Vanilla Smoke by Mandy Aftel: Review: Live Video Sniff

Hi there Posse, Vanilla Smoke is Mandy Aftel’s 2015 release. Mandy is known and loved for her stellar fragrances and also for her books on fragrance (Essence & Alchemy and Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent) and her natural perfumery school.

I bought a small parfum of this beautiful fragrance that wears like a Shalimar hybrid at the campfire.

Vanilla Smoke by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Perfumes 2015

Vanilla Smoke Aftelier FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Yellow mandarin, Siam wood, saffron absolute, vanilla absolute, lapsang souchong tea essence (tea leaves smoked over pinewood), coumarin, ambergris

Imagine if Shalimar had a grown up brother, a really handsome, affable fellow that everyone fell in love with. Even dressed up this brown skinned, effortlessly elegant, softly muscled man has a casual look, a rawness and vulnerability that hints at unseen depths. Charming and switched on. OK, so now you know what Vanilla Smoke smells like. Vanilla Smoke smells like that guy at 35 driving through the late spring forest in a convertible navy blue car with cream leather and wood interior.

Vanilla Smoke by Mandy Aftel Campfire WikiMediaWikiMedia

How does Vanilla Smoke smell? Vanilla, spice and heavy resins with the strong smoky tea note of lapsang souchong, While expecting a heavy, dense fragrance I was pleasantly surprised that it is light, floaty and full of air. NOT what I was expecting from a vanilla but somehow Mandy has managed to capture the feeling of watching smoke rise around a campfire. The camaraderie, the warmth at your front and wild world at your back, the joy of being around people you like. This is definitely a summer version of the heavy hitters and while it won’t help to cool you down it will help you float through the heat.

Yes, you will be fully fragrant but not in cloying or bakery style vanilla. In Vanilla Smoke…..

Aftelier A Trio of Miniatures in a Silk PouchPhoto Stolen Aftelier

Further reading: EauMG and ScentHive
Aftelier has $180/30ml EdP
Aftelier has $180/7.5ml Parfum
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $9/0.5ml

If you have enjoyed this then please pop over to Australian Perfume Junkies and continue the scented conversation. We love visitors, say HI while you’re there.

Do you have a Mandy Aftel fragrance that you adore?
Portia xx

  • HeidiC says:

    Fun description! I liked Vanilla Smoke, but didn’t love it — but I’m not crazy about vanilla (or Shalimar). I do, however love Aftelier’s Cepes et Tuberose (weird and wonderful — the mushroom note is like an earthier, loamier oakmoss), and her Cuir et Gardenia (I love leather, and Gardenia was a new combo with it that I hadn’t smelled before).

    And a comment from Mandy herself! <3!!!

    • Hey HeidiC,
      Shame about Vanilla Smoke but I too love your other choices. Have you tried Wild roses? That’s another amazing fragrance she has done.
      Yes, getting a comment from Mandy is incredibly special. Like the fragrant gods have dropped by.
      Portia xx

  • aftelier says:

    Wow Portia, you’ve outdone yourself (which is quite a bit!) – your exquisite & charming review knocked my socks off! I love your evocative descriptions, your video is sheer delight, and Shalimar’s older brother is just too perfect – thank you so much! xoxox Mandy

  • eldarwen22 says:

    I’ve never tried anything by Mandy Aftel. I might have to get a sample of this.

    • Portia says:

      Hey there Eldarwen22,
      It’s an amazing place to start your Mandy Aftel journey. She is wonderful and her scents sublime.
      Portia xx

  • Tara says:

    Portia, this is the one bottle on my To Buy list but I can’t decide between the edp or parfum. The fact you got the parfum is swaying me though. Mandy has created my perfect, non-cloying, smoky vanilla perfume – the one I’ve been waiting for.

    Love the sound of Shalimar’s older brother!