Aftelier’s Lumiere, Tango, and Antique Patchouli

There’s nothing quite like the majestic beauty of the Oregon Coast. The rugged terrain of the evergreen forest meeting the water’s edge. New spits being created almost overnight. A continual reminder of nature’s enduring force.

I hadn’t been to the coast in a while, and took a quick trip with my family this weekend. When I first stepped out of the car and breathed my first breath of the evening’s coastal air, I was taken aback by the rich coolness of my inhalation. The redolence of the driftwood, the salt-kissed flowers, the bitterness of old seashells and the sweet anticipation of ordering ice cream had me reeling.


Now that I am home from our quick jaunt, I have Mandy Aftel’s Lumiere on my skin. It smells like a beachy scent…an Oregon beachy scent. Blue lotus is one of the floral notes in the fragrance, and its East Asian origin could lean towards tropical imagery if it were paired with a white floral. But instead, boronia was chosen which lends to Lumiere a rustic tea-soaked fruit scent more in line with the Northwest Coast. Green tea absolute is also in the blend which of course enhances the tannic quality of boronia and augments the overall richness of the fragrance. Frankincense, which is present from the beginning and then fades upon the drydown, bestows elegance upon Lumiere and interestingly given the name, a darkness as well. Melancholic darkness that one frequently experiences at the Oregon Coast. Yet, morning clouds often give way to the bright luminescence of an afternoon sun. Just as Lumiere’s frankincense burns off to allow the floral fruits of boronia to shine a little brighter.

Tango, another Many Aftel creation, has an oceanic essence within its blend, roasted seashells. I’ve never had the opportunity to smell roasted seashells on their own, but I’d like to. In Tango, this essence creates a sexy, smoky aura that would most certainly be requisite for a fragrance bearing such a name. Champaca, along with delicious spices heighten the sensuality of the experience. Lest you think this fragrance is all about romantic desire, there is tension created with an intense inky note. Bitterness is present within the passion… a strong tango should convey such contrast. Tango the fragrance, unlike the dance, is allowed to evolve over many hours. The bitterness wanes, the smokiness fades, and Tango ends on a bed of honeyed sweetness and floral delicacy.

Antique Patchouli is one of Aftelier Perfume’s essential oil offerings. It hails from France and according to the Aftelier website, it has been aged for a few years and is the only patchouli oil Mandy Aftel will use in her blends. While I do not fall into the devoted patchouli-lover camp (although I do adore many fragrances that have patchouli in them) it’s not difficult to discern why Antique Patchouli has become the One Patchouli at Aftelier Perfumes. It possesses a highly unique minty quality that I have not yet experienced from patchouli, and its earthiness is so genuine I feel like I am hiking through an old growth rainforest after a storm when I smell it on my skin. It’s all about dark rich soil and herbal aromas, and it makes me want to pack my bags and go camping in the Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula. (OK, for those who know me, maybe if there were a shower with warm water and a mattress to sleep on).



Aftelier Perfumes are available at and Bendel’s in NYC. Aftelier products do not contain artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, phthalates, or parabens. This is clearly stated on the website.

posted by ~Trish

photo by jphillipe at


7 thoughts on “Aftelier’s Lumiere, Tango, and Antique Patchouli

  1. I’d love to experience the two fragrances from Aftelier you so eloquently write about here Trish.
    I have a really old Patchouli in my collection that I adore. It is back from when I was doing my Aromatherapy course over ten years ago now. If I see you this weekend I will bring it with me, I also have a vintage Frankincense from Oman that is pure heaven.

    1. R,

      I’ll try to remember to throw Lumiere and Tango in my handbag for my weekend trip to LA in case I do see you at Blunda. That would be so wonderful to meet you!


  2. Unfortunately, Lumiere doesn’t last on my skin – but it’s nice for those first 10 minutes. I have huge respect for Mandy Aftel – and her Cocoa body oil is absolutely divine !

  3. Hello, my dear !

    Tango is a favorite of mine; I adore it …
    I’m afraid that I haven’t trusted myself to sample Lumiere, though it tempts me.

    Really well-aged patchoulis are a joy !
    The facets of oaken barrels, vanillic balsam, and earthy cocoa aspects are so appealing.

    I always enjoy seeing what’s on your mind 😉

    1. Chaya,

      Thank you so much for commenting! You are astute as usual with your olfactory “observations” of aged patchouli. The one Mandy offers is the first good one I have experienced and you are so right about the earthy cocoa. I wish I could share this sample with you, its minty aroma is intoxicating.


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