Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes: Interview

Hello APJ Family,

We are thrilled that one of the world’s leading and most loved niche perfumers, teachers and authors has agreed to chat to us. There are few in the industry whose perfumes and self are spoken about with such reverence and respect as our special guest today. We have given her a tweaked version of the APJ Questionnaire and edited the answers slightly.

Mandy Aftel

Photo Stolen anuessentials

1. Do you have any mentors/inspirations in the perfume world? The person who has most inspired me in my creative life has always been Bob Dylan. I admire his great genius at expressing the vagaries of the heart — he is able to capture rich emotional states and memories which is something I seek to do in my perfumes. I think the first way I have of understanding the world is through my feelings… so strong in me that the only place that I can capture them and put them down is in a perfume.
My other great inspiration is the beauty of the essences themselves: the complexity, beauty, range, texture, and shape of the natural essences. I happily spend large chunks of time sourcing materials from all over the world. When I get a new essence in my hands, I’m always thinking about how I can bring it to life in a perfume and find my way to understanding each essence from the inside…. I love the range from funky stinky to drop-dead gorgeous and everything in between. They intrigue, inspire, fascinate and thrill me. I love holding in my hand the essences that have been used since the beginning of time in every culture across the world.

2. What is your philosophy regarding the use of natural ingredients as opposed to synthetics? I don’t really have a philosophy about using natural ingredients. I, myself, am more interested in the talent of the perfumer rather than the palette that they use. Personally, I am deeply inspired by the natural essences, and synthetics hold no magic for me. There is a texture and shape to the naturals aromas that’s extremely beautiful to me, and I feel as though I’m able to enter them and see them from the inside. I also must confess that their history intertwined with the history of man around the planet is something that’s quite thrilling to me.

5. Did you have a formal education in perfume or are you self-taught and tell us about your school please? I am a self-taught perfumer — I have a collection of 200 turn-of-the-century perfume books which I have studied over the years but my biggest teacher was the essences themselves. My Level 1 Workbook gives you the necessary perfumery vocabulary, the basics of relative intensity, the very important aspects of construction, and a deep understanding of what makes a top note, a middle note, or a base note. You will learn about the textures, smells, and intensities that differentiate these notes. The exercises in this workbook introduce various families of scents, familiarize you with the blending capacities of similar essences, and refine your ability to distinguish between essences within each family.
After completing the Level 1 Workbook, you can come to work with me in person at the in-studio class. This level of instruction can’t be done remotely – I need to see how you interact with the materials, and spend some time one-on-one (the class size is very small). This is a key step in learning how to critique your perfume formulas. It is very important to understand what contributes to the essences burying or locking with each other; both effects can have either a positive or negative outcome in a perfume blend.

Essence & Alchemy $15.50 @ BookDepository delivered worldwide

6. Your book, Essence & Alchemy, A Natural History of Perfume is a go-to tome often the first that new perfumistas pick up, how did that come about? When I wrote essence and alchemy I felt I had discovered this useful lost world of natural aromatics and want to share. I could not believe all the treasures I found in the antique perfume books and in the essences themselves…. I had no idea that the book would go on to have such a life and be treasured by so many people. I am now working on a new book, which I see as the successor to essence and alchemy. That feels slightly intimidating and I’m hoping that this will pick up where essence and alchemy left off.

Photo Stolen perfumepharmer

7. Can you tell us a little about your new perfume release Wild Roses? Each of my perfumes is created around solving a design challenge and capturing emotional memory. I usually start with a pair of essences that I am interested in working with and from there I build the perfume. The foundation of Wild Roses was the relationship between apricot and rose, and I anchored it with a foundation of tarragon absolute. It was a difficult design challenge to have the rose aromas evolving all the way through the perfume from beginning to end, revealing the various facets and shades of roses.
Having grown roses in my garden for years, I was smitten with the unique beauty and great variety of rose aromas. I wanted to capture in perfume the experience of walking around my garden and smelling each rose, as their perfumes blended in my nose. This is the rose that exists in your mind after you have smelled so many garden roses — blush, ruby, canary, purple, crimson edged with brown, pure white, candy-cane striped — that you feel intoxicated.

Mandy Aftel’s store Aftelier Perfumes Shop
Aftelier also has an  Excellent Sample Program

I feel like we have been able to look a little into Mandy Aftel’s soul and now when I smell her fragrances I will understand them a bit more too. Very seriously considering doing the Perfume Course right now also.

This week we are dedicating to Mandy Aftel and Aftelier Perfumes. Wednesday we will look at some of the range and Thursday there will be a GIVEAWAY!! Don’t forget.

Till we see you tomorrow,
Take care of you and those in your orbit,
Portia xx

Baumé by Emerald Vintners Perfumes (EVP) Adelaide, Australia 2012

Hello all you Niche Nerds!

Today’s post goes especially to the people who love to find something new and exciting, are all about helping budding perfumers get started and also the people who want the so hot it’s sizzling but no one else has it, hard to find, niche-est, “OMG! Haven’t you heard?” snob value fragrances that also are FA>BU>LOUS! I have found a new crew hiding in the Adelaide Hills. They have sensibly begun their journey with only 3 fragrances and I would like to introduce you to my first.

Baumé by Emerald Vintners Perfumes

Edited from their site:
Brendan Carter and Samuel Eads met at University in 2010, studying a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology (Winemaking) courseat the University of Adelaide. Sitting in a classroom, receiving a lecture entitled ‘Sensory Studies of Wine’, it suddenly occurred to them that there may be another use for their growing knowledge. Learning more about the mechanisms of smell, how and why it works, they developed an idea. To release a line of fragrances, inspired by their experiences with wine and their true passion, the Adelaide Hills.
EVP hope to challenge an import dominated market by combating a severe lack of Australian brands. They want to tell their story, an Australian story. By espousing the belief of Emerald Vintners Parfums: ‘Crafted by Passion, Liquid Luxury’.

Photo Stolen EVP

Described by EVP as: A brisk morning stroll through the Adelaide Hills cherry farms as the low mist diffuses between the bare trunks. The sweet scent of honeysuckle in the air, an all-encompassing incense of innocence.

OMG! The opening 2 second blast is toilet spray.  Be warned! Give it 20 seconds before you huff. HaHaHa

What I notice here after the initial blast is a crisp honeysuckle, very green and fresh, there are some white flowers behind it giving an oomph but no skank at first. Without being a clean scent I am getting a lovely freshness, not as sharp as Chanel 19 but giving a nod to that restrained green femininity. This is a wilder, more extrovert fragrance and once the white flowers move into the spotlight they are vegetatively sensual, so green yet extremely alluring. You can tell these boys have been working with wines, there is a brisk sweetness that hints at a lovely dry white wine as it starts to warm in the glass at a BarBQ. I also detect a spicy rose note and a boronia hint coming through at the one hour mark over the top of the still very accessible honeysuckle? I don’t think I get any cherry but I will need to go eat some to remind myself of their fragrance.

Photo from the EVP Crew

Baumé by Emerald Vintners Perfumes is interesting and complex. It has a wonderful story, excellent sillage and for the first 3 hours projects very nicely before it softens down to a slightly warmer, soapy green fragrance that only your nearest and dearest will really smell. A little too fragrant for work but in all other situations Baumé would be acceptable. I think congratulations are in order for these 2 fearless and talented young men who are helping put Australia on the world perfume map.

Photo Stolen bridalguide

LaDonnaDelVino looks at the whole range if you’d like to read further

Baumé is available at the EmeraldVintnersPerfumes site $85 for 45ml
They also have an excellent Sample Program $20 for 2ml of all 3 EVP fragrances
From the boys: Currently we have a really good special already! If you purchase the samples set (19.99 + postage), you receive a code to reclaim the 19.99 back (excluding postage) off the price of a full bottle! If one decides to purchase a full bottle, the sample set comes free!

For those living outside Australia EVP has not yet properly organised their international export section yet. Hopefully it will be running before Christmas with enough time to order and receive.

I love finding new and interesting perfumers to bring to you. What is your favourite green fragrance?

These 2 lovely young guys are proving that you can do almost anything you set your mind to, that makes me happy.
Till tomorrow, loads of love,
Portia xx