Elixir of curiosity, Aftelier Curious

After many years Mandy Aftel was finally able to open Aftel Archive of Curious Scents. A place in Berkeley, California where you can experience beautiful and rare raw materials & learn more about natural perfumery. Unlike in typical museum there are plenty of things there you can touch. Inspired by the atmosphere of a place Mandy created Curious. You can wear it but in the Archive you can also witness its deconstruction into accords and singular notes & discover how they smell separately. I’m sure this would be a valuable lesson to every perfumista.


Aftelier Curious starts with a surprisingly smoky note of a fruit. The smokiness is in the foreground while the fruitiness is a little more distant. However combined they have a very specific aroma. At first impression it instantly reminded me of smoked prune but then it evolved and became closer to apricot. Then suddenly it becomes incredibly musky & animalic that it’s really hard to bear. However Mandy explained to me she didn’t use any animalic notes while creating this fragrance.

It’s the use of tobacco that gives this effect. When it blends with dry, aromatic hay note with a detectable coumarin facet it gets wild & dirty. Suddenly Curious gains a heady, indolic, almost oily vibe to it. Normally I would associate it with jasmine but as I found on Aftelier website, it comes from orange leaf absolute. Once it dissipate the perfume begins to smell of smoky, burnt wood and a little bit of mossy forest. A little bit of green peeks through the foggy smoke. It’s mysterious.

For Curious Mandy also used a wild sweet orange note. I would never expect that citrus note could be responsible for adding a dirty, musky, kind of sweaty facet to the perfume. Very unusual, right? It releases something minimally orange-y too but once its dirtiniess comes out it even starts to remind me a leather note a bit. It takes some time until the perfume becomes more mellow. That’s when it becomes more creamy in its woodiness and musk notes melt more with your own body scent. That’s when it becomes really pleasant and brings a joy of wearing it. When its soft – it’s like a fur.


Aftelier Curious is a perfume of a challenge. It’s unusual and specific, I believe not everyone will be so open to its wilderness. But for the beautiful drydown it is worth to go through the rough opening. The way it changes over time is a sort of magic. If curious was a magic potion then Mandy Aftel would have to be a white witch who brew it in her cauldron. Curious comes in 2 concentrations: eau de parfum and parfum. It has good longevity while sillage goes from big to more intimate.

Tagged , , , ,

Flying free, Memo Eau de Memo

Do you often have dreams when you sleep at night? Dreams that could take you to distant places you always wanted to visit or dreams that take you back in time and allow to re-live a moment from your life, often letting you to understand something better. In my dreamy visions I often have the ability to fly in the sky freely as a bird or I can use magic. Inspired by birds flying over Parisian rooftops, by their freedom is the latest launch from Memo Paris, celebrating their 10th birthday.


Carried by a gentle wind, when I inhale Eau de Memo for the first time I can smell a tender mandarin note. It’s bright in a very sunny way, with a lots of juicy sweetness that come along with it. It doesn’t take long until this gorgeous citrus opening expands around the wearer. It gets enriched with lemon oil that introduces a tangy, aromaric sensation that gives a tingling sensation inside my nose. It’s juicy like the mandarin before but is more sour, but what did you expect from lemon, right?

When bergamot joins the composition it’s like a burst of a balloon filled with delicious, icy lemonade. Eau de Memo instantly gains this zesty facet that smells like a freshly peeled citrus rind. Following this uplifting citrus blend comes a twist many would not expect. After 20-30 minutes comes a moment when the perfume calms down and becomes more meditative. Note of green tea is effusing it’s tart, green, slightly powdery and leafy aroma so that the aura of the perfume becomes peaceful & quiet. After a while a bit of jasmine peeks through this greenery. It’s a delicate side of this flower. Additionally it blends with green tea accord so well that it leaves the impression of a floral tea.


Further into fragrance development Eau de Memo fails to disappoint. When top notes become airy and more transparent I start to smell a leathery scent. It’s substantive just like most leather notes are but in this perfume it’s uber delicate. Imagine the thinest layer of leather you can almost see-through. That’s what hides in this Memo perfume. Furthermore it becomes softly & luxuriously powdery with iris note. It introduces an undeniable elegance and nobility to the scent. To me iris here has a velvety texture and powdery vibe it carries has a small hint of sweetness. It’s simply gorgeous.


When tea note joined the composition earlier, the perfume also became warmer. Another ingredient that is contrasting with a bit cooler citrus opening is a saffron note. It effuses its warm spiciness quickly, enveloping the wearer with a feeling as if someone just put a fluffy cashmere sweater on you. This saffron softness has a soothing effect, making me want to float away to dreamland. Eau de Memo also has a hint of moss that gives it a lovable chypre whisper. In the end there’s some musk that on my skin had an effect that was slightly animalic, reminiscent of dense fur coat.

Eau de Memo is a fantastic perfume from top to bottom. It has an unusual build of its fragrance pyramid and it’s also a complex creation that changes every time you smell it, you won’t get bored with it. Perfumer Alienor Massenet (who did all Memo scents) really did her best to commemorate 10th anniversary of Memo Paris with this fragrance. As much as I’m not a fan of this brand’s packaging, a bottle of Eau de Memo is an instant lemming. 10 points for Gryffindor Memo. I only have 2 concerns about it, low sillage, and the price of 200€ for 100 ml of eau de parfum is not cheap. Eau de Memo is also available in (not so pretty) single travel spray that carries 10 ml of juice. Maybe I just shouldn’t bother and get a bottle of this lovely perfume for my own enjoyment?

Tagged , , , ,