Aftelier Perfumes Secret Garden (2011): Featuring Real Civet & Castoreum {New Fragrance}

aftelier_secret_garden.jpgFor those who are mourning long-lost sensations such as the experience of inhaling the scents of authentic animalic substances in perfumes, there is a brave new perfume out by natural perfumer Mandy Aftel called Secret Garden by Aftelier Perfumes.

While the main aim of the composition is to be a floral scent suggestive of a "redolent and sensual wild garden," one will not fail to notice that the perfumer from Berkeley, California decided to live dangerously by including two non-grata base notes in this day and age, "a very old civet bought from a retired perfumer and castoreum tinctured from the beaver,"....

Not just big-business legislation, but Vegan sensitivities will be stroked the wrong way by this project meant to keep a link with the past of perfumery.

What one catches, among other things, in an initial discovery phase of the scent are wafts of old-school Miss Dior made with real castoreum.

Secret Garden has top notes of bergamot, rosewood, Geraniol, blood orange. The heart of the fragrance is set up like a game of illusions: jasmine sambac together with raspberry (compounded isolate) lends the feeling of spices "where there is none." Blue Lotus is used for its watery gardenia facet together with Turkish rose absolute. Base notes are real civet, castoreum, vanilla, deer tongue plant or vanilla leaf (Carphephorus Odoratissimus), benzoin, aged patchouli.

The perfume is available in a 1/4 fl oz bottle for $150, a 30 ml edp for $150, a 2 ml mini bottle for $45 and a sample size for $6 at

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Thank you so much Marie-Helene for your lovely review! You are great at recognizing the old-school elements of Secret Garden – an homage to the classics as you describe, I appreciate it very much!
    - Mandy

    Mandy Aftel
    • You're most welcome Mandy! What a thrill to feel the authenticity of the past in the present, as fresh as ever.

      Composing with a collection of rare, antique essences and tinctures is quite an adventure!

      -- Marie-Helene

      Chant Wagner

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