Mandy Aftel, Amber Tapestry

Originally published in 22 December, 2016

Amber Tapestry, Mandy Aftel (2016)

For many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the “bleak mid-winter” can be exactly that, cold and dreary and a never-ending search for warmth and light. Fortunate are we that natural perfumer extraordinaire Mandy Aftel has gifted us with a stunning new perfume “Amber Tapestry” to help chase the winter blues away!

I’ve been wearing this beauty for three days in a row now, it is the epitome of a golden glowing warmth that surrounds you like a cashmere shawl, or your favorite soft-as-silk jammies. Exactly what is needed to help keep the cold at arm’s length. And if that arm happens to be sprayed with Aftel’s “Amber Tapestry”, then lucky you! Your world will burst into a vivid technicolor dream of golden light that will warm you to your very bones.

As per Mandy Aftel the Featured Notes in organic alcohol are:
Top: heliotropin, yellow mandarin.
Heart: jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac, pear, cinnamon.
Base: ambreine, labdanum, maltol, benzoin, castoreum, ambergris, coumarin.

Amber Tapestry opens on my skin with a glorious blast of powdery heliotrope offset by a juicy mandarin citrus, that feels almost as if a lilac-colored bouquet has been blessed with a scattering of drops of fresh tangerine juice, at once tart and sweet, and absolutely captivating.

The top doesn’t stick around for long, but recedes to the back allowing the floral fruity heart come forward and engage your senses in a perfect pas de deux of slightly indolic jasmine mixed with ripe pear juice and a spicy, bitter hit of cinnamon.
And although Amber Tapestry has a definite vintage vibe a la Arpege, this perfume is not a shrinking violet in any way, shape, or form. For underneath all the floral, citric, and spicy beauty is the mix of amber, castoreum, and and labdanum, adding a soft leather note, but one with animalic claws that have been manicured and polished perfectly, creating a soft and VERY sexy growl instead of a lion’s roar.

In essence, the iron fist in a velvet glove, soft, sensual and cozy, but with teeth.

What came to mind for me was a moment in ancient history, most likely pure fantasy regarding the Egyptian Pharaoh Cleopatra, one of the most important perfumistas in history.
Stick with me here…..

Born in 69 BCE, Cleopatra VII Philopator was the last Pharaoh of the Ptolemaic era before Egypt became an adjunct of the Roman Empire under the rule of first Julius Caesar, and later by Mark Antony.

Cleopatra was a woman born out of her time, a time when women had few rights and privileges, and she had to fight for her very existence and royal inheritance using cunning, guile, intelligence, and of course seduction, at that time a necessary evil.

The legend is this; in order to gain an audience with the great Caesar after his conquering of Egypt, Cleopatra had herself rolled up in a tapestry or rug, which upon presentation to Caesar was unrolled at his feet, revealing the 18 year old Cleopatra in all her bejeweled, oiled and perfumed beauty.

The stunt had the intended effect and Cleopatra had Caesar wrapped around her little scented finger by the very next day, first as a lover and ultimately as Consort allowing her to keep control and rule of the Egyptian lands.

Now imagine Cleopatra being scented with floral spicy oils and resinous unguents, the finest available. Then imagine her wrapped up in a rug or tapestry in the blazing Egyptian heat and carried that way through her palace, her body sweat permeating the very heart of the fabric, and mixing with the aromas of the precious oils to create a scent that literally must have brought Caesar to his knees. He never stood a chance. The wool of the rug mixed with sweat, flowers, sex and incense would’ve been a very pungent brew.

This is what Amber Tapestry perfume brought to me, a perfect mix of historical and contemporary, a sexy, ambery, golden jewel of a scent that serves to remind me that not only is there some truth to the adage “everything old is new again” (in this case by a few millennia..) but also that the beauty of natural perfumers is the ability to re-invent and re-interpret these gorgeous concoctions that makes them viable, relevant, and absolutely on point for contemporary perfume lovers. Bravo, Mandy!

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