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Essence and Alchemy

Essence and Alchemy

Paperback

By (author) Mandy Aftel

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  • Publisher: Gibbs M. Smith Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 127mm x 201mm x 15mm | 295g
  • Publication date: 24 December 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Layton, UT
  • ISBN 10: 1586857029
  • ISBN 13: 9781586857028
  • Illustrations note: 2 colour illustrations
  • Sales rank: 44,907

Product description

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 MandyAftel 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

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Review quote

This is by Mandy Aftel, who is an all-natural perfumer in Berkeley. She comes out of the same movement for the best natural ingredients that created Chez Panisse [restaurant], also in Berkeley, which started the foodie revolution. This is a wonderful, swoony, sensual book. She gives you the history of perfume through the ages, from the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians. She talks about how people have moved away from the idea of perfume as a ritualistic, meditative, aesthetic creation. The mass marketing of perfume, which includes a lot of synthetics and chemicals, has taken away a lot from the original idea of what perfume was and should be. Aftel started her own atelier to make perfumes. She uses natural ingredients, so no synthetics, no chemicals, no fixatives. The downside is that all-natural perfumes don't last that long, maybe two hours maximum. But she has striven to show that you can make elegant, complex, interesting, beautiful perfumes using all natural ingredients. She holds workshops where you can make your own perfume. The book is really a primer to go back to the roots and the ancient ideas of what perfume is all about. She talks about the meditative nature of certain essences, and notes their healing properties and the transcendental element of perfumery. It's also gorgeously written. People have read this book and developed their own interest in making perfume. It's a seminal, inspirational book that many people cite. Earlier I mentioned the Swiss perfumer Andy Tauer. He trained as a chemist. He told me he read Mandy's book, and after that he decided he wanted to make perfume. He started experimenting in a home laboratory, just mixing ingredients, and his first perfume was called "L'Air du Desert Marocain." It was a huge hit. Luca Turin gave it five stars and called it a masterpiece. Tauer is now a highly recognised niche perfumer. He's not a completely natural perfumer, but he uses up to 50% natural ingredients which is huge these days. There

Back cover copy

"To this most extraordinary treatise on the history and making of perfume, Aftel... brings sheer delight in the bouquet of aromas in the natural world." --Publishers Weekly "[A] compulsively readable compendium of perfume legend, lore, and instruction." --San Francisco Chronicle For centuries people have taken instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin, using them to pray, to heal, and to make love and war. Yet in many ways perfumery, with its creative and sensual possibilities, is a lost art. In Essence and Alchemy, Mandy Aftel unearths a forgotten world of natural essences and its profound resonance with body, mind, and spirit. Mandy Aftel is the founder of Aftelier Perfumes, through which she creates one-of-a-kind perfumes for individuals and businesses. She also has a line of ready-to-wear liquid and solid perfumes that can be found at her website at www.aftelier.com. Ms. Aftel is the author of four other books.

Flap copy

Introduction Chapter 1 The Spirit of the Alchemist: A Natural History of Perfume Chapter 2 Prima Materia: Perfume Basics Chapter 3 The Calculus of Fixation: Base Notes Chapter 4 Aromatic Stanzas: Heart Notes Chapter 5 The Sublime and the Volatile: Head Notes Chapter 6 An Octave of Odors: The Art of Composition Chapter 7 Flacon de Seduction: Perfume and the Boudoir Chapter 8 Perfumed Waters: The Reverie of the Bath Chapter 9 Aromatics of the Gods: Perfume and the Soul Supplies for the Beginning Perfumer Notes Bibliography Acknowledgments Index