The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – of 2010

Time for the nostalgia fit that is…the end is nigh! The end of 2010, the end of another year, yet another drip down the hourglass of the days of our lives. You will see it on virtually every other blog, the best, the worst, the fantabulous and the craptacular lists of things we loved, things we hated and things we hated to love and loved to hate.

Since this is me and I am nothing if not different, I decided to veer off in a different direction. Below, you’ll find my own list of things I loved and loathed in 2010, why I loved – or loathed – them, and what I’ll be looking forward to in 2011. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O’Hara used to say, Saturday is another year, and when all is said and done, hope springs eternal and what lies ahead can only be an improvement on all I left behind.

The Best Reason To Be A Perfumoholic For Life:
The joy of new discoveries. Good, bad, terrible or indifferent, there’s always something New! Improved! Spectacular! Or…spectacularly over-hyped to be discovered, another blog that makes me think, laugh and try to track something down from my remote corner of BFE Planet Earth, another scent, another perfume, another way to slay the unsuspecting! How can that be bad?

The Worst Reason It Sucks To Be A Perfumoholic:
So many bottles, so little cash. So many difficult choices. The entire Amouage line, which I’m dying to try and haven’t…yet. On the upside, maybe that’s a good thing? Would there be anything worse than to fall in love – requited, if I’m lucky – and then not be able to afford it?

Best New Launch of 2010:
It was love at first sniff. The kind that made me slightly uneasy, the kind I’m not sure I should do, the kind of woman I’m not sure I am, but I don’t care, I don’t care, I want to throw all caution to the winds of fortune and fling myself right in the hurricane center path that is…Boxeuses, by Serge Lutens. The Serge Lutens line is no stranger to the Sex in a Bottle concept (which is another blog right there!), but Boxeuses is so totally, utterly not me. Yet it is. Totally. Utterly. Me. In leather and lace, being ever so nicely naughty…Some day, these plummy, smoky, leathery lady combatants will be mine. I shall henceforth leave a wake of devastating femme fatalities in my wake. Gentlemen, take note. Or take cover, your choice! I pack a punch, it will be fatal and resistance WILL be…futile!

Most Over-Hyped Launch of 2010:
Here’s something I don’t understand. You are a designer with a certain reputation for…iconoclasm, let’s say. In the clothes you once designed, in the perfumes that you launched, including the one that spawned a million imitators and created whole new trends in perfume. They love ‘em or they loathe ‘em, but they are not…indifferent. Or if they are, they certainly don’t blog about them! So then…time for the next surprise to spring upon an unsuspecting world – time to define…woman, bottled. Good luck with that one. They’re still digging for the last guy who tried. You then settle down with your perfumer (Fabrice Pellegrin) and you come up with…“Womanity”. The name is great, the bottle amazing in its sheer H.R. Giger-esque weirdness, but a name like that delivers certain expectations, expectations the juice alas did not deliver. What surprised me most is that it was so unisex. I could well imagine this on a whole slew of exes – the clean-cut, not-too outré gentlemen I used to go for. Sweet, citrusy fig. Salt/Caviar. It coulda been a contender, yet I am not…contented. For shame, Monsieur Mugler. Back to the drawing board for you. Now. Woman is spelled f-e-m-a-l-e. Write it down one hundred times on the blackboard. And start over. You gave us Angel. And Alien. You can do better. Prove it!

Most Unintentionally Hilarious Perfume Ad:
Marc Jacobs ‘Bang’.
Dude, I get it. You’re hot. Tattoos and all, and I like tats. You are not, however, channeling the immortal Yves Saint Laurent in that ad. He did it first – and also, I have to say, best, by applying a certain modicum of restraint and his own slightly geeky allure. On the other hand, who says it never pays to advertise? And with a name like ‘Bang’…I’d wipe the smirk off my face, but it refuses to budge…

Worst Flanker In Existence, As Well As A Terrible Idea, Terribly Executed:
YSL Parisienne. If the world had never known the violet-rose splendor that was ‘Paris’, this would not have been quite so painful. Alas, we did. Alas, it was. The murder/reformulation of the original ‘Paris’ was quite bad enough, but ‘Parisienne’ added insult to injury and rubbed salt in it, too.

Best Perfume Note I (Re)Discovered:
Incense. Oh, how I love thee. ‘Magie Noire’ was my gateway drug into all things smoky and fiery, but thankfully, it didn’t stop there. Andy Tauer’s ‘Incense Extreme’, Via del Profumo’s ‘Mecca Balsam’, CDG ‘Zagorsk’ and ‘Avignon’, Lutens’ ‘Encens et Lavande’ or just a few smoldering nuggets of real Omani divinity, spreading peace and contemplation and goodwill towards humanity – there’s no such thing as too much incense. It didn’t help I wrote a Faustian tale and gave the Devil an incense-heavy, heady scent which totally ruined my protagonist – for life. And that scent has yet to be created. So, darling Andy, I have this idea…

Most Overdone Perfume Notes:
Anything berry-fruity aligned with anything patchouli. I. Am. Not. A. Twenty/Teenie Demographic. I. Am. A. Woman. Damn. It. Read. This. Roar. Why do perfumers – most of them at any rate – appreciate us so little, when we have loved you so long? And….Ambroxan. Skin. Amber. Floral. All in one handy combo that’s added to everything and clean musk, and makes me want to hurl bricks at glass facades, starting with Juliette Has A Gun. JHAG gave me the dearly beloved dark red-velvet Goth rose that is ‘Lady Vengeance’, so ‘Not A Perfume’ happened because…why? It’s ‘Not A Perfume’ I’d ever buy.

Best Idea In The Perfume World, Ever:
Outlaw perfumes! All-natural, all artisanal perfumes created with the kind of dedication, love and care that perfumers used to have, but in this day and age of marketing brief, sadly no longer do. (For one, it doesn’t pay.) An extended middle finger (bear with me and my shady past as a punk, please) to IFRA regulations and restrictions. Sock it to me with oakmoss, people! I promise to claim full responsibility for any adverse effects, but I suspect only my credit card will break out in hives – or my bank manager.

Best Reason To Become A Perfume Blogger:
I have opinions and I’m not afraid to write about them. I have a lot to learn and I’m not afraid to learn. I love new discoveries, new words, new worlds, new connections and new friends with a common passion. How can that be bad? It gets even better. Dimitri of ‘Sorcery of Scent’ was courteous enough to tell me where to go for niche in my perfume desert. Bless you, Dimitri – and bless you, my fellow perfumistas, bloggers and readers! – for proving the thrills, the spills and the perils of living dangerously – through our noses!

Here’s to the many discoveries we have yet to try, to ponder, to discuss and to argue about – in 2011!

16 thoughts on “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – of 2010

  1. Wow! I agree so much with many of your comments! Magie Noire, yes! Outlaw…stupid.

    Blogging. lovely….. and not so much cash for many many bottles to try! Last Amouage line.. absolutely agree!

    I am thinking of doing something similar on my blog in Spanish.

    Best always!
    Vintage lady

  2. Please do! And let me know about any great discoveries you make – or have made! There shall be more fun ahead – and a brand new year to argue about them, too!

  3. Great List! There are so many points that I want to chat about (coffee?), but your Womanity blast nearly knocked me off my wheely-chair. I thought about mentioning it in my own post, but was at a total loss for words.
    The day I tried it I remember thinking, “What? You've got to be kidding me.”
    Of course, I did try it from the crappy free sample that the company sent me, and perhaps it needs to be sprayed to be appreciated… or perhaps not 😉

  4. Coffee sounds like a heavenly idea, but there would be certain logistical complications, I'm afraid! I'm glad you liked this list! I could have gone on – and on – but decided to pare it down to a few salient and hopefully pertinent points.

    Dee, I would be thrilled if anyone mentioned me anywhere – and I'm glad you liked my blast – fit just didn't…fit – of pique over Womanity, surely one of this year's finest WTF??? moments. Don't spray it. Ever. You might live to regret it if you do! (I did, and it was…regret at first sniff!) Since coffee is out of the question, please do feel free to discuss anything and/or everything right here, or through my email, if you prefer! Discussion is at least half the fun, right?

  5. The biggest problem today is that the designers have forgotten that REAL females want to look and smell like a REAL FEMALE!

    I don't want to look unisex in the boardroom to be taken seriously…come on this is not the 1960s anymore, I am Woman I want to Smell like one. If your Male Ego can not stand to lose on the Playground.

    Who cares?

    I'm not going to pander to it to make you feel better. Man Up and get over it dude. I can make the Bacon, Bring it home and cook it too….I'm not saying your not useful and I don't appreciate your being a Man. But come on to many Boys parading as Men out in the World give the Real Men bad names.

    I want to be appreciated as a Woman, I want to look like one, smell like one. I don't want to smell like a piece of candy or fruit so that your idea of a little girl who swoons over your every word fantasy is met. I'm not twenty any more. I am a grown woman with thoughts of my own, with strengths and scars of a life lived stands before you.

    I want a scent that can stand with me in strength, in soft moments, in quiet moments and let me still shout at the world moments. I want a scent that announces a Woman and not a girl has entered the room, you better sit up and take notice.

    I'm not about to fight like a bitch in heat to get your attention dude, the little girls do that. If you want something like this, you better have the balls to approach me. And trust me, there are Real Men who will and do.

    I am not a gay man trying to look like a straight woman, I don't want to smell like one. I don't want a politically correct scent…I'm not a fashion model trying to look like a human skeleton so that the clothes have no shape as they move down the runway. I don't want that image brought up when you get a whiff of me. I am not Paris Hilton or those other Hollywood types of Females that you have been pandering too.

    I have parts that jiggle and wriggle, I have breasts that are REAL, nothing plastic here, I am no Barbie Doll. I don't want to smell like one.

    So for the upcoming year of 2011…Can you Designers of the Fragrance get your heads out of your rumps, and Design a Mans Scent for those of our Brothers that will make me stop in my tracks and say HELLO…and can you design a few scents that the moment I open the bottle just a whiff of it will announce “Here cometh a Real Female”

  6. Vintage Lady – I did indeed check out your blog, and although I don't speak Spanish, I know just enough to get in trouble! 😉 About 'Womanity', well–

    As the saying goes…One woman's Obsession is another woman's Poison! If you like it, love it, can't get enough of it – more power to you! It is…not for me, and not for lack of trying.

    I blush to say just how much I like 'Alien' – intergalactic sillage and all! But of course, you can keep a secret, right? 😉

  7. Ok, nowadays there is a tendancy to create unisex fragrances. The thing is that I like feeling a lady, and I also at times can say I like a man´s perfume on my wrist after it has almost evaporated. But why? Because it is then that I feel the resines, I smell the incense… just like when it happens with women´s perfumes. I used to love florals. Now I like them very much when they are also very exotic. Womanity is my main perfume as for what it makes me feel, not a woman or a man or unixex, I just like it. But as I say, I am a new born, my blog is new, I am discovering and If you knew the list of scents I want to try, that would make you see that my option is not too accurate on the first line, since I have to try and try and test so many many fragrances I would not end here naming them. So I take it as it is, but it is not MY favorite, my favorite is an old scent that is not made anymore, alas. What I have seen is that some men in some countries don´t wear unixex perfumes, they wear a lady perfume and sincerely, I know they are not gay. So about opinions, there are many. I still say that I miss old perfumes and please know that my olfactory way is short. So to say Womanity is my best try. And I was really reluctant because I don´t like the big deployments of marketing at all. Womanity is Not the best in a year. But the one I chose for these four months of a fragrance made in 2010. I didn´t have the option to try so many I see on blogs. Oh I wish I did! Alien is good, shh. xoxox

  8. T: Oh, I linked to your post from my blog, because you deserve mentioning! I meant that I was going to talk about how dreadful I find Womanity in my 2010 wrap-up, but didn't have the words.

    But since you've captured it perfectly, nothing more needs be said! LOL.

    Yes, I figured coffee might presents some… geographical limitations, but let's enter the realm of fantasy for a moment: all my favorite bloggers & commenters are gathered in one coffee house (or tea house, or chocolatier) for a chat, the chocolate has no calories, and we all possess an unlimited perfume spending budget.

    That was fun.

  9. I love the concept of outlaw perfumes as well! I hope the big fragrance execs are listensing, and I hope they hear your “I am a woman” roar as well. We need some true grit in the perfume industry. (And I have to try Magie Noir. Is it only vintage new? )

  10. @Vintage Lady: I completely agree that all gender distinctions are completely irrelevant – who even cares any more, apart from the companies who make them? There are masculines I adore on men and the ones I adore to wear myself, but beauty is as beauty does (as I wrote in the blog post 'Gender Benders'), and if you like it, love it, can't live without it – wear it! We learn as we go and we learn as we grow!

    @ Dee: Uuuuh, what a concept. An unlimited budget, and all of us together in one room! Can you imagine the wall of sillage – and the chocolate? I certainly can!

    @kjanicki: We need a counterpoint to these regulations that won't allow us to make our own decisions. I've sworn an oath that next year will be the year I look much further into natural perfumery, and I plan to start with Via Del Profumo, which should keep me occupied for a while – there's so much to choose!

    About Magie Noire: Here's where you need to be careful. The original – vintage, I suppose you'd say – has been reformulated and even redesigned, bottle-wise. Beware the square bottle with the gold cap, and look for the oblong, flat EDT with the black cap. It can be found here and there, with a little luck. I don't know what I'll do once my own vintage goes. Cry, probably! I dearly wish they'd make it properly again – it's one of the unforgettables. There's nothing else like it.

  11. Wonderful list! I absolutely agree with most of your points. May I join you in the blogger café? It sounds like a great idea, especially the unlimited spending budget 😉 All the best for you in the coming year!

  12. Olfactoria – of course you can join us! I would be mortally offended if you didn't! 😉 Glad you liked my list – alas, I liked yours too, but I didn't have enough time for a comment – there's another blog entry due…any minute now…

  13. I am sorely tempted by your challenge to create the incense-heavy scent of the devil in your story! Maybe we can even get Andy Tauer and some others to participate, and start a contest. Let's talk about it over electronic coffee.

    Now I have to read the whole novel.

  14. A contest for the Devil's scent! Squeeee! That would surely be something!

    I seem to remember a few years back, there was a line by Damien Bash, I believe, called Lucifer 1-4. I never did get a chance to try them, but the memory must have been lurking somewhere in my brain, for the name if nothing else.

    I imagined something nearly all base (or all bass, given the rock'n'roll context). Labdanum for that animalic whiff of goat. (Surely the Devil would have a hint of goat?;-) ) Frankincense, although I'm not sure whether it should be Omani or Somali incense, Somali incense seemed slightly darker to my nose. Bitter – opopanax, maybe, for a dark-green tinge, along with myrrh. Cinnamon leaf – as opposed to cinnamon bark, because it's so evocative, at least to me, and a healthy dose of galbanum (one of my favorite notes in any perfume) for even more resinous devastation?

    Ah, what a monster I have wrought…I dare anyone to read that list of notes and not drool! 😉

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