Aftelier Wild Roses is a rose perfume with character. It smells like the Summer of Love, with a dash of sweet incense and flower-child rosy cheeks (thanks to a dose of patchouli, I think). When I smell it I imagine walking through the Haight, the epicenter of hippy culture in San Francisco, during that trippy era, with incense wafting from the shops and a kaleidoscope of other smells—ice cream, hashish, strawberries, flowers—all mixing together in fragrant nirvana.
The fragrance was inspired by the roses grown by its creator, Mandy Aftel, in her California garden. She must grow roses as large as dinner plates because Wild Roses smells almost surreal. To smell Wild Roses is to take an olfactory journey through the tangle one imagines in Aftel’s Berkeley back yard. As Aftel notes, Wild Roses is all about a “hundred petals unfolding: balsamic, spicy, apricot, and honeyed roses, mixed with the smell of warm earth and herbs.”
At first, Wild Roses smells herbal and fruity. The apricot note blends marvelously with the rose bouquet leading you to imagine the tang of apricot against the sweetness of rose. This tart and sweet interplay is contrasted with the creamy warmth of petals making me wonder how Aftel created such a milky, velvety rose. By the middle section of Wild Roses, the rose turns into wood. The inky note of indole and earthy patchouli give the perfume a fleshy sensation–just enough to create a human edge.
It turns out that these cold days are ideal for a scent like Wild Roses, since its sultry presence feels comforting and tender in the bone chilling weather. The lasting power is quite good, with moderate to subtle sillage. It’s a cashmere wrap of a perfume.
Aftelier Wild Roses includes notes of rose, heliotrope, geranium, damask rose, apricot, pimento, tarragon, vanilla, and patchouli. Available directly from Aftelier and Henri Bendel’s.
Photography by Suzanna Mars, via flickr, all rights reserved.