Mandy Aftel is behind Aftelier, a niche brand of all natural perfumes which has a cult following. Mandy herself is considered a perfumery guru. In her words: "When creating a formula, I aim to capture a sensuous feeling that results in an aesthetic experience that is both modern and luxurious [...] It gives me great joy when Aftelier Perfumes become part of people's lives and enhance their sense of luxury, well-being, and beauty". It was in that spirit that I came to sample two of her new solids, Roses and Fir. (Hot on the heels of the news that Mandy had collaborated with AHAlife.com where she was distributing a trio of her perfumes in elegant bottles, by the way). Solid perfume is a good idea, especially in our times as you can slip some into your handbag and travel through Draconian measures at airports or never care for accidental spillage. When they come in a beautiful compact it's even better. I haven't seen the latter, because my samples were poured into plastic, but I bet it's pretty as it's supposed to be Mexican sterling silver. But the important issue is what hides inside.
The fragrances are mixed into a base of organic unfiltered beeswax and jojoba oil and they meld at body temperature leaving behind a veil of scent. Roses is a warm honeyed rose aroma which smells lush and warm, that feeling of euphoria upon smelling the first blossoms absorbing the rays of a fondling sun. Contrary to most rose renditions in mainstream perfumery which project with a sharp and sour scent on my skin, natural essences of rose can veer into either liquer-like, almost boozy fruitiness or hesperidic-honey facets (it reminds me of honey harvested by bees grazing on orange groves). Depending on the dosage in the mix, they both do nice things on me, assuming they do not end up engulfing me. In Aftelier Roses despite the name, although unmistakeable a rose blend, the roses aren't agressive but reveal welcome spicy and incense-y nuances.
Fir is more of a classic resinous (and quite mossy!) composition which plays on many a perfumista's favourite tune: the smells of autumn in the country, a walk in the woods, leaves trampled underfoot... The overall ambience is one of gentle sweetness and a little bit of dustiness, as if I am striding into said woods, a cane on my side and tweeds on my back, never knowing I had that urge. The mossiness can be rendered through IFRA-defying revolt and I wonder just how many of the natural perfumers will continue to be able to source the proper materials to do so. At any rate, Aftelier Fir is warm and inviting, possessing a succulent quality which I cannot put in better words than "jammy".
But the best tip was given by Mandy herself: layering the two on skin (she even has one compact with the two scents featured side by side) creates the coveted effect of having roses stretching, reaching out for the sun in a big, shady forest. Autumn, here we come!Product samples are available on this Aftelier page.
Photo of "Roses in the Woods" byWithrow/flickr, some rights reserved.
Disclosure: I was sent two solid miniatures/samples by the brand itself.