Best in Show Best in Show: Solid Fragrances (2017)

Best in Show: Solid Fragrances (2017)

01/29/17 06:35:36 (22 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison, Elena Vosnaki, Jodi Battershell, John Biebel

Estee Lauder Solid Perfumes

Solid perfume is one of the ways to cut down on liquids when traveling by plane, sheer practicality conforming to airport regulations, but its merits (and history) go beyond just the nifty. The formula of most solid perfumes is sensuously waxy, offering a feeling of pampering and sensuality that is lacking from sprayers but is not as oily or staining as a regular oil. The packaging - from the decadently shiny black zamac cases of Diptyque, to the metal retro lockets by Aftelier and the lip-balm-like sticks by Lush and over to the luxurious presentations by Amouage and Lauder (above) - is another bonus as it delurks from a jacket pocket or a purse at the flick of an eye to hold its attention anew.

Furthermore, solid perfume, by its very nature is destined to remain on the surface of the skin and not permeate clothing like sprayers inadvertently do, offers a gentler alternative for those who like scents that remain close to the skin, and do not offer huge sillage or projection, perfect for those occasions when the desired effect is one of discretion (office wearing, visiting hospitals etc).

Molinard Concreta 1930 advertisment

Historically solid perfume became popular again, after half a century of sprayer glory, after Molinard's concreta (a waxy pomade remaining from the solvent 'washing' of flowers' absolute, originally introduced in 1925) became a popular souvenir to take back home when visiting the boutiques of the firm in France. From then on, everyone, from Justin Bieber to JLo, came up with a solid version of their best-selling spray-form perfumes...

Our editors do a round-up of their favorites offering ideas for some of the best solids in terms of scent quota, practicality of use and lovely packaging. What's yours? Please do share them in the comments section below our article.

 

 

Diptyque Philosykos Solid Perfume

By: Elena Vosnaki, editor of Fragrantica in Greek

Diptyque Philosykos Solid Perfume

For reasons not very difficult to parse Diptyque's Philosykos is one of my favorite summer perfumes and any time I want to be eased into a warm weather reverie that comes replete with siestas under a generously shady tree and the smell of its dusty foliage and warm, solidly dependable bark, I reach out my hand for it. The idea of spraying Philosykos on one's self is of course synonymous with the elation conferred upon thee on a hot summer's day. But one trip to rainy Ulm, Germany, convinced me of the unsung merits of Diptyque's iconic fragrance's solid version as well.

Right when the weather was gloomy over the muddy Danube, when the downcast skies of lead threatened with more rain and more desperation of the particular kind that an endless Sunday afternoon cooped up in a small room spells out, I reached in my handbag for olfactory solace. Restricted from airport travel regulations my stash regretably had to remain back home: frustration! But a couple of trusty solids had piggybacked themselves, stacked upon each other. Among them Philosykos, the lover of figs. And lo and behold, an ordinary yet scenic scenery, like that in mount Pelion which inspired it, unfolded beneath my eyes upon it melting on my wrists. A stone-built cottage with grey-taupe stone roof tiles shimmering in the scorching August sun. A tiny cistern with a bucket going down for watering and the cicadas singing incessantly in the still of noon. The sweetish mix of dust, earth, milky coconut odour off the barks, crackling and oozing fragrant resin, and two small children running down the slope to the boardwalk towards the sea. "Wait for me Alexander! Just wait!" (Available from Amazon here: http://amzn.to/2kBI3aH)

It's home away from home.

Honorable Mentions: Pacifica Spanish Amber solid perfume, Crazy Libellule & the Poppies Musc & Patchouli, Molinard Iles d'Or concreta, L'Occitane Eau de Quatre Reines solid perfume.

 

 

Aftelier Bergamoss Solid Perfume

By: Jodi Battershell, editor and columnist of Fragrantica in English

 

Aftelier Sollid Perfume

 

From the little Avon twist-up tubes of my childhood to the plastic case of the inexpensive Calgon solid I kept at the office in 1999, solids were a format I often used but had never given much thought. All that changed when I began reading the works of perfumer Mandy Aftel. Essence and Alchemy and later, Scents & Sensibilities, which focused on solid fragrance craft, instilled in me a new appreciation of this particular medium. (If you're a lover of honey notes, you haven't LIVED until you've grated your own unfiltered beeswax by hand. Synthetic honey fragrances can't begin to compare.) I began hunting for tiny receptacles to hold my new solid scent creations and I snatched up some of my favorite commercial fragrances in solid form, too.

Some Aftelier fragrances are available as liquid and solid and some are in one format only, by design. Mandy knows well the merits and special challenges associated with this medium. Solids can hold down some of the lighter top notes, even in "mixed media" fragrances. Subtle tweaks are sometimes needed to preserve the character of a fragrance in solid format. In natural solids like those from Aftelier, the notes must also be compatible with the gently sweet aroma of organic natural beeswax. Bergamoss was launched in 2015 and while it included a limited edition alcohol-based mini for the 2015 holiday season, only the solid format was made part of Aftelier's permanent stock.

If there was ever a fragrance born for the solid format, Bergamoss is surely that fragrance. It's a classic old-school chypre whose sharp edges are trimmed by the sweet honey of the beeswax. The citruses and peach are noticeable but dissipate quickly. What remains is lush, plush, green, slightly soapy and subtly animalic. The fragrance has a natural olive-green hue well suited to its name and the base of organic unfiltered beeswax and organic jojoba absorbs quickly, gently perfuming and softening the skin. The texture, color, aroma and the beautiful silver case make using Bergamoss a pleasurable ritual that you'll want to repeat as often as possible.

Honorable Mentions: Lush Karma, Diptyque L'Ombre dans L'Eau, SJP Covet, Boucheron Trouble Secret de Seduction solid perfume, Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery The Moon & the Stars

 

 

Le Labo Labdanum 18 Solid Perfume

By: John Biebel, editor and columnist of Fragrantica in English

Le Labo Solid Perfume

In 2014, Le Labo launched solid versions of their perfumes; the oils held in a swirl of natural oils and wax. Having always been fascinated by solid fragrances (and the genie-and-the-bottle process to release their scent) I wanted to see what Le Labo had to offer for their solids. After smelling nearly all their perfume solids, I was taken aback by the beauty of Labdanum 18 and its magic. Some fragrances can’t work well in a solid, but this sings - it comes alive within moments of touching the skin and the mysterious mixture of seeds, animalics, musk, amber and vanilla tingles from the wrists like miniature incense burners.

Using the rockrose as its centerpiece (the parent plant from which labdanum resin comes) this perfume has an entrancing amber character. Most of the perfume is base notes, all of which come alive quickly, and evaporate steadily. Because Labdanum 18 isn’t reliant on bright, refracted top notes for its charms, it tends to smolder for a long while and provides a steady, consistent perfume. Solid perfume is a perfect vehicle for Labdanum 18 because of its close ties to traditional perfumes with animal elements. Although Le Labo doesn’t use any true animal musks, the weight, darkness and density of animal musk is skillfully captured with man-made musks. They bond with a particularly warm vanilla in its complex, ever-present base.

This is one of the best fragrance performers as a solid perfume that I’ve yet worn - giving a full 5-6 hours of rich, bittersweet amber. Because it manages a resinous intricacy without some of the smokiness that often comes with such perfumes, its appeal is extremely broad. Vanilla lovers, those who cherish musks, will embrace it. Its solid metal cylinder adds to the mystery, making Labdanum 18 a kind of protective amulet of perfume, rubbing it into your skin becomes a private ritual.

Honorable Mentions: Frazer Parfum: African Soliflore Rose: Parfum Solide, Estee Lauder Youth Dew, Pacifica: French Lilac Solid Perfume, Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley Solid Perfume

 

 

Nemat Amber Solid

By: Marlen Elliot Harrison, co-editor of Fragrantica in English

Nemat Amber Solid Fragrance

I'd like to share some of my favorite more affordable solid perfumes (less than $30 USD) in my contribution to this week's round-up. My top choice is the wonderfully affordable Nemat Amber Solid (4.4 ozs for $26.25 USD), a little secret among perfume-makers and amber addicts. This "paste" with vanilla-almond nuances is "A rich and warm amber fragrance with ambergris base notes. The solid amber fragrance has a soft, chunky texture that will melt when rubbed between fingers" (Nemat). Imported from India and sold out of Fremont, California, Nemat's Amber Solid is a very typical, warm, sweet and powdery amber that can be easily scooped out and transported in a container of your choice, warmed and melted in the hands to blend with your favorite lotions or oils (it blends beautifully with coconut oil solid and natural butters), used with hair and beard waxes/pomades, dropped into a hot bath, or just simply rubbed into skin. A tiny amount goes a long way and compared to most solid fragrances (often sold in .33ozs), the price to volume ration is staggeringly impressive. If you've got $30 USD bucks to spare and LOVE amber, I'm pretty certain you'll soon be sending me a thank you email gushing over how much you love this bargain gem.

I'll also sing the praises of the Pacifica brand with its current line-up of 14 offerings, all corresponding to their best-selling fragrance and bath/body aromas. My favorite of the line (and it's a tough choice as these little gems actually do blend well together, allowing one to craft their own signature scent with ease) is Pacifica's Spanish Amber, "This modern and mystical blend has warm and resinous Amber notes at its heart, Rosy Geranium and woody Sandalwood in the middle and citrusy Bergamot and Elemi on top" (Pacifica). I love blending this one with Pacifica's Sandalwood and Persian Rose aromas. These also work wonders when lightly worked through hair (head, arms or chest) and linger well albeit subtly.

Honorable Mentions (linking to product pages): Song of India Solid Perfumes, Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Pineapple Solid Perfume, Mélange Perfume Solids, Catbird Home & Lounge Solids (especially Tarot Deck), Fragonard Solid Perfumes, L'Epi de Provence Solid Perfumes, Soap & Paper Factory Solid Perfumes, SJP Covet Solid Perfume

 

What are your favorite solid fragrances?



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matty64
matty64

All of the Diptyque solids are good but expensive.

Apr
16
2017
chloematilda
chloematilda

I have the SJP NY Arm Cuff with the solid fragrance - so pretty, the Donna Karan Cashmere solid fragrance in the necklace (on a satin cord), and the Origins Ginger Lisa Jenks collectible pewter solid perfume compact. I've never used them - I bought them because I loved the scents, but they were too pretty to use. Over time though, they do seem to discolour, go "off" and dry up in spots. Such a shame - but I still love my collection. I had a HUGE EL solid perfume collection which I got rid of when I quit working for EL. Wish now I'd hung on to them. The best scented ones IMO are the Lush solids - a little goes a long way and they're cheap and cheerful!

Apr
16
2017
cometasama
cometasama

Sabé Masson is a French solid perfume brand that I'm fond of. Especially Ne des Roses is a very beautiful soft rose one. All their perfume packagings are very convenient so I don't need to stick my finger into the perfume to smear it.

Apr
16
2017
maartje
maartje

I have the solid of the labdanum 18 by le Labo. The reason to buy this one was because a full bottle was a bit too expensive for me at the time. But I just love this solid. Sometimes I "layer" it with something else and it is always exiting what effect that has. But solo it is also very very nice!!!!

Feb
05
2017
jeca
jeca

Some make solid fragrances as well as candles just to extend their fragrance line, but some put their soul in it. I have not smelled Aftelier Bergamoss (the name says it all, must have to try), but I smelled jasmine and I can tell that Mandy creates solid perfumes with just as much love and attention as she does anything else.

Feb
01
2017
Angelicax1
Angelicax1

@Elen70: I believe the Lush solid perfume called "Lust" is the exact same fragrance as Flying Fox!

Jan
30
2017
Elen70
Elen70

I had a favourite solid perfume, which was actually NOT a perfume - Flying Fox from the Lush, perfect and happy jasmine scent. I really miss it and I'd like to have it again...

Jan
30
2017
Mellifluae
Mellifluae

My favourite Solid fragrance at the moment are Breath of God and Imogen Rose from LUSH. In terms of lasting power and projection, I find them relatively strong compared to the L'occitane and YSL ones I used to have, especially Imogen Rose. I can smell it quite strongly even though I have only applied some on my wrist. Also, I find Imogen Rose not as sharp in solid form, which Breath of God remains pretty much consistent compared to the liquid form.

Jan
30
2017
catherine82
catherine82

That Nemat Amber sounds really amazing...

*puts credit card in a bowl of water, puts bowl of water in the freezer*

Jan
30
2017
unregistered
unregistered

The two I have and enjoy are Teo Cabanel's Alahine and Amouage Epic. Longevity is great and the packaging beautiful for both.

Jan
29
2017
sweaterfreak
sweaterfreak

Dr. MEH, thanks for the links to some of your faves...most I have never seen, and buying some Song of India right away. Marilyn Miglin occasionally has solids and/or stick perfumes, and my current fave is a vintage looking faux gemstone necklace with Pheromone solid inside!

Jan
29
2017
Fashionista2
Fashionista2

Loved this article and look forward to try Le Labo 18. My favorite was Norell in solid form many years ago, I just adored it and wore it that way for years and it was so easy to carry everywhere.

Jan
29
2017
rschmidt65
rschmidt65

Roxana Illuminated makes the very best solid perfumes I have tried, all natural and beautifully packaged. my favorite is Hedera Helix, though Aumbre is a close second.

Jan
29
2017
drugstore classics
drugstore classics

Absolutely splendid article concept and execution. Thank you! I'll be looking up several of your recommendations and having a Blast. (And YES, I love amber, wink.)

I was going to sing the praises of Pacifica, but as that has been fully covered I'll mention a budget treat similar to solid perfume.

Has anybody here yet tried the Al-Rehab Scented Creams? These are tiny tubs of scented vaseline - nothing fancy, and costing precisely what the 6 ml roll ons do. <3 Cheap and cheerful fans rejoice. <3

Not only are these creams nifty for no-spill travel, but they come in a good range of scents, some of which are not widely available in the US in any other form. Scented creams have been available now for around a year on Al-Rashad.com. (No affiliation.) It's my guilty little treat, almost like bon bons... Without the calories. ;)

Jan
29
2017
smellagent
smellagent

My fave solid perfume is Fracas. It comes in a pretty silver compact. I remember those skinny dip solid perfumes from the seventies and I loved those too. I might have only been five or so in the mid seventies but they made such an impression. My aunts had them and gave them to me. So along with the memories of receiving lovelies from my aunts I had those scents imprinted and will never forget the way they smelled. I had the Harajuku girls solid perfumes when they first came out and I have now passed them on to my niece. She loves them.

Jan
29
2017
caribbeanislander
caribbeanislander

Fantastic information. I am a regular user of solid perfumes. My favourite ones are Dominican Perfumes because of their good sillage and Le Labo for the longevity.

Jan
29
2017
Cybernoir
Cybernoir

I like Patou solids, such as 1000 and Sublime. Crabtree & Evelyn's Evelyn rose, edition two, is very nice. Generally, I find that vintage solids are not as resilient as perfumes, but hold up better than most lotions. One vintage solid that seems to have survived relatively intact is Corday Toujours Moi. And I have a Boucheron Boucheron that is very like parfum. I confess I am a sucker for the compacts, brooches and necklaces. On a more practical level I keep some Pacifica solids in my office drawer for times when I want to keep my sniffing to myself-- I can mostly smell then with wrist to nose only, but that is okay sometimes.

Jan
29
2017
caitrun
caitrun

As I love natural perfumes and use them when I can, Pacifica's line of solid perfumes are spot on! I love all of their fragrances, but Tunisian Jasmin and Nerola Blossom are two of my favorites. Both of them are discontiuned, thus difficult to find, but if you find a currently offered Pacifica solid, you will pay $9.00USD and get a long lasting nourishing solid. I put then on my hands like a balm and in my hair (just a bit and it is conditioning rather than greasy). 100% natural with lovely skin healing oils like Shea and coconut.

Jan
29
2017
spcmiller
spcmiller

I've had mixed results with all of the solid perfumes I've encountered. The solid of Philosykos left me wanting more in terms of longevity and usability, and I decided that if I were to travel, the 10ml spray is sufficient for the amounts of time I would be gone.

Jan
29
2017
relle
relle

Spectacular information! I'm a newbie to solids, but love the idea of travel with one scent instead of my various decants/samples. Thanks Fragrantica!

Jan
29
2017
nexangelus
nexangelus

My solid perfume collection is pretty big (last count was 25). The majority are from my favourite (most bought) house - Lush. Sometimes you cannot find the liquid versions, so I have ended up trying/buying the solids. My favourite solids are: L'Occitane Green Tea, L'Occitane Rose 4 Reines, Pacifica Tibetan Mountain Temple, Lush Yog Nog and Lush Go Green. I often blend/layer the solids to make something wonderful. They are great used on the ends of hair to complement other fragrances. My first perfume solids back in the late 90s were Lush Karma and Snow Fairy. I also had The Body Shop White Musk Libertine solid a few years ago.

Jan
29
2017
paneradfisk
paneradfisk

The Estee Lauder compacts on the first picture of this article look so very familiar to me. Reminds me of a solid perfume my mother let me have when I was just a few years old.

Jan
29
2017

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