Cuir de Gardenia by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Parfumes 2013


Guest Post by Jordan River


On ya APJ,


Portia has lost the plot. Well not exactly; Portia has lost the perfume. (Ed: All is not lost, I have found my package) We will have to wait another week while she rechoreographs her collection, reorientates herself and finally reviews this ‘fume. In the meantime here are some impressions as we await hers. As with all choreography; the show must go on.


A moonless, starless tropical night so dark that you cannot see.

But at least you can smell.

You can even smell a star, but it is not in the sky. It is the star of the island jungle, Tiare, the Tahitian gardenia.

Cuir de Gardenia by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Parfumes 2013

Cuir de Gardenia Aftelier PerfumesPhoto Stolen Aftelier

Straight to the Heart: tiare (gardenia) absolute, jasmine grandiflorum absolute, benzyl acetate.
Dry Down: castoreum, ethyl phenyl acetate, malto

The Leather Gardenia is dense with this kind of potency. Not sticky but almost. I was talking with young Portia here at APJ about a new perfume which is called Cuir de Gardenia.

Portia, I am blooming! ‘Tis dense, strong and full of ANTIQUE CASTOREUM ABSOLUTE! Opps, sorry for shouting. No time-wasting top notes at all thank you very much. Straight to the gardenia and jasmine heart although you may want to pause there before the terrifying beautiful drydown. Portia this is a strange and secret show, this scent.

Jordan to Portia

Cuir de Gardenia by perfumer alchemist Mandy Aftel does not encourage much writing because once you close your eyes and inhale that is it. I cannot call this a perfume; it is a potion.

Cuir de Gardenia Aftelier Perfumes Calsidyrose  FlickrPhoto Stolen Calsidyrose  Flickr

I think what makes this one so special, even beyond the real Tiare absolute (until now a synthesized aroma in perfumery) is the combination of that with an ingredient that Mandy received from an outgoing perfumer’s estate. Aged ingredients are rarer and rarer as the market for perfume consumption has grown. Some ingredients go off with age and some change and improve as the years go by. Vintage Ouds, Sandalwood, Musk and Castereum all intensify with age. In this perfume, as mentioned above, there is antique castoreum which enriches the already intense smell of Tiare, the Tahitian gardenia. It also provides the smooth leather drydown.

Over at Fragrantica there are some unusual questions by Elena Vosnaki with refreshing replies by Mandy Aftel in an interview called The Viewpoint of the Artisan Businesswoman and Perfumer.

Cuir de Gardenia – notes and Mandy’s thoughts.

Book Update: according to Virginia at Té de Violetas the title of Mandy’s next book is Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent. The book focuses on five epic aromatics: mint, cinnamon, ambergris, jasmine, and frankincense. It explores their powerful connection to history, philosophy, and our most essential human appetites.

Cuir de Gardenia
Aftelier Perfumers
Perfumer: Mandy Aftel
Release Date: November 2013
Solid perfume – 1/4 ounce sterling silver compact $US240
Perfume Oil – 1/4 ml sample $US6

For the Holiday 2013 season, a limited-edition extrait version of Cuir de Gardenia is available in a mini 2 ml bottle $US55

Aftelier Perfumes – website

Further Reading
The Non-Blonde – Cuir de Gardenia – review
The Black Narcissus – Cuir de Gardenia – reaction
Aftelier Perfume – The Secret Accord – Ancient Resins
Olfactoria’s Travels – Tea Time with Mandy Aftel
Té de Violetas – Mandy Aftel interview and Ylang Organic Face Elixir . The English version is below the Spanish version.

7 thoughts on “Cuir de Gardenia by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Parfumes 2013

    • Well, Fruitful, I cannot now tell you if is was a terrifyingly beautiful Drydown or a terrifying, beautiful Drydown; such is what this scent does to one. Which means of course that it is best if you decide for yourself.


    • This is what it sounds like when Belle cries.

      Anticipation is a good thing is it not?Especially if you forget and something like this appears. Wishing you a happy 18 February Belle.


  1. Thanks for this inspiring review Jordan. I’m not a great naturals fan although Portia is making me see the error of my ways – however I am a gardenia lover so this may be the one to convert me. I’ve heard so much about Mandy Aftel and never tried anything by her. Thanks for pushing me over the edge.What Portia’s review will do I dread to think…


    • This would be a great intro to the natural modality. I find that the secret with natural is constant reapplication which I do not mind at all. This one is more potent than most so reapply with caution.


      • thanks for the advice. My problem is that I find a certain tone in many naturals which to me is just not really interesting but then many mainstream releases aren’t interesting either but in a different way. Portia recently introduced me to a new naturals Australian brand called Ime which he’ll be writing about soon – it’s pretty good.


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