The Best Perfumes of 2018, according to our contributors


31st December, 2018

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 2018. If nothing wowed them in 2018 they could choose something new to them.


Carla
My Best Fragrance of 2018: Amsterdam by Gallivant

I have always been a fan of unconventional florals, be it Jasmin et Cigarette's dichotomous pairing of dirty ashtrays and delicate jasmine, XX± Latex's rubber rose or the Wiccan wonder that is Venetian Belladonna. Upon first sniff, Amsterdam instantly joined my club of rebellious flower favourites.


Amsterdam
The conceptual rendering of a black tulip, it is warm, captivating, and put simply, something I have never smelled before. Normally I am slightly apprehensive about fragrances containing amber notes as they can turn almost saccharine on my skin, but the Szechuan pepper and saffron spices in the scent's opening perfectly temper said sweetness. However, the real feat of Amsterdam is taking an unassuming, dare one say innocent, flower and transforming into a hypnotically sensual scent. With its depth and hint of darkness, it is my kind of floral.

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

Cazaubon


Cazaubon
My favourite scents of 2018 were Hermès Cèdre Sambac, Aedes Musc Encensé and Memo Tiger’s Nest, with an honourable mention to Hermès Agar Ébène and Mona di Orio Santal Nabataea.


Tigers Nest
Cèdre Sambac really surprised me with the combination of the floralcy of jasmine delicately underlying the warm woodiness of the cedar, which is predominant on my skin. After having completely gone off oud, I was surprised to like Agar Ébène, but I found it quite subtle and unlike the ubiquitous barnyard or medicinal notes in other ouds. Musc Encensée was another subtle scent that grew on me after several wearings. Like a previous Aedes scent, Cierge de Lune, it seemed at first a bit light and insipid, but I discovered I really enjoyed the interplay of the delicate musk and incense notes.

Tiger’s Nest was an instant love, with the resins and incense, reminding me a bit of L’Air du Désert Marocain in feel, with extra incense. Santal Nabataea was a surprise, quite different from the usual interpretations of sandalwood such as Tam Dao or Lutens Santal de Mysore. Unique and green, fresher and sappier.

Cazaubon is one of our forum moderators.

Claire Vukcevic


Claire
When you’re into perfume, it can sometimes feel like you’re a hamster chasing that never-to-arrive end point on a wheel. So, this year, I stepped off. My race to acquire my newest, shiniest “wants” slowed dramatically when I realized that what I want is an ever-moving target anyway.

Instead, I forced myself to linger over perfumes I love in a deeper, less transient manner such as Eau Lente, Azemour les Orangers, Paestum Rose, Sycomore EDT, Lys Mediterranée, and Cuir Cannage. Wearing them assiduously confirmed to me just how much I love these perfumes. New-to-me niche perfumes this year were Arquiste Ella and Iris 39 – these quickly became huge favorites. And if you look at my SOTD records, you’ll see that I wore each of these so much that there’s little danger of them falling from favor any time soon. More importantly, I bought samples and then decants – sometimes twice – of most of these scents, rather than commit to the big bottle straightaway.

I’m tempted to shout my newfound steadfastness from the rooftops, except we all know that’s a bit premature, like the time I bought Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and told my husband to watch out, because the house was about to be cleaner than it had ever been. He’s still waiting.

In 2018, I also became aware of the sheer stupidity of hoarding perfume too good or precious to wear. The wee squidges I’d squirreled away of unicorns like Vega, Attrape-Coeur, Puredistance M, Badr Al Badour, House of Matriarch Blackbird, or Enlèvement Au Sérail either dried up or went bad. It’s never a nice moment when you discover a slick of sludge where your perfume should be. Throwing all caution to the wind, I began to drench myself in Shalimar and Vol de Nuit pure parfum, enjoying them to the last drop. In 2019, I’m going to set about my vintage Nuit de Noel, Cuir de Russie and No. 22 parfums with the same gusto. I’ll be sad to see them go, especially since they’re a non-renewable resource and all, but I’ll give them a good death.


Vero Kern
The passing of Vero Kern in December this year was a poignant reminder of the fact all the good things in life – including life itself – are transitory in nature. I didn’t know Vero, but the prickly, quixotic character of her scents made me feel as if I did. She will be profoundly missed, both by the people who loved her and by the people who can see the unique Vero-shaped hole left in the Perfume-o-verse. Perfumery has lost one of the rare artistic forces of nature that, by refusing to bend to trends or popular taste, forge a new way ahead for perfumery to grow in unexpected ways. Who is going to create the next Onda?

When a lone wolf perfumer like Vero Kern dies, there is a question mark over the passing of the baton. If Campo Marzio in Rome doesn’t continue to produce Vero Profumo fragrances past 2020, her perfumes might end up like those of Victoire Gobin-Daudé, i.e., largely lost to the world and only kept alive in the memory of those smart enough to buy a bottle when it was still possible. As someone who only discovered the joys of Rubj Eau de Parfum in 2018 and put off a decision to buy a bottle of Naja until it was too late, I must remind myself to enjoy what I have of her work without obsessing over what escaped my grasp. William Blake said that “He who kisses joy as it flies by will live in eternity's sunrise.” I should get that tattooed somewhere.


Santal Nabataea
Despite not going out of my way to smell new releases in 2018, I still managed to smell a few. Niche doesn’t hold much in way of surprises for me anymore (apologies for sounding like Victor Meldrew), but I really loved Santal Nabataea by Mona di Orio, a gruff 1970’s style codger that pulled off the magic trick of smelling like real Indian sandalwood – aromatic, spicy, bitter, and a bit sweaty. Remember Me by Cécile Zarokian for Jovoy is probably the best milky chai scent I’ve ever smelled, saved from an excess of sweetness by a glug of bitter suede created entirely using a rubbery frangipani material. That a chai scent released in 2018 doesn’t automatically remind me of the dozens other chai scents is an achievement in and of itself.

Hermes Cèdre Sambac also distinguished itself, mainly by not shying away from the more animalistic tendencies of its two star ingredients – a Magic Marker jasmine and a dank, oiled cedar which combine to give the scent a rubbery, quasi-industrial twang that I find intriguing. It’s not nearly as pretty as it might have been in lesser hands than Christine Nagel’s, and I mean that as a compliment.

But as always, it was the indie sector that really lit a fire in my belly. I did a deep dive into DSH Perfumes and came away staggered by the wonderful Le Smoking, a perfume that is, to my nose, a mash-up between the bitter smoked-out leather chypre of Cabochard and the laidback coffee-and-hashish vibe of Coze by Parfumerie Generale. The new attar version of Muschio di Quercia (Oakmoss) composed by Abdes Salaam Attar for the all-natural La Via del Profumo was another unexpected colpo di fulmine - the essence of earth and woods distilled into a tiny drop of viscous oil, like a fly caught in amber. I’d sell my soul for it.

It was an excellent year for non-alcohol-based perfumes. The first three oil perfumes from indie Strangelove NYC, composed by Christophe Laudamiel, were a pleasant shock to my system – the rare combination of a focus on all-natural, rare materials with a perfumer who’s never going to do the expected thing with them. My personal favorite was meltmyheart, a billowing iris dough slashed with a knifepoint of bitter cacao, but the ambergris one – silencethesea – is probably the talking point of the collection.

The flintiness of the seaweed and mineral notes in silencethesea is comically misanthropic when placed alongside the saltwater taffy warmth of Mandy Aftel’s Antique Ambergris, another perfume in a non-traditional format, this time a perfume solid balm. In Antique Ambergris, Mandy coaxed out the creamier, muskier nuances of her (aged) ambergris specimen instead of the more animalic, confrontational facets. With its salty-creamy-leathery character, it almost smells more like good labdanum than ambergris, giving it a sensual ‘skin enhancing’ effect. The light dusting of cinnamon gives it a slight chocolate horchata vibe but the resinous base stops it from feeling edible. I like to think it does for my skin what the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light does, namely lend a ‘lit from within’ glow to my skin that, needless to say, it doesn’t actually possess.

Maybe natural ambergris just had a good year in 2018. It’s a material that, like other rare or expensive naturals, lends itself particularly well to small-batch artisanal perfumery; perfumers can buy small quantities of it, tincture it themselves, and produce exclusive, limited edition runs of a scent. Of course, I’m describing the Areej Le Dore model. Russian Adam’s 4th generation release of short-run perfumes proved once again that there are fans out there with a fetish for the most exquisite raw materials in the world. My favorite was Baikal Gris, a nutty, tonkified ambergris scent with a hint of leafy freshness for balance. Beautiful, soul-soothing stuff. That is, if you have the money and a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Since I have neither, I’m content simply to smell the sample.


Hyde
With the often stratospheric pricing of indie perfumery, coupled with the hysteria over short production runs and FOMO, I’ve taken to asking myself “Does this perfume do something different to the designer and more readily available perfumes out there?” In a perfect world, with an unlimited budget, all my purchases would be from the small indies and artisans. But in the real world, our not-so-deep pockets or competing financial pressures means we have to sort carefully through the options and choose only those perfumes that are so special that you know there’s nothing you’ve ever smelled that could duplicate the experience.

That’s why although I really loved Hyde (Hiram Green) and Belles Rives (La Parfumerie Moderne) this year, I recognize that I probably don’t need to own them if I already have, say, a birch tar perfume (like CdG Black or Patchouli 24) or a iris-osmanthus suede perfume (like Osmanthe Yunnan, Cuir X, etc.). Spectacular as they are, they don’t quite justify the price of admission for me in the same way as something like, say, New Sibet (Slumberhouse) or Feu Secret (Fazzolari) do, both perfumes that do something so original with orris that it’s difficult for me to come up with parallels to what I’ve experienced before. I don’t know why I’m explaining this, except to admit that I wish I’d employed this kind of focus when I first set about this hobby!

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

Grant Osborne


Grant
You’d think that being the founder of a perfume website for nearly twenty years, I would have had the opportunity to smell lots of perfumes each year. But, I’ve not had the chance to pop up to London much in 2018, so I’ve not had as many sniffs as I’d like. So, if I’d have to choose my favourite perfume based on how many times I’d worn it, it’s still going to be my pick from last year, which was Queen Street.

Niral

Though that doesn’t mean that 2018 hasn’t provided me with some delights. Top picks for me include: Niral by NVC (long-lasting, cedar-iris), Rake & Ruin by Beaufort (gin and tonic smoke) and Chanel’s Bleu Parfum.

Grant is the Editor of Basenotes

Judith Brockless


Judith
I didn’t get as much opportunity as I’d have liked this year to try new releases, but here goes.

When I had a think about my favourites, I noticed that there did seem to be a bit of a citrussy theme going on - a departure from my usual style and no doubt thanks to The Long Hot Summer we had in Blighty. So midsummer brought a few outings for Bruno Acampora’s Azzurro di Capri, which is a warm, orange-blossomy citrus - and a good one for hot weather if, like me, you’re not into summery fragrances. At the opposite end of the seasonal spectrum, I rather took a shine to Jo Malone’s Orange Bitters during the run up to Christmas - especially the zesty top notes.


Hyde
Moving on to fragrances actually released this year (HA!) - and again, on the citrus theme - props to Chanel for producing Coco Mademoiselle Intense, which basically got rid of that nasty, grating ‘burnt grapefruit’ opening and produced something infinitely more wearable which, to my surprise, I actually liked.

Lastly, 2018 saw another stonking release from Hiram Green, Hyde. It’s all authentic ‘smoky bonfire’ to my nose, then settles down to the softest leather boots. Best new perfume I’ve smelt in ages.

In other news, my cat has discovered her inner perfumista and seems to have developed quite a penchant for anything by 4160 Tuesdays. Cats like perfume. Who knew?

As well as working tirelessly behind the scenes at Basenotes, Judith Brockless is a Jasmine Award shortlisted writer.

Kiliwia


Kiliwia
My favorite perfume release of 2018 is Amouage Love Tuberose, I received it as an anniversary gift. It's really beautiful, with notes of tuberose, gardenia, jasmine, chantilly cream, vanilla, cedarwood and sandalwood. The other special ones this year are Chanel Paris-Deauville with rose and jasmine and the new Guerlain Meteorites with rose and violet. Another that I thought was special is Diptyque Fleur de Peau with rose and iris, it's very well done.


Love Tuberose

Happy 2019, everyone!

Kiliwia is one of our forum moderators

Krishnaraj Iyengar


Krishnaraj

WHITE MUSK SMOKY

The definition of sensuality in perfume parlance could well be ‘White Musk, Tobacco Leaf, Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Amber, Vanilla’. Kushal Gundhi , eight generation perfumer of India’s legendary Gulabsingh Johrimal House of Fragrance ( 1816) has bottled it as a one-of-its-kind blend that spells masculinity and class. The young musician-singer-nose is known for his unconventional take on popular fragrance styles.

As a non-smoking tobacco fragrance junky, it was the very smoky accord I was looking for over several years. The overall selection of notes seems perfect with bergamot, hints of citrus, a subtle touch of vanilla at the base and a dominant tobacco (heart note), all appearing like rushes from the film ‘The Godfather’ with whiffs of Michael Corleone’s cigar punctuating the freshness of a Sicilian backyard garden!

Though not particularly a gourmand number, the opening smells like a delicious Greek Salad with the domineering blackcurrant, pink pepper and bergamot as the tobacco gradually takes over creating the ambience of a Mediterranean sailor’s bar of sorts! The subtle hints of vanilla begin to appear in the dry down quite resembling Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille and giving the blend a softer, more feminine finale.


Gulabsingh Johrimal

OUD SAFFRON

The two historic comrades Oud and Saffron have gotten together as if to walk a young, somber Egyptian Coptic bride down the aisle! A formidable opening of a heavyweight Labdanum feels like the Commander in Chief himself leading the regiment to battle, or like being welcomed by the king of the jungle, the lion himself on commencing a safari!

It is commendable how Gundhi has masterfully handled an otherwise heavy note right at the top allowing it to linger on throughout the heart and the base giving depth and a sturdy backbone to all the other notes. The labdanum note almost appears like a bulk carrier vessel anchored in a near-to placid Adriatic with the blue of the sea and the sky merging into one expanse.

The saffron is draped by patchouli and a touch of rose in the heart, mellowing-down its Arabesque audacity typical to many Gulf attar oils. Even the woody base with oud, sandalwood and cedar is toned down considerably.

A gentle, sophisticated, classy blend minus the stanky, animalicity of Indian Oud.

OUD NAWABI

The ‘Nawabs’ or the erstwhile Muslim Indian royalty were ardent clients of Gundhi’s ancestors. This blend however, spells dignity, gentleness and class rather than ‘nawabi pomp’ as the name would suggest. It is rather like a literary, poetic, classical music-loving nawab’s choice!

Compatible to both sexes, a complete feel-good fragrance is how I can best describe Oud Nawabi with comforting honey, caramel, vanilla at the heart creating the warmth of a kiddy birthday bash. A subtle olibanum in the opening and stalwarts amber, sandalwood, oud and patchouli in the base appear like tough-looking middle-aged uncles dancing to nursery rhymes at their grand niece’s birthday bash!

While ‘oud’ per se is associated with masculinity in all parts of the world acquainted with its legendary aromas, this is an oud number straight out of a Gulf billionaire wife’s wardrobe! The softness and Arabesque undertones remind me of the iconic Syrian songstress Fayza Ahmad’s voice. A winter soiree back in the Damascus of her time with her ethereal voice mellifluously lilting with the evening breeze is the experience Oud Nawabi creates on my mind’s screen.

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.

Marian Bendeth


Marian
I love sniffing something new that grabs my interest and when that penny drops and I immediately dive back in for more. It becomes exciting. I then find myself repeatedly sniffing my wrists to distraction. Somewhere in the world, a perfumer now successfully has my undivided attention. These two fragrances did that for me in 2018.


Nomade
Nomade Eau de Parfum by Chloè (Perfumer, Quentin Bisch) had me intrigued upon first sniff. After reading the top notes were bergamot, lemon and oranges, I anticipated a sharpish hesperidian tart introduction but was pleasantly surprised to sniff a much softened, smoother pebbled-beach citrus accord. The accompanying floral notes of freesia, jasmine, peach and rose are tethered together in perfect harmony. This can go awry in other scents where one screams a little louder than the other and the balance becomes too peachy, indolic etc.) The Mirabelle plum here is drop- suspended just below the floral notes with a belt of fresh and warm sun-kissed fruity notes.

The base, a chypre with oakmoss, patchouli and musks provide clean strokes to the scent but don't dive into the chypres of old where the oak moss is full, powdery and rumbling. Still, a fragrance that lasted nearly 24 hours and never swayed from its initial impression which is pretty impressive.


Velvet
Another Floral Chypre, Commodity Velvet (Perfumer, Jerome Epinette) also had me intrigued.

With gourmand overtones of toasted almond, coconut water and clove buds, these foody notes poke through without being obtuse. The usage of pink velvet Turkish rose, hence its name, is vibrant yet soft with the addition of Damasascone and heliotrope which provides a luscious rich heart which is pronounced, evolving and dependable. These notes don't slip away after their entrance and provide a full day's wrist entertainment without fading or losing tenacity.

The base of both blonde white woods such as white birch combined with dark black caramelized-amber also mesmerize and weave through the rose notes like black woody thorned stems winding through a pink rose bush in full bloom at nightfall.

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 marianbendeth.com

Nick Gilbert


Nick
2018 has been quite a year, and perfume has provided one of the lights in the insanity - although once again there have been masses of new launches, and it’s been an impossible task to keep up with them, and thankfully there have been some beauties launching in the mass market and designer side of the industry. Nomade by Chloe, a fantastic modern take on the chypre, Declaration Parfum by Cartier, a dense and full-bodied twist on the original, and Eau de Givenchy, a luminous re-imagining of the classic eau de cologne. The entire H&M collection is worth sniffing, from the snapshots Yuzu, Lipstick and Pear, through their mid-prices of Above the Clouds, a delightful musk, to the “higher end” Santalum. The niche market continues to deliver excitement and intrigue, with novel accords and concepts standing out. Rake and Ruin by BeauFort London takes the classic Gin & Tonic and fills it with smoke, Powdered Veil by Miller Harris sheers out amber with ambrox and orchids, whilst Tokyo by Gallivant gave sharp green spice to incense.


Remember Me
But my favourite of the year has to be Remember Me by Jovoy. Cecile Zarokian is doing some fantastic work, and this gauzy green tea-chai-frangipani-cream pulls tea into different directions, and feels both novel and familiar at once. I’ve worn it a fair bit and enjoyed every moment.

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.

Persolaise


Persolaise
It’s difficult to decide which scent from my Top 10 to single out for particular attention here, so I’ll go for the one that I happen to be wearing as I type these words: Christine Nagel’s Cardamusc for Hermès. One of five compositions the brand added to their Hermessence collection this year (despite many thinking that it might not receive any new entries following the departure of Jean-Claude Ellena) Cardamusc uses an expertly-blended base of musks to stretch out and magnify the development of cardamom, complete with its unmistakable, hot-cold, citrusy, floral, woody leatheriness. Wearing it makes you feel like all of time has slowed down around you, accentuating every movement, every raised eyebrow and every enigmatic smile. A swoon that goes on forever.

Cardamusc

You can read more of Persolaise’s bests from 2018 on his blog

Persolaise is a multiple Jasmine Award winning writer and amateur perfumer with a lifelong interest in the world of fine fragrance. His blog is at persolaise.com

Rum


Rum
There was a time when this annual tradition was simply a repetition of newly discovered older creations. But not this year! I am happy to report that there were at least three standouts for me that have made their mark on 2018. In alphabetical order:

Bleu de Chanel Parfum


Bleu de Chanel parfum
With it’s now well-known theme, it was hard to see how this concept could be further developed. The out-of-the-shower fresh, “blue” scent was updated with tonka bean and woods. This made for an excellent year-round scent that I just couldn’t resist. The previous two iterations were unique in their own right, but it was the Parfum that dealt the best memories. With strong lasting power and the rest of the “Bleu” olfactory structure left otherwise intact, this was an immediate buy for me. No regrets thus far.

Eucris EdP by Geo F Trumper


Eucris EDP
The brand that got me interested in wet shaving with its Rose shave cream and soap had a Eucris EdT in circulation since the early 20th century. The EdP was an instant hit with me owing to its spicy opening and moss-overload throughout. Despite the woods overload, the scent exhibits a unique and addictive fresh-chypre trail. With lasting power well into the next day even with a brief spritz of juice, Eucris could easily top some of my favourites charts. Wouldn’t want to be without this one.

Tom Ford Ombré Leather

Yes, you read that correct. Please do not adjust your spectacles or computer screens. A Tom Ford fragrance has finally made it into my best of the year list. As you all probably know by now, I am not the biggest fan of the (modern) Tom Ford brand. That said, Ombré Leather did not disappoint. I often call this a tame version of Black Orchid, or what Black Orchid should have been. Ombré Leather leaves a wonderful spicy (cardamom) trail of leather and florals (jasmine). Strong and long lasting, a single spritz is all that it takes to get a full day out of it. Not bad given the reasonable price tag compared to the brand’s niche offerings. Definitely one for the night, it makes my best of the year list for doing just about everything right. I mean, even the bottle is cool.

Last but not least, it would be an oversight to not mention my continued love affair with vintage scents and some other classics. Some notable (re)discoveries this side of 2018 have included Dior’s Eau Sauvage, Tabac Original, CdG Zagorsk, Hermes Bel Ami, Lush’s Breath of God and MFK’s Baccarat Rouge 540. All worthy additions to my collection that will get much more use for years to come.

Here’s to a very good smelling 2019, full of wonderful new discoveries for each and every one of us.

Rum is one of the site’s moderators and is based in the UK

Viola Levy


Viola
So my top scent of 2018 was Hermès Cèdre Sambac by Christine Nagel.

It stars everyone's favourite aphrodisiac note - jasmine, blended with rich cedar, the result of which creates a luxurious leathery warmth, like curling up inside a giant Birkin bag. It’s seductive, but not in a ‘pretty-pretty’ way, more the effect a splash of olive brine adds to a dirty Martini, surprising and somewhat indecent but highly addictive all the same.

Happy New Year!

Freelance beauty editor Viola Levy has loved perfume since purchasing a treasured bottle of Impulse O2 aged 10 and later wearing Anaïs Anaïs to a friend's 13th birthday party. Formerly contributing beauty editor of Glass Magazine, her blog Scents and the City highlights her favourite fragrances and beloved London haunts

Zachary McConnell


Zachary
This year was a big year for me. Remember that Basenotes article on an MBA project with Sauvage and Luna Rossa Carbon? The MBA was successfully completed with a 3.61 GPA. In other words, honors. But the MBA was pretty brutal, though I always viewed it as short-term pain for long-term gain. My stress levels skyrocketed, I had nightmares before starting courses, and I had to devote most of my attention to classes. Fragrance had to take a back seat because of tuition payments, so I haven’t been able to try brand new releases that wow me.


Baccarat Rouge 540
But when in Charleston, South Carolina for a family wedding between classes, I discovered another great scent by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I was a fan of Aqua Universalis from the house, but I found an instant love: Baccarat Rouge 540. Instant love with the citrus/saffron/evernyl/ISO E Super combination, and I spread the word so much that my aunt and uncle (bless their heart) gifted me a surprise bottle. In fact, I think it will be my SOTD today.

Now, the whole evernyl/ISO E Super genre gets a bad reputation from Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce. The main mall here in Fort Wayne had such a cloud of Fierce that it reached into Barnes & Noble. (That A&F spot is now a P.F. Chang’s, emitting the scent of Asian cooking.) It dented my thoughts of evernyl/ISO E fragrances for a while. But between this, A&F being closed for several years, and Kilian’s Vodka on the Rocks, I think this genre has some great fragrances good enough for me to forget Fierce and how potent it was. (Maybe it’s time to retry Mont Blanc Legend?)

And I’ll take lettuce wraps in the mall over expensive ill-fitting tees any day.

Zachary McConnell 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.

Further Reading

Here’s a selection of other Best of 2018 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.

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    Comments

      • Kiliwia | 31st December 2018 17:08

        Need to add Jovoy Remember Me to the list of excellent 2018 releases. Chai tea, milk, vanilla and frangipani are the main notes to me. It's one my husband said he liked when I tried it, which is a rare event, it's definitely on my wish list.

      • hednic | 31st December 2018 17:12

        Interesting results and choices.

      • Kiliwia | 31st December 2018 17:13

        Hednic, do you have a favorite of 2018?

      • StellaDiverFlynn | 31st December 2018 17:23

        Thank you for this wonderful article combining diverse tastes and points of view! Claire's reflection on enjoying what we already have and a more rational approach to new perfumes especially resonates with me. I'm very sadden by the passing of Vero Kern, but I have hope that the torch will be carried on by the new generation of independent perfumers and brands.

        There are quite a few new releases, mostly from indie and artisan brands, that impressed me or resonated with me:

        - Jacques Fath L'Iris de Fath, in which a succulent peach shines upon plush orris butter and moss like coral sunshine on grey cloud, wonderful!

        - Ensar Oud No.1 Parfum, a powdery citrus-lavender opening similar to Jean Patou Ma Liberté leading to a sumptuous brocade of rose chypre, leather and oriental oud.

        - Areej Le Doré Indolis (a surprisingly enveloping and balmy green floral of galbanum and jasmine), Russian Musk (a comfortingly clean and fluffy musk adorned by vibrant bergamot, lime and orange blossom), Baikal Gris (a serene landscape of mossy meadow and sandalwood forest along a saline lake shore of ambergris), Malik Al Taif (a firework of taif rose followed by a sensual skin scent of musk and buttery oud), Koh-i-Noor (a savoury, buttery, even cheese-like blend of animalic musk, oud and white floral).

        - Bortnikoff Bonheur (an ambergris in a matrix of warm spices and elegant classic Fougère), Vétiver Nocturne (an elegant mossy white floral and sandalwood)

        - Francesca Bianchi The Lover's Tale, a dance of plush orris and rugged Cuir de Russie wrapped in an aura of honeyed jammy peach.

        - Hiram Green Hyde, the blackest tarry smoky opening revealing a sensual leather tanned with hay and cassie/mimosa.

        - Dusita Erawan (smoky black tea leaves transforming into a sunny countryside of hay and grass), Fleur de Lalita (a creamy panna cotta infused with exotic white floral essence on a banana leaf in a tropical resort)

        - Mona di Orio Santal Nabataea, a seesaw of the milky creamy and oily woody peanut shell-like aspects of sandalwood, savoury and authentic, but uplifted by unexpected fruity sparkles.

        - January Scent Project Burvuvu, an authentic cedar with its camphor-like opening and flour-like beige woodiness intact, caressed by tender rose petals and vivacious aromatic herbs.

        - Anatole Lebreton Cornaline, a bright fruity floral hiding a naughty civet-like undertone.

        - Blackbird Y06-S, a clever twist of jasmine that transforms it into banana milkshake and quietly burning rubbery electric wire, interesting and surprisingly wearable too.

        - The Rising Phoenix Perfumery Man Musk, not necessarily musky in the conventional sense, but a wild, untamed mossy chypre that evokes a mossy stone on a deserted beach.

        - Providence Perfumes Co. Lemon Liada, a lifelike, vibrant lemon with a refreshing neroli-like dry down, with a clarity not very common in an all-natural composition.

        Some of my favourite new discoveries of previously launched fragrances:

        - Jean Louis Scherrer, especially in vintage parfum and EDP concentration, a green chypre with an animalic costus heart that is almost like an ancestor of the brilliant and critically acclaimed Papillon Artisan Perfumes Dryad.

        - Marina Bacernilla Black Osmanthus, an osmanthus that emphasises natural absolute's leathery and smoky aspects. Those who mourn the discontinuation of Providence Osmanthus Oolong might want to check it out.

        - Strangelove NYC Silent The Sea, almost like an ambergris solinote in glory, with its saline, mineral aspects evoking a remote beach under a grey sky.

        - The Rising Phoenix Perfumery Musk Rose Attar, a majestically fruity and honeyed rose supported by slightly boozy and apple floral champaca, and a surprisingly clean, airy yet no less sensual or complex musk note, brilliant!

        - Bruno Acampora Iranzol (sweet earthy vegetal patchouli musk with a bit of cumin spice), Prima T (a slightly soapy green floral chypre time travelled to present day), Sballo (herbal earthy fougere mingling with a clean musk and masculine rose/geranium)

      • The Colognnoisseur | 1st January 2019 10:32

        Interesting read. Couldn't agree more with Rum's shout-out regarding Ombre Leather 2018.

      • teardrop | 1st January 2019 11:30

        Thanks to all of you for your contributions to a very interesting article!

        As usual l've tried less than a handful of this year's releases, but one that l did try, loved & bought was And the World is Yours by Dominique Ropion for A Lab on Fire. lt's a creamy, voluptuous & radiant orange blossom that makes me feel like a million bucks.

        Previous releases that made a big impression on me this year were:

        OSA by Note di Profumum - a beautiful ylang ylang done in the style of Carnal Flower.

        Khol de Bahrein by Stephane Humbert Lucas - like spending a day at a spa, wrapped in the most comforting, fluffiest robe imaginable, powdered & anointed with luxurious oils & unguents.

        l have a sample of Love Tuberose that l haven't tried yet, & it sounds like one l might love, so watch this space. And thanks to one of the comments here, Fleur de Lalita is now on my test list. :)

      • hednic | 1st January 2019 15:52

        That's real tough, but I'd probably say III by Le Monarque

      • Redneck Perfumisto | 1st January 2019 20:51

        I was with him on Bleu de Chanel Parfum. Love that stuff!

        Very happy to see Judith doing articles now! Also a fan of Coco Mad Intense. Curious about this Hyde everybody loves.

        Want to try Deauville, Meteorites, and the new Hermessences. Glad to see those are in the list.

      • Kiliwia | 1st January 2019 20:56

        I didn't know that one so had to look it up, it sounds like one I'd like.

      • The Colognnoisseur | 2nd January 2019 22:47

        In addition to Ombre Leather, I would have to add Banana Republic's Neroli Woods as another one of my favorite releases in 2018.

      • Mark_Trail | 3rd January 2019 06:44

        Interesting read. Now I really need to get a sample of Rake and Ruin ;)

        -Mark

      • ArnaudBoson | 3rd January 2019 07:33

        Interesting read. I'm also a fan of Ombré Leather and Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum Intense. I really look forward discovering Bleu de Chanel Parfum and Paris-Deauville following the comments of Rum and Kiliwia. My best discovery that really wowed me in 2018 was Ummagumma (2017) by Bruno Fazzolari.

      • Hazel5 | 5th January 2019 12:05

        This was a fun read, and I thoroughly enjoyed both the short and sweet lists (Grant), and the longer ones (ClaireV). I have added several new fragrances to my "must try" list. I'm excited to try Ombre Leather, Coco Mademoisille EdP Intense, Hyde, and the new Hermessences. Thanks!

      • thrilledchilled | 15th January 2019 17:01

        I found it very helpful. There are 50,000 fragrances out there and these sorts of notes, like this group, help narrow things down a bit and suggest new directions.

      • Kitty2Shoes | 15th January 2019 18:45

        Queen Street intrigues me, but not at a blind buy cost.