Where to begin with this trio of redolent treats? Each one is a unique creation of Mandy Aftel’s, who is probably well known to you if you frequent perfume blogs or have an interest in *natural perfumes. You might also be familiar with her book, Essence and Alchemy, which has influenced me a great deal in my blogging and personal love of perfume. Her evocative way with words and firm grasp of history makes it an incredibly inspiring and educational read. I believe she was able to write so poetically about the history of fragrance because she has an innate talent in creating fragrance herself. This expertise is exemplified quite remarkably in the gems pictured above.
Bergamoss took the later part of the 2015 fragrance world by storm. It made the Best Perfumes of 2015 list of many a blogger and I too will sing its praises. But in all honesty, I had to spend a good deal of time with Bergamoss before I fully appreciated its depth and beauty. It was not love at first sniff for me as I was unsure how I felt about a chypre fruity perfume. This is not a category I have experienced as much as others, and I needed to warm up to its complexity. At first, the strong fruit notes of peach and orange felt divergent when they joined with the oakmoss. Yet, as I continued to wear Bergamoss, it began to take hold of me and I started to understand Mandy’s intent, “I was after a particular kind of chypre — one that was both rich and fresh, bright and heavy, sweet and loamy.” It’s this push-pull between what at first felt like opposing qualities, that ultimately became what now intrigues me so much about Bergamoss. Flouve, which is an essence extracted from a tropical grass, gives it a uniquely earthy and warm aspect which is different from a what patchouli or vetiver might have provided, and I feel this to be a key unifying ingredient. Antique civet is listed in the notes, but I do not get a very strong sense of this, (please note this in not a fragrance for strict vegetarians or vegans, even though it is “antique”) although I’m certain Mandy added the perfect (and judicious) amount to round out the perfume and allow the fruity to meld with the chypre. Bergamoss comes in two forms, solid and EDT. The EDT happens to be my favorite, but it is limited edition, so if your interest has been piqued, do not delay.
Moving on to the face, Mandy’s Organic Jasmine Face Elixir is divine! This is her newest face elixir, and its base contains organic oils of rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene, and rose hip seed. These are all amazingly high quality oils for your face that hydrate, nourish and heal, but the standout for me is the camellia oil which is very high in anti-oxidants and vitamin E. All of this is terrific of course, but it’s the scent that can make it or break it with products, and fortunately this jasmine is truly intoxicating. Mandy sourced her jasmine sambac essence “from a small and careful grower in India who only offers it for sale once a year,” and it is unlike any other I have smelled. It is indolic to be sure, but it is not “skanky” as we perfume nerds like to say. Rather, the indoles in this elixir radiate heat, not unlike melting bees wax. Just two drops warmed up in your hands and patted on the face, gives you an incredibly aromatic experience that also leaves your skin soft and not greasy, with just the right amount of glow.
So let’s wrap this up with a cup of tea shall we? And we’ll make it Mandy’s Organic Orange Cardamom Black Tea. I received a little sample of this deliciously perfumed tea, enough for one cup, but that’s all I needed as this was indeed love at first sip! Juicy blood orange and spicy cardamom swirl around the organic red pearls black tea and in the steam. This rare tea from Fujian was chosen because the leaves are pan-fired which bestows a toasted aroma to your cup. It’s delightful! And if you happen to be sipping this tea after you’ve applied the Jasmine Elixir and spritzed some Bergamoss, I can assure you, you will be in fragrant bliss.
*All products by Aftelier are 100% natural. Please see link for more information regarding her selection of all natural essences.
Disclosure: Samples were sent to me by Aftelier for review. All opinions are my own.