Best of 2020

2020. What can be said about this year? Lots, yes. Despite all the goings-on (good + bad) I managed to put my nose through the paces, and sprayed a heck of a lot of fragrances in the studio. There were a lot of good olfactory sensations in the air that did not make this list, and many I hope to never ever be within six feet of, ever again. That said, alas, in terms of perfume, it was a year of discovery, the first year of our existence in this new wild west. Yet, this year was likely the most complex on record and we are looking forward….

Honestly, I was a kid in a candy store unwrapping all sorts of delights. I started Notetaking, in my own way, to combat the Covid Blues. There is much yet to be sprayed, and you can always refer to my earlier Holiday Wish List if you want to see some of the ideas dancing like sugarplums in my head….That said, as new traditions may be kickstarted, I decided not to focus specifically on releases from this year (though a few made the list), instead I engaged primarily with the past seven years (for good luck). I’m also featuring a number of honorable mentions – because they are worth every last atomization. Now, mind you, there are lots (and lots) of fragrances, literally countless thousands, that never made it under my nostrils. That which did was under consideration for our first-annual Notetaking Best of 2020. I hope you don’t mind my excitement and the totally biased list of favorites, and welcome you to share yours — drop ’em while their hot into the comment box below! So, let’s take it away….

The Most Intriguing Houses of the Year

4160 Tuesdays (UK)
Euphorium Brooklyn (USA)
Essential Parfums (France)
Extrait D’Atelier (Italy)
House of Matriarch (USA)
January Scent Project (USA)
Nadia Z (Switzerland)
Nose Perfumes (Russia)
OK Fine Fragrances (USA)
Perfume.Sucks (Switzerland)

The 20 Best Fragrances
(2013-2020, by release date)

Fiilit – Cuba Tumbao (France, 2013)
Tiziana Terenzi – Laudano Nero (Italy, 2014)
Paul Schütze Perfume – Behind the Rain (UK, 2016)
Fort & Manlé – Suleyman Le Magnifique (Australia, 2017)
Jacques Fath – Lilas Exquis (France, 2017)
Nishane – Hacivat (Turkey, 2017)
Ricardo Ramos Perfumes de Autor – LaAurora (Spain, 2017)
Euphorium Brooklyn – Flocked & Gilded (USA, 2018)
Extrait D’Atelier – Maître Céramiste (France, 2018)
January Scent Project – Burvuvu (USA, 2018)
Memoize – Black Avaritia (UK, 2018)
NŌSE Perfumes – Awake (Russia, 2018)
Perfume.Sucks – Yellow (Switzerland, 2018)
Eris Parfums – Mxxx (USA, 2019)
House of Matriarch – Bonsai (USA, 2019)
Olfactive Studio – Rose Shot (France, 2019)
Panah London – Darkincense (UK, 2019)
Renier Perfumes – Behique (Czech Republic, 2019)
Scent Trunk/Joshua Smith – Black Hemlock (USA, 2020)
Levent – Tanzimât (The Netherlands, 2020)

The Honorables
(alpha order, by perfume, 2012-20)

Apsu – Ulrich Lang New York (USA, 2016)
Bois d’Ascèse – Naomi Goodsir (France, 2012)
Hegoa – Teo Cabanel (France, 2012)
Moment Total – ES-84 Parfums (USA, 2019)
Montecristo – Masque Milano (Italy, 2013)
Morning Chess – Vilhelm Parfumerie (USA, 2015)
Norne – Slumberhouse (USA, 2012)
Sunday Brunch – Kierin NYC (USA, 2018)
Symphonie de Vert Exquise – Elixir Attar (USA, 2020)
Targa – Blackbird (USA, 2015)

The Nose of the YearChristian Carbonnel

This year I was mightily impressed with a handful of the sensitive offerings (ie. Renier, Panah, Fragrance du Bois, Sarah Baker, Tabacora, etc.). Time and time again this master perfumer, for my nose has offered distinctive, bold and incredibly nuanced work. This was a great introduction to a perfumer who has been at it for some time – new olfactory experiences that are contemporary and ever-evolving in terms of how he builds complex compositions. Here’s to a whole lot more!

Also known as Chris Maurice, has been involved in this business for 25 years. He is the third generation of Carbonnel saga of perfumers. His family taught him the love for this fragrant world since he was a child. He has a great knowledge of the Middle East, as his father was one of the first to travel there to create oriental fragrances. Chris is behind many niche brand successes making him one of the lead personalities in the niche world. Recently he has created his own company, C de la Niche, to focus more on the niche perfumery.”

Deep Curiosities

Anka Kuş Parfüm (Australia)
Fort & Manlé (Australia)
Fūm Fragrances (USA)
Gather Perfume (USA)
I Profumi di Firenze (Italy)
Jacques Fath (France)
L’Aventura (USA)
Maria Candida Gentile (Italy)
Monsillage (Canada)
Parfum Prissana / Prin / Strangers Parfumerie (Thailand)

….to be cont.



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