Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel's latest opus is called Sepia by Aftelier. The name comes from the tint of nostalgia that colors photographs from the 19th century. In this case, the San-Francisco-based nose has been exploring ghost towns left from the Californian Gold Rush era, which derelict architecture speaks to her sense of longing for things past remaining in their altered, decaying form. Akin to perfume, these wooden houses have become evanescent, turning into signs of a former teeming life...
In the perfumer's own words,
"Sepia is a tint, a watercolor wash, an atmosphere, a memory. Exploring California’s Gold Country ghost towns over the last years, I have consistently been struck by the desolate beauty of their ruins, and wanted to recreate the mood of these lost worlds in scent. I am drawn to the remains of their previous life much more than to what I would have seen when they were new and pristine. What remains is experienced in the whispers of what came before. Sepia is about atmosphere — the ghostly presences, the patina and beauty of what remain after something is ravaged by time: the dignity of decay. In the aromatic world, could there be anything to better communicate the elegance of decay than ambergris and oud?"
The unisex composition is said to have been tightly balanced so as to create the illusion that the perfume has been aged for decades, a little bit like the modern effect of digital sepia coloring.
Top: blood cedarwood, yellow mandarin, pink grapefruit
Middle: pink lotus, strawberry, jasmine grandiflorum, cocoa, coffee
Base: flowering tobacco, oud, indole, ambergris, cepes, labdanum
Stay tuned for a review of the perfume in eau de parfum and parfum versions.
Via press release