|It was fuller when I got it - didn't take a picture until after using for a while.|
I'd characterise Sepia as a dry, woody/earthy fragrance with boozy notes. That's quite a blunt tool characterisation, although it may help to give you an idea of whether it would appeal to you. Although it has fruit, cocoa and coffee notes I wouldn't say that it is gourmand - the fruit notes (yellow mandarin, pink grapefruit and a note derived from a natural isolate that smells of strawberry) give the booziness and the cocoa and coffee are dialled back to a dusty darkness to my nose. The woods are overlaid with a layer of dust, and the effect of subtle decay is achieved by the deft blend of the tobacco, oud, ambergris and cepes. The base notes sound like they have the capacity to be quite animalic, but on my skin (which tames animal notes) and in the Eau De Parfum the effect is a dry earthiness, rather than sweat or skin.
The overall effect to me is a half finished glass of Tokaji, left over from the night before in a library that has cobwebs in every corner. There's no money to keep on a phalanx of servants to dust everything, and the roof of the house is leaking in several spots. The smell of dry earth and overgrown vegetation from the garden creeps in through a broken window pane. Sepia is how I would imagine Satis House to smell.
In her interview at Bois de Jasmin, Mandy says that those who enjoy Sepia may also enjoy Tango and Cepes & Tuberose from her line. I'd say Sepia is more restrained than Tango to my nose, and a very good daytime alternative for those who love Tango but prefer to keep it for evening wear. I love scents that have some darkness to them and I adore Sepia, which is full-bottle worthy for me.
On longevity - I can still smell the base and the ghost of the booze when I come home from work and get out of my work clothes, although I do enjoy another spritz when I change into clothes to lounge about in. I find Aftelier fragrances last well on me, although they aren't as pervasive as non-natural fragrances (which now I often find too strong for my sensitive nose). If you are used to mainstream fragrances you may find natural fragrances more subtle than you are used to, but I found my nose quite quickly recalibrated when I switched to wearing mainly natural scents. One tip is that I apply fragrance to my torso on my sternum before dressing so that my clothes trap the scent - that way I find I get wafts of scent throughout the day.
Top: blood cedarwood, yellow mandarin, pink grapefruit.
Heart: pink lotus, strawberry, jasmine grandiflorum, cocoa, coffee.
Base: flowering tobacco, oud, indole, ambergris, cepes, labdanum.
Sepia is available directly from www.aftelier.com, which ships internationally from the US. It is not yet available on the UK Aftelier stockist, www.scent-and-sensibility.co.uk, but it's worth keeping an eye out for it there if you are wary of Customs charges when buying from outside the EU.
Disclosure: sample provided by perfumer for review.