– a review of Aftelier Perfumes’ ‘Wild Roses’
A rose by any other name, Shakespeare once wrote, would smell just as sweet. And yet…considering that in not a few ways, this year of 2012 was a major Year of the Rose, I marvel at just how many ways those names of a rose can be interpreted, just how many new songs can be sung of this timeless bloom, a symbol of Aphrodite and a universal symbol of love and beauty. How many tall tales and fragrant secrets can be concealed or discovered within the velvet petal folds…of rose?
Quite a few as it happens, all of them different, many of them marvelous, and none more so than the little vial glowing amber on my desk with such a prosaic name holding such decadent, delicious, joyous tales… of rose. For this rose perfume is no mere ‘rose’, no romantic trope or fragrant cliché, this rose is all aglow and very new, this rose in a year that knew so many roses is…an Aftelier, and Mandy Aftel knows well the many secrets of very many roses.
One of the things I love most about Mandy’s perfumes is just how truly unique each and every one of them are, how they are all created to a very different and definitely audacious heartbeat. Every time, I’m delighted to say they are like nothing at all else and so far removed from any fads or trends, they exist in some alternate fragrant multiverse altogether, where everything you think you know is turned upside down and invented anew. Nothing – not the list of notes, which are precisely what you’re getting, not the so-called family, not even the simple word ‘perfume’ seems to do them quite enough justice, certainly not in this case when confronted with a perfume called no more and no less than …Wild Roses.
Do you think you might have some idea of this rose, is there an inkling of an association twirling its fragrant ghosts through your mind as you think of those two prosaic words wild and roses? I mean, really, what else can you possibly say about roses, be they ever so wild?
I’ll tell you.
I tested the extrait, and Wild Roses opens heady and dense, with an unusual dusky note of heliotrope mingling with the piercing bright green of bergamot and geraniol. Shining through it all with a sunbeam all its own is a sweet, decadent rose, the kind of rose you would sometimes wish other roses might be, the rose other roses might aspire to if they’re very, very lucky. You know you are since this rose sings on you, and as it breathes and blooms, it grows and it glows in all its luscious hues, the apricot adding its own sweet sunlit golden chorus to this aria of rose, the pimento berry centering both the apricot and that peerless rose with its earthy, fiery baritone, smoothing a path through these prolific roses, roses everywhere, down to that sudden fragrant epiphany of an anisic tarragon at twilight in tandem with vanilla, patchouli and indole as these roses dance their last on your skin. Have no fear of indole here, it’s been thoroughly tamed and held in check by the patchouli, vanilla and tarragon, and that too is a surprise, of how seamlessly the tarragon folds itself into both the heart and the base and how the indole opens up the heart of this fully blooming, ripe rose.
What can I say to tell this tale of wild and of roses, how can I convey with my words what a joy this perfume is, how audacious, how delicious is – this dream of roses? Mandy Aftel wrote in her press release that this rose perfume was inspired by a walk through a garden of blooming roses, with the scent of sunshine and warm earth, the many dizzying aspects and perfumes of many different roses, that perfect exhalation of a perfect, joyous moment, when body, soul, and heart all come together bound by sun-kissed, piercingly beautiful roses, and there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no worries and fewer cares, only this now and this place and your beating, happy heart, woven of a velvet-hued vision that dreamed such roses – as Aftelier’s Wild Roses, and yet again, rose was dreamed – and created – anew.
Notes: Top: Rose CO2, heliotropin, bergamot, geraniol, m-methyl anthranilate, damascenone
Heart: Apricot, Turkish rose absolute, pimento berry, p-ethyl alcohol, rose petals attar
Base: Tarragon absolute, vanilla absolute, indole, aged patchouli.
Painting: Chiu Ming Chiang, ‘Wild Rose’, via Abby Daily
Disclosure: A sample of Wild Roses extrait was provided for review by Mandy Aftel.