Essence and Alchemy
A Natural History of Perfume
By Mandy Aftel
(Gibbs Smith Publishers, Paperback, 9781586857028, 246pp.)
Publication Date: November 2004
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Publishers Weekly called this unique title an "extraordinary treatise on the history and making of perfume" and hails author Mandy Aftel's ability to "bring sheer delight in the bouquet of aromas in the natural world" and her "irreverent sensibility that embraces 'little-acknowledged' aphrodisiacs like the smell of sweat."
Renowned perfumer Mandy Aftel explores the primal nature and fundamental importance of aroma in everyday life, teaching people about the nature of smell and the idea of "olfactory consciousness" in Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume. With gorgeous illustrations, the book also serves as a practical guide to making custom scents for a variety of uses, and explains the process of selecting "base notes," "heart notes" and "head notes" to create truly personal aromas and perfumes.
Writer and perfumer Mandy Aftel was a founder and chief perfumer of all-natural perfume company Grandiflorum, and went on to create Aftelier, a company that concentrates exclusively on creating custom perfumes for men and women. As an authority on natural essences and custom perfumes, she has participated in panels for the perfume industry, and demonstrated and taught the art of natural perfumery across the nation. Her work has been featured in publications including In Style, Vogue, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, Allure, Health and Elle.
"Smelling her extraordinary collection of oils took me to beautiful places I have never been before. The fragrance that Mandy Aftel blended exclusively for me is full of citrus and herbal fragrances that complement my culinary life." --Alice Waters, Executive Chef and Owner celebrated restaurant Chez Panisse
"Reading Mandy Aftel on perfume is like listening to Mozart on original instruments-it's a revelation of tone and technique. She captures the sensuous pleasure of working with fragrance oils and the intellectual delight of composing in scent. Her book combines a perfumer's sensibility with the authority of a historian and the passion of an enthusiast." --Avery Gilbert, President of the Sense of Smell Institute