August 6, 2011

Aftelier Haute Claire and Abdes Salaam Attar/Profumo Sharif (Giveaway!)!)

Two beautiful new fragrances from two unique natural perfumers, Mandy Aftel and Dominique Dubrana, have something in common, to my mind, distinctive as they both are.  Both have kept a connection with the wildness that emanates from certain natural materials identified with the Middle Eastern perfume tradition since ancient times.  Both imprint these references with a distinctively contemporary sensibility.  They both use twists and turns in the perfume's development and both keep a surprising sense of sheerness within the strength that allows your own bodily presence to be a part of the experience. 

I want to hold a giveaway of both perfumes together at one time, so that the lucky winner can experience them both as I have,  and get a physical understanding of the perfume experience I am trying to describe.  I think experiencing one after the other in close proximity is a unique and beautiful perfume experience and I wonder if others will see the stylistic connection that I do.  I was so struck that both used such powerful materials and both keep a sense of enough transparency so that the wearer is still an actor in the play. I wonder if you might agree on the commonalities in both. 


 I see them both as powerful liquid substances that attract both the spiritual and sensual animal side of our nature.  They combine the two as one, quite a lovely concept.  I like the idea of our animal nature being drawn to choose  a distinctive scent to mark and transmit information about ourselves to those who come intimately near. Both are fully appropriate for men and women, but I believe would give different signals on each.  In my opinion, on a man, they would signify the powerfully refined sophisticated elegance of a thoroughbred horse.   On a woman an impression of the strength, intelligence and sensuality of a lioness.  On both, an earthy connection to our animal nature in its best sense, an enlivening substance with a natural spirit of supple movement and energy.

Haute Claire notes are listed as galbanum, Mexican lime, wild sweet orange, ylang ylang CO2, honeysuckle absolute, clary sage, ylang ylang extra, ethyl phenyl acetate, vetiver, vanilla absolute.
For me, the galbanum, citrus, clary sage and vanilla are the most distinctive notes.  The natural strength of the galbanum is mediated by the citrus which is perhaps what opens the window to the air and space I spoke of above.  The vanilla and ylang ylangs soften and smooth and link to your own skin tone most closely.  I love clary sage which is rarely used in perfume,  and find it a high energy heartening green tone.

Haute Claire is a marriage of opposites in some ways, it is bright as a floral citrus yet deep as leather. It spins around with these two sides and that is what is most unusual about it.  You are never going to miss the galbanum/vetiver for a moment through the entire development of the perfume but it is in dialogue with the other lighter heady elements, and a green tone suffuses everything, while it enhances your own skin tones with its vanilla reference.   The Middle Eastern perfume tradition is in the galbanum and vetiver and the contemporary air is in the citrus and vanilla, and the wild card is the clary sage.  This style is a continuation of other perfumes i love from the line such as Cepes and Tuberose, bright and  dark, earthiness and headiness in one, enhancing each other.

Sharif is has a greatly romantic air to me.  It has the strength of the traditional deep amber and leather accords and also references the balsam and woods of the legendary Arabian perfume materials of frankincense and myrrh, staining the skin with ornamental warmth. 

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