Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pink Manhattan Blog Top 100 Fragrances of the Decade 2001 - 2010


So, here we are, the moment of truth I hope you've been waiting for: I am unveiling my list of Top 100 perfumes of the DECADE. How quickly time has gone! My list is by no means complete, since I have yet to try many of the newer launches, but hopefully, my list can serve as a guideline to build your own favorites list or fragrance wardrobe. Your taste may be similar to mine or not, but we won't know till we've smelled and analyzed them all.

First up is my pick for the Fragrance of the Decade, for these reasons: 1. It was my holy grail for some time; I loved it so much and used it up quickly. 2. It was a trendsetter, one that spawned a great many smell-alikes such as Stella McCartney, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Guerlain Idylle, just to touch the tip of the iceberg...and 3. I also think the sleek, beautiful bottle design, plus the tasteful shades of pink in combination with black, deserve an award for Packaging of the Decade. I appreciate the shape of the bottle and the fact that it is glass, not plastic (except the cap). The silver edition was also beautiful. We've seen lots of gold packaging on the market as of late; in 2011, shall we see more silvery platinum tones (and more glass, please)?

Pink Manhattan Blog Fragrance of the Decade: Narciso Rodriguez for Her (2003) (perfumers: Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian)

Undoubtedly, 2001-2010 was the decade of the return of Chypre; in particular, the patchouli-based kind, while traditional oakmoss seems to have bid farewell, save for a handful of obscure launches. The definitive nouveau Chypre, Narciso Rodriguez for Her, certainly shook up the mainstream fragrance world, but, perhaps Narciso came onto the scene with thanks to two other very popular Chypre perfumes, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Chance. I should probably mention Grès Cabaret, which had preceded Narciso by one year, and Agent Provocateur, the naughty and austere rose leather Chypre that set a certain kind of stage in 2000.

Patchouli was easily the star note of the decade; there hadn't been so much patch in the air since Halston of the '70s and Grès Cabochard of 1959. Patchouli was used with abandon in a majority of new launches, in the style of Thierry Mugler Angel (Woody Oriental), the (still reigning) star of last decade. We can't forget the immense influence of Thierry Mugler Angel in the millenium with superstars Aquolina Pink Sugar and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb carrying on the Fruity patchouli / Gourmand patchouli torch. While many patchouli fragrances stayed in the gourmand range, many others split off into the unsweet nouveau Chypre range. Some walked the line between two worlds as Chypre-Oriental, often with fruit notes weaving together the transition seamlessly. As patchouli has become a mainstay in Women's fragrances, we'll see more patchouli-based Chypre in 2011 with the much-anticipated launch of Rihanna Reb l'Fleur.

Since 2001, we stared seeing a neoconservative bend in the marketing of fragrances, with the Green trend (Chypre and Woods for women is part of that movement, I believe), and also the return of fragrances for Women with names like Miss Boucheron, Miss Dior Cherie, etc. At the same time, the pop music scene also turned retro in a 1950s - early 1960s way, with easy, nostalgic chords and beats.

Also, we saw the popularization of iris (root) and the explosion of Woody Floral / Woody Oriental scents for Women. There was plenty of gender bending going on, which is good, not that ladies couldn't simply pick up a Men's fragrance for themselves and vice versa. That's coming from someone who loves both the color pink and music that is performed by and marketed to the gender demographic across the aisle. We also saw lots more fragrances marketed under shared gender, a trend I hope to see more of in the coming decade.

In the latter part of the decade, there were new, lovely orange blossom / Citrus florals such as my current favorite, Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame. A white floral was never so assertive and energetic - light and airy, but demure no more. It's classified as a Floral but to me, it has shades of 4711, a classic citric Fougère. I would like to see more Fougère /Fougère-leaning types for Women (Fougère is currently dominated by Men's, as Floral dominates Women's). Ma Dame was composed by the same perfumer who co-composed Narciso Rodriguez for Her; with the launch of his own line, it seems to have been a fruitful decade for Francis Kurkdjian.

This list is not in any specific order of rank, but I will start with my most favorite launch of the decade. And now, without further ado...

Pink Manhattan Blog Top 100 Fragrances 2001 - 2010

1. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame
2. Narciso Rodriguez for Her
3. Guerlain Les Secrets de Sophie
4. Chanel Chance
5. L'Artisan Parfumeur Ambre Extrême
6. Givenchy Very Irrésistible
7. L'Instant de Guerlain
8. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb
9. Vera Wang Princess
10. Frédéric Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
11. Parfums Delrae Amoureuse
12. Marc Jacobs Blush
13. Le Labo Jasmin 17
14. Chanel Les Exclusifs Eau de Cologne
15. Nina Ricci Nina
16. Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque
17. Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental
18. Hermès Un Jardin Après La Mousson
19. Marc Jacobs
20. Christian Dior Addict
21. Miller Harris Noix de Tuberéuse
22. Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 rue Cambon
23. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue
24. Aquolina Pink Sugar
25. Donna Karan Be Delicious
26. Guerlain Homme
27. Ralph Lauren Blue
28. Monyette Paris
29. Kilian Straight to Heaven
30. Christian Dior Dior Homme
31. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
32. Guerlain Insolence
33. Guerlain Idylle
34. Cartier Eau de Cartier
35. Guerlain Cuir Beluga
36. Annick Goutal Songes
37. Cacharel Gloria
38. Burberry Brit Red
39. Vera Wang Rock Princess
40. Calvin Klein IN2U
41. Kilian Love
42. Penhaligon's Amaranthine
43. Stella McCartney Stella
44. Francis Kurkdjian APOM pour Femme
45. Tom Ford Moss Breches
46. Serge Lutens Gris Clair
47. Guerlain Shalimar Light
48. Penhaligon's Artemisia
49. Kenzo Amour
50. Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower
51. Annick Goutal Les Nuits d'Hadrien
52. Benefit Maybe Baby
53. Annick Goutal Neroli
54. Fifi Chachnil
55. Bond 9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her
56. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille
57. Kate Spade Beauty
58. Dolce & Gabbana Sicily
59. Zirh IKON
60. Dolce & Gabbana The One
61. Délices de Cartier Eau Fruitée
62. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Banane
63. Giorgio Armani Armani Code
64. Cacharel Amor Amor
65. Britney Spears Curious
66. Britney Spears Fantasy
67. Serge Lutens Daim Blond
68. Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cacao
69. Tom Ford Grey Vetiver
70. Loree Rodkin Gothic II
71. Lacoste Inspiration
72. Salvatore Ferragamo Incanto Charms
73. Pilar & Lucy To Twirl All Girly
74. Le Labo Fleur d'Oranger 27
75. Coquette Tropique
76. Grès Cabaret
77. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie L'Eau
78. Parfum d'Empire Ambre Russe
79. Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle
80. Clarins Par Amour Toujours
81. Kilian Cruel Intentions
82. Burberry Brit
83. Agent Provocateur
84. Comptoir Sud Pacifique Caramel Sunset
85. Creed Himalaya
86. Chanel Les Exclusifs No.18
87. Valentino Rock 'n Rose
88. Lanvin Rumeur
89. Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned
90. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie
91. La Prairie Life Threads Gold
92. Guerlain Samsara Shine
93. Guerlain Iris Ganache
95. Kenzo KenzoAmour Florale
96. Gabriel Strehle Strenesse
97. Floris White Rose
98. Creed Virgin Island Water
100. Heeley Iris de Nuit

(Edited on 1/17/11 - Burberry Brit Red was listed twice. I meant to list Burberry Brit and Brit Red.)

Most interesting launches: Chanel Les Exclusifs, Hot Topic Twilight, Les Nez L'Antimatiere, Solange Azagury-Partridge Stoned (Lyn Harris), Le Labo, Rich Hippie (organic), cult oil perfumes: Monyette, Coquette Tropique, Child and the rest of the niche set that defined an era.

Special mentions: Where to start? Lancome Magnifique, MJ Daisy (if you like EA Sunflowers...) & Splash Grass, the return of GAP Grass and Francis Kurkdjian's grass-scented bubbles, plus many more that aren't prestige fragrances but are delightful, memorable creations.

A very special thanks to Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times Magazine for mentioning my blog in her wonderful piece, "The Medium: Good Vibrations". Thank you, authors Jan Moran, Michael Edwards, John Oakes, countless website owners, bloggers and my friend Marian Bendeth of Sixth Scents for their exhaustive work in the field, without which I could not fuel this passion for perfume.

Finally, I apologize for my grandiosity, but this was an amazing decade for me, having pursued one of my little dreams, of launching my own fragrance creation alongside my original music CD. I'd like to say THANK YOU to all of my Pink Manhattan Purrfume and Persephone New York (Unreleased Mix) customers over the years - I hope I'll have a chance to present something new and exciting in the near future. Until then, please stay tuned to my blog for updates. And thank you, dear readers, for your on-going friendship in cyberspace. Best Wishes in 2011!

Now, onto my personal current Top 10...

Jasmin Impératrice Eugénie, my most beloved perfume of the year. Dear House of Creed: Would you please bring back these older style bottles for Women, in the same style as the Men's? I'm not as fond of the "feminine" style of the new look (the slimmed down, curvier one), although I'm sure it has its fans. However...

I am smitten with your gorgeous Italian leather atomizers, shown here in white. True, I'm a platinum Girl, but gold with gold trim seems appropriate for Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie (Available at

I love Creed for their products as well as superior customer service, for which I vote for Creed as the best fragrance shop of the decade.

My Top 10 of December 2010

1. Creed Jasmin Imperatrice Eugenie
2. Caron Narcisse Noir
3. Jean Paul Gaultier Ma Dame
4. Vera Wang Princess
5. Creed Spring Flower
6. L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons
7. Jil Sander No.4
8. Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie
9. Creed Fleurissimo
10. Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse

Hall of Fame
Christian Dior Poison (1985)

I generally don't care for celeb scents, but one I'd like to see because she's immensely talented and cute: Demi Lovato ---- I'm also looking forward to Rihanna's perfume, a Barbados-inspired tropical Chypre (will it remind us of pineapple-y Jean Patou Colony or the gardenia-laden Carven Ma Griffe?).

"It's better to dance than to march through life." --Yoko Ono

Don't Stop the Music
- Writers: Michael Jackson, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Tawanna Dabney, Produced by Stargate, Performed by Rihanna