The Best of All Possible Worlds


– a review of Aftelier Perfumes ‘Candide’

We humans have an unsettling propensity to never quite…be here now. Here in this moment in time, in this company, in this place. We always seem to have one foot, one half or one important part of our minds in either the past or the future, preoccupied with what we have done, should have done, should be doing, would be doing if only, if not…Or else we fret about a future that has yet to arrive – a deadline, a project, an event to come that may or may not turn out to be what we expect, a meeting with someone who may surprise us.

Because we do, we also tend to grow ever more disillusioned and stressed out, and as that happens, pessimism, that dreaded slayer of hopes and possibilities, kicks in and takes over, and so life becomes an ever-perpetuating cycle of doom, gloom and a whole lot of headache full of more stress, more down, more… regret. Before we know it, the corners of our mouths descend all the way to our shoulders, and our shoulders and our very attitudes droop too.

OK. Stop right there. Sit down. Here, take the most comfortable chair in the house. Put your feet up. Now, close your eyes. I have the anodyne for those blahs, I have the cure for those indigo blues and I tell you from the bottom of my inky, witchy heart that this will work, this will change you, this will shift your perspective, your outlook, and your entire life around if you let it. Are you up for that?

Good. First, you have to…breathe as deep as you can. All the way through to your fingertips, all the way down to your toes. Keep your eyes closed. No cheating!

Let me just unscrew this little vial for you and dab a little on your skin. Breathe this in. All the way to your toes! Uh, uh…don’t open your eyes just yet! There’s no rush, nowhere you have to be except n-o-w.

Heavenly, isn’t it? That bright burst of sunshine citrus, that little kick of pepper that wakes you up, that furry raspberry current dancing underneath it.

I knew it! You’re smiling already! See? We’re getting somewhere. We’re not there just yet. You’ve been through a lot lately, and there’s still a way to go.

I can tell, you can already sense the cushions at your back, the throw over the armrest, the lingering traces of the cinnamon incense I burned last night. Give it a few minutes, and even Hairy Krishna will be curious enough to jump up and settle on your lap. Be warned. He has a very loud purr.

What’s this? You’re breathing easier, you say? The stresses of your life aren’t quite so acute? It’s that astounding jasmine, puncturing all your lead balloons. Work got you down? Bang! What work? Work was so four hours ago. It will return tomorrow, and Scarlett O’ Hara said it all – tomorrow is another day. Is life too short for bossy little boys? Poof! He’s asleep, lulled into dreamland with Looli the Tiger and a whisper of rose saying…sleep, little one.

Strange, isn’t it? You don’t feel sleepy in the slightest. Open your eyes.

You feel awake, aware, watching the candle move in the breeze from the open window.

Happiness is a blooming jasmine, ethereal in the moonlight. But before you float on those gossamer jasmine wings right out the window, frankincense makes its entrance – yes, I know it’s one of your favorite notes, and so do oppoponax and myrrh, soft and sweet and haunting as the moon outside, two days from the full.

You can feel the chair beneath you, feel the memory of that happy citrus-pepper kick to your senses, feel the lift of all your cares and worries, feel the atavistic, primal surge of a summer night on your skin, in your bones, in that indigo fog in your mind that has strangely vanished without a trace, leaving only moonbeams behind.

Where did all the worries go? Who knows? Who cares? That was then. This is you and this is now, a blissful moment of solitude and quiet on a moonlit night in June when all possibilities can happen, where dreams can come true, where you can do anything, achieve anything you desire.

Go ahead. Ask for what you need. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Surely it won’t! Assume they will say yes. And if they don’t, there’s always a Plan B that also assumes only good things and good times.

Did you know that optimists live longer? Did you know that if you do radiate positive vibes that is precisely what you will attract? You might as well, you know. Lead balloons are so overrated.

Live a little. Love a lot, and laugh no less! Dare to be a little silly, dare to have a lot of fun. What have you got to lose? This moment won’t return, so you might as well.

As you stand in that moonbeam, with a smile on your face and a hope in your mind that jasmine brought to bloom, you are all of a piece, you are completely at peace, and you can entirely believe, from your bone marrow all the way to the attitude you project…

This is the best of all possible worlds, and you are the best of all possible yous.

Don’t thank me. Thank the alchemist and quantum mage who is Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes. She created this perfume, named for Voltaire’s famous novel, as an ode to eternal optimism and an aria to hope, and even you will confess you were not what you were two hours before. You will not be that shade of blue again, and all you have to do is breathe all of it in, the sunshine citrus, that luscious berry tone, that whisper of rose , the glorious, gleaming jasmine and the frankincense that lifts those lead balloons and says…

You are the best of all your possible selves in the best of all possible worlds, and everything you dare to dream can happen, so long as you can hope!

Notes according to the Aftelier website: Pink grapefruit, blood orange, black pepper, jasmine grandiflorum, Moroccan rose absolute, frankincense, oppoponax absolute, myrrh.

Disclosure: Sample provided for review by Mandy Aftel. I am a changed woman now…;)

Aftelier Perfumes ‘Candide’, ‘Lumiere’ and ‘Honey Blossom’ were all nominated for the 2011 Fifi Awards in the category ‘Best Indie Brand’.

Aftelier ‘Candide’ is available through the Aftelier website, at Scents & Sensibility (for UK customers only), and at Sündhaft, who will ship to anywhere in Europe.

13 thoughts on “The Best of All Possible Worlds

  1. I am so honored be your playful rendering of the “Candide” experience of nowness.
    We share the love of words and scents and their co-mingling in the mind, on the page, and in the bottle.
    Mandy Aftel

  2. Thank you for the Pep Talk, Dr. Tarleisio! Actually, I do feel better already. I don't have Candide, but I will break out some Honey Blossom or Tango. 🙂 My lead balloons were hanging heavier than ever today of all days.

  3. Jacki…Welcome to my humble blog and thank you for your comment! Better get it while you can! All too often, peace and happiness can be in rather short supply!

  4. Mandy…this is all your creation, and all the inspiration came from you – and your 'Candide'. I decided to break the fourth wall and play with it a little, and I'm so glad I did. You and I certainly share our love for words, for literature and poetry and that alchemical space between the nose and the neocortex! The hardest thing was not the inspiration, but to just sit still long enough for the words to find me. Thank you for teaching me there, too.

  5. You've expressed the magic a good perfume can work, and this one in particular – It cheers me up just to read of your pleasure in it. Thankfully I have some, and now inspired to apply, even tho it's a late Monday evening and time to start settling down.

    As you say, the botherations are all so 4 hours ago.

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