Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Aftelier Perfumes Cuir de Gardenia Perfume Review & Pictures

Press Samples (Unaffiliated Links)

Aftelier Perfumes is an extraordinary atelier perfumer, and everything created by Mandy Aftel is magical. Her deftly created masterpieces often feature unexpected combinations, and surprising juxtapositions of scents that are so wondrous and sublime that love quickly gives way to unmitigated obsession. Her scents are utterly captivating, and these creations are at once evocative and penetratingly visceral. When one slowly and deeply inhales her perfumes and elixirs one is quickly enveloped and enraptured by their complexity. Each of the individual elements slowly unfurls as they undergo metamorphosis against warm skin. The inevitable result, with Mandy's creations, is a perfectly balanced intoxicating scent that is far more than the sum of its parts. As any fan of Aftelier Perfumes will surely attest, everything that Mandy creates has an ethereal quality that inspires profound wonderment. Her creations are so masterfully articulated that they are truly works of art.
Aftelier Cuir de Gardenia features the beautiful, and albeit unexpected, combination of the most intoxicating exotic gardenia accentuated by the warmth, depth and richness of leather. There is an undeniable sensual earthiness that is offset by the rich floral, and the intersection of these commingled scents is otherworldly. The leather modifies and softens the edges of the gardenia, and the gardenia itself is modified by the presence of the jasmine grandiflorum absolute. This combination is inexplicably rich, warm and complex. At times, one detects the emergence of what can only be likened to a rich and creamy ylang-ylang that immediately soothes the senses and quiets the mind. This is no ordinary or predictable gardenia, but instead a very sensual and rich permutation brought to life by Mandy's visionary approach to perfume-making. This is at once an intensely elegant, uncompromisingly decadent fragrance, and it is unequivocally the most strikingly sexy scent imagined. Cuir de Gardenia is one of those rare scents that I could wear everyday for the rest of my life and never tire of. Cuir de Gardenia is a true artistic masterpiece, and most assuredly the most decadent and sensual gardenia conceived.
According to Aftelier Perfumes,

Cuir de Gardenia retains the unique beauty of the tiare flower, not allowing it to morph into the hundreds of petals of a floral bouquet. I had been incredibly fortunate to find an artisanal grower and distiller of the ultra-rare, costly, precious gardenia. In Cuir de Gardenia, I wanted to retain the pure loveliness of the creamy sweet and singular gardenia fragrance, and knew that the rounded warmth of an oil-based perfume (solid and extrait) would be the perfect format.

Cuir de Gardenia is unusual in that it has no top notes; I created it in such a way that the gardenia appears immediately, unimpeded from the opening of the perfume onward, merging seamlessly with the leather. The natural isolates ethyl phenyl acetate (reminiscent of a bunch of sweet peas) and the candy-like maltol contribute sweet and floral notes to the animalic base of the perfume.

Scent Family: Floral
Featured Notes:
Middle: tiare (gardenia) absolute, jasmine grandiflorum absolute, benzyl acetate.
Base: castoreum, ethyl phenyl acetate, maltol.
Not surprisingly, Cuir de Gardenia has already achieved cult-status, and was repeatedly named the Best  Perfume of 2013 by the following:
Now Smell This
Perfume Shrine
Olfactoria's Travels
Perfume Posse
The Non-Blonde
Eyeliner on a Cat
Smelly Thoughts
The Fragrant Man
The Good Smellas
The Alembicated Genie
Donna Hathaway
Liquid 0.25 ml $6.00
2 ml. $55.00
Available from Aftelier Perfumes 
Solid 0.25 ml $6.00
1/4 oz. $240.00
Available from Aftelier Perfumes
According to Aftelier Perfumes, 

Our compact, designed by Mandy Aftel, is handmade from one ounce of sterling silver and is presented in your choice of an orange or purple silk pouch.

Overall assessment: I would venture to say that Cuir de Gardenia is not only the Best of 2013, but that it is likewise the Best of 2014. If I had to choose but one scent to wear from here until the end of time, it would be the infinitely mesmerizing Cuir de Gardenia. Cuir de Gardenia is a hauntingly beautiful and bewitching scent, and if you buy one perfume this year--it should be this one! It is truly sublime. I need to buy Cuir de Gardenia in the full sizes of both the liquid and solid because they layer together so seamlessly and beautifully.

Press Sample. All views expressed are categorically my own. Stock images and W Magazine review courtesy of Aftelier Perfumes. (Unaffiliated Links).

Copyright © 2014 www.lolassecretbeautyblog.com All Rights Reserved.


  1. What a fantastic review Helen, I’m overjoyed with your brilliant, vivid writing and gorgeous photos -- truly a treasure for me to read, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
    xo Mandy

    1. My beloved Mandy-- I am so thrilled that you are overjoyed by my review and pictures. Cuir de Gardenia is by far my very favorite perfume of all time. There is something so special about this fragrance that exceeds anything that I have ever worn. It truly is a remarkable achievement and an absolute masterpiece! Only you could have created such a scent! xoxox, Helen

  2. I need this so much you cannot believe it. I am dying to smell this but somehow, amid the madness of my life and my ever growing perfume collection, I haven't done it yet! I am so happy to hear your thoughts on it though. Now, more than ever, I feel urged. Oh my pocket full of samples. The list of wants grows skywards every day.
    how is everything going my darling Helen, mother of cats?

    1. Hi wefadetogray!! Any word yet???

      Cuir de Gardenia is unbelievable-- Mandy really outdid herself. Her genius really shines through in this unforgettable scent. With your cultivated nose, and your penchant for luxury fragrances-- you will lose your mind when you try this. I will finish up my samples soon, and when I do I will be buying more! I'm completely obsessed with it. I slathered it on before going to work yesterday, and found myself smelling my wrist repeatedly! It's truly sublime!

      Everything is going well. I'm teaching my students about Semiotics this week-- so my brain is tired from trying to make it approachable for them! xoxox

  3. no my darling, no word yet! But I wrote, out of despair, to the chair person and she informed me the emails will be sent this week. Can I just write to your email directly once I hear the good or the bad news?
    I won't be able to buy it until my return so it will take a while for me to enjoy this beauty. Ahhhhh semiotics. I hope your kids enjoy theory. I know I did so much when I was in college. They are lucky to have you!

    1. Good, I'm glad that you wrote to them-- I will await your email :-) Yes, at some point you will definitely need Cuir de Gardenia in your life-- it really is that special! Some of my kids enjoy theory, but there are others who clearly see little point in it! I think that Semiotics--especially when introduced through Barthes-- is a little more approachable for them. Have you found that to be the case as well? xoxox


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