Aftelier Week: Parfum de Maroc (a perfume review)

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Another day, another pretty perfume from Mandy Aftel. I am surprised I picked this many spicy food-like scents to sample. I can't get over it. Happy accidents happen, though, and I'm pretty excited with my choices.

Parfum de Maroc

Parfum de Maroc is another spice-dominated blend, but not really similar to the last scent I reviewed, Memento. That was a beautiful blend of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and rose that reminded me of an apple-less mulled cider. While Parfum de Maroc has some of the same notes found in Memento, like rose and nutmeg, it takes spices on a different route*.

*Do you see what I did there? Spice.... route.... Get it? Aw, nevermind...

Scent Family: Spicy Floral

Inspired by an ancient Moroccan spice recipe Ras el Hanout or "top of the shop" - a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer. Traditionally having many dozens of spices, I took creative liberty to include the ones that would blend beautifully in a perfume. My recipe is based on Turkish rose, a smoothing element that takes some of the edge off the spices, like galangal, nutmeg absolute, and black pepper; it massages them into a rounded softness, finished off with the freshness of bitter orange. Built on a base of myrrh and cardamom, I layered the spices vertically throughout the perfume.

Featured Notes
Top: saffron, galangal.
Heart: Turkish rose, nutmeg.

Base: cardamom, myrrh.

When reviewing Memento, I tried to express how beautifully blended and non-spicy the spices were.  I don't find Parfum de Maroc to have a burn or fire, but there's a pepperiness that set it apart from Memento. It's warm, though, not hot. Comforting. It's more sultry than fiery.

Mandy's inspiration was Ras el Hanout, a complex blend of spices from Morocco. Like a master olfactory chef, she settled the spices on a bed of Turkish rose. As seen above, she says the rose "massages [the spices] into a rounded softness". I couldn't have said it better. Round. Lots of curves and undulating arcs.

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I don't get a ton of development from this. That is to say, it doesn't shift from one thing to another between the time I spray it on and when it finally fades away. Like the picture above, the scent holds steady, the theme repeating throughout the scent, top to bottom. Spicy, soft, sultry; spicy, soft, sultry; spicy, soft, sultry...


There's a slightly resinous side to this scent, but it's subtle. It takes the rose and spices to a place that's truly unisex. Anyone can (and should!) wear Parfum de Maroc. But I warn you: once the spices get the blood flowing a bit and the rose takes hold, the sensuality of this perfume really begins to take hold... It whispers. It gently shifts, moving slowly... seducing...

Parfum de Maroc calls you closer by staying close to the skin. It curls softly, like a fallen tendril of hair that just begs to be tucked behind the ear. It beckons in the most subtle murmur, encouraging others to lean a little closer to get a deeper sniff.

I really like Parfum de Maroc. It's beautiful. It's going on my next date night with me. I may not do the dance of the seven veils or belly dance or sit on luxurious floor pillows and eat on low tables, but the warm and languid feeling and that spicy, sultry seduction will do very nicely.

If it brings the right kind of fire, I bet hubby will be calling up Mandy and ordering a bottle! ;)

Side note: Maybe I have a Moroccan thang? I consider Morocco, a smooth and creamy spicy rose by Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, to be one of my Top 5 of all time. I also adore L'Air du Desert Morocain by Andy Tauer, which is a very dry, spicy wind (it's probably a Top 5er, too). Now I find this lovely Moroccan-inspired scent by Mandy Aftel. Maybe I really need a trip to Morocco? I think there's room in my stocking for a plane ticket. Oh, Saaaannnnntaaaa....!

perfume sample provided for consideration

my opinions are my own


  1. I'll have to give this one a try. I do like Andy Tauer's l'Air du Desert Marocain but I like even more his earlier one: Le Maroc pour Elle. Do you know that one? I don't understand why it gets very little love from fume bloggers. And thanks for the tip re BPAL Morocco--it's going on my list with the Aftel.

  2. Beautiful review! You've made me want to try this and I'm not usually into naturals.

  3. I love your reviews Jen - reading each one is like going on a mini-adventure! Thank you so much for your wonderful tale about Parfum de Maroc. I’m amazed and honored to have such a magnificent slice of your attention this week!
    xo Mandy

  4. Great review! Aren't Mandy's perfumes amazing? Each one tells its own story, I think. Love the photos you've chosen to illustrate your post. I have a thing for Morocco too! Love the architecture, the smells, the history, etc....

  5. I have yet to sample any of Mandy's creations - thanks for taking me along for the adventure!

  6. Spices in perfumes aren't "my thing" (yet?) but your review still makes it sound very appealing :)

    ~ Undina ~

  7. You should try belly dance! It's really really fun.


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