Tag Archives: Aftelier Perfumes

Aftelier Velvet Tuberose: A White Flower Winter

Mandy Aftel is a revered world-wide authority on natural fragrances, and flavour too.  To receive samples all the way from Berkeley California to my humble end of terrace home in overcast South Wales makes me feel very honoured. When I heard Mandy was working on a scent called Velvet Tuberose, my antenna twitched in anticipation. It’s no exaggeration that since learning more about fragrance, tuberose has become a firm favourite of mine. I couldn’t wait to see what Mandy would do with it.

Fragrantica

Velvet Tuberose is in solid fragrance form. This means that you can travel with it, apply it on a train without annoying anyone and Mandy can post it to you, even in the UK. It also means that the waxy texture won’t dry your skin out. Reader, it lasts and lasts and lasts. Here’s what I thought about it:

Wikipedia

Velvet Tuberose opens brightly and loudly. It’s heady and thick and reminds me of the hottest days in summer full of flowers and bees and heat.  As this peaks, there is a pleasant woodiness to Velvet Tuberose, which takes over when the thick summer flowers tail off. You have the creamy headiness of the tuberose, that faintest hint of celery that plays hide and seek and a sweetness that lies somewhere between a florist and a snapped fern leaf.  I found a lot of sharp greenery here, which offsets the richness of the tuberose absolute. Yes, Mandy has used tuberose absolute. It’s not the cheapest way of doing things, but Mandy sources her materials with great care. The quality of the ingredients really shows: not just in the longevity but in the fully rounded notes that seem to get plumper and richer, rather than tailing off and fading as some liquid fragrances can. Although it’s not listed as a note, my nose found traces of earthy honey in here that warms this big white floral up for winter.

From Aftelier.com

 

Longevity is remarkable. Apply in the morning and when your head hits the pillow at bed time, you’re sniffing the air and thinking, is that still me? It is.

Velvet Tuberose is a high quality rich tuberose with a chorus of flowers to introduce it, and a finale of sandalwood and honey to round it off. Tuberose fans will adore it, and people who are not yet tuberose fans might find that this is the one that converted them to Tuberose Love.

Stockists

You can but Velvet Tuberose from the Aftelier website. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy Aftel, for which, warmest thanks. No conditions were attached and this is not a sponsored post.

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Aftelier Perfumes: Palimpsest

LIQ-EDP-Palimpsest-1

 

 Palimpsest: A manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing

Mandy Aftel is an independent perfumer based in California with a die-hard fan base, and more accolades than you can shake a stick at- and after trying several samples that she very kindly Fed-Exed to me, I can see why.

Firstly- the name:  After I’d read it a few times and stopped saying Pample-est in my head, I realised that, aside from some Yuzu, this was nothing to do with grapefruit (it’s not Pamplelune) and everything to do with layers.

A Palimpsest is “A manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing.”

(www.oxforddictionaries.com).  You can see why this is a great name for a perfume that is a cornucopia of layers and which constantly changes on my skin and which juxtaposes the old with the new.

My preconceptions were torn asunder when I first tried Palimpsest, and I have been learning more than ever lately that it will never do to cross olfactory notes off my list of “Likes”.  I usually sidestep peach, honey and yellow flowers, but Palimpsest has all three tied together with a hint of citrussy yuzu, and most interestingly of all, an edge that smells like dried incense smoke.

Initially, there was a sourness to this, which isn’t always a bad thing, but then loud peaches took over, bedding down into richer, dried apricots enveloped in a waft of joss sticks.  Some borderline indolic Jasmine wafts by, leaving an impression but not staying long.  I wouldn’t like to break this down into top,middle and base notes  because it doesn’t stay still.

 

Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com
Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com

One overwhelming impression that it left me with, is that Palimpsest is the exact, and I mean the exact smell that you get when you stick your nose right into a fully blooming daffodil. There’s honey, yellow flowers and pollen and vanilla and that hint of natural spice in a daff that reminds you that it came from a vegetable like bulb. I don’t even know if it was deliberate or if it’s my take on it- is after all the national flower of Wales where I live, so I consider myself an aficidando of sticking noses in Daffodils.

 

wiki commons
wiki commons

Palimpsest is not only a superb, multi layered and interesting scent, but it is that rare thing- an all natural perfume.  Personally, I don’t mind what’s in my perfume as long as it smells good, but it is no mean feat to maintain this principal.

Mandy is remarkably successful- she was named in the top seven bespoke perfumers in the world by Forbes and Basenotes rated her in the top twenty five most influential people in perfume ( and they know what they’re talking about over there). Her very first brand, Grandiflorum was sold to Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and she has been her own boss at Aftelier perfumes since 1997.

LIQ-MINI-Palimpsest-1

Despite her success, Mandy remains approachable and down to earth, and her passion shines through in all she does.

I would like to also point you in the direction of a blog that is so good that I treat it like textbook: Perfume Shrine.  The review of Palimpsest on PerfumeShrine is superb and tells you more than I do in fascinating detail. I’m not worthy!

Stockists

Aftelier perfumes are available from the Aftelier website. Prices vary, and samples start at $6 a phial.

Aftelier Fig: Welcome to Narnia

aftelier.com
aftelier.com

 

Aftelier is the brainchild of Mandy Aftel, who creates perfumes from natural and botanical essences.  This is the first perfume I have reviewed from Aftelier, but I hope it won’t be my last.

Aftelier Fig does not open with Fig.  In fact, despite its name, this is not strictly a Fig perfume, although it has an important cameo.

narniafans.com
narniafans.com

Aftelier Fig opens with bold Pine (Fir) and brash Lemon, and initially reminded me of the smell of damp old stone.  This is by no means a complaint: its one of my favourite smells.  According to Fragrantica, Fig contains Castoreum (from our beaver friends) and Civet (often giving an intimate “skanky” smell).  Neither of these presented themselves to me, but what I did get was a blast of outdoors and a good dose of old, antique dark wood.

Fig itself  is one of those notes I grew to love gradually, thanks largely to the efforts of Jean Claude Ellena and his delectable Un Jardin en Mediterranee and also via Premier Figeur from L’Artisan Parfumeur (both reviewed on this blog).  However its juicy over ripeness is almost absent from Aftelier Fig, or so you think before this beds down into the long, lazy basenote phase.  With a whiff of Oud, a hint of Musk and a figgy juicyness that actually comes from Yuzu, not Fig, this has a deliciously woody, musty end phase that made me a big fan. It smells like the back of the wardrobe that leads to Narnia: all damp aged wood and fresh pine with the grown up juicy heart adding a hint of something delicious and tempting.

They should issue bottles of this with every book of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If you get a hint of Mr and Mrs Beaver, even better.  Interesting. Very interesting…