Portia has lost the plot. Well not exactly; Portia has lost the perfume. We had scheduled a synchronized post across a continent, two islands, over the world-wide-web and into the Fragrant Stratosphere. But we will have to wait another week while she rechoreographs her collection, reorientates herself and finally reviews this ‘fume. In the meantime here are some impressions as we await hers. As with all choreography; the show must go on.
A moonless, starless tropical night so dark that you cannot see.
But at least you can smell.
You can even smell a star, but it is not in the sky. It is the star of the island jungle, Tiare, the Tahitian gardenia.
The Leather Gardenia is dense with this kind of potency. Not sticky but almost. I had been talking with young Portia over at APJ about a new perfume which is called Cuir de Gardenia.
Portia, I am blooming! ‘Tis dense, strong and full of ANTIQUE CASTOREUM ABSOLUTE! Opps, sorry for shouting. No time-wasting top notes at all thank you very much. Straight to the gardenia and jasmine heart although you may want to pause there before the terrifyingly beautiful drydown. Portia this is a strange and secret show, this scent.
Jordan to Portia
Cuir de Gardenia by
perfumer alchemist Mandy Aftel does not encourage much writing because once you close your eyes and inhale that is it. I cannot call this a perfume; it is a potion.
In Japan: The Black Narcissus was so overcome that he immediately started his review via iPhone and posted a dramatic headline followed by a somewhat coherent impression on his 8th attempt to publish…
STOP THE PRESS! AFTELIER PERFUMES’ CUIR DE GARDENIA EXTRAIT IS GORGEOUS
the perfume, just deliciously arrived in my postbox: immediately, for me, knee weakening. not gardenia, as in gardenia,… tiare:
a tropical, moist, neptunian, sultry white witch emerging, hair slicked to shoulders, from the sea. sweet Italian bubble bath honey. cuir: but fresh.tango’s eminently wearable younger sister, unencumbered
The Black Narcissus
I have no idea what he means but I understand his reaction and the immediacy of his response.
In New York: The Non-Blonde was whelmed in the ‘fume but able to type with precision.
a journey from flora to fauna, as the creamy gardenia becomes fattier and more animalic and the perfume embraces the skin and wraps it an unmistakable buttery leather.
In Sweden: Sigrun is saying…
hauntingly beautiful… If you prefer your florals fresh and clean, this is not a scent to go after.
In New Zealand: I am saying…
In Greece this ‘fume is being described as…
… an illusion of an animal turned into a flower.
If anything, it’s more musky than leathery. It’s a daydream, a waxy memento of sensuality hidden in a drawer for a rainy day, the feeling of physical happiness. It’s a matutine moment stolen, when you can hear the stars laugh.
The Perfume Shrine
Via the Pennsylvanian Perfume Portal it has been said…
…a green, creamy gardenia with silk velvet edges.
Now Smell This
In the UK it is going down like…
a boatload of natural narcotics…
Breaking News – Update from Japan…
I am a white flower freak and I have this dripping on my left arm as we speak: unctuous yet zingy: alive…this smells like a sea goddess dipping her hair in jars of honey to me. resplendent; easier than many Afteliers, less psychologically dense (she is the most psychically attuned of perfumers in my view). This one is more luscious, celebratory.
The Black Narcissus
I think what makes this one so special, even beyond the real Tiare absolute (until now a synthesized aroma in perfumery) is the combination of that with an ingredient that Mandy received from an outgoing perfumer’s estate. Aged ingredients are rarer and rarer as the market for perfume consumption has grown. Some ingredients go off with age and some change and improve as the years go by. Vintage Ouds, Sandalwood, Musk and Castereum all intensify with age. In this perfume, as mentioned above, there is antique castoreum absolute which enriches the already intense smell of Tiare, the Tahitian gardenia. It also provides the smooth leather drydown.
If you would like to know more about castoreum then I can refer you to a chapter in Barbara Herman’s new book called Scent & Subversion. The relevant chapter to beaver your way through is called A Brief History of Animal Notes in Perfume.
For more about the Tiare breakthrough you can reread this post.
If you buy one natural perfume a year then this is the one. If you have yet to explore natural perfumery then try Cuir de Gardenia, Ancient Resins (contains a secret accord) and Ylang Face Elixir (not a perfume; a skin restorative applied before sleeping) from the same house.
Over at Fragrantica there are some unusual questions by Elena Vosnaki with refreshing replies by Mandy Aftel in an interview called The Viewpoint of the Artisan Businesswoman and Perfumer.
Cuir de Gardenia – notes and Mandy’s thoughts.
Book Update: according to Virginia Blanco at Té de Violetas the title of Mandy’s next book is Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent. The book focuses on five epic aromatics: mint, cinnamon, ambergris, jasmine, and frankincense. It explores their powerful connection to history, philosophy, and our most essential human appetites.
Cuir de Gardenia
Perfumer: Mandy Aftel
Release Date: November 2013
Straight to the Heart: tiare (gardenia) absolute, jasmine grandiflorum absolute, benzyl acetate.
Dry Down: castoreum, ethyl phenyl acetate, malto
Solid perfume – 1/4 ounce sterling silver compact $US240
For more information on the scent of a solid wax perfume please see Cuir de Gardenia Part 3 – The Wax Solid Perfume Option.
Perfume Oil – 1/4 ml sample $US6
Aftelier Perfumes – website
Perfume Shrine – review
Riktig Parfym – Cuir de Gardenia – review
The Non-Blonde – Cuir de Gardenia – review
Now Smell This – review
The Black Narcissus – Cuir de Gardenia – reaction
Aftelier Perfume – The Secret Accord – Ancient Resins
Olfactoria’s Travels – Tea Time with Mandy Aftel
Té de Violetas – Mandy Aftel interviewed by Virginia Blanco / Ylang Organic Face Elixir . (The English version is below the Spanish version.)
Smelly Thoughts – review – a boatload of natural narcotics…
Kafkaesque – review
Fragrantica – Elena Vosnaki interviews Mandy Aftel The Viewpoint of the Artisan Businesswoman and Perfumer.