“Spoiling myself today with the stunning Vanilla Smoke perfume made by Mandy Aftel. Hands down my favorite Vanilla. EVER.”
-- Tami Holubar
For girlie girl bakers, nothing is as riveting as a new vanilla perfume, especially if it is crafted with natural ingredients from a leading artisanal perfumer. Mandy Aftel has just launched this exquisite, sophisticated vanilla based perfume called Vanilla Smoke, that is sultry with vanilla absolute from Madagascar, and also brings woody, incense-like notes along with the floral boost of mandarin and warm anchor of ambergris and more vanilla.
-- Marcy Goldman, Better Baking
The smokiest vanilla I ever fell in love with. It huffs and puffs hot tea smoke over a vanilla base that is enchanting. Brilliantly balanced by the supporting notes so both the smoke and the vanilla never stomp on or smother each other. It’s cozy and warm and is gorgeous when you sniff it on your clothes the next day. I tested both the parfum and EDP of these. I preferred the parfum just because it had that extra strength and power, but the EDP was amazing as well. The drydown has the perfect soft saffroned vanilla with just enough smoke remaining to make it interesting and not too gourmand or sweet. A must-try if you are a fan of smokey fragrances or vanilla fragrances and lose control of your wallet over smokey vanillas.
-- Patty White, Perfume Posse
It was love at first sniff. It’s really a spectacular perfume for any perfume lover. It’s not just one for those that love naturals. It’s a great perfume, like a modern oriental with smoke, amber and vanilla.
-- Victoria Jent, EauMG
Perfumer Mandy Aftel did what I've long hoped she will: a vanilla perfume, touching on gourmand but not quite. A cup of steaming lapsang souchong, a bowl filled with wedges of bright and juicy mandarin orange, a bottle of aged brandy, a plate of heavily spiced crisp cookies, a fire roaring behind the grate. This is Aftelier's Vanilla Smoke and it puts you right away in the holiday spirit. A seductive perfume that's perfect for long nights whether you wear long flannel pajamas or a silky little thing to be discovered under the covers.
-- Gaia Fishler, The Non-Blonde
It's brilliant, really, as any other vanilla-centric scent I've smelled with darker notes like this has always taken that heavy-breathing into a smothering place that isn't terribly unpleasant but certainly gets cloying in hot weather. This, Vanilla Smoke, would never! I can see wearing this in any temperature whatsoever. And so that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I had to have a bottle. And I may go back and get some of that edp, as well, because it is also beautiful. Speaking of gentlemen: YES, you can wear this. PLEASE DO. I encourage it.
-- Jen Sunderland, This Blog Really Stinks
I thought it was going to be a very dense, hefty, thick scent. No Way! Somehow Mandy has managed to lift it and gift it air, while being fully and gloriously fragrant and the opening is mildly ferocious in a VERY good way, there is a floaty sheer-ness that makes it feel free.
-- Australian Perfume Junkies
Well Mandy Aftel has done it again, the doyen of Indie Perfumery has hit us with a superb 2015 release. As you may know my all time favourite fragrance is Shalimar. Mandy has re-imagined vanilla with a focus on the smoky and dark heart of the oriental genre, and the tea drinking nomads of the steppes. Imagine if Shalimar had not been born in France but somewhere in Asia. A dry, dense and rasping vanilla that will surprise and delight you with its complexity and nuance. This should be the gift you give yourself for surviving 2015.
-- Portia Turbo, Perfume Posse
Where Vanilla Smoke’s brilliance shows is in how the vanilla and smoke balance each other so well, with neither taking a starring role. Even though either note on its own could be demanding, let alone combined, they mind their manners and stay silky instead of insistent. Keep sniffing, and you’ll appreciate how saffron lifts and cools Vanilla Smoke and gives it a subtle skin feel. The Parfum dries down to a sophisticated wood-tinged amber that sticks tight for five or six hours after the rest of the fragrance is gone.
-- Angela Sanders, Now Smell This
Real vanilla absolute has the sweet you are familiar with but it also contains much more. There is much more complexity as gentle facets of spiciness and woods make this something more easily found in a jungle than on a baker’s sheet. Ms. Aftel’s Lapsang Souchong is an extract of the tea leaves that were further smoked over pinewood. This allows for this Lapsang Souchong extract to have the heft necessary to stand up to the vanilla absolute as an equal. This ingredient captures the strong black tea and the smokiness inherent within it without ever smelling like a campfire.
-- Mark Behnke, Cologneisseur
The best perfumes transport you to other worlds, filling your mind with images or memories. Vanilla Smoke, the latest release from Mandy Aftel, did precisely that for me, recalling bygone times in a way that made me smile. Eschewing the typical refrains of caramelized or sugar-coated vanilla, her vanilla is built around the heart of a winter fire, with a good slug of Bourbon drizzled on top to really bring home the cozy comfort aspects. If you love cozy gourmands without excess sweetness, or if you’re looking for a smoky, woody twist on vanilla, then you should really give Vanilla Smoke a sniff. I think some of you will find it to be wholly addictive.
-- Kafkaesque blog
Vanilla Smoke fulfills the hopes for those of us who love vanilla fragrances for the fall and winter. The beauty of this new perfume is its nuanced balance between sweet and smoky. The vanilla absolute used in Vanilla Smoke is no way sticky sweet, but rather like an aromatic liquor that lulls you into a cushy nap. Mandy must be using quite a high quality Lapsang Souchang essence, as this perfume is very true to the tea’s aroma. Additionally, the gentle and sweet lightness of ambergris affords the perfect base for all of the other notes to play on.
-- Trish Vawter, Scent Hive
[I ordered myself a bottle, it was so good.] Hauntingly wistful and full of aromatic yearning, Vanilla Smoke opens brightly with the scintillant yellow mandarin, all light and brilliance – before its descent into the deeper, rounder notes brimming with resin and the charred no-holds-barred tarriness of Lapsang Souchong.
-- Ida Meister, Fragrantica
Forget your typical caramelized or sugar-laden vanilla gourmands, Mandy Aftel’s latest release is something completely different. This vanilla is built around the heart of a winter fire that is cleverly recreated by way of smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea. At times, Vanilla Smoke smells more like a woody fragrance that simply happens to include some lush, oak-barrel Bourbon vanilla, rather than the other way around. What I loved most of all was the quiet smokiness of the fragrance and its deeply evocative nature. Instead of smelling like tea, the Lapsang Souchong recreated one of the most authentic olfactory representations of a crackling indoor fire that I’ve encountered in a while, and it instantly conjured up happy memories of lighting that first winter fire when autumn leaves are replaced by a nippy frost in the air. A good slug of Bourbon is drizzled on top of the woods and dark vanilla to really bring home the cozy comfort aspects. It’s a beautiful scent, and one that I would gladly wear myself but Vanilla Smoke is too diffuse, sheer, and discreet for my personal tastes. Still, I thought it was one of the standouts of the year not only because of its coziness but also because it was a completely new or different take on a genre that is all too often glutted with virtually indistinguishable vanilla clones.
-- Kafkaesque blog