The new fragrance from Mandy Aftel…
Wild Roses opens with a hugely complicated blast of… well, rose – a clean tea rose, a spiced jammy rose, a hit of cracked pepper – a touch of syrupy anise, a cold eucalyptus and a heavy, bitter-sweet, fruity apricot that verges on peach. It is so overwhelming and rich it almost smells boozy up top – but not with the dense, alcoholic and almost sticky quality that boozy accords tend to have.
The anise vanishes pretty quickly (but leaves a subtle fennel accord behind), the cool mentholated aspects begin to settle, but the fuzzy apricot dominates, paired with a rose unlike anything else I’ve tried – such a huge blend of textures, spices and colours that rounds out into one purely translucent floral. A herb basket rises up underneath the roses adding a bitter, culinary edge of coriander (along with the fennel) – with an extremely restrained powdery/almond quality that I assume is heliotrope? The mentholated aspect which I thought was eucalyptus evolves into a herbal geranium – a note I’ve begun to love. It adds a cool, medicinal layer underneath the warmth of the roses, but still keeping the rose flavour pungent – adding a greener quality to them.
The geranium, rose basket and herbal notes get dizzying, hints of warm, subtle clove and the heat of pepper (a note I only recognize from Piment Brulant, and in Aftelier’s own Shiso) add even more little nuances that dart in and out of focus. At times I mistake the spice for carnation, and at others, a richly indolic jasmine similar to Secret Garden – a slightly resinous floral of orange blossom also makes an appearance, but all pushed out of view by the abstract rose. The turkish rose takes over the greener geranium notes in the heart, adding a more powdery, candied aspect to the florals without it ever being sweet – but still, hints of ripe fruit plump up the petals. What at first was apricot, now seems to have morphed into a plum – adding a fleshy, golden, dried fruit quality.
A patchouli arrives and gets louder after half an hour or so on the skin, and I’m convinced the jasmine is still there. The patchouli has the slightly smoky, rich and earthy quality that I have grown to love from the late drydown of Secret Garden – it’s a head spinning note and it almost seems to have an animal quality to it. A drop of civet in the base seems to be enriching both the patchouli and the roses - or the indole used in Sepia that seems to bring to life florals with an animalic, narcotic richness is at play.
The drydown manages to keep the rose and indole intact, along with the stewed fruit quality of apricot remains and wine-y plums, the earthiness of the patchouli creating a solid base, it all gives the fragrance a “mulled” feeling – boozy again. The animal quality is tame, but it’s there – it makes Wild Roses melt in a warm, human layer – enhanced by a growing, soft woody sweetness of vanillic benzoin. At times it seems to vanish during it’s heart, but when I pull my nose back again, it is out in full force – it is such a shapeshifter of a fragrance, but with a solid personality that remains true from start to finish, it just decides to play around with you whilst you try to figure it out.
Wild Roses is beautiful. A rose perfume that without a doubt stands above the hundreds of generic rose fragrances out there that seem to do little to the actual rose notes themself, and instead just build support around the singular essence. Here, the perfumer takes a rose and gives it a hundred faces – it becomes a rose that is spicy, fruity, sheer, boozy, herbal and green all at once. The fragrance is about the roses themselves and everything they can be, and are, and I love that. It can hardly be considered a rose soliflore, a portrait of a rose, or a landscape – it is a holograph if anything. A spiced, fruity floral that replaces expected candied sweetness with bitter herbs and raw earth – it sums up what Mandy’s perfume’s are all about. Wonderful
Wild Roses 30ml EDP Aftelier – $170 www.aftelier.com