There has been an abundance of good fragrance this year and I tell you, it’s been somewhat of a hard slog to put together a reasonably short list of the very best – there simply was so much goodness to consider!
So what have we seen, what have been the trends? Well, for me, 2019 has been a year of striking variety. We’ve seen brand new pillar fragrances from huge brands like YSL – fragrances that straddle the gender barriers. We’ve also seen surprising contrasts, intriguing takes on familiar themes and much, much more. But whittle down we must, so here are eight of my favourite fragrances from 2019!
#1 Mon Guerlain Intense
Mon Guerlain is a fantastic perfume – an enveloping wave of silk scented with caramel, lavender and musk. It’s a gourmand with sheerness and contrast, making for a scent so easy to wear it cannot help but become your signature scent. This year, GUERLAIN continued the Mon Guerlain story with Mon Guerlain Intense, a richer and more decadent version that turned the original from sheer gourmand to a ‘no holds barred’ gourmand. The Intense version opens with a pronounced cherry facet, coating the sugary-lavender heart in a glossy sheen before melting into a warming blanket of amber. It is strikingly beautiful and a great example of GUERLAIN’s modern work.
Love the sound of Mon Guerlain Intense? I’ve reviewed it fully here.
#2 L’Eau d’Issey Rose & Rose
While Issey Miyake’s L’Eau d’Issey Rose & Rose shared a name with the brand’s classic feminine fragrance; it followed a distinctly different olfactory path. Instead of clean, abstract florals a la L’Eau d’Issey, Rose & Rose presents an indulgence and abundance of rose. Built on a blend of Bulgarian rose essence and Damascena rose, Rose & Rose is wonderfully fruity and jammy, with delicious notes of raspberry and osmanthus carried by breezy musk. The result is a delicately chic rose that surprises.
Want to learn more about Rose & Rose? Read this edit.
Libre was a big blockbuster launch for YSL and it did not disappoint. Taking cues from the classically androgynous fashion of the house, Libre is an exciting clash of lavender (typically masculine) and orange blossom (typically feminine) over an oriental base of vanilla and woods. Libre feels as if it’s on fire, burning down all rules with the fiery glance of an eye. Exciting stuff, indeed!
Find more of my thoughts of Libre in this dedicated review.
#4 Man Wood Neroli
One of the masculine fragrances that stood out this year was BVLGARI Man Wood Neroli. Glistening with golden neroli and hints of smooth, blond woods, Wood Neroli is a seamlessly smart blend that feels so comfortable; you almost forget that you’re wearing it. To me, it’s the smell of a handsome man who doesn’t have to try, he just looks and smells good. It’s the perfect everyday scent and a really great addition to the wardrobe if you’re looking to elevate your fragrance selection.
#5 Dance Amongst the Lace
I always enjoy what Miller Harris does. It really feels like they are always telling stories with their fragrances and in the Forage collection, the tale is of hidden pockets of nature amongst urban spaces. Dance Amongst the Lace is the latest addition to the collection and it takes inspiration from Queen Anne’s Lace – cow parsley. Dance stood out to me this year because it was an unconventional twist on the classic fougere where a dazzling intensity of mint and geranium made for a cooling, translucent interpretation that’s the very best thing on the hottest summer days.
Check out Miller Harris’ full Forage Collection here.
#6 Aqua Allegoria Ginger Piccante
Another summer fave was Ginger Piccante, one of GUERLAIN’s Aqua Allegoria editions for this year. Ginger Piccante’s star was ginger (unsurprisingly) and a rather sharp, sticky and zingy ginger at that. Pepper, rose and clove join in to take this spicy little number into warmer territories whilst cedarwood and musk smooth things out. As with all of GUERLAIN’s Aqua Allegorias, Ginger Piccante is a simple pick-me-up that is designed to make you smile – and that’s exactly what it does!
#7 Splendida Tubereuse Mystique
At this point, I feel like I have smelled every tuberose fragrance possible. I’ve sniffed the fresh, green ones and the bubblegum pink ones – heck, I’ve even sniffed the scary carnal ones! What I haven’t smelled, or should I say ‘hadn’t’ smelled was a deliriously blackcurrant fruity tuberose – that was until I got my nose on Tubereuse Mystique. This latest addition to BVLGARI’s Splendida line is a tart, fruity tuberose bolstered by blackcurrant buds and davana. It smells vampish and dangerous, but also really, really fun and it’s easily one of the best fragrances (and definitely the best tuberose) launched this year.
Finally, we end on something that has just launched: Copper by Comme des Garcons. As with all CDG fragrances, Copper is a swirling blend of unexpected contrasts. The freshness of cut grass and galbanum merge with the nuttiness of immortelle, amber and myrrh. It leaves you questioning – is it hot, is it cold, is it green, is it red, is it earthy, grassy? Who knows, all I can say is that it’s very Comme des Garcons and incredibly exciting to wear!