Aftelier Week: Amber (a perfume review)

Sorry for skipping yesterday in Aftelier week, but I was pretty pooped after a long work day on Thursday followed by a busy day full of kindergarten holiday festivities! The two-day migraine didn't help, but you know what did? Generous doses of today's scent, Amber...


I feel the need to preface this review with a disclaimer: I, Jen, am an unadulterated amber 'ho. I loves me some amber. Spicy amber, soft amber, sexy amber, resinous amber... I love it all.

I have also discovered something: Sometimes the more I like a scent, the harder it is to write about it. A perfume like Cacao, which I admit to falling hard for, would be the exception because it contained an unexpected-to-me combination (bitter cocoa and an expansive jasmine) and because it's different from what I gravitate to. But for some reason I clutch a bit when reviewing an amber or an oriental perfume because those are my favorite types of scents  - my "happy place" in perfumery.

I'm not going to go into a lengthy discussion of "amber" as used in perfumery. I find this article from Sorcery of Scent to be a great resource, as is this one from Perfume Shrine. Those interested in exploring amber perfumes further may be interested in sampling sets provided by The Perfumed Court: 6 unisex niche samples; 8 "men's" amber samples; 20 warm, seductive, cuddly amber samples. 
Some of my personal favorites: Ambre Fetiche  - saffron-colored silk (Annick Goutal)(my review here); Anne Pliska - classic feminine beauty; Amber Sultan - amber with an herbal bite (Serge Lutens); Ambre Narguile - foody apple-pie amber (Hermes Hermessence). And from the ambergris-amber category: Eau des Merveilles - salty skin and a little bit beachy (Hermes), Elixir des Merveilles - chocolate-orange being eaten on the beach (Hermes); Parfum des Merveilles -a more dense and rich version of Eau des... plus a little more (Hermes); Bal a Versailles - dead-on sexy with civet and other skanks (Jean Desprez). 
The Amber Room (fascinating! read more here)

Yeah, that's right:
Amber is green, not "amber".
Whatcha gonna do about it? ;)
Scent Family: Amber Oriental
An ambery lavender spray with hints of pink pepper and bergamot, in a base of organic grape alcohol. The warmth of the fruity sweet grape alcohol and rich lavender absolute marries beautifully with the amber base. This fragrance is less complicated; easy to like for both men & women. -- "It is a truly unforgettable scent. You will wear and he will wear it; it will amaze you both." Beauty News.

Featured Notes
Top: mandarin.
Heart: lavender absolute.
Base: labdanum.

Uh-oh. Amber is classified as an "amber oriental". Double-whammy anti-review mojo in effect! I'll try to step it up.

Although I love the "featured notes" list that Mandy Aftel provides in her scent descriptions, I find this one to be slightly misleading. No, of course she's telling the truth, but by reading the list I would have expected a soft, cuddly, soft breath of a scent and that's not exactly what Amber is...

Do I love labdanum because of the goats?
source: Doc Elly

Amber by Aftelier Perfumes is a bit peppery but still smooth. I described Ambre Fetiche as being like silk. If that's true, then Mandy's Amber is a raw silk - soft, classic, but a little more rough.

Labdanum is often cuddly and slightly sweet. When wearing some labdanum scents, I sometimes think I hear kittens purring. With Amber, though, they aren't kittens: they're lions.* Amber is just a little more dangerous than a kitten. The pepper gives it spice and a little bit of a deeper warmth than some other ambers.

*I know lions don't really purr, 
but just please go with it for now...

I cannot pick out the distinct notes in Amber. The lavender is not overt. It's not herbaceous nor medicinal and easy to pick-out. I do not register a lot of citrus, though mandarin and bergamot are listed.

Amber was my immediate favorite of the samples I got to try from Aftelier Perfumes. Cacao has vied for that top spot (it's the amazing juxtaposition between the cocoa and jasmine - I can't help it!), but Amber is holding strong. What can I say? I'm an amber 'ho, and Mandy's is one of the best I've smelled.


  1. Jen, Great job. Totally love the bottle.

  2. Thank you so much Jen! I love getting my Amber reviewed by such a connoisseur, and am so gratified that you find mine among the best! Your pictures always round out your sensual stories so nicely.
    xo Mandy

  3. I agree about the lavender being subtle in Amber, but it really sings on top of my home-made lavender hand lotion. I just wish Mandy offered a mini size for the sprays. I've been hoarding my sample until I can afford a full bottle.

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