Good poetry starts with the emotions and vision of the poet, expressed with carefully chosen and arranged words but then takes a new identity and comes alive in the heart and mind of the reader. The poem reaches the reader on his or her own turf, stirring memories and experiences, and if it fits, the words become part of you; you make it your own, even if the poet would never recognize the new form the original creation has taken in your mind.
When Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes created her new EDP, Haute Claire ("High and Bright") she conceived it as
"...both crisp and soft, cool and warm. The fresh edgy greenness of galbanum is offset by the creamy floral of ylang ylang edged with honeysuckle. The green and floral notes harmonize in perfect pitch, with neither dominating the other. A warm base of vetiver and vanilla provides a soft finish of sweet grass."
Just before applying Haute Claire I smell the pretty green floral in the air around me, I see Mandy's vision and it registers as an early summer morning. Then it goes on my skin and becomes mine. All mine.
Haute Claire smells warm and delicious of melted cocoa butter, as also observed by my nearest and dearest. The Blond pronounced it a wonderful gourmand. He can't detect even a hint of flower. I do get some green, but not in any way I would have expected. In other perfumes some green notes cut you like a sharp blade of grass. Others invite you to enjoy the shelter of their cool shade on a hot day. Mandy Aftel's green in Haute Claire allows you to roll on green silk sheets and feel it on every inch of your body.
The chocolate aroma is not supposed to be part of Haute Claire; I confirmed it with Mandy. But it's there, consistently mouth-watering without ever becoming a gluttony low-brow creature. Aftelier perfumes can be shockingly sensual, and this new one is no different. I wear it and noses, mine and others, are eager to get closer and never leave. Haute Claire is only mildly sweet and not what I would consider comforting- it keeps me on my toes in the best possible way.
Notes from Aftelier.com-
Top: galbanum, Mexican lime, wild sweet orange, ylang ylang co2.
Heart: honeysuckle absolute, ylang ylang extra, clary sage.
Base: vetiver, ethyl phenyl acetate, vanilla absolute.
Now for the giveaway: Mandy Aftel will send a 5ml sample of Haute Claire to one lucky reader. To enter the draw, please leave a comment and tell us: Have you ever experienced a "phantom note" in perfume? A note that is absolutely not there but you still smell it clearly. The winner will be chosen randomly from those who leave comments on this post.
Haute Claire by Aftelier Perfumes (30 ml EDP $150 and 1 ml spray sample $6) is available from aftelier.com. The press sample for this review was sent by the perfumer, and yes, I already ordered a bottle as I'm not willing to be without this gorgeous perfume.
Art: La Jardin de Ma Mere by Kirsty Mitchell (on flickr).