One of the best parts of the independent perfumers is they aren’t making metric tons of fragrance. The opposite is true. They can take a precious ingredient of which there is only enough for a limited edition and let it out into the hands of perfume lovers. Some of my favorites are introductions to heretofore unknown ingredients or specially aged or distilled versions of more common ingredients. In the hands of a perfumer who is sharing this kind of gift you hope for the best. Mandy Aftel goes far beyond that in Aftelier Perfumes Joie de Vert.
Any regular reader knows I am an aficionado of green scents. Just the name, translated as Joy of Green led me to believe this was going to be something I was destined to enjoy. Ms. Aftel uses as the focal point of this perfume a twenty-year old artisanal batch of anise hyssop essential oil. This is a deeply licorice-like material. For those looking for a reference it is more Ricola than Twizzlers.
Licorice in perfume is at its best when it is intensely herbal. This anise hyssop oil is a softly herbal licorice that also contains a loamy forest floor green as part of its profile. From the first moments I smelled this I felt I was hiking through a deep forest. Glints of sunlight through the dense canopy come via orange. A woody herbalness vis coriander begins to form the trees. This sets the stage for a catalytic reaction as oakmoss, and fire tree oil exert themselves on the anise hyssop. The licorice-y piece never recedes but it does alter as the oakmoss adds a textural velvety greenness. The fire tree oil threads a slightly animalic facet into the green. This might be a forest but there are some things living out there. As this assembles itself there is a truly resplendent green in place.
Joie de Vert has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage. This wears quite close to the skin in a shimmery way.
If you are a fan of green ingredients in perfume this is something you must experience just to smell the anise hyssop oil. It is unlikely you will ever have another opportunity to try a 20 y.o. version again. It is the soul of natural perfumery of which Ms. Aftel has been a part of for decades now. Which brings me joy no matter what color it is in.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Aftelier Perfumes.