Aftelier Memento Mori ~ fragrance review

Renaissance Gimmel Ring with Memento Mori

“I wanted to capture the musk-like smell of skin, using all naturals, which was quite a challenge,” Mandy Aftel writes of her latest fragrance, Aftelier Memento Mori. At first blush, creating a perfume that smells like skin might seem pointless. After all, aren’t we wearing skin? We should have skin smell already built in.

Think about it a moment, though, and it makes sense. Maybe you look out your window at a mountain, but it doesn’t take away from the pleasure of viewing Cezanne’s Mont Sainte Victoire. An artist’s interpretion of her subject adds value. Even an exact depiction of something can be art, because the painting is not the original object — ceci n’est pas une pipe. In the case of Memento Mori, this is not skin. It’s perfume…

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Parfums Raffy

A limited but more exuberant lexicon

Like a chef who only uses ingredients grown within 100 miles of her kitchen, a large part of [Mandy] Aftel’s pride and satisfaction is derived from the sacrifice that comes out of self-imposed constraints. That those constraints result in a limited but more exuberant lexicon is more than just a pleasant side effect; it’s arguably what Aftel’s business is all about — exposing the uninitiated to the world’s most precious products and talking about them.

— Read more at The World’s Most Dedicated All-Natural Perfumer at The New York Times. Hat tip to Julien!

Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2016

Mikhail Vrubel, The Snow Maiden, detail

I am on record, here and elsewhere, as hating winter. The forecast for this weekend — snow, snow, and then more snow — just adds insult to injury. I’ve mostly managed to avoid the winter rotation in our seasonal Top 10 lists, but I did get stuck with it back in 2011, and reviewing that list, yes, I could easily go through the winter with just those 10 (and I am convinced I could make it through any winter with just Fendi Theorema, if I had to).

To avoid repetition with my 2011 list and the winter lists we’ve done since, I decided to come up with a cold-weather wardrobe based solely on newer fragrances…and then once I’d decided on my 10, I realized, too late, that this post is essentially an abridged and annotated version of the Best of 2015. So much for good intentions. If you have some new ideas for winter, do comment! And do check out the lists at Bois de Jasmin, Grain de Musc and The Non-Blonde

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Holiday fragrance gifts 2015, part 5

Here is this year’s ‘miscellaneous’ gift selection (basically, things that don’t fit anywhere else). We’ve got solid perfumes, tea and whatnot.

Téo Cabanel pomander

From French niche line Téo Cabanel comes this pomander strung on a ribbon, which you can use to wear your favorite scent: “Treading the line between an elegant piece of jewelry and a sensual potion which accompany you throughout the day, Teo Cabanel’s pomender brings a new dimension to the art of wearing perfume. Let us make you discover a contemporary approach to the well-known Renaissance pomender of yesteryear that were inlaid with gold, pearls and precious stones.” €39 at Téo Cabanel

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