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!

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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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Aftelier Vanilla Smoke ~ fragrance review

lapsang souchong

Autumn and the scent of smoke seem made for each other. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the season’s first wood fires, or a taste of peaty Scotch, or the steaming pots of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea that sound so good on a rainy afternoon, but for me it’s hard to separate smoke and November. For that reason, I looked forward to sampling Aftelier Vanilla Smoke.

Not that I didn’t have my concerns. After all, not all smoke is good smoke. Would the smoke be toasty or touched with cumin (like real wood smoke can be) or acrid? Worse, would the vanilla smell like cake batter? Fortunately, with Mandy Aftel we’re in good hands…

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