Best Perfumes of 2010: A Blogging Event

December has been a whirlwind for most of us, and I’m still reeling over how fast it went. Fortunately, there were moments of quiet calm this month, and several of them were spent revisiting perfumes from this last year. Throughout 2010, I enjoyed testing and reviewing an abundance of beautiful, newly released botanicals, and was very pleased that the natural perfumers themselves received a lot of positive press via magazines and blogs. With all my heart, I hope this trend continues as it is so important to support independently owned, artisanal businesses, especially when they are creating such gorgeous works of olfactory art.

The following are my favorite naturals from 2010, (as well as two non-naturals I fell for) but it’s truly just a sampling of what I enjoyed. I did decide to make a list though, so I have chosen the ones that will become lifetime loves.

Bed of Roses by Velvet & Sweet Pea. I don’t want to over-analyze this gorgeous fragrance too much, but Bed of Roses is like a study of contrasts. It’s vintage-esque but also modern. It’s powdery, but at the same time fresh and vivid. I give huge kudos to Laurie Stern for her expert hand and for creating such a dynamic and interesting rose perfume. Her skillful blending of aged sandalwood and cognac (vintage) with green mandarin and rose leaf absolute (fresh) allow different facets of rose to be present at the same moment. At its heart, Bed of Roses is a perfume that contains nine different rose distillations, so it’s richer and lusher than any other rose perfume I have experienced. Rose lovers, you will not be disappointed.

Mejica by A Perfume Organic. Mejica took me by surprise. I was not expecting anything new from this vanilla based fragrance as I thought I had pretty much smelled all that the bean could offer. Clearly, I was wrong. Mejica is smooth and spicy with cloves and hints of orange in the opening. It has a rich vanilla heart and a drydown made of sweet resinous musk. It’s been lovely to wear through the holiday season, and I eagerly anticipate what it will do on my skin when the days become warmer.

Bancha by DSH Perfumes. Bancha came along early in 2010 when it was still cold outside and I was craving a soothing balm. Bancha slipped into my life and provided just what I needed. Bancha is very grounding, and I liken it to scooping up limes or lemons that have fallen into dark, minty soil. Basil, rose and jasmine sambac add an herbacous floral quality while sandalwood and cedarwood round out its base, giving an aura of woods, like heat rising off a sauna’s walls. I loved Bancha last winter and have worn it frequently throughout the year. In addition to the perfume, I have the Bancha scented oil which is an exceptionally restorative balm for the skin and soul.

Mecca Balsam by La Via del Profumo. Mecca Balsam received rave reviews throughout the blogging world, and they were much deserved. Mecca Balsam revolves around labdanum, frankincense, benzoin and tobacco which suffuses the air with a gentle suggestion of incense. It never becomes overwhelming because it is so well-blended and subtle. Tobacco balances nicely with the labdanum, making it soft and cozy. For an all natural perfume, it has striking sillage with impressive staying power. Another excellent fragrance for the winter months.

Wildflowers by Aftelier Perfumes. Mandy Aftel released (at least) four fragrances this year, all of which I adore. But Wildflowers made this list because it’s centered around a note that for me, is crazy-making…in a good way. Hay. Yes, hay drives me a little wild. It gets up in my scalp and makes it tingle. Its scent generates the desire to frolic in a meadow of wildflowers and twirl until punch-drunk dizzy. Not all hay notes do this to me, just the ones that smell golden and have honey dripping from their stacks. Wildflowers is all about this kind of sweet, sunkissed hay and begins with a tart burst of lime and ends in a glowingly honeyed drydown.

GreenWitch by Roxana Illuminated Perfume.  GreenWitch is unquestionably a chypre as oakmoss, galbanum, violet leaves and rose petals greet you from its start. After a bit, it gets a nutty, salty air from vetiver and tonka with floral nuances like boronia and honeysuckle. Honeysuckle is not in the notes, so I’m guessing the mimosa, ylang ylang and beeswax create a hybrid honeysuckle accord on my skin, and I love it. It smells like a day at the beach when you are blessed with warm skin, salt in your hair, and suntan lotion that barely lingers on your body. Green Witch has incredible sillage and staying power which lengthens the fragrance’s evolution, and it might well be Roxana’s most multi-layered perfume yet.

The Purple Dress by Ayala Moriel Parfums.  Technically, The Purple Dress was released in December 2009, but for all intents and purposes, it was a 2010 perfume. The Purple Dress is a black tea based fragrance, steeped in a tannicy anise that is dark and smoky, moody and sexy, and has a gorgeous honeyed-wood drydown. Champaca is the featured flower in this beauty, but is tempered by the lightheartedness of magnolia and an easy touch of honey. According to Ayala’s website, this fragrance is a salute to Alexander Argov, who composed the famous Israeli song, The Purple Dress. You can hear an excerpt of it here and enjoy its evocative melancholic beauty, similar to its namesake perfume.

Guerlain Arsène Lupin Dandy. As I mentioned, there are two non-naturals that I fell in love with this year, and Guerlain’s Arsène Lupin Dandy is one of them. Dandy is being promoted as a masculine fragrance, and it does smell incredible on my husband, but it also smells pretty darn good on me. So let’s not cramp Dandy’s style with labels. Dandy begins with a nod to the legendary guerlainade brew which for me is sadly short-lived but for others, that might be preferred. Regardless, it grants Dandy an opening of distinctive familiarity that segues beautifully into a spicy, woodsy, violet tinged fragrance. Cardamom and an ultra-smooth sandalwood comprise the spicy woods while Dandy’s violets infuse a supple leather note that weaves its way through the fragrance’s entirety. The drydown finishes with a leathery-sandalwood-cedar musk that takes Dandy from its guerlainade opening to a modern finish.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversée du Bosphore. Here’s the other non-natural perfume I could not pass up, and it happens to be another violet-leather fragrance, albeit a very different one from Dandy. Traversée du Bosphore’s opening is full speed ahead leather and violet. It’s a dry leather, nearly heat cracked and edgy and you can feel the little violets struggle against the unyielding hide. The opening is interesting, but not entirely likable and it’s not until a softness emerges that I find myself succumbing to this uniquely compelling fragrance. Once the leather allows the dewy violet to soften its parched surface, it becomes more full and welcoming. The heart continues to expand upon the iris-leather accord but incorporates a gourmand aspect which on my skin is a delicious vanilla-almond confection. It’s quite an evolution when one considers Traversée du Bosphore’s arid beginning evolving into a gentle, sugared and musky rose at the drydown.

Don’t forget to visit the other participating blogs. I can’t wait to read what their favorites have been!


41 thoughts on “Best Perfumes of 2010: A Blogging Event

  1. Thanks very much for your run-down, and for hosting this little party. A very happy new year to you.

    Now I need to go away and find all these wonderful perfumes people have been including on their lists…

  2. thank- you very much for arranging this event- I’ve really enjoyed it- although I’ve already realised from reading other people’s posts that I’ve forgotten about 5 things I wanted to write about of course!

    Wishing you all the ver best for 2011 x

    1. I know the feeling! Sometimes there’s not enough room in a post, or in the brain, right?

      Wishing you a wonderful 2011 🙂

  3. Trish, once more thank you for inviting me.
    I love your list because it features so many things I need to try (except Bancha, I have that and I absolutely love it).

    Happy New Year!

  4. I am very excited about the natural, botanical perfumes being produced, and the increased interest in them. I really like your list and will try to sample them as time goes on. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog this year and look forward to whatever 2011 may bring. Warmest regards and best wishes for the New Year!

    1. I’m glad you get the sense that interest in natural has increased, I definitely feel that way and am thrilled 🙂

      Thank you so much for the kind words Elizabeth, I am so happy you enjoy Scent Hive.

      Happy New Year!

    1. Hi Marina,
      There’s something really special about Wildflowers, and from Mandy’s comment below I imagine it’s due to the aged hay absolute she used…so lovely!


  5. Thank you for choosing Wildflowers for your list. This is such an honor and means so much to me. The hay that I use in Wildflowers is aged (don’t know for how many years) that I got when I was able to buy some old absolutes from a perfumer’s collection. It has a very special quality to it.

    1. Mandy,
      I am so glad you found your way here for this post. Candide and Memento were vying for the list as well as I love those too. I decided at save Memento for its own review since it’s so incredibly unique 😉

      Happy New Year to you!

  6. Trish, what a great selection of interesting, unusual fragrances. You not only manage to find perfumes off the beaten track, but also to present them in an interesting way. Always enjoyable to read! This list, I am printing out for reference, because it has many fragrance brands I have not tried before. I will start 2011 by sampling some more natural perfumes. 🙂 Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your generous words Victoria. Your blog is always a source of great inspiration to me, so it really means a lot.

      I hope you have a beautiful new year! 😀


  7. Great list! I really liked Bancha too, I found it very difficult to select only a few favorites from all the great naturals out there this year.

    From your description I really must try Wildflowers soon -I adore hay notes!

  8. A wonderful selection! I love all of the ones that I’ve tried and can’t wait to try the others. I really want to try Roxanna GreenWitch. It sounds like something that I’d love.
    Happy New Year!

  9. Trish,
    First off heartfelt gratitude to you for this blog, your dedication to the natural world and for including me in this end of the year feast. I am thrilled that GreenWitch was selected to be here, thank you!
    Now…that Mecca Balsam has me drooling, all those notes together sound like pure heaven for my taste preference.

    1. Roxana,

      Have you tried Mecca Balsam yet? I would be happy to send you a sample. I know how much you adore labdanum, and I think you’d be over the moon for this one! Let me know 🙂

      Happy New Year,

  10. Hi Trish,
    Wow! Thank you so much for including Bed of Roses in your wonderful list!
    Scent Hive is awesome you are to be commended for spreading the word about this magical world of natural perfume!

    Best wishes for the New Year to all!

  11. Thanks for hosting the party, Trish. Clearly, I am not trying enough naturals. They’re the hardest for me to get hold of where I am and I think due to that and a silly stigma attached to them (the myth, for instance, that all uniformly lack persistence and projection) I haven’t really sought them out. I’m embarrassed to say that but there it is. It becomes that much more important to read about them, like this, so my eyes can be opened. Happy New Year. xb

    1. Thank you for participating Brian!

      As far as naturals go, they definitely do not have the sillage and staying power of conventional perfumes. But, like you mentioned, there is a myth that they don’t last at all. For some, that is true, but I have found that most last a good 3-6 hours, but of course will wear very close to the skin. And there are some that last even longer.

      Since I wear mostly natural perfumes now, when I reach for one with synthetics, I have to stop and think, “Do I want to have this on my skin for 12+ hours, or even until the next day?”

      I’d be happy to send you some samples of my favorites if you’d like! 🙂


  12. Thank you Trish for hosting this fun (and informative) event 🙂 Being it is my first year in the fragrance writing world I was honored to be part of it all and am learning so much from you officionados! I love your list- there’s a couple I have not tried but will! thanks again X Monica, Ca Fleure Bon

    1. Monica, I am so glad you were able to join in! What a treat to read about your favorites.

      Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

  13. Trishbyrd-
    Absolutely yearning to try GreenWitch (am also reading, amongst 20 other titles, Wicked so the nomenclature is a perfect match), Wildflowers (am also in love with their cousin, Elderflower aka St. Germain with champagne as an aperitif), and the Purple Dress (I have one…).

    Mecca Balsam also intrigues greatly. Hope you and boys are magnifique. xoox duVergne

    1. duV,
      Yikes! just getting to this comment now….Green Witch and Mecca Balsam are right up your alley. Hope you get to sniff them someday 🙂


  14. I came to your blog “thanks to Google” (I was looking for information on organic perfume), and I really like the photo of this article. The idea to use an awele board to put some dried flowers and scents is really great ! I’m going to look for one tomorrow !

    1. I’m so glad you found Scent Hive! The photo is by Roxana Villa, a wonderful artist and perfumer. She is one you should definitely check out in your quest for natural perfumes!


  15. What a delicious website. I was soooo happy to see you include Laurie Stern’s, “Bed of Roses” perfume. O what I wouldn’t give…her fragrances are so exquisite, I feel like one of her cats, namesakes to her label, Velvet and Sweetpea – with a ball of the finest catnip when smelling her perfumes. Just gorgeous. Please enter me in the Valentine giveaway for the Bed of Roses perfume and keep up the good work. I love your site!

    1. Hi Deborah,
      The giveaway won’t be posted until Jan. 28th. But I am so glad you found and have been enjoying my blog 🙂

      Be sure to come back !!

  16. OK, I could not resist, so I signed up for the blog – there is so much information here, and so beautifully put together, that I am totally wowed! I have to try out some of the recommended mascaras, and could spent hours perusing all the other recommendations here. And ooooh, I would just LOVE LOVE LOVE to try Vamp à NY, I Love Les Carottes and Love Coco, so please don’t leave me out of this awesome offer of sample sets. Laurie Stern mentioned it in her latest email to those of us devoted to her website and the exquisite perfumes she makes. I can’t wait to try them! I hesitate to leave my address here for anyone to see, so if you’d be so kind as to let me know what I should do next, I’ll be forever grateful . . . and many thanks.

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