Aftelier Week: Memento

Yesterday, I laboriously established the fact that I do not consider myself "a gourmand fragrance lover". I am here to eat my words again. Mandy Aftel has broken me. I looked in the mirror this morning and hardly recognized myself.


In college, clove cigarettes were all the rage. Does anyone smoke them these days? I used to love the smell of them. Not only did they seem exotic and pretentious sophisticated, they were a little odd and being a little odd has always appealed to me. I tried to smoke them a few times, but they were cruel to my asthma in ways my Marlboro Lights weren't*. Plus, there was a sickly feeling and a headache that came along with them that I didn't experience when standing near someone else smoking them.

*I see the irony. I also am not mystified as to why my asthma
 and chronic bronchitis virtually disappeared
 when I quit smoking 7 years ago.
But what can I say? It was college.  

Every New Year's, my parents have a party that usually includes some mulled cider. I love the smell of the spices swirling around in there: cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, a slice or two of orange... Delicious!

Being drawn to Aftelier Perfume's Memento was a bit of a no-brainer for me, anti-gourmand feelings aside.
Scent Family: Gourmand 
Warm winter spices featuring smoked cinnamon and antique clove built on a base of tonka beans and vanilla. The elegant floral heart features jasmine sambac and Turkish rose.

Featured Notes:
Top: antique clove, bergamot, blood orange.
Heart: cinnamon, rose, jasmine sambac, nutmeg.
Base: choya, tonka bean, vanilla.

When first applied - and a little goes a long way, mind you - Memento is that swirling pot of cider (minus the apple). Mandy's blood orange note** -which was present in Cacao in the most stellar and more prominent way-  is really, really gorgeous. It's here, lightly, wrapped in cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.

The jasmine sambac and rose heart are lovely, but again, the florals aren't as apparent as in Cacao, which is at once a gourmand and a beautiful floral. Here, in Memento, they support the spices without taking over. They lift them up beautifully, in fact, so the spices don't become too heavy and oppressive (no sickly feeling and headache here!).

I'm not sure how, but Memento is not spicy, either. Bear with me while I explain. Sure, there's spices - clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. But it's not hot-spicy. There's no burning tingle, no peppery heat. It's not really super-foody, either. It does not remind me of bread or cake or baked goods of any kind (<--your mileage may vary). In a way that sort of defies description (at least by the likes of me), this is a lovely blend of non-spicy spices. It's a snuffle of the spice rack without the burn. Memento is rich, layered, familiar, and exotic but not hot or fiery.

The way the the spicy-but-not-hot blend and florals fade is quite beautiful, courtesy of that mellow and pretty tonka + vanilla base. This scent lasts the shortest amount of time of the Aftelier Perfumes I've reviewed this week so far - maybe 3 or 4 hours. I really don't mind - it gives me a chance to reapply and experience it all over again.

PS: I bet this would layer beautifully with Cacao... must give that a go ASAP!

Am I now a gourmand perfumer lover? Who am I? What is happening?!

How many of you are paying attention? I will be offering up a little Aftelier giveaway this weekend, courtesy of the lovely Mandy Aftel. Stay tuned...

sample provided for consideration by the perfumer
my opinions are not influenced by that, but my appetite may be. 
The photo of Memento clearly belongs to Aftelier Perfumes. Duh.


  1. Hi, I have just read read your reviews of Memento and Cacao. You make them sound utterly delectable. I have always sworn that I hate chocolate in fragrances after a bad brush with a chocolate/rose fragrance but I am now wavering!. This is helped by the fact that I have sampled a number of Mandy Aftel's fragrances and they are all so beautifully done. My favourite at the moment is Cepes et Tuberose which I have. Looking forward to the rest of your reviews.

  2. Thanks for popping by, Sandi!!! Are you an Aftelier fan?

  3. Chrisb, I am really hesitant about chocolate scents. I used to make chocolates for awhile, so the smell of chocolate is a familiar friend. But like I said here: do I want to smell like food? Even something as yummy as chocolate? Not really. But this is different... a totally different bird. The jasmine in this is the key - and it's a great combination of jasmines. Really, really lovely. I kind of love this perfume. :)

    PS: what was the chocolate-rose one that stressed you so much?! I'm dying to know...

  4. Absolutely, Mandy is such an inspiration! She also has some amazing STUFF! ;-)

  5. Sandi, I'm really impressed. Like in that swooning way! Can't wait to dip into her other products, too, even the teas (and I don't do tea, that's how wowed I am!).

  6. Thank you Jen for another fabulous review! You write with such a considered intelligence – wrapping up several interesting threads & perspectives into a very well-rounded whole. Just marvelous, I'm so delighted!
    xo Mandy

  7. The chocolate-rose scent that did not go well with me was Hilde Soliani's Ciocorosissimo. This was some time ago so all I really recall was that I had to wash it off! I should say that I do really like a number of Hilde Soliani fragrances that I have sampled, particularly Il Tuo Tulipano, which is a lovely juicy floral and Stecca, which smells of tomato leaves and tomato.

  8. My Aftelier wish list is growing by leaps and bounds this week!


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