Essence and Alchemy (Paperback)

A Book of Perfume

By Mandy Aftel

North Point Press, 9780865476431, 256pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2002

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/1/2004)
Hardcover (6/1/2001)

List Price: 14.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


For centuries, people have taken what seems to be an instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin, and using them to pray, to heal, and to make love. Yet in many ways perfumery is a lost art, its creative and sensual possibilities eclipsed by the dominance of synthetic ingredients. In Essence and Alchemy, winner of the Sense of Smell Institute's Richard B. Solomon Award, Mandy Aftel unearths a forgotten world in which scent was celebrated by poets, contemplated by philosophers, and universally appreciated for its profound resonance with body, mind, and soul. And she seduces the adventurous into experiencing firsthand the pleasures of working with natural essences.

Praise For Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume

"Even for those of us who may not be inspired to try our hand at the venerable art of the parfumier, this book has much to offer: fascinating facts about the history of perfume, its links with the ancient art of alchemy and the roles it has played in many cultures . . . Aftel proves an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide."
-Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times

"Rarely has the glory of the sense of smell reached such heights as in the imaginative mind of sensory superstar Mandy Aftel."
-Annette Green, President, Fragrance Foundation