It’s been a stormy, gray week or so in my part of the country, with a hurricane followed by a nor’easter, and I’m suddenly in the mood for some natural floral perfumes — the closest I can get to wearing actual flowers. I’ve just tried two scents from indie natural line Aftelier, both in Eau de Parfum formulation. The newer one (just released) is Wild Roses, which ”evokes the garden in our imagination and memory — the book of a hundred petals unfolding: balsamic, spicy, apricot, and honeyed roses, mixed with the smell of warm earth and herbs.”
Wild Roses’ composition includes top notes of rose CO2, heliotropin, bergamot, geraniol, m-methyl anthranilate and damascenone; a heart of apricot, Turkish rose absolute, pimento berry, p-ethyl alcohol and rose petals attar; and a base of tarragon absolute, vanilla absolute, indole and aged patchouli. It really does deserve its name: Wild Roses is most definitely not a dainty tea-rose fragrance. It starts off boldly, with emphatic spicy and woody notes that put me in mind of a very sophisticated pomander or potpourri. The earthiness of the spice and woods, and the mystery of an incense-like note, are balanced by a hint of bright bergamot.
After an hour or so, Wild Roses turns more rounded and velvety. The apricot note is there, but the heart of the fragrance is more like a fruity wine than an actual piece of fruit. The rose center is lush and true. The pimento berry, also known as “allspice,” keeps things piquant; there’s some vanilla in the dry down, long after Wild Roses has been applied, but it stays in the background.
Wild Roses has much more endurance on my skin than some other Aftelier fragrances. (I’m thinking of Lumière, for example; I like it, but it doesn’t last long on me.) I’m tempted to call it the younger, hippie cousin of Nahéma; in any case, it has far more personality and depth than most of the mainstream rose-patchouli fragrances on the market today.
On the other hand, if you’re not a rose-lover (!) but you’re in the mood for a soft, natural-smelling floral, Honey Blossom might catch your fancy. The Aftelier website describes Honey Blossom (released in late 2010) as a “beautiful honeyed floral, hypnotic with notes of honeysuckle” — more specifically, top notes of mimosa and linden blossom CO2; heart notes of orange blossom absolute and phenyl ethyl alcohol; and base notes of ambergris and benzoin.
Honey Blossom starts off grassy and golden-green, with top notes that remind me of hay and broom. They’re followed by a dusty-sweet mimosa and then a very soft vanillic honey note. However, Honey Blossom always remains more floral than gourmand. Although the official description mentions honeysuckle, this scent reminds me more of clover flowers, which are indeed “honey blossoms”! If you’re looking for a botanical-based alternative to L’Artisan Parfumeur Mimosa Pour Moi or Caron Farnesiana, Honey Blossom may very well please you. It isn’t as long-lasting as Wild Roses, but it ekes out a very decent three or four hours on my skin.
Both Wild Roses and Honey Blossom are fragrances that I would wear often, albeit in very different moods. They’re more “me” than any Aftelier fragrances I’ve previously tried, but they’re also typical Aftelier products in the high standard they set for natural perfumery.
Aftelier Wild Roses and Honey Blossom are available as Eau de Parfum (30 ml for $170) and Perfume (8 ml for $170; 2 ml for $50). Samples are also offered. For purchasing information, see the listing for Aftelier under Perfume Houses.