December 21, 2010

Aftelier Wildflowers & Memento

V&A Flemish Tapestry 15th Century
Wildflowers solid perfume by Aftelier at first impression gives me a rare combination of mint and earth, and a tang of citrus.  In a few minutes the opposites resolve themselves into a honeyed hay that triggers a nostalgia for Summer, because it presents me with the exact sense memory of all the complicated scents around when everything is in full growth all at once.  That sense of expansiveness is something you can recognize in almost a primal way. I find putting this perfume on in the dead of winter, especially with tonight being the Winter Solstice with a rare red moon eclipse, is like a lifeline to the heart of earth's vitality.  It reminds me of the olfactory equivalent of the mille fleurs backgrounds of the Unicorn Tapestries  or a Persian carpet with small abstracted flower details.  It is listed on the Aftelier site as an Amber Oriental.

This is a perfectly organic perfume, and as such needs to be given room and space to be experienced in its own way.  Because it is so subtle and ephemeral, I like to concentrate on this perfume after taking a little space and time away from others so as to get the full effect.  Strong contrasts do not work in the favor of such delicate beauty. 

This experience of a sense of wide and spacious air filled with emerging myriad of tiny floral buds is so gorgeous that the special conditions required by such delicacy, the quiet and thoughtfulness to get the full effect is well worth-while, and even one of the benefits of this style of fragrance. 

Aftelier solid perfumes come in an array of sterling silver cases and compacts from minimal to ornate, which have a feel and weight to them similar to antique watch cases or cosmetic compacts brimming with poetic aromas.  The prices vary widely, but a gateway experience of a sample may well serve to begin a love affair.

Memento is a liquid counter-balance to Wildflowers, as it contains the warming spices associated with winter holidays, such as smoky cinnamon and antique clove and nutmeg with blood orange, over a rose and jasmine heart and a base of tonka bean and vanilla.  This kind of perfume can provide an aromatic fire to stay warm with on these cold and dark days.  On me the dry down is a warm spiced liquor that becomes abstract enough to not be so easily identifiable as to each of the notes but rather becomes an air of honey spiked with penetrating aromatics.

The Aftelier site is a rich resource of beautiful descriptions and categories across a wide range of
perfumes in many different guises and forms. The vintage photos of perfume makers in Grasse are very touching and trigger daydreams of an alternate life in the open fields.

Re-reading Essence and Alchemy is a great pleasure.   It's the book that had a big influence on getting me started down this fragrance road in the first place, and reading it again now is an even richer and more dimensional experience than the first time, especially since having more direct experience of the materials and the essences described.

Above images from the Aftelier site.

67 comments:

www.skyebotanicals.com said...

Wildflowers sounds lovely and just my cup of fragrant tea... Lucky Lucy to try this already, I will as soon as I can :) Blessings!!!

Lucy said...

Hey there Monica,

Yes, it would indeed be up your alley!

Perfect to pick you up during the coldest days of the season.

mandy said...

Dear Lucy
Thank you for this beautiful review. I created Wildflowers and Memento for the event at the Astor Center in November to go with two different courses at the final dinner. Originally they were going to only be for that night.

You understand my work in such a rich way that it feels like a talk between us.
Thank you so very much.
mandy

Lucy said...

Mandy, your work is so evocative and layered it expands the parameters for all natural perfumes...

ScentScelf said...

And then I come down here and learn of a well-regarded solid. Am trying to decide if I am proceeding with my fingers in my ears and singing nonsense syllables...or paying attention....

:)

Lucy said...

SS -- Wildflowers in solid is VERY beautiful, and unique. I know those words are freely bandied about, but in this case those are the right words. You can try a sample -- then you'll know.

I try hard to keep it down to a dull roar, myself!

womo531 said...

sweet hay? sounds lovely! Not sure what it is with sweet hay since I didn't grow up in a farm or anything.. but perhaps it is the closest thing to the pile of dried pine needles my sister and I use to sweep up in early Texan fall.. We'd sweep them into a huge pile and pretend we were birds building a nest.. =P

taffynfontana said...

Memento is right up my alley I enjoy a fragrance with a spicy kick and the way you describe it just makes me swoon.

Amy K said...

These sound lovely! I really need to start sampling some Aftelier perfumes.

zboudreaux said...

hmm.... this might show up twice?

Both of these perfumes are so beautiful, I love that they were created to accompany a beautiful meal and I'm very glad that Mandy decided to carry them over to her line.

Asali said...

What a beautiful review, they sound great, to me especially Memento "an aromatic fire to stay warm"- yes please:-). All the best of luck to you on friday.

Ines said...

I'm feeling a bit ashamed that I still haven't tried any of the Aftelier perfumes, even after reading so many wonderful things about them. How would you say it fit into spring?
I especially like the sound of Wildflowers.

Isa said...

Both of them seem wonderful, but now, with spring flowers blooming everywhere, I'm in the mood for floral scents. Your review of Wildflowers is lovely, as the perfume must be.

Please, enter me in the draw for any of them :)

Thank you and Mandy.

waftbyCarol said...

Mandy is a genious , my favorite perfumer of all . I would love to be entered in the draw . Thank you !

Lucy said...

Womo, sweet hay for me is that outdoor green just cut by the mower, I am always looking for a little of that scent. Love the nest building!
Kids games are so great that way, make a world out of any little thing.

You are entered, and good luck. The giveaway will be for both, to reflect the contrast and info in the post.

Lucy said...

AmyK, good luck! They are special.

Lucy said...

Taffyfontana, then you would truly love Memento, spice and warmth

Lucy said...

Zboudreaux, fascinating name -- these two were not made for a meal (that I am aware of) but I know there have been a number of times Aftelier has collaborated with chefs and has edible essences on the site, which are very intriguing. These two might make you feel like ingesting them in some way, but are for wafting out around you and into you through the breath. Good luck!

Lucy said...

Asali, thanks! I need the luck, the competition is very very stiff...it's an honor to be included in the event.

Lucy said...

Ines, now's a good time and way to get started, so good luck with the draw.

olfactoriastravels.com said...

I love Wildflowers o much, it is summer itself in a lovely silver tin.
Memento I have not tried yet, it sounds perfect, I am craving spices and warmth right now, despite the spring springing outside. ;)

Lucy said...

Isa, you are entered, and the draw will be for both, as it will give the experience I had with the posting most completely. Wildflowers was such a lifeline to Spring in the depths of Winter, at the time I wrote this, and Memento was such an embellishment for it.

*jen said...

Memento sounds like something I want to bathe in and/or consume. :)

I love Wildflowers.

tarleisio said...

Lucy, I feel terrible I somehow managed to miss this in my life-induced miasma! (And thank you for reminding me!) I'm new to botanical perfumes and a complete beginner to Afteliers - although I've enjoyed reading her creative process with Honey Blossom.

I wish you nothing but the very best of luck in the competition and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! I've been in a wintry mood lately, so sign me up for Memento, and thank you for the drawing!

Margaret said...

A lovely and heartfelt review! Wildflowers sounds delightful and something I would love to experience. Thanks for the giveaway!

Irina said...

I must confess I never tried any of Mandy's creations, yet but following her letters exchange with Andy, I'm very excited to have the opportunity
Please, enter me the draw
thank you, both

saltskin said...

Best of luck to you, Lucy! I hope you'll treat us to a recap when you get back home. Very exciting!

I would love a chance to sample one of these scents from Atelier... the recession has me so far out of the loop when it comes to world of indie and niche fragrances (and other necessary luxuries).

Alissa

Poppy said...

What a wonderful draw! I have been wanting to try Wildflowers for the longest time! It's still chilly here with patches of snow on the ground, so anything that conveys summer warmth and fields of flowers would be fabulous!

kriswaldherr said...

Lucy, what an honor! But well-deserved! And please enter me ito the drawing. Good luck to you with the competition!

Meghan said...

Good luck!

Julianne Zaleta said...

I've smelled these perfumes before, but also whilst sampling many other of Mandy's. I'd love to experience them alone to appreciate them individually, especially after reading your descriptions! Wildflowers especially appeals as I plant my garden in anticipation of "all the complicated scents around when everything is in full growth all at once". Lovely writing, Lucy.

Ann Wooledge said...

Oh my - would I love to try these. As an clinical and passionate aromatherapist, I've not attempted natural perfuming so would love to have the opportunity to experience these. They all sound amazing. Thank you for your blog!

Ann @ Wingsets

ccdouglass said...

Lucy, I began reading your review and was sure that Wildflowers would be perfect for me. As I continued reading, I realized that Memento was also perfect! Thank you for the tantalizing review and the drawing.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the Fragrance Foundation Awards consideration. Good Luck! Hope the breakfast is a fun event.
I enjoyed this review because it contains lovely evocative images and also clearly describes the notes and your experience with the scents on your skin over time. I find some reviews get so carried away with imagery and metaphor that I really don't get a sense of the fragrances under review.
I'm new to the perfumista world and haven't had a chance yet to try any of Mandy Aftel's fragrances, so I am delighted at this generous draw opportunity.

-- Lindaloo

Nadira said...

I'm in love with wildflowers. I didn't expect to like it from the description, but I bought a sample anyway, since I wanted to smell the entire line. But WOW. Grassy but not "I just mowed the lawn", floral but not headache-inducing. I just love it.

dervishspin said...

Oh I have been dying to try her perfumes. Wildflowers sounds like a promise of Summer. We may need that now as we are surrounded by the fragility of spring.

May I be entered in the drawing?

lisa said...

This piece is so poetically beautiful and evocative -- I hope you win the recognition! And these fragrances sound hauntingly gorgeous. I would be truly grateful for the chance to sample either one.

Lucy said...

Lisa, thank you! They are gorgeous. You are entered.

Lucy said...

Dervishspin, I am most happy to enter you. Spring is indeed fragile this year. I'm expecting the big turn around any minute tho.

Lucy said...

Nadira, I am so glad you went for it. Truly something else!

Lucy said...

Poppy - these two perfume are chasers to the lingering edges of Winter --

Kris! So glad to enter you.

Meghan -- Thanks!

Juliane -- Yes, it's so nice to take your time and the space to concentrate on them.

ccdouglass -- they are both perfect in their own way, it's true.

Lindaloo -- I can get carried away myself, but I sympathize, sometimes you just want to know what it smells like. Good luck for the draw so you can find out that way.

Check back on Sunday night, about 10 pm EST.

Scent Hive said...

No need to enter me in the draw, I just wanted to say I'm rooting for you!!

Go Lucy! Go Mandy!

XOXO
Trish

Lucy said...

Ah, bless you Trish!

Michael said...

Congrats on the opportunity to attend the breakfast, I hope you have a lovely time!

And thank you for the draw! It would be great to check out these scents. They both sound amazing per your blog!

Michael

Diana said...

Congrats on the nomination and good luck!

(Also please enter me in the drawing.)

Lucy said...

WaftbyCarol, You are most definitely entered!

Ana Woolege - These two are probably the perfect gateway to perfume from aromatherapy

Irina, Yes, an excellent introduction to a great perfumer's line

Diana, Thx! Check back Sunday at 10PM

Saltskin/Alissa (great name) I know what you mean, the necessary luxuries are ever more the luxuries!

Michael - Thx and good luck with the draw

Thank you all for stopping by, please do come again especially Sunday night for the draw winner!

Lucy said...

Olfactoria, Jen, Tarlesio, and Margaret -- thanks for stopping by, and I will enter you all in the draw. I think these two are quite the prize!

ahsu said...

I love hay in perfumes and would love to try Wildflowers. I have to admit to a bias toward liquid perfumes, but I bet Mandy's solids are great also.

potionprincess said...

Wow those are both my most favoured scents produced in nature,your description of wildflowers evokes the scent produced when the sun comes out directly after a short summer rain shower and heats the bark,leaves ,earth and flowers and the most wonderful scent rises up for a few moments.Memento sounds like it smells like christmas and magic,log fires and mulled wine,just the thing for a frosty crisp winter night.Both sound so of their season,capturing the best of both times of year,how great to be able to be scented so perfectly in tune with nature.

deeHowe said...

Hi Lucy, I would love to be entered in the draw for one of Mandy's beautiful fragrances---I could really go for a feeling of expansiveness :)

Katrina Walker said...

Congratulations to Mandy and Lucy! Please enter me in the drawing - would love to win a sample! Wildflowers would probably be my first preference - I have a really difficult time with fragrances as most of them overpower me - or my nose! But the search for the perfect scent continues!

Taffy said...

These two sound lovely. Thank you for the draw!

UrbanEden said...

Congratulations, Lucy! It's a wonderful review: thoughtful, evocative, supportive of Mandy's art, descriptive enough so that a reader can envision the scent on her skin. It sure left me wanting to try both perfumes, especially Wildflowers because I love hay notes, and I love the counterintuitive pairing of earthy with mint.

Thank you, Mandy, for offering these fragrances in a draw!

--Laura

Liz G. said...

Congratulations on the nomination! Your writing is lovely and expressive. Each time I read your blog about a new perfume I can tell immediately if will be right for me. You haven't steered me wrong yet and I can't wait to try Memento. It sounds right up my alley! thanks again for all of the wonderful perfume information you provide us.

~elise said...

I would love to enter the draw...Memento sounds lovely and I have not tried Mandy's scents before....

~elise said...

Memento sounds lovely! I'm all about spice. I have not had a chnce to try Mandy's scents bfore...Congrats on the nomination!

Anonymous said...

A beautiful review for scents that I can't wait to try. Both sound wonderful. Thanks to both you and Mandy.
nan

a.k.a. Warum said...

This is a beautiful article! I especially love evocations of Solstice and Unicorn Tapestries.

If I were forced to choose between these two with a gun pointing at my head, I would still be in trouble choosing -- and in grave danger! Both these perfumes sound differently, but both sound right up my alley. They sound very seasonal, the Wildflowers are representing the Summer, and the Memento representing the cooler season.

I would love to be entered in the draw and I wish both you and Mandy luck! I am rooting for Honey Blossom -- it's my favorite release of 2010.

Lucy said...

So, Elle won, and Cafleurbon and Allure were the finalists --
Mandy Aftel is still in the running, so I am looking forward to see what happens next.

In the meantime, mes amis, you are all entered in the draw.

ashu -- I am a big fan of solids, and the draw has a liquid and a solid. The Aftelier solids are luxurious.

potionprincess -- you're practically there already, but I think these two would really send you to that special place

deeHowe -- I know, me too! Lucky I already have these so I can partake of their expansive qualities right now...

Katrina -- you are indeed entered, these are so the opposite of irritating, I think they may be therapeutic actually, the ingredients are the best

Taffy, good luck to you

UrbanEden, thanks for your supportive comments, yes, I am so glad Mandy offered these for a draw too. More people should know and try her things, they are exquisite and a type apart.

Lucy said...

Liz G, I'm so glad, and these are very special -- you are entered.

elise -- the draw is for both together, to get the real thing beside the post.

All you all, let me know, if and when you try these, if your reaction finds my descriptions proving themselves...

Warum, no gun will be necessary, both will come together to the winner! I am rooting for Aftelier too, it will be a first for this important organization, to recognize a natural perfumer.

Matt said...

Wow, I'd love to give one of these a try! I love natural perfumes, but haven't had the chance to try anything by Mandy....

Matt said...

Wow! I'd love to try one of these!

I love natural perfumes, but I've never had a chance to try one of Mandy's!

HJ said...

As always, Mandy is producing wonders in lil bottles. I can't wait to try these (fingers are crossed! LOL).
Holly

Lisa A said...

I would love to try these! I haven't tried any of Mandy's perfumes yet, and these sound lovely. Thanks for entering me into the giveaway!

kariit said...

Lucy, your review created the aromas in my nose - wow! I could smell them! Great job and kudos to both you and Mandy and best of luck! Thank you as well for the draw.

Cynthia said...

Delicate Beauty...ephemeral...this sounds just like what i've been in the mood for after winter's heavier perfumes. Wildflowers may be in my future!

Lucy said...

Matt, HJ and Lisa A, you are entered, and the drawing will commence shortly!
Best of luck to all, and for those who don't win this time, check back for another draw in May for Aftelier (I can put up the samples that were given at the event, I want more people to have a direct experience...)