Say what you will about 2017—it was a fantastic year for fragrance!
I can't remember a year in recent memory where the niche releases were so consistently strong and original. Some fragrances were included on this list because they push boundaries and explore uncharted terrain while others were included because they add something new and interesting to an established style. However, they all have one thing in common: they are unequivocally great fragrances that we haven't been able to get enough of.
Now, without further ado, our picks for the Best Fragrances of 2017.
Attar AT by Tauer
Andy Tauer's Attar is dark, rich and mysterious. Inspired by the centuries-old tradition of perfume making in the Middle East and Far East, Attar AT blends notes of leather, birch tar and cistus labdanum with sweet jasmine, animalic castoreum and rich sandalwood and vetiver. This fragrance is presented as a fragrance oil, with no alcohol or carrier oil added—one single drop is enough to last all through the day.
Dryad by Papillon
In 2015, Liz Moores released Salome to near-universal acclaim so expectations were understandably high for her next release. Thankfully, Dryad does not disappoint. This deep green chypre is built around a core of oakmoss and narcissus. Dryad epitomizes the rich, multi-layered style that Papillon has become famous for and proves that it is still possible to make sprawling classical compositions in this modern era.
Mx. by Eris Parfums
The latest fragrance to emerge from the artistic collaboration between perfumer Antoine Lie and blogger and author Barbara Herman, Mx. is a particularly timely release, inspired by gender fluidity and putting into words the shift that has been taking place over the past two decades as the masculine/feminine divide slowly disappears. In keeping with its theme, Mx. is a rich woody composition with notes of sandalwood, saffron, cedar, patchouli and benzoin—taking full advantage of the warm, woody aromas that don't scream masculine or feminine.
Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir
Anticipation for this fragrance has been steadily growing since it was first announced several years ago. Nuit de Bakélite, composed by Isabelle Doyen is an absolute triumph—a tuberose unlike anything you have ever smelled. It is at once earthy, green, peppery, leathery and camphoraceous—more often than not, it tends more toward the inky green woods of Robert Piguet's Bandit than any tuberose fragrance in recent memory. Nuit de Bakélite is easily one of the best releases of the year and a must-try for any perfume lover.
O, Unknown! by Imaginary Authors
O, Unknown!, the newest addition to the Imaginary Authors line is an absolutely stunning, delicate composition built around black tea, Lapsang Souchong and orris. The fragrance shifts and oscillates as it moves through its various stages, from the dry parched aroma of an old library to smoky woods. A warm and comforting fragrance perfect for the holiday season.
Ummagumma by Bruno Fazzolari
Bruno Fazzolari keeps raising the bar with each release. This year's Ummagumma finds the San Francisco-based perfumer retreading some of the territory first explored with Cadavre Exquis; however, this time around he ditches the candy sweet accord for something darker and more satisfying—bitter chocolate. While there are gourmand notes present here, this is by no means a typical gourmand. The fragrance quickly shifts gears after a chocolatey opening and dives headlong into tobacco and burnished woods.