature scent for me, has been a good insight into leather overall: Chanel’s Antaeus (soapy leather aromatic) and Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland (a wonderful fougere with a leathery dry down).

Likewise my journey with Orientals has also flourished in 2017. I’ve ended up picking up and liking quite a few in this genre - both niche and designer: YSL Opium Pour Homme, Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur, Xerjoff Kobe, Amouage Myths Man and Robert Piguet’s Casbah. The latter two have probably been the biggest discoveries in this genre for me this year. Myths Man with its unique combination of largely unknown floras (chrysanthemum) and smoke (ash) is the nearest thing to a good 2017 release for me. Although it came out last year it has as yet gone under the radar for many but it is hard for me to see this as anything but an Amouage in line with the brand’s roots. Casbah on the other hand, represents a benchmark incense for me which is one of the notes that brought me to take this hobby seriously.

Acqua di Gio Profumo

On another note, some fresher scents have crept into the wardrobe this year - both the wife and I enjoy these and have generally appreciated them on and off over the years. In 2017 though, we bought full size bottles of all which speaks volumes about our shared tastes. These are Acqua di Gio Profumo, Chanel Allure Homme Sport EdT and Creed’s Selection Verte.

Rum is one of the sites moderators and is based in the UK


Zachary McConnell


2017 was a bit of a dry spell for me locally. Again. Furthermore, the ad agency that was one of my two jobs closed... then the owner Joel suddenly committed suicide. A shame from the design community perspective here... and also when it comes to stink water because we had a shared love of perfume. In fact, Joel worked at Barneys when he lived in NYC.


But this isn’t to say that it was a bad year for me from a fragrance perspective. I added a huge amount of new bottles. Most were great additions, especially Creed Royal Mayfair... and one 11th hour buy, Xerjoff Nio. I thought I couldn’t find a better citrus than Frapin L’Humaniste. I was wrong. Nio makes L’Humaniste smell synthetic and cloying... this smells like an extension of me. And one spritz of Nio has far better sillage than three of L’Humaniste. I bet that Joel would have loved the smell of this.

RIP Joel. You pointed me in this inevitable direction. For that, I say thank you. (And I saw that the packaging was in his favorite fonts... Gotham and Trajan.)

A resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana since 2005 and an honors graduate of marketing from Indiana Institute of Technology, Zachary McConnell (you can call him Zach if you like) has been a fan of fragrances since a very young age. In 1994, he got a bottle of Hermes Equipage from a globe-trotting friend, but it wasn't for him. That didn't stop him from trying other fragrances, then joining Basenotes in 2004. Since then, Zach has been a big fan of fragrances, and even plans to launch a fragrance store in his hometown in the future. In the meantime, he’s working as a Mad Man at an agency owned by none other than another fragrance fan.


Further Reading

Here’s a selection of other Best of 2017 Perfumes from around the web

Now, your turn

What were your best fragrances of the last year? Let us know if you agree with our contributors in the comments.

  • Share this


    Advertisement — comments are below


      • StellaDiverFlynn | 30th December 2017 23:06

        Thank you for this great list! What a fantastic year for indie/artisan brands indeed!

        My favourites coïncide the most with Claire's and Persolaise's picks, with Dryad, Nuit de Bakélite, Siberian Musk, Ottoman Empire, MEM, Naja, Tauer L'Eau being the highlights among 2017 new releases for me. Under My Skin, Svensk Parfym's Skymning and Prakt, and Trudon's new line are also very much worth a sniff in my opinion.

        Among new discoveries of perfumes released before 2017, Rising Phoenix transformed my jaded opinion towards rose-oud combinations. And just as I thought iris is a beaten dead horse, Feu Secret, New Sibet and Sultan Pasha's Irisoir and Sohan d'Iris pleasantly surprised me with their either quirky and intriguing, or classic and enchanting treatments of iris, and totally reignited my passion for this amazing material. I also feel extremely lucky to have smelt Manoumalia and The Unicorn Spell from Les Nez this year, as they're becoming more and more difficult to find.

      • Robarni164 | 30th December 2017 23:39

        This year I discovered Nishane.. Not for the faint hearted. Powerful, Rich, Oud's.. My definite favourite. Now to purchase the whole range💗

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 31st December 2017 04:35

        Very happy to see that some very worthy "extreme niche" and "niche-like designer" scents were named.

        Twilly d'Hermes is a nice one, even though tuberose is normally WAY off my menu. The ginger and sandalwood make it really really enjoyable, and bring the tuberose into my tolerable zone. A very fun scent, and I feel like it's somewhat "Hermessence-like" (Tuberose Santal, perhaps).

        Very happy to see Gucci Guilty Absolute honored. I love everything about it - even the ad campaign with the model looking intensely into the mirror - it's just top-form Gucci! Back to the Tom Ford days, but without relying on Tom Ford schticks. Kudos!

        Siberian Musk goes without saying. I have not seen musk lovers wowed so fast and so free from reservations EVER. And Slumberhouse is BACK - very important.

        Nuit de Bakelite, ADG Profumo, Prada Luna Rosa Carbon, DSH Vanilla Bourbon, and anything St. Giles are all things I am either pulling for or very interested in and happy to see get some love. Plus there are a whole lot of new things in this list for me to look at. Fugit Amor is very intriguing.

      • hednic | 31st December 2017 04:45

        Happy to see that some mentioned I have in my collection.

      • RedRaider430 | 31st December 2017 04:59

        Time flies. I was going to bring up Prada L'Homme as one of my favorites of 2017, until I realized it's from 2016. Maybe Prada L'Homme L'eau! <-----------Nah, I haven't even smelled it yet!

        Of my acquisitions for 2017, the only one that actually came out in 2017 was Nishane Hacivat. I do love it, so I'll choose that one!

        I'm still trying to make up my mind about Prada Luna Rossa Carbon.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 31st December 2017 08:52

        I kinda like Carbon, but it's very much like Sauvage, only "more Prada", and I already have both Luna Rossa and Sauvage.

        Yeah, many people think 2017 was a little light on great fragrances, compared to most years. Hope that 2018 is a better year!

      • Bavard | 31st December 2017 10:38

        I don't smell many new releases. From what I remember, Guerlain Joyeuse Tubereuse was my favorite. I also liked Gabrielle, Twilly, Siberian Musk, and Guerlain Lui fairly well.

      • teardrop | 31st December 2017 10:39

        l didn't try many new releases this year, but one that no one mentioned was SP Parfums' Suntanglam. A uniquely animalic beachy fragrance, l loved & bought this immediately.

        l explored & enjoyed Ava Luxe's line of perfumes this year; standouts for me were Nag Champa, the perfect "head shop" fragrance, & Madeline, an eggnog lover's dream.

        And l'd like to thank Claire once again for the enormously successful & enjoyable Aftelier sample pass, which allowed many of us to try things that would otherwise be out of reach.

      • furrypine | 31st December 2017 11:40

        I think it's interesting that there is no overlap from any of the contributors; no scent is listed twice. Not like last year when No. 5 L'Eau was mentioned by three people.

      • MrsDalloway | 31st December 2017 14:37

        Puredistance Warszawa (rich white flowers) and La Parfumerie Moderne Belles Rives (beautiful iris) are my favourites of 2017, though I almost loved Dryad too.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 31st December 2017 18:26

        That's a very astute observation - something really diagnostic for what we all noted about 2017 (basically a "bad year"). There weren't a lot of things for us to coalesce on - things that appealed across boundaries.

        L'Eau leveraged that historic, easily recognizable, magic No. 5 accord that really reaches out like catnip and herds perfumistae inward. An obvious yet very tricky move done right. In contrast, the wan white flower category that defines Gabrielle is almost never a uniter, so I'm not surprised that it went solo, and got even that by a bit of luck. Had my wife not influenced me over the last decade toward her own tastes, I might have substituted SJP Stash (much more beloved on Basenotes) as the tragically undervalued fragrance that got my vote.

        In fact, let me give "honorable mention" recipient SJP Stash a huge Oscar shout from the audience! Bravo! A 2016 release, but mostly discovered here in 2017. An awesome fragrance that exploded out of its own mass market category. SJP and the IFF perfumers behind it deserve kudos.

      • Kotori | 1st January 2018 16:22

        I'm glad to see Twilly and Feu Secret getting shoutouts and I agree that they are something special. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Eau Sauvage Parfum by Dior or Dirty Ginger by Heretic.

        -Eau Sauvage Parfum is not too related to Eau Sauvage, so don't get excited. It seems to bring the chypre Eau Sauvage closer to fougere territory, to my nose. Anyway, it is woody, a bit spicy, and smells very deep and classy.

        -Dirty Ginger is hard to get your nose on, I know, but it's amazing. Take Bigarade Concentree, and use that basic idea-- the bold rotten fruit theme-- and instead of centering it around oranges, do it around ginger roots-- like they've been sitting in your veggie basket too long and are starting to ferment. Then add a bit of citric lift and some animatics and BOOM- you have a fragrance Basenoters should be going nuts for. Wear it and no one will ever smell like you- EVER. Just maybe don't wear it to a business meeting.

        Also of note and not mentioned here are

        -Clementine California by Atelier Colognes (has anyone ever done a Clementine before? I know we're mostly at saturation point with this house's constant new releases, but this one is very likeable),

        -Ralph Lauren Woman (tuberose lovers should be looking at this one, not Gabrielle or Gucci Bloom, IMO-- old-school elegant), and

        -Izia by Sisley (a pretty rose that even I like).

      • Kotori | 1st January 2018 16:25

        Stash should get a retroactive 2016 mention, as should Galop and Eau de Neroli Dore.

      • Kotori | 1st January 2018 16:31

        EDIT: Claire mentioned Stash last year.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 1st January 2018 17:56

        Good! :thumbup:

        That thing was SOLD OUT on Ulta's website yesterday. I don't think it's going to be discontinued. I'm predicting cult status!

      • rum | 2nd January 2018 16:36

        I agree - it goes to show that the choice of contributors to the article is always a nice, unique mix. You get little overlap from a diverse group of contributors. That's how it should be in my humble opinion.

        I think in a way, L'Eau put all other houses at a disadvantage. Chanel No. 5 isn't exactly an unknown scent: there are movies that mention it and with its long history stretching quite far back, it's hard not to know about it even whilst not being an avid Basenoter. That combined with an effective marketing campaign (kudos to Chanel for it), the tag line for a start "you know me but you don't" or something like that, meant that the comparison to No. 5 was immediately there. So I suppose it was inevitable to get mentioned so many times.

        Gabrielle on the other hand was an average scent combined with a bad marketing campaign and no other scent to compare it to. In my opinion a flop. Even the bottle wasn't attractive to me.

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 2nd January 2018 19:35

        Yup! 1/3 fragrance name, 1/3 house, 1/3 love, distributed subconsciously over the lot of us.

        Yes, very little marketing - less than L'Eau here - kinda surprised. I liked the bottle, but wondered if the more traditional convex form would have sold better. But I do suspect that this odd bottle will "age well" in fashion space.

        I really think this one was (even more than L'Eau) focused on the Asian market.

        I read an article from Singapore describing the "bold florals" and "fiercely feminine" nature of Gabrielle. Had to check to make sure we were talking about the same fragrance! *wink* In that same sense, my wife and I both like it, but with different perceptions. I think it's actually less floral and less feminine than 1 Million Cologne. She thinks it's significantly more feminine than L'Eau.

        Looking forward to the parfum to thrill the BN ladies, just like Bleu EDP was the one for the boys!

      • Juxtapozbliss | 3rd January 2018 17:08

        Thanks for this...always fun to get a quick series of recommendations to explore from the pros. I wish someone had given a shout out to Hilde Soliani Profumi. Of all the frags in my collection, hers is still the only one that has conjured a vivid image in my mind of a particular place and experience, a scene created via scent. Quite magnificent.

      • harper | 17th January 2018 19:14

        i've been smitten with john biebel's (january scent project) SMOLDEROSE EDP ever since i first smelled it this year.

        actually got myself a full bottle of it -- and am planning to get bottles of his other 3 fragrances as well.

        they are all 4 extremely well done and very interesting.

        in fact, January Scent Project is my favorite new house.

      • ArnaudBoson | 18th January 2018 07:37

        Thank you contributors, writers and forum moderators. That's a great article and an interesting listing.

        My favorite launches so far are Dryad by Papillon Artisan Perfumes, Feu Secret by Bruno Fazzolari, Aqua Celestia by Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Black Phantom : Memento Mori by Kilian, Oud Minérale and Sole di Positano by Tom Ford, Saint Julep by Imaginary Authors and L'Eau by Tauer.

      • ClaireV | 18th January 2018 10:28

        Got a sample set myself, based on all the rave reviews - I only gave them a quick spin, but, wow, these are certainly different from the norm! Honestly, half the time I did not know what I was smelling. I must come back around to testing them properly, because my experience did not jive with Kafka's or any other review out there. That's not a bad thing, of course, it's just that I feel my impressions of the perfumes are a bit "out there" and need to understand them a bit better. But it is always a joy to see such bold, different work going on in the indie sector, isn't it? I wish John all the best. He seems to be a lovely chap and a great artist.

      • ClaireV | 18th January 2018 10:31

        Arnaud, you have great taste - I've seen you mention the perfumes you're testing and you seem to have immediately honed in on the good stuff. Love Feu Secret. There's a user here by the name of IsoESuperman, and it was his constant praising of it that spurred me into ordering a sample. He was completely right about it.

      • IsoESuperman | 18th January 2018 14:32

        That Iso guy is out of control, he won't shut up about Feu Secret. Mentions it at every possible opportunity in nearly any type of thread. Even just yesterday he was discussing it with Arnaud and plugging your review in this thread here. Like he's been stalking your blog waiting for a review to pop up or something.

        "My favorite of 2017, maybe the past 5 years."

        "My most worn since I bought it in July."

        "Bruno Fazzolari is amazingly talented."

        Yeah, we get it Iso. You love Feu Secret, you love Bruno. You're constantly mewing, oooing, and ahhhhing about the stuff - we get it. But something tells me we haven't heard the last of it. I'm sure he has one of his tl;dr posts drafted somewhere about his favorites of 2017 for one of the "Best of" threads. Something tells me Feu Secret will be the clear forerunner.

      • | 18th January 2018 16:19

        It thrills my heart to hear this, Claire. I've been so hoping you'd review the Januarys; all of them were so intriguing to me, and went beyond enjoy/not enjoy into previously unknown territory. If you were baffled half the time, I'd say I was more like 90% of the time. Baffled, but also enchanted.

      • techt | 18th January 2018 16:38

        I'm glad to see that several of the ones mentioned are in my collection.

      • IsoESuperman | 18th January 2018 17:05

        Agreed on all accounts. I got the set of 4 + the Smolderose parfum oil...has there ever been a more perfectly named perfume? It indeed smolders the whole time. I wasn't a huge fan of the EdP version, but Vaporocindro and Selperniku are like nothing I've ever smelled. Both really fascinating and carefully constructed.

        Glad to have John Biebel in the mix, definitely a perfumer to keep an eye on.

      • | 18th January 2018 17:49

        So pleased to hear you got these, IsoE. I actually thought of you while I was testing them, they seemed so much in your ballpark.

      • Buysblind | 24th January 2018 19:14

        s far as strictly 2017 releases, there were four which made their way onto my shelves this year. The first is LANZ, a limited edition run by Slumberhouse. Hearkening back to the era of leather chypres and aromatic fougeres, LANZ shows flashes of such classics as Bois des Iles, Jules, and even Antaeus. Yet somehow it remains undeniably Slumberhouse, and perhaps the best Slumberhouse to have ever been released. Its ingredients, blending, and structure are top notch. It's a shame that only 250 bottles were made.

        The second bottle to join my wardrobe was Prada L'Homme Intense, which took the original's Iris accord to a new level that is bold, rich, and robust. It's the Dior Homme lipstick variety of Iris at play here and it's tuned to perfection.

        Viking was the third. While it's not what I expected, Viking is proving to be a solid option; a slow-burn that's an easy wear and led by a magnificent opening, and now a workplace standard for myself, as I find it fits well into the daily routine and wears effortlessly.

        Finally, this is one that I'm going to include in 2017 because that's when it was released, though I didn't catch it until the third week of 2018--Giorgio Armani Stronger With You, a sweet, semi-spicy oriental calibrated to just the right level. It's a modern, sweet masculine done correctly. Enough freshness to avoid becoming cloying and the perfect degree of projection/strength place this one among 2017's winners.