Taking A Small Break & Brief 2016 “Best of” List/Year-End Review

Happy holidays everyone! Regardless of whether you celebrate or what your faith may be, I hope you had a lovely end to the year, and The Hairy German and I wish you all the very best in 2017. May the new year bring you much joy, laughter, love, peace, good fortune, and good health.

Source: bulp.tk

I wanted to let you know that, after much thought, I have decided to take a break or sabbatical from blogging. It may be several weeks, it may be a month or two. I haven’t decided yet. When I return, there may be some changes, whether to the frequency of reviews or to some other aspect of perfume coverage, but I haven’t decided that, either.

In the meantime, I will be charging my batteries, doing other things, and disconnecting as much as possible from the internet. I will not be replying to emails, comments, or social media.

Every blogger is traditionally expected to do a year-end review with “best of” lists. I have opted not to do one this year as a detailed, separate post. Instead, I’ll just give you a few succinct lists here without the usual accompanying summations or descriptions. For the “honourable mentions” below, the fragrances are ones which I thought were either solid, nicely done, or good representations of their genre, even if several of them didn’t work for me personally for one reason or another. As always, these choices or lists are purely subjective in nature.

4 Best Fragrances and New Releases of 2016 (in no particular order):

  • Bogue Gardelia (oriental chypre like vintage Mitsouko mixed with Maai);
  • Sultan Pasha Thebes G1 attar (iris vetiver like Guerlain’s Djedi);
  • Sultan Pasha Aurum D’Angkhor attar (floral oud oriental);
  • Dusita Oudh Infini. (Floral oud oriental. Oudh Infini was technically released in 2015 but it didn’t actually hit stores until 2016, so I’m putting it on the list for this year.)

Notable or Very Good Fragrances Within Their Genres (in no particular order and regardless of official year of release):

  • Aeon Perfume (and Antonio Gardoni’s) Aeon 001 (mossy floral vetiver);
  • SHL 777 Taklamakan (smoky, spicy, gourmand oriental);
  • Sammarco Bond-T (patchouli with dark chocolate and resins);
  • Sultan Pasha Pure IncenseTabac Grande, Cafe Ambre Noir, and Violette Noyée (styles are, respectively: a dark, masculine incense amber in the genre of Norma Kamali’s Incense; a masculine cigar, booze, and leather fragrance; a unisex coffee, amber, vanilla gourmand; and a floral/floral oriental in the same genre as vintage Apres L’Ondée parfum);
  • La Via del Profumo Cuoio dei Dolci (gourmand, boozy, chocolate leather);
  • Les Liquides Imaginaires Peau de Bete (animalic, skanky, and leathery musk);
  • Slumberhouse New Sibet (iris woody musk, floral leather, and animalic musk);
  • Hiram Green Dilettante (citrus fruity floral and floral oriental);
  • Neela Vermeire Rahele (a green, woody, and peppery fruity-floral opening later transitions to a fantastic middle and drydown, thanks to roses, violets, jasmine, patchouli, and sandalwood);  and
  • Dusita‘s upcoming La Douceur de Siam (an addictive, delectable, creamy, lush, and very feminine fruity floral that will undoubtedly be on my list of best 2017 new releases, so I’m cheating in mentioning it now, but it was an instant love and one of my favourites ever since I tried it several months ago. My standard rule is not to cover fragrances until close to their release date, which is why I haven’t written about it yet, but since it was one of my favourite things, since it’s been widely circulated in sample form since the Pitti show in September, and since I may still be on break when it finally launches officially, I thought I would mention it here at this time).

Honourable Mentions (in no particular order and regardless of release date):

Personal Fragrance Obsession of 2016:

Every year, there is one fragrance that seems to become an obsession above all others for me, that I want to wear nonstop in every moment of personal free time when I’m not testing fragrances for the blog. This year, it was very aged, vintage Shalimar from before the mid-1970s, in both extrait and eau de toilette form. An ancient bottle of the extrait that subsequently turned out to be from the 1930s or 1940s was the very best thing I’ve smelled in years, perhaps decades. Before then, I had disliked Shalimar in its post-1990s modern formulations and, while I appreciated the non-extrait versions from the 1980s, experiencing the richest concentration from such an old bottle, aged for 70 or 80 years like the finest cognac, was something else entirely.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that, to me, it was a completely transcendental, earth-shattering experience. Whatever I thought I had known about Shalimar was wiped away and changed with that bottle. Really ancient Shalimar is truly a world apart from the modern scent. Nay, galaxies away. Fully unisex, sometimes masculine in some ancient bottles, and always of a completely different quality level than the modern scent, really old Shalimar is redolent of blood-red roses, leather, expensive fur, smoke, dark musks, incense, Earl Grey lemon chiffon mousse, molten resins, and so, so much more.

It triggered a months-long obsession that shows no signs of subsiding. Every night, I go to sleep enveloped in the sweeter, tamer, and more vanillic EDT version from the 1950s to the mid 1970s on my sheets and pillows; every free moment I get, I wear the opulent parfum; and I continue to compulsively buy more bottles of both concentrations in the oldest versions that I can find and afford. Consequently, the “obsession of the year” award goes to really ancient, vintage Shalimar, my favourite thing that I tried this year and, in its 1930s-1940s extrait form, one of the most magnificent, breathtaking, and stupendous fragrances that I’ve ever tried, period.

So, that’s a brief summation of the year in fragrances. My Teutonic Overlord and I wish you all the best new year, and we will see you in 2017.

38 thoughts on “Taking A Small Break & Brief 2016 “Best of” List/Year-End Review

  1. Happy New Year to you, your family and the hairy German 🙂

    Please have a great rest. What a great way to start year 2017!

  2. Happy New Year to you and your Teutonic Overlord. I hope your break is relaxing, inspiring, and beautifully scented.

  3. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, dearest K, and I hope the break gives you the reset you need. Creative batteries need time to recharge!

    Sincerest thank yous for the many hours of though-provoking, insightful, informative, and frequently hilarious writing you have shared with us this year. You give so much of yourself and are so generous with your time and considerable expertise; I am extremely grateful for you. It’s been an incredibly busy year, and I still haven’t gotten around to sharing experiences of Salaams extraordinary course. I know the intent is to take a break from all the distractions of the blog, but feel free to email anytime 🙂

    Give the Teutonic overlord a cuddle for me, and I wish him excellent health and many treats! For yourself, may you always have enough vintage Shalimar to envelop you in earl-grey-lemon-mousse deliciousness whenever you feel the need, and enough to spare. Anoint yourself with abandon, dear K, and we shall all look forward to your return 🙂

    Virtual hugs, L xx

  4. Wishing you a very good sabbatical, lots of quality time with his Highness and I hope the muse, in whatever way or form, will find you again!
    Eagerly awaiting Violette Noyee, and wearing Patchouli Nobile as Arbolé sparked a patchouli craving.
    Ofcourse I and we will miss you dearly, but there is still much in the treasure of your blog to turn to.
    A. sends wet kisses!

  5. Happy new year!!! and thanks for sharing your selection of 2016, I personally was impressed with Sultan’s attars (waiting now for the latest release Irisoir which can be one om my favourites 2017 …) and La Douceur de Siam and Melodie de l’amour of Dusita…. the one I want badly to try is Rahele!

  6. A happy and healthy New Year to you and the German Overlord. Thank you for all your beautiful and thoughtful reviews of the previous years. I can understand the need to take a break and recharge. I believe that the creative process in not linear, but proceeds in a way that makes pauses very necessary. That doesn’t stop your readers from selfishly wishing that wasn’t so, but you obviously must do what is best for you. Hopefully when you return, you will be refreshed and ready to begin again.
    I shall think of you and Shalimar. It is so wonderful to find that one fragrance that haunts one. I was fortunate enough that someone recently sent me a sample of a vintage Shalimar EDC and I was amazed at how much I liked it. Truly, my dislike must have stemmed from its present formulation. I have you to thank for that.
    I’ve learned a great deal from you. Through your writing, you’ve introduced me to many new fragrant experiences and of course, French television.lol I’ll miss seeing your banner on my email.
    Until we meet again, rest well.

  7. Enjoy your holiday and your well deserved break! I absolutely loved Oudh Infini this year, but will never be able to afford it. Still, I consider myself lucky to have had a generous sample. Looking forward to your return.

  8. Sending you back your 2017 wishes, doubled, and with the hope that good prevails.
    There are still a decent amount of perfumes on your list that I want to try. Patchouli Nobile has been a favorite of mine for a while now. Dilettante was sadly nothing special on me but on my daughter it is exquisite!. I have always loved the real Shalimar.

    You might like this story from a long time ago. There was an attractive woman in her 30’s who worked where I did. One day she came in wearing Shalimar. There was also an older woman working there who spent the whole day complaining that one did NOT EVER wear Shalimar during the day, that it was simply not done, and that it should be only worn in the evening and at night. 🙂

  9. Happy New Year, Kafkaesque! Wishing you a joyful and restful break. I can’t thank you enough for bringing the world of Sultan Pasha into my life this year. Thebes 1 and Aurum d’Angkor are my two favorites of the nine I’ve ordered thus far, and I’m greedily awaiting the arrival of Irisoir any day now. Your blog is a wonder and a gift. Thank you for your hard work.

  10. Thebes G1 is exceptional . That might be the next one from Sultan Pasha .
    Oh, I re sampled Noble 1942 Patchouli Noble and I enjoyed the revisit . Possibly because of the nice comments that resulted from the wearing .
    I have some samples of Les Liquides Imagainaires somewhere .I haven’t got to them yet. Something to look forward too in 2017.
    Naxos is amazing.
    Larmes du Desert was a pleasure to sample.
    I haven’t sampled anything from Dustia. That will be next on my list.
    Glad you found the vintage.
    ” Transcendental Mediation brings you,
    Peace of Mind “. Stevie Wonder, (Innnervisions)
    ” Everyday, once a day, give yourself a present.
    Don’t plan it. Don’t wait for it. Just let it happen “. David Lynch, Twin Peaks.
    The moment will reveal itself , when we are looking the least.
    Till that time comes Kaf.

  11. Ok, I have to get samples of Dusita and/or vintage Shalimar…
    I wish to all of us a happy new year – a better one than 2016 was…
    Have a fulfilling break, dear Franz !

  12. Happy new year and best wishes for you and the hairy German! I’m happy you have decided for some ‘me time’ and I hope that it will bring you some relaxation and the chance to do other things! As for me, I will be here when you decide to return. Enjoy your sabbatical 🙂


  13. Happy New Year Kafka, and enjoy your well-deserved rest! It is always a pleasure to read your in-depth articles, and will look forward to seeing them again, sometime in 2017! xoxo Robert H

  14. Very best wishes for 2017! Here’s hoping that you and the big guy have a rewarding and recharging time offline. Looking forward to reading you again when you’re back!

  15. Happy New Year and best wishes to you and The Hairy German for the upcoming 2017! I had an amazing olfactive journey reading your reviews in the past years, and your in-depth reviews and articles are truly a treasure. Hope you’ll have a wonderful time during the break! 😀

  16. Have a great break but don’t stop, i love these reviews i buy nearly 100% of my perfume from your reviews 🙂

  17. Happy New Year, dear Kafka!
    (Even if you get to read this months from now. 🙂 )

    Do get some rest, recharge your batteries.
    It’s not difficult to imagine how taxing it must be to write a blog like yours on a regular basis… I get exhausted just thinking about it!

    However, I don’t need to remind you just how valuable you are to all of us who wait for your every post.
    So it would be great to see you back! Is all I am going to say.
    As selfish as that might sound.

  18. One other thought… I finished Un Village Francais and I am left with so many mixed emotions. Life is always complicated. People are complicated. History isn’t always the reality, but rather what we tell ourselves. Evil can be relative. Good people do bad things and bad people can do good things. Since no one I know has ever seen this, I just want to thank you for this very thought provoking series. The ending made me cry for all the complexities of human nature and their frustrated ends. Some will survive, but none will be unchanged. Thank you again.

  19. Dearest Kafka,

    Happy New Year to you, your Hairy German and all your loved ones! I truly hope your break will be a fulfilling one, and that you’ll be able to do all you want to do. Your readers will alway be there when you come back – take your time to replenish your batteries. Wellness is more important than perfumes.
    I just got back to the US and made the round in the perfume shops in Paris before I left to bring back as many samples as I could (including Arso by Profumum Roma -really like it-, Hard Leather -oh, my. Oh, myyy-, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue pour le soir -lovvve. I already knew that one though- and Ciel de Gum, Oud Assam by Rania J, Cuir de Russie by Piver -haven’t tried those last three yet). I had some lovely chats along the way, including one with the owner of the Jovoy shop. We came to talk about you (asked me where I knew this or that brand – where else than on your blog?), we both had some great things to say about you.
    I’ll try to lay down my thoughts on my bottle of vintage Shalimar in the right thread as soon as I get the chance.
    And once again, happy New Year!

  20. Hello Kafka,

    I’m new to your blog and new to perfume to be honest. After looking at my bottles department store “vinagerette” gathering dust, unworn for years I thought… I must certainly be missing something! And here I am! I feel like I’ve devoured your words for the last few months and with no time to lose ordered some superb samples.
    This has resulted in me purchasing, full bottles of Moon bloom, Rose de Petra and Alahine. Plus some travel size bottles of Hirem Greens other fragrances. Because let’s face it, I have to make up for lost time and it’s my birthday in a few days.

    So thank you for beginning my education. I look forward to spending 2017 with you.



  21. Hello dear K, wishing you a happy New Year months later…I am still here doing much better now that my nemesis winter is nearing its end here in the Northeast! I see you have had some interesting weather.

    WOW do I need to catch up on the perfume world so far far beyond!

    That is it, cannot wait to have you back! Miss you XXX Don

  22. Hi Kafka! Hope everything is ok and you’re just enjoying an extended break!! 🙂

  23. Missing you dreadfully. I’ve tried practically everything you’ve recommended, well a good 75%. Re-read many a post, have some Aammmazzziiing vintage Shalimar now (always loved it but o m g). I’m poring through other blogs, glancing at Fragrantica, but getting stuck a lot with news (okay, addicted in an unhealthy way, and the news is not good). I really miss reading your posts. They put a savour in the day, added some beauty, and are so well-written. Hope you are safe and well and “sniffing: with your “Overlord.”

  24. Dear K! Everything has been said by all the others… :-(( …is there a chance that you will be back in the near future? Please let me (and us) know!! I love your site! Best, Peter

    • You’re too kind. I hope to be back soon, Peter. Maybe even in the next 10 days if things go to plan. 🙂 Warm regards, K-

      • We’re waiting for you! Hope you’ll tell us how the last 6 months have passed 🙂

      • HURRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY, you are BAAAAAAAAAAACK!!! So happy to know – my scenting-adventures can start again (without you it was boring and meaningless!). Really excited and happy! Thank you so much K and all my best regards to your Highness, the Overlord! 🙂

        • 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thank you, Peter. Your enthusiasm is beyond lovely, sweet, and touching. A hug to you.

  25. This has brightened my day, my year so much. I have felt a real loss without this blog. I hope everything works out so we have you back!

  26. You are sorely missed.
    I hope all is well, and you are doing the things you need to be.
    I look for your voice whenever something new crosses my path. The new-too many-Amouages, MEM, Panthea & Wish Come True, and more. I consider trying them and click here, to see what you’ve made of them.
    For good or ill, I always trust your opinion as you’re one of the rare reviewers who can talk about why something didn’t work for you in a way that makes me realise I would probably love it.
    Thank you, and I hope things align so that you can come back.

    • Ditto . Do people still say that ?
      Wishing you the best of everything Kaf.

  27. Dear Kafka,

    it’s my first time commenting but I have been an avid follower for a very long time now and I still go back here and check reviews before buying and even re-read the familiar ones. I have even blind bought a few bottles based solely on your reviews and never have I been disappointed. One example of this is ‘Fille en Aiguilles’, which I just absolutely adore. Speaking of, it seemingly might be discontinued as Serge is in the middle of a major relaunch and streamlining and I am obviously DYING to hear your views on this whole thing. Evidently Shiseido wants to make the fragrances much more widely available but this most likely also means yet another round of reformulations. Time will tell. Miss your posts and look forward to an eventual return. You reviews means so much to so many of us. Thank you so much for everything on this brilliant blog of yours!

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