Aftelier Cepes & Tuberose, Wild Roses and Memento Mori

Well, thanks again for the well wishes. This flu was short but punchy- a few days of fever, sneezing, general ick followed by a (more than normal) urge to bite people. Work of course does not stop for anyone merely because you are sick and I am sure that we have all been in the position where someone comes I while you’re getting your MRI or leg amputated or lung transplant to simper “I hate to bother you when your ill, but,,” followed by a request that the thermostat be turned down 1 ¼ degree or their PowerPoint be colored in puce rather than chartreuse or their toast buttered on the other side. Just when you are too weak to hide the body. I decided “screw it” and wore both Fracas and Tubey Crim when I would go actually in to the office. I’m sitting there alone with the door closed surrounded by tissues, tea and cough medicine. You takes your chances.

Continuing the theme I broke open a trio of samples I ordered from Aftelier: Cepes & Tuberose, Memento Mori, and Wild Roses. I don’t know why I’ve never tried these before; I know they are pretty big names in the natural perfume world and Mandy herself is very well known. But I never professed to know everyone and everything and discovery can be a happy accident.

I did kind of forget that with natural perfumes you kind of have to reset your expectations: not using synthetics you will not be able to get obvious effects quickly- things have to bloom on your skin and even then they aren’t going to act like something from the perfume counter. Not that there’s anything wrong with the perfume counter- my (and I venture a guess your) closet looks like one

Cepes & Tuberose was the first I reached for, being at the end of my “screw you, I’m tuberose” fit. The first blush of application was not at all what I expected- I got a bright, fizzy accord that reminded me of SL Santal Blanc. Since I found that Lutens to be a mood elevator only slightly less effective than one I could only get by prescription that was no bad thing. What I don’t get a lot of is tuberose. If you are frightened by Fracas and terrorized by Tubey Crim, this might be the tuberose for you. On me the white flowers are well in the background to the cool sandalwood- seemingly just around the corner, tantalizingly out of reach. I never reached it, but I loved what I got.

Wild Roses is not an obvious sort of rose fragrance. Now, I am all for the obvious sort of rose scents: I love roses when they are big and blowsy, in person and in scent. I’ve read others refer to this one as head-shop roses or flower-child roses. To me it seems more like book store roses. He kind of book store you rarely if ever see anymore: shelves chock-a-block with books and that pervasive smell of paper, knowledge and memories. There is incense and of course roses but I don’t find it too headshop hippy-dippy- I find it immensely comforting, like one of those old bookshops where you can browse for hours, sipping rose hip tea and hopefully enjoying a visit from the store cat. Because every bookstore should have a cat.

Angel at NST pretty much nailed the opening of Memento Mori in her 2016 review: It is parmesan cheese. More specifically, the rind of Parmigiano Reggiano, toasted. Now, that’s no bad thing and that phase is fairly fleeting. It does be come oddly toasty smelling, and rather wooly, like an amped up Les Nez Anitmatiere before the subtle floral notes come in. Mandy Aftel was supposed to be going for a skin scent, but this is not really skin to me. It’s sort of a Dali-esque dream of skin where the person you are smelling is oddly made of flower petals that drift apart at your touch. I actually think this one might be my favorite.

I love that there are people out there that do these natural and/or botanical scents. You do have to sort of reset your nose for these: it’s like going from a diet of rum and coke and having a glass of really good Napa Valley Cabernet. It’s a hymn versus a brass band. Now I do love a brass band and a Coca Cola and my closet is full of “Cheap and Cheerfuls” but sometimes in a fast-food world it’s nice to sit back and savor.

Aftelier perfumes are available at their website. I purchased my samples from them. Photos are from Pexels and my iPhone.

  • Mandy Aftel says:

    Thank you so much Tom! I love how well you appreciate and understand my work and what I am trying to do when I create a perfume. This really means so much to me. I am very grateful for your grace and kind attention to me work. ??

  • Maggiecat says:

    Glad you’re feeling better, Tom, and thanks for the thought-provoking reviews! Tuberose will probably never be my thing, but sandalwood will always be something I love, so maybe I need to drive more deeply into these Aftelier creations.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks! I keep forgetting about how talented some of these people are (I don’t want to try to list them because I know I will leave a few out..) Portia wrote about Roxana who I have written about in the past and there are several others I need to revisit and even more I’d like to discover.

  • Maya says:

    I have wanted to try Aftelier for a while now but I keep thinking later and then, well you know how that goes. I love your description of Memento Mori. The perfume that I was and still am most curious about is her Parfum Privé, but it’s eye wateringly expensive.

  • Dina C. says:

    Nice reviews, Tom. I haven’t sniffed any of these. Glad you’re feeling better finally.

  • March says:

    I remember Cepes & Tuberose! I was in NYC I think … I remember thinking whoa, I’ve never smelled anything like that — my introduction to Mandy Aftel. There’s one I was wild for, I wish I could remember which…. Tango I think! The one that’s based on choya nakh (roasted seashells, it was astonishing.) I’m way overdue for some more Aftelier. And as always, thanks for the snarky laughs.

  • cinnamon says:

    WTAF that you went into work when ill. Not right. I like Cepes and Tuberose. It’s weird and earthy (at least on me) and makes you think a bit. There’s ‘fast food’ and fast food, with the latter, at least here, including a very wonderful Turkish cafe and a well regarded Mexican. One of the things I miss about the US is Dairy Queen.

    • Tom says:

      Well, uh, if I don’t it doesn’t get done. If someone is locked out of their apartment I don’t get to go “I don’t feel good” I have to mask up, gird my loins, and go let them in.

  • Portia says:

    LOVED these reviews Tom. Mandy does wonderful work, I’m always so happily surprised at the depth and facets in every spritz.
    Portia xx