Tag Archives: Secret Garden

Curious: Mandy Aftel’s New perfume

Lapsang Souchong which also comes to mind in Curious

Curious is the name of Mandy Aftel’s new perfume and it was immediately reminiscent to me of another perfume she created, the sophisticated Sepia from 2012.  Sepia was composed in conjunction with the blogger Nathan Branch and was inspired by the brown tints of old sepia prints.

I have to say that I was probably in the minority then because I liked Sepia which was a divisive love it/hate it kind of scent. The perfume had a sophisticated heart full of unexpected elements like strawberry (that is Fragrantica’s listing) and coffee  (again I did not smell this). Here I will dismiss the notes and describe what I smelled.  What I caught from Sepia was a scent very like Lapsang Souchong tea.  This was entirely accidental  and probably wasn’t the takeaway that other people had, but  was my impression.  Curious strikes me as having a similar central accord as the earlier work. Sepia was more complex, and had a wonderful ambergris drydown, which I still love, but Curious is drier, more woody, and has a smokiness which reminds me of Lapsang Souchong all over again, or possibly Russian Caravan Tea. Continue reading

2015: The Year of Flora and Fauna

The surprising source of castoreum

The surprising source of castoreum

Animalic perfumes are back. This may help to explain the popularity of challenging scents like Papillon’s Salome with its initially furry and glandular notes. ( I also enjoyed Bonker’s  wonderful  interview with Liz Moores of Papillon who keeps her snake collection in drawers! And no, that is not a spoonerism of mine. She keeps them in doors in drawers or racks) If the taste of the public is changing and the sterile field of synthetic fragrance is breached by scales or fur or fins, then Salome might as well be the perfume to do the breaching, although if you ask me, Mandy Aftel’s Cuir de Gardenia did this just as well, and I personally liked Anya’s Garden Enticing which also included a  strong animal note in natural musk.  You could say that, from a niche point of view, this was the year that re-established the connection between our skins and our scents.

Certain perfume families have always maintained that link and I refer to chypres and leathers here.  If you wore those you always kept that chiaroscuro of prettiness and relative ickiness in impasto on yourself .  Your perfume read that life, and maybe you too, were complex and had different motivations and activities on different days.  Some days you hibernated, some days you hunted and gathered, some days you groomed, and some days you played.    Continue reading

US Series Perfumer’s Top Ten

Grant Wood

Grant Wood

Even though there are lots of perfumes to love from all the perfumers who participated in this series, I want to give readers the condensed version, so here’s a list of the perfumes that I think give you an idea of each perfumer, and I’ll keep this to liquid perfumes. Where perfume oils are concerned I recommend Sage Machado’s Onyx and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s Pamplemousse, with the understanding that generally, I’m not an oil wearer.

What did I find that was really up to the very best standards? Which perfumes  from these US artisanal perfumers should anyone who knows perfume try? OK, here goes: Continue reading

A Molecular Epic: Aftelier Perfumes

Apple Girls Mandy ASftel There has been a debate, carried on in a sporadic way on perfume blogs about natural perfumes versus synthetic and mixed fragrances.  Most perfume lovers come down on the side of the classic fragrance that combines chemicals with naturals, though unfortunately, the list of naturals in scents coming out of Europe these days is growing short. Continue reading