Wild Roses ($170) was created by the innately humble Mandy Aftelier as an ode to the quintessential variety of roses in her garden and their stimulating and provocative culmination on her senses. But, as a devotee to botanical greatness, Mandy has created something far more extraordinary; a natural perfume that soars through the senses with olfactive detail, earthy tension and, throughout, a nearly unrequited love story for the ethereal rose.
That’s the thing about art. It can be made with little to no effort at all. Or, consume the artist to no end. Once you sniff this fragrance, you’ll know which one refers to Mandy. Something of her humane curiosity for natural essences has managed to turn the mundane sweetness of the Rose into a flourish that is quite reminiscent of long lost exoticism. And, not just of the banal Sandalwood-y type, either. Despite the difficulty of re-imaging the classic floral into something a bit avant-garde, Mandy has managed to capture a part of my imagination through blending strains of unexpected essences from her horticultural extravaganza into a scent that is both assertive and refined. And, everything I love is always difficult.
Confounding any conventional expectation, the intense scent has a fascinating profile: sensuous, ripe and bursting at the bottle’s opening with charm. Delicate petals of fairy-tale Turkish Roses flow forth supplemented with accords from an attar, which are strikingly simple and memorable. What works best is how the honeyed warmth of Apricot isn’t given a short shrift here, which often happens in other perfumes. Adorned by Damascenone, the drenched creaminess offers such a beautiful prelude to an herbal diffusion of Anise and Tarragon with a touch of Patchouli. There’s a fiery heart underneath the top notes. Pimento Berry brings painterly strokes to the structure of the scent, which softens over time. Well-balanced Clove and Cardamom are what finished this saturated scent into a strikingly raw one for me. A spray of complex Indoles pulsates as the scent wears on, but veers from getting too melodic and in the way of a cheery Vanilla. With the lilt and linear precision of a Mughal artist, the meticulously composed fragrance is absolutely fantastic, making me wish Mandy would consider creating a body oil to complement the fragrance. Oh, I know this harmonizing would go on for hours on end. A ridiculous excess of Roses? Not with me, ever.
There’s a seductive yet restrained draw with Wild Roses when the spicy counterpoints reveal themselves. Mysticism aside, the full-of-soul scent becomes inextricably one with skin as if only Mandy’s roses were meant to lie atop. Playful, sensual, even devoutly tender, the scent is a thorough, serious, very elegant ode to the jewel-like richness of a myriad of roses and evokes far more than mere sentiment. The fragrance reminds of the rose’s graceful soothe on the spirit and soul.