Palimpsest is the literary equivalent of a double exposure: the layers of an old scripture overlapping with newer texts (though probably still rather ancient). Old scrolls or parchamanet paper were either rinsed or scraped to remove the old content, likely for economic reasons. Or perhaps the old text had to be concealed? The reason might always remain a mystery. The result is rich, textured and ultimately fascinating - like playing hide and seek with history. The top layer is interrupted by the older layers, which can never be completely erased (and in some cases, over time the ink's pigments intensify after they have been supposedly erased). And the bottom layers obscured both by the purposeful wiping off, and because of the dominance of the newer layers.
The perfume of that name, the newest from Aftelier, opens with a burst of fresh, juicy citrus notes of yuzu and wild orange. They are simply bursting with life. But underneath it you can already feel there is much more going on. A mysterious, woody-floral note makes itself known from the start, the haunting and strange fire tree, reminiscent of lilac, dried ink on a charred-edged paper. Animals notes of indole, leather and woods steadily proceed to the forefront, with a finale that is identical (to my nose) to the surprisingly fecal odour of mammoth bone, almost sickly-sweet and strangely floral.
I love how layered and rich and multi-dimensional this perfume is. And also how Mandy Aftel's creations have become both more conceptual and highly personal over the recent couple of years. You can see it in the names, which no longer refer mostly to the ingredients; but also to the perfumer's own fascination, and her personal experiences.
Top notes: Gamma dodecalactone, phenyl acetic acid, yuzu
Heart notes: Jasmine Grandiflorum, Peach, Ylang Ylang
Base notes: Firetree, Vanilla, Ambergris