I love Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes. I really do. I respect her artistry and what she has done for natural perfumery. She’s basically the mother…lode who put natural perfumery on the map! This SF Bay Area natural perfumer can heavy-hit with the big niche brand boys (and girls). She has created many outstanding, magical compositions such as my favorites Cepes & Tuberose (supposedly what every aspiring perfumista/o must smell in their lifetime) and Honey Blossom (Finalist for Fragrance Foundation 2011 FiFi Award: Fragrance of the Year – Indie Brand).
But the Fig. *Heavy Sigh*. Oh, The Fig. After reading all these master blogger aspiring Chandler Burrs wax poetic dreamy imagery about how this fragrance is a stroke of genius, I was very intrigued and immediately ordered a sample. The sample arrived today and it made me wonder if I was smelling the same fragrance. Maybe they made a mistake with the order. Maybe I have an olfactory bulb malfunction. Maybe my novice nose can’t appreciate the complexities of this so-called masterpiece. Maybe Mandy was having a bad day and decided to take it out on me. Maybe, maybe, maybe. My insecurities ran rampant in my head.
I may be a neophyte in the fragrance world, but I know what I smell. This type of Fig doesn’t make me think of frolicking in a Mediterranean garden basking under the rays of a full moon on a midsummer balmy night. No just…no.
- Food spoilage. Collection of figs and grapes in various stages of decay. The figs are almost completely covered by mould, the greenish colour suggesting Penecillin.
Description: Family Scent: Gourmand. Jasmine sambac, fir absolute, and yuzu create the richness of ripe black figs. Without a true natural fig essence available, my fig contains no fig, but employs a sleight-of-hand based on a rare, almost fruity lavender from Spain, paired with the sweet and jammy fir absolute.
Notes: Grand Fir, Pink Grapefruit, Pink Pepper Absolute, Jasmine Sambac, Africa Stone, Fir Absolute.
From the vial: It smells like toilet bowl water. Not just any toilet bowl water but toilet water from a porta-potty in the seediest part of San Francisco.
Wet on Skin: Opens with strong astringent indole. It smells like cat pee. I can’t pick out any other notes, because the indole is overpowering and it is making me sick.
Dry down: As it starts to dry down after a few minutes, the indole moves down a notch. I start to get relieved and gear myself up for something pleasant then a scatol smell comes in. Very strong fecal odor and I’m assuming this acrid aroma is coming from the Jasmine Sambac, a note which I despise with a passion. I sit and wait patiently and hold back my tears because smelling this is torture. After 30 minutes, it starts to transform into beyond ripe, moldy putrefied, decrepid fig. My tears start to fall at this point, I want to scrub this off. But I still wait. Then eventually it morphs into an earthy-warm, sweet and jammy, cough-syrupy, medicinal fig thanks to the fir absolute.
Sillage: Above average.
Longevity: 6 hours and still going strong until I scrub my skin raw with a brillo pad.
Season and Occasion: Fall and Winter in an isolation chamber.
Would I Buy A Full Bottle? What do you think?
Final Verdict: Aftelier Fig paints this picture in my mind…I’m sitting under a wet decomposing fig tree next to a kitty litter box and an overused porta-pooper surrounded by fallen rotting figs in a Mediterranean garden basking in the rays of the full moon on a midsummer balmy night. IT. SMELLS. LIKE. SHIT. Literally!
For those who don’t mind the indolic scatol notes of Jasmine Sambac and the smell of fetid figs.
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