Aftelier Shiso is a perfume that actually captures the complexities of many Asian “green” flavors. Wearing Shiso reminds me of all of the good and bad things that I’ve done with things that I’ve bought at Asian markets. It reminds me of smelling bunches of herbs labeled in languages that I can’t read, imagining what I’d do with them when I got home. I once made a shiso simple syrup for cocktails, it was terrible. My other experiments were much more pleasant and are now staples in the house. I think I could pour kewda on anything and eat it.
Shiso opens as spicy and green, reminding me exactly of rau ram/Vietnamese mint. So, it’s aldehydic, terpinic and hot like cinnamon. I also get lemon and pine-like terpenes. The heart is hot spices like cinnamon and clove with fruity greens. The heart emphasizes the floral “greenness” of the geranium and kewda. It’s like a fruity, green bouquet. There’s also an almost chalky, basic-like element to Shiso. The perfume always surprises me when it dries down to a rich and dirty oud with patchouli.
The way I’m with fragrance is the way that David is with food. “Flavors” is one of his hobbies. We’ve spent so many hours in so many markets. When he smelled Shiso, he immediately said, without knowing the name or inspiration, “This smells like all of the best aspects of a Vietnamese market” which he’s always described as “mothball cilantro”. And since Vietnamese food is basically perfume that you eat, so aromatic and complex, this is a compliment for Shiso. Shiso, the herb, is more often associated with Japanese and sometimes Korean cuisine, but Shiso the perfume reminds me more of Southeast Asian flavors.
Notes listed include antique clove, green pepper, perilla, kewda, geranium, agarwood (oud), sandalwood and patchouli. PERFUMER – Mandy Aftel
Try Shiso if you want something that smells like shiso or if you are looking for an “unusual” green fragrance. Or if you like perfumes like The Different Company De Bachmakov, CdG Series 1 Shiso, Di Sir Diana and/or Apothia Pearl. Shiso is unisex. I think it’s a great choice for warmer weather wear.
Projection is below average and longevity is above average because of the woodsy base. I tried the parfum and it does wear closer to the skin.
The 1/4 oz parfum retails for $170 at Aftelier. Samples and other sizes are also available.
Victoria’s Final EauPINION – “Hot mint”. This perfume really does capture the natural complexities of perilla/shiso and herbs like rau ram. This is one of my favorites from Aftelier, following Wild Roses.
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