Best of 2011: A Blogging Event.


Another year is coming to a close, so it’s time to wrap it up with a Best of 2011 list. Truthfully, there were gobs of fabulous releases this year, particularly in the natural fragrance realm, which makes me giddy and thrilled for all those indie artists devoted to the alchemy of botanical perfume. In the interest of keeping your attention- and since long lists are rarely a pleasure to read through- I’ve distilled my Best Of list to 10.

Best Perfumes:
Muguet de Mai by DSH Perfumes. When I asked Dawn Spencer Hurwitz if she would be interested in creating an all natural muguet scent for a May Day blogging event, I had no idea such a stunningly beautiful, complex, and true-to-life lily of the valley perfume would emerge. Muguet de Mai is like turning over a rain soaked tree branch in the forest to find a protected cluster of freshly blooming lily of the valley, densely floral while teeming with the fecundity of the soil’s riches. Muguet de Mai is a marvel and I can’t thank Dawn enough for taking me up on my offer, and for creating my favorite perfume of the year. Muguet de Mai is available at DSH Perfumes, $125 for 5ml antique parfum presentation. 

To Bee by Roxana Illuminated Perfume. The scent of beeswax, whether it’s burning in a candle or suffusing the skin as a perfume, is one of those aromas that I find instantly soothing. Its honeyed and resinous warmth calms my nerves and slows my breath. To Bee achieves this effect beautifully and is enhanced by many essences, but most notably tonka, ambrette and oud. Even though To Bee is lovely on a cold wintery eve, it’s truly a seasonless scent. I first discovered To Bee in the heat of July when summer’s warmth amplified its delightfully ambery sweetness.  To Bee is available in solid or liquid perfume at Roxana’s etsy shop. I particularly love the solid perfume locket for $30.

Dimanche EDP by Strange Invisible Perfumes. Dimanche was first released as a limited edition parfum in 2010, but in early 2011, it was made available in EDP concentration. The EDP is also limited edition, but the Strange Invisible Perfumes boutique still has a small quantity in stock. Dimanche opens with a cool and crisp iris, then proceeds to warm-up in the middle with hay, rose, and honey. A not-too-sweet amber dusted with cocoa awaits in the drydown, making for an olfactory experience that is multi-layered, compelling and alluring. Dimanche EDP is available only via the SIP Boutique. $270 for 50ml. Please call  310.314.1505 for phone orders. 

Orcas by Ayala Moriel Parfums. Orcas is a fragrance that sweeps you off your feet and carries you along the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Within Orcas, you will discover spruce, moss, rosemary and seaweed that are herbaceous and invigorating. Violet leaf and cedar are also in this seafaring perfume which cast complementing green and woody tones. Wearing Orcas this winter has me longing for a summer drive along the northernmost parts of Highway 101. It’s a little melancholy since those months feel very far away, but put on some Nick Drake and a dabbing of Orcas, and wallow in its wistful beauty. Orcas is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums, $120 for 15ml splash bottle.

Cologne du Maghreb by Tauer Perfumes. I recently reviewed Andy Tauer’s all natural cologne a few weeks ago, but it is so remarkable, that I can’t help but mention it again so soon, as it really is one of the Best of 2011. I love how CdM’s deliciously vibrant citrus notes are savored from its opening notes to the drydown. Orange blossom and cedar are then enjoyed in the middle stage of CdM’s development, and the drydown is more than worth waiting for. To quote my review, “… in the end, this classically styled cologne morphs into an amber fragrance replete with sweet yet animalic labdanum that still continues to be green and citrusy-floral. It’s really amazing and beautiful and appropriate for both men and women.” Cologne du Maghreb is available exclusively at Indiescents. $65 for 50ml atomizer flacon.

Best Skincare, High-End and Luxurious:
I hand this award to Tammy Fender without a moment’s hesitation. Her eponymous skincare line was launched several years ago, but it’s a 2011 find for me, so on this list it goes. The product that I am most crazy about and would gladly shell out 95 clams for, is the Antioxidant Creme with Neroli & Orange. Click on the link and you’ll find the full list of ingredients that reads like a juice bar menu, as well as information on highlighted ingredients like algae extract and carrot seed. I am totally addicted to the glorious neroli scent of this facial moisturizer. It smells just like the orange blossom seasons I remember from my childhood, and it sends me into a relaxing sleep. The consistency is a cream-gel hybrid that feels nourishing as it rapidly absorbs into the skin. I use this at night as I don’t want to use my little jar of precious up too quickly, but if I had my druthers, I’d use it day and night. Tammy Fender Antioxidant Creme is available at her website, $95 for 1.9oz glass jar.

I am also loving the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk which is rich and thick and possesses an aromatic lavender scent that vacillates between sweet and herbal. I know lavender can be an irritant to some, so if that’s the case, this cleansing milk is not for you. As for me, I love lavender and my skin loves it as well, so I slather it on, massage it in, and let it cleanse, which it does very well. Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk is available at her website, $55 for 6.7oz glass pump bottle.

Best Skincare, Drugstore Deal:
Burt’s Bees has come out with a really nice line of sensitive skincare that’s worth attention. I have the Sensitive Facial Cleanser and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream and am highly impressed with both. The cleanser is similar in consistency to the Tammy Fender Cleansing Milk, albeit without the high price tag or the lavender scent. But, the ingredients are just shy of being all natural (99%), and some of the “natural ingredients” are highly processed and nowhere near the food grade, organic quality of Tammy Fender’s line. Having said that, $10 is a much more accessible price point and it works great. Available at Burt’s Bees, $10 for 6 oz.

The Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream does a nice job of moisturizing given its lightweight formula. Like the Cleansing Cream, it’s 99% natural- not at the Tammy Fender level of natural- but for $15, you get a lovely cream that wears well under powder or liquid foundation, and has been keeping my skin soft even in this winter weather. Soothing aloe, shea butter and moisturizing rice extract provide efficacious hydration, and is fragrance free. It’s available at Burt’s Bees, $15 for a 1.8 oz pump.

Best Body Moisturizer:
Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir by Aftelier Perfumes. Scent Hive readers might remember that I included this gem in my Holiday Gift Guide. Now it’s making an appearance on this list because not only does it make a great gift, it also happens to be my favorite body oil of the year. (Body oils are my preferred mode of skin hydration, BTW). So why do I love this one so much? It’s that quirky mix of notes, pear, fir and coffee, that excites my senses as this trio of fruity, balsamic, and earthy essences play against each other in a truly unique way. The luscious blend of fractionated coconut and jojoba oils provide superb hydration and act as excellent carriers for the botanical essences. I wish my sample wasn’t tapped out as I am dying to use it in my hair since it’s also billed as a hair elixir. I guess that means my shopping cart over at might be getting some action real soon. Aftelier’s Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil and Hair Elixir is available at, $40 for a 3.5 oz glass pump bottle.

Please visit the blogs listed below as they are also sharing their “Best of 2011” picks. I can’t wait to see what they favored this year!

Another Perfume Blog
DSH Notebook
Perfume Shrine
Smelly Blog
The Non Blonde

Best of 2011 image by Roxana of Illuminated Perfume


22 thoughts on “Best of 2011: A Blogging Event.

  1. What a wonderful list! I’m dearly tempted by the SIP because apparently I don’t have enough dry iris perfumes (can’t even keep a straight face while typing this).

    Mandy’s oils are one of the best beauty products of the year. I can’t get enough of Saffron & Chocolate.

    Happy New Year, my friend. So happy to know you and participate and this project.

    1. Gaia,

      I would love to send you a sample of Dimanche just to read your thoughts! Of course you need another dry iris…..of course!!

      Big hugs to you my dear,

  2. Trish, I love reading these lists you so thoughtfully put together, so many great brands and items to try!
    One thousand scented grateful kisses to you for including To Bee here…
    from my woodland garden where the bees are currently feasting on rosemary blossoms.
    ~ Roxana

  3. Your lists are always my favorite because I always find some new things to try. I also love Aftelier Pear, Fir & Coffee body oil and Roxana’s To Bee, and now I need to try the Tammy Fender line. I’ve recently delved into Decleor skin care, and am really enjoying the sensory experience of the products.

    1. Thank you for those kind words Carrie, that means a lot!
      Tammy Fender’s line is really lovely. Luxurious and effective, what more could you want? If you like neroli, the Antioxidant Creme is a must-try.

      All the best in the new year!

  4. Your description of Muguet de Mai has me practically running to Dawn’s website for a sample. It sounds beautiful. Thanks for organizing this group blog, and best wishes for 2012!

    1. There really are no words to describe how amazing Dawn’s MdM is. I attempted it, but there’s no way I can do it justice. I’d be happy to send you a smidge if you promise to give it the ole college try yourself 😉

      I do need to send you those MCMC samples, so it would be no problem. I just need your new addy!


  5. Trish,
    Oh, where can I start to thank you for the joy you’ve helped create for ME with the invitation to create for the May Day / Muguet project? And to have Muguet de Mai be on your Best of 2011 list is just the icing on the cake for me. Thank you so very much for honoring me this way. 🙂 I think that I have to try Roxanna’s To Bee (as I have a total bee fetish) and you make it sound just so luscious and lovely.
    Thank you, as well, for organizing this blog event… I just love being a part of it.
    Blessings and delights for 2012! oxox, Dawn

    1. I consider my bottle of MdM as one of the special gems in my perfume collection. Thank you for creating it.

      And yes, you should most definitely give Roxana’s To Bee a try! It’s a keeper 😉


  6. Wow Trish! Thank you so much for choosing my Pear, Fir and Coffee Body Oil & Hair Elixir for your Best of 2011! I love your work and am deeply honored to be one of your favorites. I appreciate your encouragement so much – it helps me stay true to my aesthetic and make the fragrances that mean the most to me. Your friendship has helped make this a wonderful year for me!
    xo Mandy

    1. Your kind words (and your lovely creations) hold a special place in my heart Mandy.

      Lots of love to you in the new year.

  7. Doesn’t Aftelier’s body oil make you wanna do something dirty? Ok, maybe it’s just me. But, I concur with Tammy Fender. It was her Bulgarian Body Oil that inspired my musings. Love, love her vibe & branding. Cannot wait to read up on the fragrance suggestions…I’m need to create a new wardrobe for 2012!!!

    1. Indeed! Get dirty so then you can get clean, and start the body oil ritual all over again! 😉

      And man oh man am I ever crazy for the Tammy Fender goods. You’ve now got me lemming that Bulgarian Body Oil. On the wishlist it goes!!

  8. What a wonderful list, Trish! There are several that I need to put on my must-try list. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Mandy’s face elixirs ( the Rose one and the new Wild Orange one) – now I need to try the Pear, Fir and Coffee body elixir- I am intrigued by the combination of notes. I tried Orcas recently too and found it very interesting and lovely- Ayala seems to have a very ‘intricate’ style that I enjoyed very much in Orcas. I need to smell Colonel du Maghreb, To Bee and Muguet de Mai.

    Happy New Year to you too!

    1. Intricate is a really good way of describing Ayala’s perfumes. Her olfactory aesthetic appeals to me on so many levels, but especially how well she blends so many beautiful, and sometimes seemingly divergent notes.
      Mandy is tapped into that as well. Pear, fir and coffee?? You bet!

      Happy New Year and thanks for being a consistent and very welcome voice here on Scent Hive.


  9. First off, thanks for initiating the project and organising us. I have been so very busy this year, the usual recap sounded a Sisyphean task by itself.

    Secondly, I’m liking the skincare recs which sound very tempting indeed. Neroli day cream with anti-oxidants? Did I read this right? Sounds delicious! (I love neroli).

    Last but not least, a merry 2012! 🙂

    1. Elena,

      The Tammy Fender antioxidant creme is as good as it sounds. I’m smitten 😉

      Lots of love and all the best in the new year,

  10. Trish, what a wonderful list! Some of them are among my top contenders too, although I have yet to smell Cologne de Maghreb. Muguet de Mai is a stunner and I loved To Bee as well

    I did not know that Burt’s Bees had a sensitive skin line, so I must try that soon. Sounds like just what I need for winter!

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