Aftelier Perfumes is the brainchild of its founder Mandy Aftel, based in sunny Berkeley California. Mandy has written a seminal book which is critically acclaimed by those in the Fragrance Firmament “Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume” and apart from being an authoritive writer, she is also, as you may have guessed from my previous posts, a talented perfumer.
Today I have been wearing Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia and if you like a hint of honey bee, you’re in for a treat. Firstly, it’s worth pointing out that all Aftelier perfumes are completely natural. This is hard to achieve. If you prefer your scents natural, then this is your dream brand.
Cuir de Gardenia opens in dramatic fashion that brought to mind that divisive madam, Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle. Just for a moment, there seems to be such a concentration of white flowers that it transcends the usual white flower expectation and becomes almost medicinal. TCP antiseptic to be exact. This is not a dig- I adore Tubereuse Criminelle and I adore the opening of Cuir de Gardenia.
Within minutes, the TCP disappears and the white flowers become spicy and start to change under my very nose. The white flower petals become dipped in honey and pollen and each enriches the other. This smells like an imaginary hybrid flower made of gardenia, yellow flowers, honey and lilies.
In trying to pin down the place it reminds me of I finally realised that this is Camden Market in London in the height of summer. It’s the flower stall next to the constant wisps of incense in the air and the bees and the canal and the sunshine. It’s a happy, hippy summer smell, the way summer gets a bit too rich and heavy before it trips over and lands in Autumn. Longevity is amazing at around ten hours.
There’s more to come from Aftelier shortly as Mandy has just sent me a sample of her new solid chypre Bergamoss. I feel so lucky to be in possession of it. Thank you Mandy and thank you Fed Ex for not sending it to my elderly neighbour two streets away like last time.
Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia is available from Mandy Aftel’s website, which also offers an excellent sample service.