Who does not love amber? It’s such a popular note that almost every brand at one point or another has featured one. Very often though they become clicheed. Your nose tells you, it has smelled this sort of thing a fair few times before. Amber is one of those notes which wrap people up warmly in the winter but seem to disappear in summer. Could amber be made a bit lighter? Could you see a little light behind its windows? Or must amber live inside darkly shuttered orientals? Far too often this seems to be the preferred treatment of the note.
Or you might compose a floral oriental. That’s another strategy. This is what Mandy Aftel has done with Amber Tapestry. In the process she has created a lovely floral oriental that reminds me of perfumes like Coty’s L’Origan, or Caron’s Montaigne, only without the acid citrus notes that made the Caron slightly high pitched and pollen yellow. This is a true ambery floral and just as sensual as they make them.
Amber Tapestry is a perfume that has a color too, but here it isn’t Montaigne’s daffodil yellow, but a deep golden color like honey. This perfume has a comforting enveloping quality that reminds me of the best orientals, but does not have their density or their weight. This is a golden perfume for the cold days of winter, but the warmth comes from a thick gathering of jasmine flowers which seem to act like densely petalled insulation. The massed blossoms are gold, a filigree of golden flowers keeping you as warm as a heavy coat lined in gold satin. That’s the comfort level of Amber Tapestry.
The cleverness of the scent is here. Because Amber Tapestry* is a natural perfume and as you may know by now if you have tried many of those, the besetting sin of natural fragrances is a murky heaviness which does not allow the wearer to determine one note from another. Mandy has done something unusual here because she has made a perfume that should fall in the very heavy ambery oriental spectrum, but has opened up the perfume with flowers, and made the notes legible. She’s given it longevity with animalics so gently dosed, that you barely register the signature Aftelier ambergris. What you notice is the luxurious staying power of the fragrance which was easily five hours on me. (Believe me when I say this is probably the sole perfume house to use ambergris as a signature note. The stuff is just astronomically expensive.)
The result is something that reminds me of Old L’Origan and the aforementioned Montaigne, this before L’Origan was debased due to its popularity, and Montaigne was discontinued. L’Origan was a four base perfume and a great innovation in its day- which was 1904. Amber Tapestry is less complex and misses out the carnation note of L’Origan but it as very easy to wear and has that Aftelier clarity to it that is often missing in natural perfumes.
Here is the acid test of this perfume. I shared a sample with a non perfume person who immediately said, “Flowery”, which is not what you say about orientals. You know what I mean?
Amber Tapestry was also immediately sprayed on and complimented. This is one of the Aftelier’s Like Honey Blossom that is going to be enjoyed by a lot of people. Basically if you love a big jasmine bouquet and a warm amber you will love this perfume-and frankly, who doesn’t love those?
- My sample came from Mandy herself but my opinion is mine alone.