Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The scent of linden trees in bloom is an indication for me that spring is at its full peak. It comes at a time when one is starting to get used to the consecutive days of sun and mild warmth, to the grass turning greener every day and to the cherry blossoms wilting and disappearing. The sidewalk cafes are reopening their outdoor patios, and even the dyed in the wool New Yorkers shed their black uniforms in favor of something more colorful. And then one day you walk through the shady, green alleys and here it comes—the smell of spring at its most languorous and most temperate, the scent of linden blossoms. It is like a wave of warm honey and white jasmine petals, and its effect is simply magical. Every year I long for spring to experience this fragrance, and I am just as devoted to discovering it in perfume. Two years ago, MAC Naked Honey captured my attention for its beautiful evocation of linden, but this year I found something else to replace that lovely, but limited edition– Aftelier Honey Blossom.
Created by Mandy Aftel, Honey Blossom follows her natural perfumery philosophy. On that point I am largely agnostic, but not on the beautiful fragrances that Aftel crafts. There is beauty and sophistication about many of her compositions which have an interesting development and strong character. Some are polished interpretations reminiscent of classical French grand parfums like Lumière, others are fascinating and original like Cepes and Tuberose. Honey Blossom is perhaps among the less cerebral of the Aftelier fragrances, but like Candide, it has an irresistible charm. Wearing it makes me feel like I am stepping back into the spring days of my childhood—running home from school through the linden tree lined alleys, enjoying the feeling of wearing sandals for the first time and anticipating the long, carefree days of summer that are just around the corner.
Honey Blossom opens up on the effervescent notes of citrus and red grapes, which slowly vanish into an opulent floral accord that makes up most of the composition. The linden blossom is conveyed through the interplay of honeyed jasmine and orange blossom notes, with a splash of indoles lending it a pleasantly dark facet. Overall, it is a lush and vivid floral composition that captures beautifully the narcotic effect of sun warmed blooms. As Honey Blossom dries down, like the late spring itself, it begins to allude to summer warmth. The amber and sweet oriental notes deepen the white floral character, lending Honey Blossom an alluring richness. Like most natural fragrances, Honey Blossom stays relatively close to the skin, yet it creates such an appealing, intimate aura that I forgive it its lack of tenacity. After all, even the most beautiful of spring blooms last but just for a brief moment.
Aftelier Honey Blossom includes notes of linden blossom, mimosa, honeysuckle, orange blossom, ambergris, and benzoin. Available at Henri Bendel in New York or directly from Aftelier website.
Photo of linden blossoms from wiki commons, some rights reserved.
Sample: my own acquisition.