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© Copyright. 2011. All Rights Reserved. The Perfume Magazine LLC

Co-Founder, creator and artist of A Dozen Roses, Sandy Cataldo, signing bottles
December 30, 2011
By Mark David Boberick
It has come to the time of the year where we take a look back on the last 12 months, and offer a glimpse forward into the next 12. 2011 was a record-breaking year for the sheer volume of new fragrance launches and 2012 is poised to break that record.

2011 was a hugely successful year for one industry genre in particular – Celebrity Fragrances. The curious ability for scents that are situated at the very rim of mediocrity to propel themselves into the stratosphere with the mere addition of a celebrity endorsement has intrigued me for quite a while, now. When I review in my mind all of the celebrity fragrances that I have tried in the past and have determined to be something worthwhile, I’m left with a very small list.

Someday by Justin Bieber is by far the biggest fragrance hit of the year by undoubtedly the most overexposed celebrity of the year. And all of that would sit well with me if the fragrance were something of intrigue, or at least – of decent quality. But maybe I’m looking at this all wrong. Maybe Someday is “The Perfect Storm” of Fragrance launches. Tap into a market (from pre-tweens all the way to hormonal teenagers)  that will buy anything with a recognizable face on it  – and make sure that face is the face of their dreams, price it right and you have the formula for a mega-million dollar hit that pays for its entire ad campaign in the first month! Maybe Someday by Justin Bieber is actually sheer brilliance disguised in an anatomically suggestive bottle. And every fragrance house on the planet goes, “Well why didn’t WE think of that?”

Will 2012 deliver us even more Celebrity Fragrances? Will there be a Someday flanker released this Spring called Somewhere? And then another this Fall called Somewhat? No one knows for sure. What we do know is that 2012 has the potential to become a Celebrity Showdown on the Fragrance front with not one, but three mega-star fragrance releases from Madonna, Kanye West, and Lady Gaga. In 2012, we just might find Justin Bieber cowering in a corner after an attempt to go up against this powerhouse trio.

This past April, the fragrance world and devotees of all things Royal went absolutely crazy once Buckingham Palace released information detailing that Kate Middleton wore the fragrance White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum at her Royal Wedding to Britain’s Prince William. Online retailers could not keep the scent in stock for many months following. And while it wasn’t as direct an endorsement as a fragrance bearing a celebrity name, the idea that for a moment, one could smell like a Princess and walk, trailing a royal-scented veil proved all the inspiration that was needed for many to get out their credit cards and purchase a bottle, unsniffed.

Like the Celebritiy genre, we saw many new additions to Designer Fragrances in 2011 when fashion houses such as Bottega Venetta and Elie Saab finally released their debut scents. With the massive amount of fragrances on the market today, it is easy to simply assume that every designer already has a scent when in fact – there are many that do not. 2012 will see the Italian Fashion house Marni release their debut fragrance under Estee Lauder. Perhaps we will also finally see the long awaited debut fragrances from Zac Posen, Tory Burch, and Monique Lhullier launch in 2012, as well.

2011 gave us several worthwhile fragrances that I think are truly the best of the best. My love for Guerlain’s Shalimar Parfum Initial is no secret and I already named it the Best Fragrance of 2011 and I am standing by that. However – there are several other fragrances that also get my stamp of approval.

I was really captivated with the release of Prada Candy. Initially, when seeing the advertising campaign, the design of the flacon, and the overall feeling I got from a fragrance that was going to be named Candy – I cringed. But let this be a lesson in the importance of immersion – you MUST try everything regardless of your preconceptions because Candy turned out to be a marvelous treat. I can enjoy it whenever I want and I don’t have to worry about cavities. Candy also comes in the most exceptional bottle of 2011, as well.

In Niche Fragrances, the debut release of 6 perfumes from ARQUISTE by Carlos Huber is the best new collection to emerge from 2011. In particular, Infanta en Flor- a scent created by Perfumer Yann Vasnier is a truly remarkable musky floral and a scent that I cannot stop wearing.

The luxury French Beauty company Sisley released their first men’s fragrance, Eau d’Ikar in 2011, and it was a fragrance that I was eagerly anticipating. The new woody-floral fragrance which focuses on mastic, a plant resin from Arabia did not disappoint.

With the release of several new sandalwood fragrances in 2011, I immediately wondered if we were going to see the end of the oud-craze which has been on-going for several years now. Hermes Santal Massoia, Tom Ford Santal Blush, Xerjoff Richwood and Le Labo Santal 33 all had their launches in 2011 after a major absence of sandalwood-centric fragrances from the market due to the scarcity of Mysore Sandalwood. While the majority of sandalwood production is now based in Australia, it seemed that it required a short period of re-evaluation with this markedly different type of sandalwood before it could be embraced as the new – and only – sandalwood. I am glad to finally see its return and am counting on seeing an even larger resurgence in 2012!

Finally, shortly after the publication of our last issue, on December 9th, 2011, The Perfume Magazine learned of the tragic and untimely death of Niche Perfumer Mona di Orio. We had the great fortune to share an interview with Mona in our Debut Issue. I will always remember Mona for her stunning beauty and her radiance that shone through in her entire body of work. One of Mona’s first fragrance creations was Lux - an incredible chameleon of scents and a masterfully constructed perfume. It possessed the amazing ability to turn from a citrus scent into an incense scent with no warning. This mind-boggling accomplishment forever etched Mona di Orio into my mind as one of the great perfumers of our time. I told her this when I met her in New York City several years ago and I remember the smile that came to her face. This year, Mona had perhaps the most successful year of her career when she launched Les Nombres D’Or – a magnificent collection of new fragrances that contained her interpretation of Oud – and will undoubtedly be ingrained as one of the best Oud-based fragrances, ever.

For her to be called home at such an amazing time in her life seems unfair but I am certain that Heaven smells a bit sweeter now with Mona in residence.

1969 - 2011