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That said, we still had the chance to experience some interesting fragrances either from solidly estabilished brands and/or new houses. Guerlain launched the Le Déserts D'Orient trio proving, once again, that when they do something right, there's still no match for anyone else out there. Songe D'Un Bois D'Etè, beside definitely being one of my favorite fragrances of 2012, have rapidly jumped up there in my top ten best Guerlains ever together with classic monsters such as Jicky, Mitsouko, Sous Le Vent and the likes.
A Wasser masterwork that's the living proof there's still hope for all Guerlainistas: Encens Mythique D'Orient is another composition that surely deserves a mention in this end-year summary as well as the new iterations of La Petite Robe Noire which are terrific examples on how to create a mainstreamish youthful fragrance that's cheerful and light-hearted while completely skipping the dullness.
The oud craze seems to have not ended yet and despite the countless unremarkable deliveries from basically every house on the planet, there's still something note-worthy. Xerjoff launched the pretty solid "Oud Stars" series of which I particularly enjoyed Zafar. A challenging, straght forward, no-copromise fragrance that will appeal to fans of the most "exotic" ouds.
Last but not least, two of my favorites brands involved in 100% natural perfumery gave some solid signs of their healthy condition. Abdes Salaam Attar Profumo delivered Tawaf. A terrific take on indolic jasmine and resins that you would expect from JAR if they were to release a fragrance for the UAE; and O'Driù, which launched Laurhum, JMT and Linfedele Haiku (among others). The former is a boozy-tobacco enriched by a massive dose of leathery castoreum, JMT is the ultimate, high-end, jasmine fragrance while Linfedele Haiku is basically O'Driu's best option for anyone who might be interested in exploring the house.
Alfarom is a regular contributor to the Basenotes Forum and has his own fragrance blog, Nero Profumo, where you can read more of his favourites of the year.
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BUT, my find of the year was a vintage bottle of Hai Karate which I scored on eBay..
I'd heard so much about this mythical fragrance which, according to folklore, has such a strong power to attract you had to defend yourself with karate against hoards of admirers.
Sadly, this didn't happen. However, it didn't smell as bad as I had secretly hoped, and the 'collector' in me is pleased to have it in his collection, even though the 'connoisseur' in me is less keen...
Grant is the editor of Basenotes. His non-perfume tweets are at @grantosborne, otherwise @basenotes
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Judith Brockless works tirelessly behind the scenes at Basenotes, and occasionally is forced to write articles about Steps. You can follow her on Twitter @Juju_Basenotes.* * *
Still, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with! Kinski by Escentric Molecules was my other great find. It's a wild and sexy thing and I keep having to give samples to single friends because it's so good to go out on the prowl in.
Lila Das Gupta is a London-based journalist with an interest in all things olfactory. She runs the popular meetup group Perfume Lovers London and is on Twitter @OlfactoryEvents
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However, the works of Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermes have snuck into my heart in an unexpectedly big way this year. Ordinarily, I love my fragrances big and bombastic, and the crystalline clarity of Ellena's best works has left me in the cold somewhat, previously. For example: Bulgari Green Tea, would be an amazing scent if only it had some ... *welly*!
Louise has been writing the blog getlippie.com since 2009 in a (failed) attempt to rid herself of her lipstick addiction. She also writes regularly for SLiNK magazine. Follow her on Twitter @Get_Lippie
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This year, in feminine fragrances, was a year of new interpretations of floral notes. Jour d'Hermes by Jean Claude Ellena is probably my standout of the whole year. The latest launches at Hermes have been nothing short of fantastic. Jour feels like a scent he's been creating forever a masterpiece full of nuance and light, suggesting a massive bouquet of mixed flowers, yet never smelling of any in particular. Very clever and it amazingly lasts forever.
And I absolutely must mention Aqua Alba, the latest launch from Angela Flanders. Sheer perfection: animalic, earthy, and peaty, based on Whiskey. Not immensely boozy, but highly recommended for lovers of booze notes.
Andree Putman Preparation Parfumee was my rediscovery of the year, a scent that I had initially liked and completely forgotten about until someone mentioned it to @FragrantReviews in response to a review of another scent by Olivia Giacobetti D'Orsay's Tilleul. Preparation Parfumee has a great pepper-seabreeze and driftwood note, amongst the watery florals that Giacobetti excels at.
And a line that I was glad to discover at Pitti Fragranze that deserves special mention is Nu_Be Perfume. Scents that are named for and inspired by the elements, the creation of the universe and life. The initial collection of 5 are all brilliant in their own way.
By day Nick Gilbert is the manager of Les Senteurs' Seymour Place shop, by night he is a scent super-hero and co-runs @FragrantReviews, a 140 character fragrance review project. Visit the blog for an archive of the reviews. He also tweets @nickrgilbert
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I must also mention The Afternoon Of A Faun from Etat Libre D'Orange. Sampling this generated one of those rare 'perfume shock' moments when you know you've just come across something that has the potential to be really special and you hope that it doesn't all fall apart by the time it gets to its drydown. Thankfully, it doesn't disappoint. Everything just 'clicks' with this perfume: the name, the concept, the reference to perfumery's past... and of course, the smell itself. It's an inky, mossy, back-to-basics chypre of the sort I thought we might never have again, and I'm so pleased it's been released by one of the edgiest, smartest brands around. I'm saving up my pennies for this one too. Perhaps I could stop paying for heating as well...
More of Persolaise's best of 2012 are on his blog here. Persolaise is the author of "Le Snob: Perfume", which is published in English by Hardie Grant and in German by Süddeutsche Zeitung. You can find out more about his work at www.persolaise.com and on Twitter @persolaise
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I fell in love with it as soon as it hit the blotter. Its character brought to mind a bookish but distinguished man sitting in a well-stocked library reading dusty anthropology journals in candle light. It is sufficiently different from most masculine scents to warrant inspection purely on that basis but I would certainly recommend 2 Man for all leather fetishists, bibliophiles and steampunks out there.
Pia Long writes the Study Notes column for Basenotes and is a lifelong cosmetics and perfume enthusiast who has been involved in the industry for twenty years. Pia tweets @Nukapai
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The launches that stand out for me are those that serve as a reminder that perfume still has the ability to surprise and that there is still room for something entirely new in an over-crowded industry. This year there were two perfumes that ticked all of the right boxes in terms of beauty and innovation, the most interesting of which being OUD by Maison Francis Kurkdjian (the other being Jour dHermès FYI).
Rumour has it that M. Kurkdjian may be working on another oud fragrance, I for one cant wait to see what he comes up with in 2013.
Thomas Dunckley is a self-proclaimed perfume nerd and is the writer of perfume blog thecandyperfumeboy.com. He is on Twitter @candyperfumeb0y
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Do you agree with our writers? What were your finds of the year? Let us know in the comments.
Later this week, we'll be opening up for voting for the Basenotes Reader Awards 2013, so get your thinking caps on!