Mandy Aftel, a natural perfumer standing behind her own line – Aftelier, was lately heck of a busy woman. For the last several months or perhaps even longer she was researching for her brand new book, Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent. While browsing through the pages of old books she discovered some interesting facts that gave her an inspiration not only for writing but also for creating a new perfume! How well-organized one has to be to be able to write a book and work on a perfume at the same time!? I’m sure she has been totally inspired in both cases.
The result of Mandy’s fragrant works is the luxurious perfume she named Palimpsest. In case you’re not familiar with this term – palimpsest is an old document from which the original text has been removed and the paper has been recycled by writing something totally new on it. In many cases the ink erasing techniques were poor allowing a reader to decipher both new and old piece of writing. In the piece of parchment attached to a sample Mandy kindly sent to me, she explains how she was inspired by “layers or history” and how she wanted to “capture the feeling of the Garden of Eden at midnight.” Did she manage to bottle the paradise we’ve all read and heard of? I dare to say she created a perfume that is complex, rich and elusive like the moonlight. It thrills the senses…
Aftelier Palimpsest is a feast for the nose. The perfume opens with incredibly rich, lush and prominent accord of honey. This bright, luminous and sparkling aroma will transport you to the majestic palaces, say in ancient Egypt or Greece, where refined feasts with fruits and ambrosia were a daily routine. This golden liquid has a moderate sweetness and isn’t overly sticky but it intoxicates your mind in a blink of an eye. It’s simply hard to believe that this rich, complex aroma with spicy undertones was created with just one compound, namely phenylacetic acid.
After a while the perfume starts to reveal more and more layers, building up a complexity of the entire fragrance. On my skin jasmine is the second note in order of appearance. It’s very deep and sensual, possessing a specific aroma of intensive white flowers, it is also quite indolic. When it blends with honey, the result is incredible. Palimpsest becomes very sensual, seductive and irresistible. This is a perfume that represents the carnal pleasure in literal meaning of these words. The scent is filled with sexual tension and when vanilla joins the composition, it begins to smell like a hot aroused body, glistening with drops of sweat. It gets a bit musky, slightly dirty. It’s sinful…
For the entire time that Palimpsest lasts on the skin, you won’t be able to escape from the erotic subtext of this perfume. Later on the scent starts to effuse more subtle tones which are still very sensual and sophisticated. The fruity aroma of peach becomes more milky and creamy after a while. This feeling is enhanced by Mandy with the use of gamma dodecalactone, the aroma compound which is a carrier of the smell that can be described as lactonic and milky peach and apricot blend. It’s deliciously addictive, making my mouth to water and my senses to go crazy.
The fragrant pleasure for the senses continues when Aftelier Palimpsest slowly starts to reach the drydown phase. I can smell a little bit of tangy yuzu with a nicely marked smell of both albedo and pulp. As the time flies by, the composition becomes more woody with the aroma Mandy Aftel describes as firetree. According to her notes, it’s an eponymous tree used by Aboriginal tribes. It’s a tree of which all parts can be used for various purposes. To me it smells quite smooth, a little bit like a combination between sandalwood and cedarwood. Then there’s a lot of ylang-ylang, a beautiful and lush flower that has a scent that is floral and fruity at the same time.
It has tones of milk, coconut and even banana. Ylang introduces the aroma that makes me think of tropical countries, but its smell also has a lot of sensuality, charm and seductive values in my opinion. Then Palimpsest warms up, allowing all the notes to fly even higher above the surface of your skin. Finally ambergris arrives – it glows with bright ambery tones that are rich in light. The aroma is very elegant and subtle, surrounding the wearer with a very soft and nice hug. For the next several hours Palimpsest by Aftelier becomes weaker and weaker but it still surrounds you with the cloud that arouses the senses, makes your heart beat faster. There are not many perfumes that would be so erotic and lush, at the same time being not overly offensive or provoking. That’s a huge plus for this perfume.
Mandy says that she wanted to create the impression of Garden of Eden at midnight with her new perfume. If there is a place in our world that would smell half as good as Palimpsest does, it will be one of my future dreams to go to that please and smell its aromas with my own nose. What I can imagine is that if the primal Eden smelled like this fragrance, Adam and Eve would commit a totally different sin than eating a fruit from a forbidden tree… Mandy Aftel created another awesome perfume, which despite being a natural blend is able to last on skin all day long, even if close to the skin after a couple of hours. Palimpsest will give you dirty thoughts – you have been warned.
[note] Sample was a courtesy of Mandy Aftel. Pictures: press and archimedespalimpsest.org