Aftelier Wild Roses : Perfume Review


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.

wild roses

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.

Sample: Aftelier



  • theperfumeddandy: How we all need a ‘cashmere wrap of a perfume’ in this decidedly awful weather.
    The Dandy has been looking for a warming slightly narcotic rose for a while something without the intense opening of the divine Dior Ispahan and less medicinal than the antique Hammam Bouquet.
    This sounds nothing like either of those, but in my imaginings may fill the gap between the two and Nuit de Noel that undoubtedly exists in my winter rose wardrobe.
    Thank you for a beautiful review.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy March 26, 2013 at 7:43am Reply

    • Suzanna: I think Wild Roses would be a perfect complementary fragrance to Nuit de Noel. Please let us know what you think if you decide to try it! March 26, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

  • solanace: I love your rose reviews, Suzanna!
    Must explore Aftelier, everything about Mandy Aftel sounds amazing to me. March 26, 2013 at 9:40am Reply

    • Suzanna: Mandy Aftel is amazingly creative and always takes one on an olfactory journey. There is much to explore in her work, and that exploration reminds me of exploring an art museum. March 26, 2013 at 10:50am Reply

  • Lainie: I absolutely love Wild Roses. Aftelier scents are astonishingly evocative. A beautiful review! March 26, 2013 at 11:02am Reply

    • Suzanna: Glad to hear that you love it, Lainie! It really is quite a novel interpretation of rose, and worth trying. March 26, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

  • shaney: This sounds amazing! Thank you for the review…I can’t wait to sample it! March 26, 2013 at 11:39am Reply

    • Suzanna: Do let us know what you think! March 26, 2013 at 11:47am Reply

  • Annikky: Afteliers have been a mixed bag for me and I didn’t initially like Wild Roses. I was expecting a rose growing in the wild, an overgrown, mossy and earthy rose. Instead, I got… apricot jam.  Now that I know to expect apricot jam, it smells rather nice. Or maybe I just want to agree with Suzanna 🙂

    What I really want to try, though, is the Ancient Resins body oil. I am seriously considering making it my first unsniffed bottle ever. The reasonable price makes it especially tempting. March 26, 2013 at 1:12pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I think the thing to do, with any new fragrant experience, is to separate any association with the name. I reviewed another rose scent some time ago that included the word “Intense” in the name–it was anything but.

      That body oil is calling out to me, too. March 26, 2013 at 1:37pm Reply

    • Annie O: It is exquisite!
      Unlike anything else, yet a well known friend. June 29, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Jillie: Mandy Aftel’s creations sound rather lovely. I haven’t smelt any yet, but am planning to order some samples – I particularly fancy Leonard Cohen’s hair oil! And I would like some of her food essences too….. March 26, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Jillie, let us know what you try! There’s so much to investigate. March 26, 2013 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Daisy: That sounds absolutely fantastic. I have loved everything of hers that I have smelled so far and look forward to this one. March 26, 2013 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Glad to know you love Mandy’s work as much as I do, Daisy! March 26, 2013 at 10:01pm Reply

  • wefadetogray: This sounds amazing yet I am not a rose perfume lover. My husband gifted me Amouage Lyric Woman because he read it was a different kind of rose but I did not like it (I know I sound demented). I love roses (I cook with roses and have many rose body oils) but not in perfume. I am looking for a rose scent to love. Maybe this is the one.
    Thanks for the lovely review March 26, 2013 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Suzanna: I love Lyric, but it is in a style I adore. You might like Wild Roses because it isn’t, per se, a “rose” scent. March 26, 2013 at 10:00pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: This sounds delicious! A good rose scent is harder to find than one might think- too many of them are cluttrered with orther flowers, like violets. Mandy Aftel is a very talented perfumer, so I am sure she has created a scent that conveys all the lushness, femininity and romance of one of my favorite flowers. March 26, 2013 at 5:47pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Lynn, I agree about how hard a rose scent is to find. I don’t particularly care for the rose/violet combo, so this one intrigued me with its facets of apricot and feral earthiness. March 26, 2013 at 9:58pm Reply

  • Daniel: It sounds as if Wild Roses is more feminine than masculine, but Suzanne, what do you think? March 26, 2013 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Because I like rose on a man, I’d say it is unisex. Keep in mind it doesn’t present as overly rosy and that there is a lot more going on there than just outright floral. March 27, 2013 at 7:13am Reply

  • Susan: Thanks for the great review Suzanna. I love Wild Roses, and also use the Rose Body Oil, which is silky and gorgeous. The two are lovely when worn together, quickly becoming quite subtle. A perfume that touches the imagination. Superb quality. March 27, 2013 at 6:47pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Wow–sounds fantastic. Swoon! And very superb quality. March 27, 2013 at 11:05pm Reply

  • Mandy Aftel: I appreciate your marvelous review so much Suzanna, and I love the hippie culture reference – it’s a big part of my history! Big thanks to you & Victoria.
    xo Mandy March 29, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Suzanna: Mandy, your California roots are all over this perfume in a lovely way. How wonderful that your history summed this up in thie perfume. March 30, 2013 at 2:02am Reply

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