Cognac to me is the most comforting drink. It has a pleasantly numbing effect, it relaxes and soothes my invariably stressed mind like no other drink, prescriptive or non-prescriptive, does. Drinking from a pear-shaped snifter is akin to imbibing in the waters of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. A perfume inspired by the eau-de-vie should therefore be a comfort scent extraordinaire, and in talented hands of Mandy Aftel it really is.
A cognac lover whose knowledge on the subject is much superior to mine, when asked if the way Aftelier creation smells can be compared to any actual cognac, thought that if the perfume was a drink it would have been the closest to Martell Creation. Having had a (very expensive) pleasure of tasting the said cognac, I understand the comparison made by the tres sophisticated friend of mine. The notes of ginger and candied orange zest that hit the palate on the first sniff (and the first taste) are utterly delicious. The ginger spikes up the silky aroma, and its zestiness is perfectly balanced by the nutty, oily accord that makes me think of very old wooden casks and mild curry. The effect is incredibly attractive, a complex, mellow, rich aroma that is warming and refreshing at the same time, a blend that is simultaneously sensual and tranquil.
Aftelier Cognac is available at aftelier.com and Henri Bendel, $150.00 for 7ml. Martell Creation can be found at various wine merchants for around $300 for 750ml.