About a month ago, I was lucky enough to be the winner of a Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes drawing. This was a real thrill as I have not really delved into the realm of natural perfumes and after hearing Freddie from Smellythoughts rave about the Aftelier fragrances I knew that I would be in for a lovely surprise. As part of the drawing I was able to choose 3 miniature perfumes from Mandy’s collection. Based on notes that I love and review of others, I decided upon Wild Roses, Secret Garden and my favorite of the three which I’m reviewing today, Haute Claire. Of course, Mandy couldn’t have been sweeter and actually sent me a few more samples along with the minis. My package arrived in the most exquisite box and the 3 perfumes were housed in these sweetly small bottles in their own little carrying case. As wonderful as the juice always is, the packaging just adds that something extra that makes it so much more special. Mandy obviously understands this to perfection! Now, these fragrances are masterful in their composition and you can immediately tell that they are blended perfectly and my nose is not sophisticated enough to really give the justice due with words, so please bear with me.
WHAT I SMELL: In the bottle it smells strong and biting and dare I must say, a little musty (galbanum?). Once you apply it, that strong and musty opening makes way for an orange and ylang ylang intoxicating delight. It somehow is fresh and cool and warm at the same time. It is substantial in that there is a depth, an almost layering of various notes that seem to rise and sink back each time I put my arm to my nose. I have always thought of natural perfumes in the sense of earthy and oily. This breaks that thought in that it is like a 1200 count egyptian cotton sheet; substantial, smooth and ultra luxurious. Haute Claire is thick and ripe and the honeysuckle sticks to the back of your throat. It’s not sweet, but it’s pungent with a thick and palatable consistency. I love to be intoxicated by a perfume and this does the trick in spades. After quite some time in the end you are left with a wonderful warm green vetiver fragrance. The vetiver is deep and luxurious and this is coming from a man who typically doesn’t care for vetiver scents.
From the Aftelier website:
Haute Claire is both crisp and soft, cool and warm. The fresh edgy greenness of galbanum is offset by the creamy floral of ylang ylang edged with honeysuckle. The green and floral notes harmonize in perfect pitch, with neither dominating the other. A warm base of vetiver and vanilla provides a soft finish of sweet grass.
Top: galbanum, Mexican lime, wild sweet orange, ylang ylang co2.
Heart: honeysuckle absolute, ylang ylang extra, clary sage.
Base: vetiver, ethyl phenyl acetate, vanilla absolute.
WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: The perfume that I believe Mother Nature herself would be wearing as her signature scent.
THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE HAUTE CLAIRE: intoxicating, rapturous, wise (you can tell that Haute Claire was composed with a great deal of experience, knowledge and wisdom)
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT HAUTE CLAIRE: smellythoughts, EauMG, This Blog Really Stinks
BOTTOM LINE: This was a wonderful surprise for me. I can’t thank Mandy enough for the opportunity to experience her artistry. I am thinking at this point that a mini of Haute Claire will not suffice. Thankfully, Mandy has 30ml EdP bottles for sale too!!! Please do check her website and all the wonderful fragrances and other products at www.aftelier.com.
- Bone Rating: 5 out of 5 possible bones
- Scent: Green
- Nose: Mandy Aftel
- Classification: Unisex
- Expense: $50 as tested, 2ml perfume
March 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm
You just busted my Wish list ceiling. But I thank you.
March 24, 2013 at 6:23 pm
Wish lists were meant to be broken, just like a bank account 🙂
March 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm
Glad you understand, I will forward you the bill for the ceiling which was damaged by the power of your words. I hope you know I am joking with you ( about the ceiling, not the words), Lol. I care deeply about Vetiver and thread counts. This scent could double up as a linen spray and then all my budgets will be happy and my dreams even sweeter.
March 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm
ARGHHGHG OMG HOUNDY I’M SO EXCITED
I found out you won this through Facebook and was so thrilled you did 😀
Fabulous choices – I was hoping you’d pick this and Secret Garden as they are two I own and absolutely adore.
I honestly thought this would be too challenging for you, or too intense and sticky (the honeysuckle as you describe) – I get a strong urine vibe from the honey too – but you know me I love that shit :’) Thrilled you get on with it so well.
You describe this perfectly, it is extremely “ripe” – the ingredients are like I’ve never smelt them before. Fab write up as always Steve.
March 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm
You are right. I didn’t verbalize the smell, but it is unrinous. What does that say about us that we like it? Hmmmm?
March 24, 2013 at 6:26 pm
Seriously, I’m thrilled you enjoyed this Houndy. One thing… The miniatures are parfum concentration, and she only reworked Haute Claire into parfum this year – if you ever do go for a 30ml bottle, it’ll be interesting to see if there are any differences with the formula or if it’s all down to intensity alone. Would suck if you ordered the EDP and found it different you know.
Really looking forward to reading your thoughts on Secret Garden and Wild Roses.
March 24, 2013 at 6:51 pm
I can’t get the thought of 1200 count sheets rubbed with honeysuckle and vetiver out of mind — I’ll have to locate some Haute Claire. Thank you guiding us down the scented path, V
March 25, 2013 at 6:42 am
I’m glad I could lead you down that scented path…the luxurious ending is not to be missed. Thanks for stopping by VL!
March 25, 2013 at 9:59 am
Sounds good to me. I haven’t tried any Aftelier perfumes yet.
March 25, 2013 at 5:25 pm
This was my first venture into natural perfumery and I look forward to learning and testing more!
March 26, 2013 at 10:48 am
My first try of all natural perfumes was One Seed Company Devotion I won and then two naturals from SSS
March 25, 2013 at 10:10 am
Most satisfyingly visceral review.
Loving galbanum and vetiver and bedsheets, intense florals and earthy honey, this has The Dandy something enraptured.
Oh and the urinous quality – all the better, could that be the clary sage playing of the sweet honeysuckle? I’ve noticed that herb have the same effect before.
The Perfumed Dandy
March 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm
I think this would be the perfect natural perfume for such a dandy 🙂
March 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm
I can’t thank you enough for your marvelous review! You provide your readers with such a personal & sophisticated view into the perfume experience, it is a real treat to read!
March 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm
Thank you Mandy for the special treat of the draw. I have to tell you that I think I was falling in love with myself yesterday while wearing this as I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm! xoxox Steve
March 25, 2013 at 5:21 pm
So glad you won as well! Haute Claire is on my list of things to try, but Mandy Aftel is a perfumer and amazing cook after my own heart. Review of her Chef’s Essence Sprays forthcoming 🙂
March 25, 2013 at 5:32 pm
Awesome. I can’t wait to read about them. I have wondered what they were like as I love to cook and I’m not sure how they would be used.
March 26, 2013 at 2:37 am
It’s always a pleasure to read reviews for perfumes that an author loves. I need to order some samples from Aftelier: so far I’ve tried only one perfume – Honey Blossom – and liked it.
March 26, 2013 at 10:41 pm
This sounds wonderful! I’m thinking that anyone who likes/loves Portrait of a Lady will like this, too. I’ll have to fill up my Aftelier shopping cart again!
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March 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm
I need to try this one. You make it sound so intriguing, especially when you say musky galbanum and ylang ylang extra. I know the ylang ylang extra absolute is so wonderful. Have you ever smelled ylang ylang extra absolute before?
March 4, 2014 at 8:46 pm
Only in this and its a dream. Ylang ylang is like a siren song for me. If its listed as a note I want to check it out. What’s your favorite ylang ylang scent?