Recently I made a sweeping comment that I don’t really like gourmands, and then I met Mandy Aftel via two gorgeous tins of assorted samples I bought from her website. There are many gems in these tins, however I have decided to review fig first because it was the search for a fig home fragrance that started me on this scent journey, and is how I find myself here.
Aftelier Fig develops from sapling to the full glorious ripeness of age; her swansong is a sensuous dance, lush, rich and memorable.
Fig demands your attention, you must be patient and watch her grow. The emergent child developing the buds that will ripen slowly in the spring. I shall call her Beauty.
Like many Aftelier fragrances Fig has me under her spell. Soft pink peppery youth ripening with the warmth of Jasmine, fir adding an earthy depth grounding her impatient development, her foliage wilting slightly under the summer sun. The marriage of these notes sings true together.
In her youth Beauty sits plump, lush and spicy on a bed of ripe brie and crusty wood oven bread. I laze under a gazebo covered in cooling vines savouring her delicacy.
Beauty has her swansong in my grandmother’s kitchen. The last remains of her jammy rich caramel from the jam pan, that sticky heavenly toffee. I have stolen Beauty and devoured her.
Featured Notes Top: grand fir, pink grapefruit. Heart: pink pepper absolute, jasmine sambac. Base: Africa stone, fir absolute
One of the random selections I made in my first batch of decants was Frapin 1697, chosen for no other reason than it sounded decadent. It had been sitting there quietly in the makeshift sample box I created whilst its louder and more popular companions had their moments in the sun.
And, the perfumer is the amazing Bertrand Duchaufour. L’Artisan was one of the first houses I encountered in my discovery of niche, and I have a special place in my heart for them. I particularly like Monsieur Duchaufour’s Traversee du Bosphore from this house.
I am a reformed, obsessive Nick Cave fan, not to be confused with a reformed obsessive (one thing just takes precedence over another, quieting the prior). Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds created some of their best work during the Berlin Years. Nick Cave also wrote “And the Ass Saw the Angel” during this period, a southern gothic novel, written by an Australian, living in Berlin, whilst chasing the dragon. I read the influences of William Faulkner’s "Light in August" and Patrick White’s "The Tree of Man" in this novel, more Faulkner than White. Apologies for my little obsessive digression.
It is the conjuring of these things from the sacrament of my mind that drew my sample from its dark abode.
For its seventh scent, 1697, named after the year the Frapin family was ennobled by Louis XIV, the venerable cognac distiller drew on the talent of Bertrand Duchaufour to translate these aromas into fragrance for an exceptional limited edition of 1697 bottles. - From Luckyscent.com.
In 1697 Louis XIV ennobled the Frapin family. A fitting coat of arms was created to match the glorious reign of the Sun King, a monarch who revered beauty, women and love… It was a time of drunken festivities, magical balls and parties filled with sensual pleasures, colors and smells. Moments filled with memories of lusts and desires. - From Olfactoria’s blog (excerpt from copy at First in Fragrance
Frapin 1697 opens with a hit of whisky or rum, my beloved thought it more like honey mead, but all I smell is whisky. This settles to a plummy rum and raisin truffle without the sweetness and is followed by soft florals balanced with leather and dark wood, and a subtle animalic muskiness.
Frapin 1697 is sipping cognac on an oak and leather Chesterfield in front of a crackling fire in a beautifully appointed, masculine room. There is a humidor of partially smoked cigars in a discreet nook. Playing softly in the background is Ute Lemper and not the Bad Seeds as I may have envisioned. That gentleman in the fine suit with the long lean frame, lounging opposite me, sipping his cognac, however, could be none other than the enigmatic Mr Cave, but alas he is my darling beloved. Frapin 1697 has no sense of urgency and is happy to stay in your company and while away the winter hours.
Olfactoria said “It is one of the most subtle and effective “come hither” perfumes I have ever tried, intriguing, subtly sensual and so very scrumptious. It must be great on a man, Devastating on the right one”.
Devastating on the right man, did I hear you say, Olfactoria? My beloved is now known as the devastator, we both adore this.
Freaking cold and frosty -3c in the Barossa yesterday morning
What a crazy couple of weeks it has been. 30th June marks End of Financial Year and is frantic time for us Accountants and Bookkeepers. On top of this my beloved is a mad, obsessed 8-ball fan/player ( 8-Ball is similar to Snooker or 9-ball). What my beloved’s hobby has got to with this, you may well ask... Well every year we host an Invitation event at our home, generally attended by circa 40 people, this begins at 11.30am and runs well into the night; often well into the next day. I am head event and catering manager, exhausting but rewarding. Along with many of our favourite friends and family our best friends come from the Yorke Peninsula and are an integral part of our team. It’s a great time for us to catch up and consume more than the average quota of red wine. I made some Reed Diffusers for my helpers, whose big, beautiful, bright smiles gladdened my tired body and warmed my heart. Fragrance is the music of my soul.
Whilst I have been head down in book work, I have been randomly grabbing samples each day and evening. This has given me a wonderful sense of freedom, to be lifted from the obsession of having some daily idea of what I will be sampling the next day and then analysing them. The joy of just being... Enjoying the company in quiet contemplation without any expectation. I have an obsessional and controlling personality, this has been a revelation of sorts.
Fragrances I have enjoyed during these past weeks include; Vivienne Westwood - Boudoir (thanks to Carrie for this recommendation), I love it, sensuous and comforting. ELdO - Tom of Finland also gave this one to beloved to wear whilst competing, may have helped, he made the top 8. Montale - Sweet Oriental Dream, I forgot how much I adore this. L’Artisan - Mure et Musc (went to bed with this subtle darling last night as beloved is away for the weekend at an 8-Ball Championship). Frederic Malle - l’Eau d’Hiver - Musc Ravageur. Christian Dior – Addict. Random Le Labo’s, can’t go wrong there. Still enjoying the company of EL Sensuous.
What a joy cleaning out pockets of various jackets and find those little friends who have been keeping me company. Had some interesting layering moments to. I would be at work and reach into my jacket pocket and put on whatever I pulled out.
So, that’s been my perfume fortnight.
Now as I gently open my vial of Guerlain L’heure bleue in honour of my wonderful, insightful, funny and clever friends, whilst listening to Empire State of Mind and getting ready to watch “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”, I bid you adieu for now.
It has been a long time since I visited an Estee Lauder fragrance. White Linen and Youth Dew have been popular here for many years and in my younger years I found them too heavy for my taste. I was eager to try Beyond Paradise when it was released, party due to the Eden project connection. I was mostly underwhelmed by it. The lovely Carrie Meredith recommended Sensuous and after reading current discussions about it, I decided to give it a try.
The sample sat on my desk all day yesterday and most of today, for some reason I was apprehensive about it. Then I took a deep breathe and said “Ok, just do it”. The creamy sandalwood comes through right at the beginning with ylang and gentle songbirds doing a sugar plum fairy dance around it. This captured me immediately. Ylang and sandalwood are among my favourite essential oils. Sensuous feels like a kindred spirit softening the edges, adding nuance and subtlety with light floral spicy notes, bringing out the soul and essence then fixing it in place with warming amber. It is a lovely almost linear harmony. L’air du desert marocain is my current amber love, Sensuous has just nestled along side it and given it a warm embrace. Sensuous is sitting around the fire drinking Grenache and listening to Leonard Cohen’s, First We Take Manhattan and chattering on about things of yore.
I feel I now need to revisit those earlier Estee Lauder fragrances and add Cinnabar to the list. What is old can be new again.
Notes per the Estee Lauder website: Warm - Molten Woods, Amber, Feminine – Jasmine, Ghost Lily, Magnolia, Ylang Luminous - Black Pepper, Sandalwood, Honey,Mandarin, Orange Pulp
Welcome to my inaugural post. I am nervous and excited at the same time. I will be posting as often as my work and lifestyle permits. I have decided to note the temperature at the time of my post for comparison of how a fragrance behaves in variations of temperature. The temperature variables here in Adelaide are:
winter (daily maximum) 15.9°c/60.62°f
However, we can experience heat waves of 40°/104°+ for 7 days or more, ours is a very dry heat unless we have a milder/wetter summer, then it can be slightly humid.
I am eager to try L’air du desert marocain and Ambre Sultan in a heatwave that should be an interesting experience. If anyone has any perfume suggestions for the hot weather I’d love you to share them with me.