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Friday, July 29, 2011

Aftelier Haute Claire: fragrance review & Bottle Giveaway

Before we begin, here's the giveaway, courtesy of Mandy Aftel who will send the bottle to the winner: A 5 ml spray bottle of Aftelier Haute Claire in Eau de Parfum. How to be eligible: Leave a comment, telling us what it is you like or don't like about natural perfumes and if you have experiences with them.


I have respect for Aftel's work; her technique is solid, her knowledge on raw materials, the intricate melding process and the mythoi of aromatics insanely immense. I have learned many things from her books and her work. Her recent creation was therefore something that, hadn't she volunteered to sample with bloggers, I would have sought out myself to try anyway. Mandy Aftel describes Haute Claire as “high and bright” and the juxtaposition of two ordinarily clashing components, the lush floral of ylang ylang and the bitter green, resinous touch of galbanum, is an arc that extends high with a brightness that shines far; somewhere over the rainbow, sort of.
On one end the green elements are reinforced by vetiver, an earthy element that gets licorice facets and salty nuances revealed on skin. On the other end, the natural sweetness of the floral is embraced by the sinful, calorific touch of vanilla. The vanilla is given an extra kick through a slightly spicy kick that whispers at the end. Haute Claire is an all-natural perfume that feels complex and with a very decided message, not some sort of aromatherapy mix which you would endure for the sake of itsbeneficiary effect. I don't know if there is some veritas in the -perhaps partly placebo- effect of some essences, but Haute Claire is certainly uplifting and optimistic, a summery scent for mental summers even in the heart of winter.

Notes for Aftelier Haute Claire: galbanum, Mexican lime, wild sweet orange, ylang ylang Co2, honeysuckle absolute, ylang ylang extra, clary sage, ethyl phenyl acetate, vetiver, vanilla absolute
In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a sample of the fragrance directly by the perfumer.

44 comments:

  1. I've only tried two naturals in spray form both Liz Zorn, and both very similar to each other. In fact, their base (which seemed to be the same) overwhelmed any top notes. I found them both to be very linear. I've also tried a few "dabblers" of DSH, which I also found to be linear, but I liked one of them quite a bit. So far, I'm sorry to say that I'm not impressed with naturals. Here's an opportunity to win me (and probably many others) over.

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  2. I don't really have any experience with natural perfumes, but I admire the dedication of those who work in that direction. I'd like to know more about (and of) them!

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  3. I don't purposely seek out natural fragrances, but I have tried a few based on good reviews. I have been very pleased with some of them, but I've found that some of them have a base that bothers me. I do have to remind myself to spray sparingly because some of them are very strong and tenacious.

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  4. Yes, I've tried a few natural fragrances - they feel, well, real. Like you can relax into them and just enjoy their richness for what it is. I find them comforting.
    But then, I also miss the dynamic range, the highs and lows and variety of experiences that synthetics can provide.

    Thanks for the draw,
    Mark

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  5. I have not had much exposure to natural perfumes, but I recently bought a small vial of To Bee by Roxana Villa. It is a really great fragrance. I shy away from naturals usually because of their high production cost. Please enter me in the draw.

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  6. I haven't tried any naturals, mostly because even the samples are often more expensive than I can justify spending on an unsniffed fragrance purchase. I understand WHY they're expensive, but I just can't bring myself to pay $20+/ml for something I haven't smelled before. Thank you for the drawing!

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  7. I haven't tried a lot of naturals - only a few things from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. What I like about naturals is the freshness. I don't like that a lot of them lack lasting power AND are super-expensive.

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  8. I've tried 2 natural perfumes, both from Mandy Aftel, namely Shiso and Honey Blossom. They are very different but I love them both. Shiso for being so utterly different (in a good way) to anything else and Honey Blossom for how the notes seem to dance around on my skin and change all the time.

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  9. Fernando20:18

    The naturals I have tried have left me with mixed feelings. There is a kind of "natural perfume smell" that seems to be part of many of them, and sometimes they seem to offer little more than that. A few, on the other hand, seem strikingly good, though none has yet made it to my favorites list. Perhaps Liz Zorn's Underworld has come closest so far.

    Perhaps there's some trick to smelling naturals that I don't know. Should they be approached differently?

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  10. Maureen21:04

    I am not familiar with nagtural frgrances. I would love to try Haute Clair. Please enter me in the draw. Thanks.

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  11. Except my own, I've tried a few. It is very easy to see difference between the real perfume (creating a scent) and blend of natural ingredients (just mix).
    There are milion reasons why I love them... it is a new world made with familiar smells..

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  12. Eva H.21:56

    I love the natural scent they provide. They develop very different than perfumes with synthetic notes.
    But: I really don´t like the price you have to pay for all-natural perfumes and lasting power can be really disappointing.
    That said: I´love a chance to try one of Aftelier´s perfume. I so far have only gazed longingly at the website. *gg*

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  13. hotlanta linda21:58

    I`ve 4 of Liz Zorn`s scents a la samples, and all are GOOD!! I like the fresh (but not Calone-ish!) aspect when it is the real thing!!

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  14. I love (and have) several of Liz Zorn's naturals - I think they are the best in terms of longevity and complexity.

    This Aftel sounds intriguing, if only because it incorporates two of my favorite essential oil scents: clary sage and lime!

    Would love to be entered in the draw!

    xo

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  15. I love natural perfumes for their richness, roundness and their nuanced play on my skin.They evolve differently on different parts of my arm, more so than perfumes with more synthetics. However, for both naturals and non-naturals I think it is the skill and taste of the perfumer that is ultimately what makes a lovely/great perfume. My current favorites are probably Aftelier's Tango and Shiso. Would love to try haute claire- please enter me in the draw!

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  16. Anonymous23:09

    As for naturals in general, I often resist even sampling as so few of the lines have any lasting power whatsoever on my skin and yet they do cost dearly due to their ingredients.
    However, I very much enjoy Sonoma Scent Studio's Champagne de Bois -- it's soft and woody and I'm pleased with its longevity. Also, I have liked some of what I've sampled from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and plan to try her Vert Pour Madame.
    I'd really like to try Haute Claire because not only does it have notes that I love, but also everyone speaks so highly of Mandy Aftel's skills as a perfumer and I haven't yet sampled anything of hers.
    Thanks for this draw opportunity.

    --Lindaloo

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  17. Natural perfumes can be a great relief from the nowadays frequently unrefined use of aromachemicals. On the other hand, many naturals I have tried (it has been a hundred or more) fall either into the camp of "aromatherapy" - nice, but not perfume as art, or, for lack of synthetic bone structure, come across as limp, unstructured hodge podges. It takes great experience, knowledge and intuition (and great care not to fall for fake naturals) to make good natural perfumes, but if everything comes together, as in the scents by Gobin Daudet, Dubrana, a number of DSHs and a handful more, then you are on par with the finest perfumes of any age or origin - period.

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  18. I adore natural perfumes! For me, they have such depth and...?..... it's hard to describe, something that is imparted by the creator thats felt on a more energetic level. What a lovely giveaway..thanks so much!

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  19. Thank you so much Elena for this lovely review of haute Claire and for hosting this giveaway. I am honored by your kind words about my books and my perfumes. I love that you mentioned the licorice nuance in the vetiver -- that is the perfect description.

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  20. I would have to agree with Lavanya's comment in that much success of the natural scents (or synthetics for that matter) depends highly on the perfumer's skill although the nuances of each scent varies on its wearer regardless, which I find is most of the intrigue. Personally, I prefer naturals over synthetic because to me they present as less contrived. Presently searching for a brighter scent with a little spicy vanilla accent. Much praise has been given to Mandy Aftel's fragrances and I'd be interested in trying her latest Haute Claire. Thank you!

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  21. I don't have any natural perfumes but there are many I would like to try; Black Rosette from SIP would be at the top of that list. I would love to try Haute Claire. Thank you for entering me in the draw.

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  22. I have moved almost exclusively to naturals. I love the way they evolve on the skin and progress to tell a story. I think the key to finding good naturals is sampling a diverse selection and finding perfumers with a strong reputation. I have greatly enjoyed natural perfumes from Aftelier, Anya's Garden, Lords Jester, DSH, Profumo, Bellyflowers, Providence, and continue expanding my samplings as there is such wonderful talent out there if you are willing to look for it.

    Thanks!
    Michael

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  23. namaste and thank you for another opportunity to woo a sample of this new creation!

    the most common issue i hear about NP is it's duration... fixation being the alchemical process it is.

    i say, reapply, what are you saving it for? the grave? (ok, i have never said that, but it's true.)

    the benefits of NP go beyond what you are inhaling and it's affect your your personal eco-system- but the macro of a agrarian business structure. that's a lot to ask from a bottle of so-called vanity!

    besides, i have yet to meet the synthetic that takes me to the sensual heights as can the thoughtful botanical artist.

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  24. I have not tried natural perfumes, but would like to. Please enter me in the drawing.

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  25. Anonymous06:13

    Oh how I love natural perfumes, there is something magical about the way they melt into your skin. It is as if the scent is alive and it dances on your skin, combining with your own scent to become unique. I have had the pleasure of smelling two of Mandy's perfumes my favorite being cepes and tuberose which is a masterpiecethat took my breath away when I first opened the little sample. I would love to try another one of her perfumes. Thank you.

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  26. I love them-and fear they'll go away too soon
    please, enter me the draw- thanks

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  27. I haven't tried too many of natural perfumes and I don't like most of those that I have (with just a couple exceptions). Mostly, I do not like them because they are too ... natural, too real. They lack refinement that I find in good "synthetic" perfumes. But I accept that maybe I haven't tried enough to find "my" natural perfume or need to spend more time with natural perfumes.

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  28. Merlin10:15

    I have been wary of trying any naturals because they are said to be short lived and my skin guzzles frag. But, I do like to think that essential oils can have therapeutic effects AS WELL AS giving the aesthetic pleasure that synthetic frags do. Would love to try it!

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  29. I don't have biases toward un-natural neither natural perfumery. As idea I think it's wonderful to know that something is 100% natural but most important to me is the smell. And I'm longing to smell Aftelier perfumes.

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  30. I have not yet tried any naturals other than essential oils. I would love to try anything by Aftelier. The reviews on them sound great.

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  31. Anonymous15:18

    Mandy's skill is awesome and her perfumes are so nuanced. I find that well made naturals are so wearable, evolving on your skin in such a complex way. Yes, the materials are expensive, but it is a small luxury that is so special.

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  32. I love natural perfumes for their clarity of ingredients. You can really smell the notes, and it smells like you're in the middle of a botanical garden where you stand in just the perfect spot for the essences of each flower around you to meld together and create a unique perfume. And I didn't start smelling them with ulterior motives (that I wanted to move away from synthetics). It was just that I happened upon some reviews and was also sucked in by the name of the line Strange Invisible Perfumes. And the scents really did live up to the name, and from there it was down the rabbit hole with Liz Zorn, Ayala Moriel, DSH, and now more recently Aftelier....

    All that being said, I hope this is my lucky drawing to win a bottle of Haute Claire!

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  33. I've only tried my own blends of essential oils, so I would love to see what a skilled professional can do. Thank you! Suz

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  34. I also fit into the camp of not having tried enough of them. I too find the cost even for samples a little higher and the ones I have tried just do not last on my skin. I also find the complexity I crave to be missing in the ones I did try so I need more experience with them to be sure. Thank you for the draw!

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  35. Price has kept me, also, from trying many naturals. The one I have tried, Paisley by Possets, I love. It lasts a surprisingly long time on my skin. I would love to try others. Please enter me in the draw, thanks.

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  36. Calvados21:59

    i haven't had any experience with natural perfume but would love to try some. thanks for the draw.

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  37. Natural perfumes offers a completely different olfactory experience for me. They often have a complex path that I find exciting but due to this characteristic I have to be really focused to be able to wear natural perfumes throughout the day. It isn't something I just throw on right before I head out the door. I often save the natural perfumes (many of them by Mandy) for night time so I can fully enjoy them =)

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  38. Never buy natural perfume before. but, I like the idea, go green!! nature rules...

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  39. I've tried four of Mandy's perfumes, and two vegan ones from Lush. Based on this experience, natural perfumes are so worth the extra expense. There's no chemical dry-down smell, and they smell more real and luxurious. Please enter me into the draw - I'd like to try Mandy's work out more!

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  40. I've tried only a few of Gorrila perfumes and they seem to me crisp, sharp, powerfull not masked, against the other perfumes.

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  41. I dont have any experience with natural fragrance but this is main reason why this small sample would be great real experience. I remember only some perfume oils from the body shop (I liked them very much) but I think they are not totally natural. thanks
    lubaska dot k at gmail dot com

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  42. Ive not tried any natural perfumes unless you count EOs in jojoba, etc found at the natural foods stores. Would love to try this, please enter me in the draw.

    P.S. I thought I posted to this thread last night but dont see my note here, I hope I dont have a double post. I added how much I enjoy reading The Perfume Shrine and how I lose track of time reading and learning here. Thanks for all your writing and effort.

    ~Audrey

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  43. Rappleyea16:09

    I'm late to this, but hopefully not too late, as I would love to try this. I have very little experience with true natural perfumes, but I've practiced aromatherapy for 20 years now. While the downside of naturals is their lack of longevity, for me, that is more than compensated for by the complexity of essential oils and absolutes. A high quality jasmine e.o. could be worn on its own as a perfume. Not so with hedione.
    Thanks so much for the opportunity.
    Hugs,
    Donna

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  44. Mandy's blending is great, you can never really predict how it's going to smell before you smell it. What I love about natural perfumes is that they smell differently on you on different occasions, it's never the same experience twice. Instead it's a range of experiences and there's a lot to learn to "get to know" a fragrance.

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