2011, in the middle of crisis and big changes, confusion and despair, brought some wonderful surprises. And these are mainstreams. I was so shocked that I tried and tried them not believing my luck.
Bottega Venetta, Bottega Venetta . A beautiful bag dream. Since Weil in twenties, bringing perfumes to be worn with their expensive furs, the perfume world did not encounter such an experience. They didn't want only to cash in on the name but enhance the beauty. Soft perfumed leather, elegant and unique.
Tom Ford, Violet Blonde. I still can't figure out why this reminds me so much of last years Pradas. But while all Pradas end up by being too subtle and whispering, Violet Blonde is a full bodied creature, big character, powdery floral with a twist and days after spraying it on the scarf you will get some luxurious feeling.
Cartier, Baiser Vole. To me the Cartier perfumes are a very special story, something I can't really figure out. Most of them are quite anti-mainstream. Bit dirty, weird. Cartier de Lune from the last year is the only one I found boring and uninspiring. The new Baiser Vole comes back to the Cartier style, it's weird and special. I get some fish dirty feeling at the beginning to end up with a most wonderful combination of strong stylised flowers on a base of amber and musk.
Guerlain, Shalimar Parfum Initial. It reminds us why Jacques Guerlain perfumes are timeless. It's not about trying hard to be unique and special. It's about smelling good and smelling of perfume, a combination which is not the sum of the parts but something else. Shalimar Parfum Initial is made to surprise anytime when you wear it. Chic and noble.
There are also some good intentions in Prada Candy or Oscar Esprit d'Oscar. Or some new beauties in the niche line, with Serge Lutens De Profundis, Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee, Annick Goutal Mon Parfum Cheri or Tauer Zeta but my personal choice for a niche masterpiece of 2011 is
Parfums MDCI, La Belle Helene. If a sweet eatable thing could be made in a sexy luxurious perfume, that would be. I appreciated Traversee du Bosphor, but La Belle Helene transcends the story of fruits and flowers and brings a scent composition made in heaven. Wearing it made me feel as a woman who could live in any given time in history and seduce with her perfume. A perfume which lets transpire the feeling of real skin you want to touch.
And now I can't wait to be mean and have a list of the worst supposed good perfumes of 2011.