I was recently sent a sample of Mandy Aftel’s new solid chypre “Bergamoss” from the delightful Mandy herself, who is a pleasure to deal with and has no qualms about Fedexing stuff from sunny California to overcast Wales to my eagerly awaiting mitts.
Funnily enough, Lisa Wordbird and I were recently lamenting the lack of solid perfumes these days, with Lisa making the very valid point that you can usually get them past customs when taking fragrance on holiday. There is a nostalgia about them too, and I guess I’ve never grown out of the novelty of having an Avon Daisy shaped brooch that concealed a solid perfume wayyyy back in the 1970s when I just a slip of a girl.
So I love solid perfume, I love chypres and I love Bergamot. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all. It’s wonderful.
Bergamoss initially threw me a little because it was so remarkably refreshing. I don’t know about you, but as much I love my chypres, I don’t always expect them to go zing! But this one does. I had all these questions coming out of my head like a cartoon: Is that lemon grass? Are there herbs in this? Why does it smell so zingy? Well as you know, Mandy navigates the tricky world of making all-natural perfumes so when she uses Bergamot, it’s the real deal, hence the sharpness of the citrussy opening. This beds down into something greener and more complex and I find myself wearing a beautiful summer chypre.
Yes this is a refreshingly green and pleasant warm weather chypre which, rather than being mossy and rich and decadent ( i.e the types of chypres I am used to) it is spicy, tangy and green. It reminded me in fact of lemon grass, which manages to be both delicate and strong at the same time. Although beautifully blended, you can smell that these ingredients are natural. There’s no whiff of synthetics and no hint of everything being sanitised for the modern palate. This is earthy, beautiful and bangs its own drum. I give it ten out of ten.
Longevity initially confused me. Once you put this on you don’t smell it in the same way as if you’ve just sprayed yourself liberally, it’s more close to skin, but catching little wafts of it as I go about my day made me realise that even if I can’t smell it (at least not without sniffing my skin), it is very much there and this reassures me that others can smell it too.
I got around five hours of pleasant wafts, and not much after that, but the beauty of applying a solid perfume is that you don’t offend anyone. Imagine someone sitting on a train or in an office and having a good few squirts of their usual EDP. They’d get looks and possibly tuts (In Britain, that’s actually warfare). Imagine applying a solid perfume to behind your ears and neck- not a mutter from anyone, just a pleasant subtle waft that gradually floats up in a very inoffensive “Don’t mind me” sort of way, whilst at the same time, allowing you to smell how you want for the day.
As you can see from the photos, Mandy can decant the solid scents she makes into the most beautiful antique compacts, and you can rest assured that Mandy uses pure ingredients such as organic beeswax and jojoba to make them invisibly spreadable.
You can buy all Afterlier products from Mandy’s website, which also gives you an insight into the work she carries out. Thank you Mandy for my beautiful sample! ( Opinions are my own)