My scent today is a sexy beast. Secret Garden, by Mandy Aftel, is a magical wonder of a perfume. It's got, among other divine creatures, rose and jasmine paired with civet and castoreum. So think flowers and vintage meet modern and natural in a sensual wave of bliss. The floral aspects are insanely gorgeous. It's really a beautiful scent. It's simply breathtaking.
-- Jen Sunderland
This perfume is a fitting tribute to resurgent life, as I cannot imagine anything more lush and inviting. The florals blend in a superbly balanced way so that no one note is predominant, and the result is heady and almost narcotic. The drydown lingers for many beautiful hours thanks to the complex base materials
-- Perfume Smellin’ Things
The moment I smelled this I thought ‘this is what perfume should smell like’. It is mysterious and seductive, yet strangely comforting and smelling it makes me feel like I’ve found something precious at the bottom of a dusty wooden treasure chest.
-- Pieces of Paper, Squiggly Lines
The floral notes take more than a supporting role in this typically floriental composition, a classic aimed at everyone who loves perfume, boosting the generosity of the heart; hesperidic and seemingly spicy up top, vibrating with passion on the underside. The underlying sweetness is akin to opening up yourself to the wonder that is life.
-- Perfume Shrine
Sumptuous flowers with a horde of animalic base notes including castoreum and civet create a languorous, heady bouquet.
The first burst of Secret Garden is both floral and warm. It's sunshine and anticipation. The floral heart is big, full and generous. It's rose and jasmine in such a seamless blend that it forms its own color, something new and unique. Secret Garden comes fully alive on warm skin, the way a real perfume is supposed to do, feel and smell. It smells magical, feminine (my perception. I'm sure men can wear and enjoy it), like something one would wear to perform an ancient ritual on a full moon night.
-- The Non-Blonde
Using nature and the transmuting power of alchemy, Mandy is able to transform matter and make poetry. This is not an everyday fragrance: with flowers secrets, mystical harmonies, and elegance, it is hard to be disappointed.
-- Fragrance Scout
Secret Garden is a lush, jammy floral buzzing with jasmine and finished with sweet, fusty animalic notes. I know calling something "seamlessly blended" is a cliché, but the fragrance truly is whipped into one silky fabric.
-- Now Smell This
Secret Garden is blended magnificently. Seamlessly. Aftel has mastered the perfumer’s art of creating a sort of “tag team” development, in which it is never certain where the characteristics of one accord meld into the hints of the next.
-- Perfume Pharmer
Secret Garden opens with an almost banana-like indolic haze on my skin, and then the flowers bloom together; the rich jasmine, rose and lotus. This secret garden is somewhere warm and dark, discovered on a midnight escapade. Secret Garden lives and breathes in its seductive heart notes.
-- London Makeup Girl
Secret Garden is flower, fruit, and flesh all at once: the initial application is bright, unfolding, and full of promise but as the fragrance develops it becomes feverish, deeper, and lustier. I am kissed by happy hints of bergamot and blood orange, caressed by an indolic jasmine and a blooming rose, and ravaged by (real!) civet and castoreum. It reminds me of perfumes from another era; Secret Garden could be a long-forgotten vintage and I’d believe it. Still, this is probably the easiest Aftelier fragrance to wear - and I do think it is Mandy’s best. She managed to create a perfume that is both accessible yet outerworldly… Secret Garden: it is the kiss that rose from the earth to awaken passions within us all.
-- Beauty, Bacon, Bunnies
Any fella who adores himself in a haze of white florals needs to experience Secret Garden. And anyone bedeviled by jasmine's tendency towards ice-pick sharpness should lick their white floral-phobia with this warm, complex and deep perfume.
-- Katie Puckrik Smells
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. 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 are none.’
-- The Scented Salamander
Secret Garden is my favorite Aftelier so far (I purchased a bottle of both the parfum and EDP formulations almost immediately after receiving the samples in the mail). Despite its physicality (honeyed musks, luscious fruits, humid florals), it is emotionally abstract and elusive, like a glinting surface that hints at mysterious depths and slippery fervors. A sense of liberation and wondrously revived purpose at the core of Secret Garden make it so irresistibly luminous.
-- Perfume Pharmer
Secret Garden is Mandy’s most accessible perfume. That does not mean that it is simpler or in any way less than her other creations, but it is easy to like, quick to find a way to your heart, without compromising on depth or complexity at all. A floral with fruity accents, Secret Garden lives and thrums underneath the lovely surface though. The animalic base is there, from first trill of sunny bergamot, to the heartbreakingly beautiful song of indolic jasmine in the heart. A purring, a warmth, a quality of something alive and breathing, warm and tactile, soft and yielding.
-- Olfactoria’s Travels
A green, fruity, woody, startling shock of beauty and bergamot and a satin touch of orange… an electric heartbeat of otherworldly animal… an unapologetic, decadent, thick, vanilla-tinged, superheated sable pelt of a perfume.
-- The Alembicated Genie
Secret Garden - to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of distilled nature as it is encapsulated here is strengthening to the body and soul.
Mandy Aftel’s Secret Garden is a scent that has a lot of energy. It’s sweet, and spicy and animalic. It’s naughty and at the same time, guy-next-doorish. It can be worn at any point of the day. But when I heard the scent’s name, Quincy Jones’ song “Secret Garden” came to mind and immediately made it a night scent for me. It’s a charming version of the slow jam mixtapes we used to make… The magic, however, happens as the scent opens and transforms to reveal its animalic base. Think of it like this, by the time this scent blossoms, its base will give your natural scent a nice lift. As the song Secret Garden says, 'Here in the garden where temptation feels so right passion can make you fall for what you feel…' If scent communicates for us in ways words can’t, I’ll choose Mandy Aftel’s Secret Garden to push that temptation for me and you should too.
-- Fragrant Moments