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.