Colognoisseur Best of 2021 Part 3: The Top 35 New Perfumes of the Year


To begin with the context of the list, I tried 621 new perfumes since January 1, 2021. That is about a third of all new perfume released during the same time frame. The list below is the best 5.6% of those I got to try. As you see in the title it has expanded a bit from the usual Top 25. I found that when I looked back, I had a tight list of 35 I was pleased with. I decided to make them all worthy of the main list with no Honorable Mentions this time around.

The Top 10 (Perfume of the Year candidates)

10, Diptyque Kyoto– The best of the four perfumes in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the brand. The magic of beetroot, and perfumer Alexandra Carlin turns this into a stunning fragrance.

9. Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Synthetic Jungle– Perfumer Anne Flipo turned in a sappy green thicket of a perfume.

8. Zoologist Chipmunk– Creative Director Victor Wong and perfumer Pia Long create a modern interpretation of those classic woody masculine perfumes of decades ago.

7. Azman Two Minutes After the Kiss– You might think there is nothing new in an oud-rose perfume. Perfumer Cristiano Canali will make you think again.

6. Masque Milano Lost Alice– Creative Directors Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi team-up with perfumer Mackenzie Reilly for a gourmand inspired by Alice’s Tea Party.

5, Francesca Bianchi Luxe Calme VolupteFrancesca Bianchi lives on the edge in her perfume making. This time it is the edge of sensual passion in this year’s sexiest fragrance.

4, Puredistance No. 12– Creative director Jan Ewoud Vos told me to give perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer’s perfume time to mature. When it did a magnificent powdery chypre was there to enjoy.

3. Rubini NuvolariAndrea Rubini and his creative team including perfumer Cristiano Canali take you for a drive on an F1 track all the way through the checkered flag.

2. Amouage Material– Creative director Renaud Salmon and perfumer Cecile Zarokian turn in the most audacious gourmand of the year using the tritest of ingredients, vanilla. By turning it inside out and back again they define something entirely new.

1. Amouage Silver Oud– All the reasons are in yesterday’s Perfume of the Year post. The short version: M. Salmon and Mme Zarokian made me care about oud again.

The Rest of the Top 35 in Alphabetical Order

Aesop Eremia– The apocalypse has never seemed so appealing.

Aftelier Perfumes Joie de VertMandy Aftel uses a vintage anise hyssop in a hymn to green.

Anatole Lebreton Racine Carre– This perfume is the answer to, “What is the square root of licorice?”

April Aromatics Wild Summer Crush– The exuberance of the summer and the possibilities of love explode on my skin with joy.

Chanel Paris-EdimbourgOlivier Polge is creating his own niche at Chanel with the Les Eaux. This is the best of them, so far.

Chris Collins African Rooibos– The best tea-inspired perfume of 2021.

Comme des Garcons Ganja– Everything Comme des Garcons has done well for thirty years, and counting is right here.

Diptyque Venise– This reminds you that Venice is not just water and canals. It is also the gardens on the islands.

DS & Durga St. Vetyver– I hear Jimmy Buffet in my head every time I wear this.

Escentric Molecules Molecule 01 + Iris– Sometimes things are simple. Geza Schoen adds iris to Iso E Super. It is as good as it gets.

Freddie Albrighton Mabel’s Tooth– The most fun I had with a perfume all year from a new independent perfumer.

Hedonik Divine PerversionFrancesca Bianchi’s leather line has a perfume to match.

La Curie GeistLesli Wood finds the wood smoke hanging in the pine trees.

Laboratorio Olfattivo Vanagloria– This is a version of a vanilla throw blanket from Dominique Ropion.

Maison Crivelli Lys SolabergNathalie Feisthauer takes you to summer in the Great White North as the lilies bloom.

Maison Crivelli Hibiscus Mahajad– Perfumer Quentin Bisch creates a red-colored gemstone floral.

Milano Fragranze Diurno– The best of the new line by creative director Alessandro Brun. Perfumer Julie Masse uses a brilliant Amaretto accord to call up the echoes of the Lost Generation.

Naomi Goodsir Corpus Equus– Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour forms a horsehair leather fragrance.

Parfum d’Empire Mal-AimeMarc-Antoine Corticchiato can make perfume from anything, including weeds.

Phoenecia Perfume Oud Elegance Rose and Oud Elegance Incense– Perfumer David Falsberg gave two visions of no BS oud. Both are enhanced by the ingenious use of a hyraceum tinctured alcohol.

Sarah Baker Loudo– This combination of a cherry cordial and oud was as compelling as it got.

Scents of Wood Plum in Cognac– This was the perfume which made Fabrice Croise’s concept come to gourmand life under perfumer Pascal Gaurin.

Shalini Fleur JaponaisShalini and perfumer Maurice Roucel make a delicate artistic perfume.

Tom Ford Private Blend Ebene Fume Rodrigo Flores-Roux wakes up the echoes of the early days of the brand.

Zoologist Snowy Owl– At the end of last year I eagerly awaited this collaboration between Victor Wong and perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. Snowy Owl was even better than I could have imagined.

That’s a wrap for 2021. I’m looking forward to what 2022 has in store.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Azman Two Minutes After the Kiss- Familiarity Breeds Beauty

When it comes to modern perfumery there are some classical combinations. They are the ones you will encounter repeatedly the more fragrance you encounter. When I receive samples, I’ll look at the ingredient list and inwardly say, “Not another fill-in-the-blank”. Most of the time my antipathy is rewarded with something that just trod the same well-worn path. Rarely I receive a sample of a perfume which seeks to take that familiarity and turn it into an asset. That is achieved by having a deep understanding of the materials being used. It also comes by going beneath the surface to add depth and texture. Azman Two Minutes After the Kiss does all of that for rose and oud.

Husen Khan

Azman is a new fragrance brand founded by Husen Khan. He grew up in India and now resides in Dubai. In between his job took him all over the world. He has an aesthetic we’ve heard before, to mix Arabian and European perfume. On paper it sounds like things I read too many times which never understand what they mean. Mr. Khan is one of those who did his homework resulting in a perfume that does exactly what he desires. Part of that is choosing Cristiano Canali as perfumer. If you give the brief of Arabian-European rose oud to him it won’t be checking off boxes.

Cristiano Canali

When you are making a rose and oud perfume the first question is which rose and which oud. There is a spectrum of choices. In this case the rose is a Turkish version. The oud is Laotian. Of all the oud oils I own my favorite is the Laotian version. It appeals to me because there is a slight floral piece of the profile. The other reason is it is smokier resinous without tripping over into a dirtier profile that other ouds have. The Turkish rose is probably my favorite rose because of the spicy core of it. This is a rose I think of as a passionate rose. Sig. Canali gives them the space to evolve with a stellar cast of supporting ingredients.

It begins with both keynotes right away. A large amount of cardamom is used as the first modulator. This is a greener version of the ingredient. It has a more intense presence which is necessary to break through the keynotes. Now a smoky Omani frankincense swirls through amplifying the same parts of the oud. Some pepper finds the spicy piece of the rose in the same way. Both ingredients act as catalysts to bring the subtle threads forward. The softer resin of myrrh finds harmony in both.

Now the perfume enters an earthy only slightly animalic phase. It begins with the unique animalic source of beeswax. It grows deeper in that direction with a leather accord. An austere sandalwood along with patchouli and vetiver form an earthen contrast to the leathery piece of the base accord. Over time it ends as it began with the rose and oud on top.

Two Minutes After the Kiss has 24-hour longevity and average sillage.

This is a remarkable rose oud fragrance. It is going to be one of my all-time favorite ones. It comes about because the creative team allows the familiarity to breed beauty.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Azman.

Mark Behnke