Perfume Directory

Ancient Resins (2012)
by Aftelier


Ancient Resins information

Year of Launch2012
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
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People and companies

PerfumerMandy Aftel

About Ancient Resins

Ancient Resins is a shared / unisex perfume by Aftelier. The scent was launched in 2012 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Mandy Aftel

Reviews of Ancient Resins

Pine resin & the warm glow of labdanum produce an aura of dark-green & brown, transporting me to the shady pine woods of a Greek mountainside in the heat of summer. There's a hint of something herbal in here, too, perhaps the sage used in mountain tea, which is used for medicinal purposes, after all. I can see why many describe this as contemplative or meditative; it did evoke a feeling of comfort & calm on a day that was dominated by bad news. The projection is low, but then it is a body oil, & not a perfume as such. Two hours in, it's sweetened a little by benzoin, & later the lemony aspect of the frankincense comes through. It lasts around seven hours before fading entirely.
As an oil, it's not at all greasy & sinks nicely into the skin. I can see myself reaching for this when in need of comfort, & to satisfy my longings for Greece. Its quiet presence is like a voice softly telling me that everything will be alright.
30th May, 2017
Ancient Resins by Aftelier was developed by perfumer Mandy Aftel in cooperation with, and expressly for, the great Leonard Cohen himself. It smells exactly what you’d think a Zen guy like Leonard Cohen would like – a warm treble base of resins that balances the bitter, cleansing properties of something that might be used in a Shamanic ritual with the dusty smell of wood, paper, and rosin breaking down in old record stores or bookshops.

I’m not sure it makes much sense to analyze this beautiful oil too much – just let it wash over you in a peaceful wave, just like Cohen’s music – because it is, at heart, just a collection of resinous basenotes. And yet, the total effect is uplifting in a way that belies the simplicity of the blend.

Balm of Gilead is a note that jumps out at me, though, for its unusual biblical associations. Looking it up, it seems that the name refers (in religious history) to a balsam that was used as a spiritual balm to weary souls in Talmudic, Old Testament, and Muslim/Arabic history. Sources differ over what species of tree actually produced this balsam, although it seems to be either from mastic (green, herbal-smelling), pine, or terebinth /turpentine trees.

Although the opening notes of the oil are indeed very pine-like, I assume that this comes from the terpenes naturally present in the frankincense, because Mandy After clarifies that the Balm of Gilead note in Ancient Resins comes from poplar buds, from the Populus species of tree. These trees produce a nicely balmy scent on the white undersides of their leaves, and are used to produce the modern-day versions of the Balm of Gilead – basically, a wound- and spirit-healing balm.

And Ancient Resins is healing. It is healing and calming and restorative. I can see why Leonard Cohen reportedly wore this every day of his life. I was, coincidentally, wearing Ancient Resins in my hair when I heard that he had passed away. I had been using it almost every day since I received a generous sample of it, because the American elections had just taken place and I was feeling stressed out. Ancient Resins seems to have the power to right everywhere that is wrong in the world, just like Cohen’s music. A knitting together of things that have been fractured.
05th December, 2016

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