Top 10 perfumes of 2011 Featured

The season's finest fragrances, just in time for holiday shopping

by 17 November 2011

Today just about anyone can create a perfume – however what is it that makes perfumes unique? Is it the smell, the ingredients, the bottle, the advertising campaign or the brand name? All of these are important, but the fragrance is fundamental. Smell is perhaps our most powerful sense, it awakens emotions, and that changes everything.

Perfumes are a great gift, especially for the upcoming holiday season. However, with perfumes there is a very fine line between hit or miss. Our advice is to think of the person to whom the gift is destined, and when you find the fragrance that reminds you of him or her, then you have found the right scent. A perfume is a personal gift and therefore you should choose wisely.

Whether you seek a perfume for your significant other, your mother or your sister, think of what she’s like. How would you describe her? If she is young, playful yet feminine, you might want to try Burberry Body. This is the latest fragrance from the British brand, and according to its Chief Creative Officer Christopher Bailey, it is “the world of Burberry translated into a perfume that expresses all the aspects of our brand… we wanted to create something very English, feminine, timeless and of course sensual, centred on the attitude and energy of our iconic trench." This is a light fragrance with fruity notes and a spirit of its own.

Young yet refined? Daring but classy? In this case we suggest Valentina by Valentino. The House of Valentino, which has always sought inspiration from its city of origin, Rome, brings us a sexy and daring new fragrance that represents all aspects of this city. Cosmopolitan with hints of bergamot, truffle and orange blossom, refined with notes of jasmine and cedar wood, and lively with notes of fresh strawberries. It's oh-so-feminine.

A woman of supreme elegance is capable of handling stronger fragrances with powerful combinations. Our suggestion for the career woman would undoubtedly be Bottega Veneta. The brand has entered the world of perfumery relatively recently, and its signature scent is the result of hard work by the Venetian design house’s creative director who aimed at bottling the “scent of luxury.” It is a “leathery, floral chypre,” reminiscent of the Venetian countryside. The fragrance combines Italian bergamot, Indian jasmine and Indonesian patchouli, or as the brand declares, the scents of the Silk Road. Together they create a sophisticated fragrance. To complete the gift package, the perfume is available in an exquisite hand-blown Murano bottle capturing the majesty of the Veneto region.

If, on the other hand, you wanted a more delicate yet mature fragrance, turn to Baiser Volé by Cartier. Cartier is known for its precious style and meticulous craftsmanship, as expressed by their skill in selecting stones for their jewels, and in all the other fields in which they work. When the Cartier philosophy is combined with the artistry of perfumer Mathilde Laurent, the result will inevitably be a masterpiece. And that is just what Baiser Volé is, a precious fragrance that captivates any woman with its elegance and simplicity, like the lily which provides the inspiration for this majestic scent.

For men, the same rule of thumb still applies. Describe him, his attitude, his interests, and you'll find the fragrance for the guy in your life. Is he daring? When it comes to make a decision, does he ponder before making his choice? That moment, or "Attimo" as Salvatore Ferragamo calls it, has a fragrance. This powerful scent is contained in a sleek, very modern bottle. You may be surprised to discover the singular sensation created by a combination of marjoram, saffron and vetiver – in a way, it could be thought of as the scent of the man of your dreams, bold yet sophisticated, impeccable at every moment.

Is he the classic type? Does he make up his mind easily? If he knows what he likes, we think he'll have no trouble about loving Dior Homme Intense. This fragrance combines masculinity and elegance, with hints of lavender and vetiver. This is the sort of perfume that will conjur up thoughts about him every time you smell it. This reformulation of a classic fragrance is absolutely elegant and distinctive, as is the ambassador chosen for the advertising campaign - Jude Law.

Attitude plays an important role. A brand such as Trussardi, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year and is still on top, is certainly worth exploring, especially when they launch a fragrance. Trussardi Uomo is the quintessential fragrance of refined masculinity, with notes of bergamot, violet and musk. For a confident, charismatic man who appreciates all the best things in life. Classic Trussardi with a modern twist.

However, it is quite feasible that none of the major brands' perfumes correspond exactly to what you are looking for. After all, this luxury product is, more than most, supremely personal. In this case, you could look at more specialist brands, such as Profumum Roma. This perfume maison succeeds in bottling memories, and the latest addition to their range, Arso, is a truly memorable fragrance. It is masculine, mature and seasoned to perfection, with hints of cedar, leather and resin. This fragrance, like all others from Profumum Roma, seems like stepping back in time. It is so intense that you can picture yourself in a pine forest during a fondly-remembered ski holiday. It's more like a liquid memory than a perfume.

Our next suggestions depend entirely on the person you have in mind. These are fragrances that work magically for both men and women: however, they will only work for the right person.

Hermessence by Hermès is unusual in that it comprises different fragrance selections, including… These “olfactory poems” as the maison calls them are unexpected combinations of elements that conjur up dreams. This collection is a delightful surprise by perfumier Jean-Claude Ellena. Delicate yet memorable, these fragrances can be used individually or combined for a more intense effect.

Another highly original perfume house is Serge Lutens, famous for their unique fragrances that leave powerful impressions. This year they have added another scent to their collection, named De Profundis. A deep, powerful yet mysterious fragrance, it is an exquisite adaptation of the chrysanth. This bold scent is ideal for that special person who has been everywhere and seen it all.