Portia’s Best Of 2018



Heya APJ,

Obviously my Best Of will be the best of what I got my nose on. Seriously. I’m smelling ALL YEAR the newest stuff and still I’ve hardly scratched the surface. Some of these may have been released in 2017 but were new to me this year. Soz about that, just doing my best here.

Portia’s Best Of 2018

Kolonya by Rasei Fort

Seriously folks. If you don’t get your nose on this you are missing out. You know I whinge and bitch about people releasing cologne for large sums of money that could easily be replaced by a $20 bottle and the difference is minimal. Kolonya is a game changer for me, pieces of so many fragrances all put together in a way so unexpected and surprising that i smile from ear to ear when I wear it. There is so much in this fragrance and every time I wear it the ride is different, like it’s temperature, weather or venue specific. All the fun of cologne with all the bells and whistles of finest fragrance. SNIFF THIS IMMEDIATELY!

Niral by Neela Vermeire Creations

An homage to British silk maker Sir Thomas Wardle. Niral is a rosy iris backed by dry tea and leather. Wears like the sussurus of silk as you walk down stairs, quiet, expensive and attention grabbing. I drained my press sample and recently purchased a full bottle. Quite distinct from the rest of the NVC catalogue and an interesting new direction.

Memory Motel by Une Nuit à Montauk

We were all blown away by this strangely gorgeous BarBQ sauce and leather fragrance opening that had a smoothness we thought might be elemi or even labdanum. On second smelling I got none of the BarBQ and loads more of the patchouli with tobacco, vanilla and frankincense. Another MUST TRY! I don’t know why the internet hasn’t blown up about these guys.

Taj Garden by DSH Perfumes

Taj Garden’s is lightly floral, like peonies and hyacinths as the sun just hits them and starts to warm the day, a green floral, delicate and calming. It has the spirit of warm water without feeling particularly wet and sunshine seems to be captured perfectly, that feeling of it hitting the back of your neck on a cool morning with incense burning not very nearby.

Le Participe Passé by Serge Lutens

A return to the Serge that we know and love. Fruit mince drizzled in caramel, sweaty cumin and resins with a lovely green overlay that gives a considered counterpoint and surprise. I bought a 100ml bottle it and am glad I did. MMMMMMMMM

Nomade by Chloe

This has not yet been a purchase but when Nomade was released early this year the Duty Free in airports were full of squirt bitches (men and women) trying to douse us. I was initially reluctant and asked for a card. I was back in 15 minutes to get some on my skin and loved it sick for the next couple of hours. A mossy, fruity floral that wears like expensive leather goods on my skin.

Les Eaux de CHANEL

Biarritz, Deauville and Venise are so much better than they ever needed to be. Cologne plus. Loved the new bottles, that soft touch packaging and the carefree vibe of them all.  I couldn’t help myself and purchased them all.

Cloud by Ariana Grande

I know! It’s a budget, screechy Baccarat Rouge 540 but still. That freaking bottle is hilarious and the scent is not the worst thing I’ve smelled this year. For almost zero dollars I think it’s cool.

Belgravia Chypre by Penhaligon’s

This series of Penhaligon’s Hidden London doesn’t seem to have been a big hit for them, in Australia anyway. From the moment I tried Belgravia Chypre (doesn’t really feel like a chypre at all to be honest) I fell madly in love. My bottle gets fairly regular outings, but not in the crazy heat of summer and I think it is a very 21st century niche offering, bordering on bro woods. It smells amazing while walking around art galleries and I can so imagine it being the choice of the suit brigade if ever they tried it.

Antique Ambergris by Aftelier Perfumes

Animalic, chocolatey, earthy and rich yet light as a feather. This will fully fit the animalic cravers yet anyone who is terrified of that won’t be overwhelmed. There’s a lot more going on here than the animalics. Lightly salted chocolate covered caramel, woodiness, resins and amber all combine like a sheer gourmand.

UR ± Silk 19 by UER MI

This woody, white floral and fruity concoction has grabbed my heart. It’s so pretty and easily worn yet weird enough to maintain my interest all day. The brand Uer Mi is cool but kinda try hard. I love their scent aesthetic though, good stuff and not ridiculously pricey either.

Hermessence Cèdre Sambac by Hermès

Infinitely more than the sum of its parts, Hermessence Cèdre Sambac is so wearable and yet still a little bit Hermès weird. Christine Nagle has stamped her signature hard but managed to remain well within the oeuvre. I can’t believe how many people, and from such different taste ranges, have fallen hard for this sheer hefty beauty. My 15ml travel is about 30% empty.

Iris Rebelle by Atelier Cologne

I spent about 3 hours wandering Selfridge & Co perfume halls solo earlier in the year. I must have sniffed 50+ blotters and the one that stayed in my hand and at my nose the whole time was Iris Rebelle. A peppery, patchouli/oudh iris and is both creamy and gritty. So unusual. YUM!

Savannah’s Heart by Olibere Parfums

Another one I tried and then HAD TO HAVE in my collection. Coffee, woods, oudh and musks with a sheer veneer of green over the top. It’s fairly standard niche fare but done with a happy, enticing twist. I love it but know that if Val the Cookie Queen smelled it she’d wrinkle her nose. Hot sand, coffee and woods is how it smells on me. Fabulous!

Maison Christian Dior Collection

In 2018 the old Prive collection got a review. Everything is now grouped into the Maison Collection. I’m thinking that means there are some quiet reformulations and the addition of about 700 new fragrances, all of them light, bright and tight. The Asian market and the office seem to be the focus. Lightweight, wearable, pretty and durable scents that will not announce your arrival but will be nice to be next to. My personal faves of the new line up, and now bottles gracing my collection, are Sakura, Purple Oud and Santal Noir.


There are MORE! I can’t bloody remember them off the top of my head.

What did you love (or hate) in 2018?
Portia xx

69 thoughts on “Portia’s Best Of 2018

  1. OK y’all are gonna kill me but you already know what I am going to say…my two favorite releases from 2018 are St. Clair Scents Casablanca and First Cut (I also really enjoy Gardener’s Glove from the same indie house for it’s exquisite usage of tomato leaf). I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a new release…after almost 50 years of perfume wearing you can get a bit jaded…

    Portia, you have convinced me to try Cloud…I am not a snob when it comes to perfume and will gladly wear a Bacarrat Rouge dupe 🙂

    Still need to get my nose on Cedre Sambac….I know it gets a lot of love! I will retry Iris Rebelle and test Nomade next time I am in a Sephora.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Also, I have no idea when Solstice Scents Estate Vetiver was released but if it was this year that would be another pick for me…it’s a gorgeous boozy, patchy dark vanilla with a touch of vetiver….and it’s a powerhouse which can take on my scent devouring skin!


  3. As I read this, in the car, I am hurtling towards the store for a bottle of one of the Eauxs. They are gorgeous. Not sure which one yet. Two maybe? The Venise is like a Misia Cologne. Deauville calling too. Aaaaaaaah. 😫

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved Cèdre Sambac, Musc Encensé and Tiger’s Nest best out of this year’s new releases. MdO Santal Nabataea and Hermès Agar Ébène get an honourable mention too. I wasn’t as enthused about Une Nuit à Montauk’s Memory Motel as I expected to be, but their Suma Oriental turned out to be a surprise winner for me. And I am having a continued love affair with Hiram Green Slowdive and Bruno Fazzolari Ummagumma.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have no clue when my favorite discoveries of the year were released, but they were huge winners to me.
    Agreeing with Portia on Antique Ambergris. In cahoots with Mrs. Marzipan for First Cut. And agree with Tara C in naming Tiger’s Nest.
    Also causing major nostril flare were: Masque Milano Russian Tea, Parfum de Thérèse, Salome, Anubis, Dryad and Le Mat.
    Still lingering on my to try list are POAL, Rozy VdE and Niral.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chloe Nomade for the win. Took me a mighty long time to understand it, but now I crave the opening plum note and FINALLY see the point to the dry down.

    Deauville grabbed my attention. Instead of that, I bought the 4 releases of colognes by TRNP. These are my daily staples. Easy to transport in my cross body handbag, beautiful scents that are breezy and dense, and can be worn anywhere. I also adore Arjuna by Teone too. A wild white floral with a sunny yellow belly. It is dandelions, daisies and afternoon sun sleepiness in a bottle. Well, no, it isn’t, but it makes me that kind of happy.

    Another surprise win was Ralph Lauern’s Woman. Mild tuberose with an equally mild fruit base. Nothing ground breaking, but simple, kind and confident.

    Needless to say, the almighty Cedré Sambac has me round it’s little finger too.


  7. Loved your lists, APJers. There are a lot of blank spaces to fill but I try. Here’s what captured my attention this year: Molinard in general and Molinard de Molinard in particular, – it’s got such a vintage feel, Je Reviens etc. I’ve talked about other Molinards in the SOTD thread so I won’t bore you again;
    I loved Fleur de Lalita and Blouse YSL, as well. Mugler Aura was interesting enough, – not my style, but I’d love to smell it from someone.


  8. How do purple oud and santal noir smell like. You got it right, I also felt new Dior line is meant to be safer than original and aimed at selling more rather than offering something unconventional to clients. Is Cloud really close to BR540? Many say so but there are others, too that deny though its possible their niche snobbery is influencing their opinion


    • Imagine the safest, prettiest versions of both oud and sandalwood and you’ll be right on the money Fazal. No one could be offended by either.
      Cloud is a much cheaper, sickly sweet, screechy version of BR540. But BR540 is so smoothly and lavishly orchestrated anything going for a similar vibe is going to smell a lot less, especially up close. I reckon if someone walked past you in the street you’d be fooled. Also, I’m not a regular wearer of BR540 so my smellovision of it is less honed.
      Portia xx


    • Fazal, as I’ve already pointed out, there’s a difference between the EdP and Extrait version of BR540. I don’t know of which one Cloud is supposed to be a dupe. I like the Extrait version but I’ll gladly try out Cloud if I come across it somewhere.


    • Hey Gina,
      Yeah, 30ml is about AUD$35, around US$24. 100ml around AUD$55 which is under US$40. Compared to the niche offerings like BR540 70ml at AUD$350 then the Ariana Grande is cheap as chips.
      Nearly free being an expression for inexpensive, not to be taken literally.


  9. Super list Portia, so many more for me to add to the ever growing samples wish list! For me, my love this year was my purchase of L’artisan Al Oudh. I know it’s not new to the world, but it’s new to me and I kick myself for not having come across it sooner. It’ll be a stayer in my collection. I think the other love for me this year has been when you give something a second try and it smells altogether different to the first time. Eg, Le Labo Labdanum – first try was yuk, too harsh but tried it weeks later and was like wow – I want more!
    And one last perfume love has been sharing samples with some of the lovely people on here – which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when they wear their treasure and comment. I hope to extend this with some more friends here in the new year as I seem to have collected lots! Someone did say that those little samples multiply in the night 😉❤️


  10. One new line from this year that’s gotten very little mention, except I think from you Portia, is 19-69. I love Capri and wore it a ton this summer. Also like Chinese Tobacco and Purple Haze.


  11. Thank you so very much, dear Portia, for such a wonderful description for Taj Garden! ❤ I really love that you LOVED it…and that it made your Best of 2018 ❤
    I'm sending HUGE love and wish you (and your whole community) blessings, health, and sensuous joy to you all! ❤


  12. I love “best of” lists and I’m happy that you’ve included many smaller and less popular houses. The Kolonya immediately caught my attention. I love a good cologne but avioid buying them because of the poor longevity. Niral is wonderful and the Chanels too. I’ve got to try Belgravia Chypre. I’ve only started discovering the Penhaligon’s line and there are some lovelies among them: The Duke from the Portrays Collection – a spicy rose with cumin and I like Blasted Bloom – which doesn’t seem to be popular but I think it will be my first buy in 2019 when I decide to break my no-buy resolution 😉
    I explored the Zoologist line and found some beauties there – Camel, Panda and Civet. Sisley’s Izia and Diptyque’s Tempo are also high on my list for 2018.


  13. Pingback: Portia’s Best Of 2018 – Serenity Now

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