Post by Portia
Hello Fragrant Friends,
Mandy Aftel is one of the best known & most loved Indie perfumers on the planet. Not only for her stellar fragrances but also for her books on fragrance (Essence & Alchemy and Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent) and her natural perfumery school. My every dealing with her has been so lovely, she is one of the greats and has the most beautiful presentation in her packaging. The whole Aftelier product is so luxurious and getting an order is exquisite fun opening it all up. My favourite way to buy Aftelier is the A Trio of Miniatures in a Silk Pouch that is also in a tin. I use these miniatures as gifts when I’m travelling, giving one to people who I particularly love or who have gone out of their way, and they are always accepted with real pleasure.
Photo Stolen Aftelier
Vanilla Smoke by Aftelier Perfumes 2015
Vanilla Smoke by Mandy Aftel
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Yellow mandarin, Siam wood, saffron absolute, vanilla absolute, lapsang souchong tea essence (tea leaves smoked over pinewood), coumarin, ambergris
After reading her review I was chatting briefly with Victoria over on EauMG and … Portia: .. the EdP felt like a magical Shalimar restructuring. It’s my favourite so it was really nice to smell the Ultimate Smoke Shalimar with extra twists and nuance. Victoria: .. a big yes to Ultimate Smoke Shalimar because that’s accurate! The EDP reminds me very much of like modern, smoky Shalimar, like Shalimar roasting marshmallows over a campfire.
Photo Stolen Flickr
Vanilla, warm, comforting, sensual and alluring. The simplest of scents yet also incredibly complex. In Vanilla Smoke Mandy Aftel has added spice and heavy resins that are cut through with the strong smoky tea note of lapsang souchong, When I read the note list before trying Vanilla Smoke, and before reading any other reviews, I thought it was going to be a very dense, hefty, thick scent. One perfectly chosen to warm and sweeten winter nights but too gluggy and oppressive for the warmer months. No Way! Somehow Mandy has managed to lift it and gift it air, while being fully and gloriously fragrant and the opening is mildly ferocious in a VERY good way, there is a floaty sheer-ness that makes it feel free. I don’t know if you remember those 1980s video clips where it was dusk or dark and smoke billowing around some half naked male dancers and a fabulously made up songstress in an over the top gown belting out a power ballad with a dance backbeat? Vanilla Smoke has all the glamour, fun and over the top outrage but softened for a modern market.
Photo Stolen Pixabay
Vanilla Smoke is dry and desiccated, elegant and totally immersive up close. From further away, or on someone else, it wears less dry and you get to smell that lovely vanilla shining through the smoke. Another reviewer wrote sumptuous and I concur, perfect word for Vanilla Smoke.
Further reading: EauMG and ScentHive
Aftelier has $180/30ml EdP
Aftelier has $180/7.5ml Parfum
Do you have a Mandy Aftel fragrance that you adore? If you haven’t tried her yet, go visit the site Aftelier<<JUMP. It’s full of beautifully fragrant things that aren’t only perfume…
22 thoughts on “Vanilla Smoke by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Perfumes 2015”
I seriously would like to give this a go. xxx
Val, I have a smidge that I’ll bring in Jan.
Guh! I’ve still never smelt any of her work. You make it sound so good! I love both her books though xx
Next time we catch up remind me to bring my bottles.
I totally agree about Mandy being a delight to deal with, and about how great Vanilla Smoke is. I got my sample the other day and it was instant love. In fact the review took a long time to write because I wanted to really get it right. It’s the perfect epitome of “cosy” and I thought it was a terrific piece of work.
Love from wet Wales
Yes cozy is a good word yet curiously stark. I think the parallels going through make it really interesting as well as gorgeous.
Do you have any other Afteliers that you love?
This is my lemming of the year,Portia. Will look into getting a sample. How interesting that you can wear it comfortably in the heat of an Aussie summer. I’m intrigued. This could be the effed-up vanilla I’ve been looking for 🙂
How is it ferocious in the opening? Smoky ferocious?
This could very easily be the one Tara.
The most un-vanilla of vanillas.
The ferocity is in size and power, it’s most dense at opening (obviously) and it has some dramatic notes vying for supremacy.
I can’t wait to see what you think.
Hi Portia. THE ultimate smoke Shalimar with twists and nuances, WoW ! Must try this. Hug, Esperanza
I think you may need to buy a keg of Vanilla Smoke.
BTW I loved your post on: Do you have a right to know a fragrance was changed?
If they changed the ingredients of a food you ate, a cosmetic you use or a drink from natural to chemical or vise-versa they would have to tell you. We should be better informed.
Hey Portia, Yes, I might need to buy Some Vanilla Smoke. Really intriguied by it. Would love to try it.
Thank you for your compliment, I really believe we should be informed as a consumer as it is a different product you are buying if a fragrance was changed for whatever reason. From what you wrote in your comment, it is sometimes impossible to tell which version you are buying as Well. Luckily we still have websites to look stuff up but Still.
Going to have a look on Mandy’s website!
Aftelier perfumes have been on my radar for a while but sampling has been pushed back consistently. Vanilla Smoke’s comparison to my beloved (vintage)Shalimar interests me, though Shalimar is not a strongly vanilla fragrance to my nose. There are several Aftelier fragrances that I have wanted to try but most of all – Parfum Privé. If it smells like her description, I would be passionately in love. “Smells like the night air in Hawaii — of sultry flowers, warmth and light. It almost shimmers.”
As Shalimar is so much more than a vanilla so too is Vanilla Smoke. Mandy treats vanilla in a different way than I’ve smelt it before.
If Thierry Wasser was allowed to stop with the ultra sweet and give something with real depth and chutzpah a go for a Shalimar flanker then he may well have arrived somewhere similar to Vanilla Smoke.
I love your joyful, knowledgeable, inviting approach to perfume Portia — I am so moved by the kind words you write about my work in general & Vanilla Smoke in particular! It’s the ultimate honor to have you give my perfumes as a gift, I can’t thank you enough dear! xo Mandy
You are kind Mandy, and a freaking great perfumer. One day when we meet I’ll tell you some Aftelier gifting stories. It will be a fun afternoon.
Usually I don’t buy all-natural perfumes because the longevity is so poor, through no fault of the perfumer. But Ms. Aftel is a genius, and I suspect that I will succumb to this one. Probably quite soon. Her perfumes are tone poems
OMG! FeralJasmine, what a perfect way to put it. You hit the nail on the head.
We miss your writing here at APJ, have a wonderful holiday season.
I miss AJP! Glad I can still leave comments here and there, and keep up on what you lovely people are up to.
This is my AFTELIER year, starting with s solid of Bergamoss, then a 30mL of Tango, and just today, I received my travel spray of Bergamoss EDP. And…while I was originally disappointed at the lightness of Vanilla Smoke, I have now realized the brilliant genius of the parfum which I MUST HAVE. I also have a mini of Cuir de Gardenia which I got in early 2014. Customer Service is also top-notch!
Hey there Hajusuuri,
How does the sodil live for you?
Cuir de Gardenia! Be still mt beating heart.
Gah, yes! “half naked male dancers and a fabulously made up songstress” – Yes! I totally see this. Totally that mystical/free over the top aesthetic mingling with nature. LOVE IT.
Hey there Victoria,
So nice to see you here. YAY! You even got quoted, good day to come on over.
Thank you. You’ve made my day.
It seems we both loved Vanilla Smoke. Mandy is clever.
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