Essence and Alchemy by Mandy Aftel
A Book of Perfume

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Synopsis

An artisan perfumer reveals a lost art and its mysterious, sensual history.

For centuries, people have taken what seems to be an instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin. Perfume has helped them to pray, to heal, and to make love. And as long as there has been perfume, there have been perfumers, or rather the priests, shamans, and apothecaries who were their predecessors. Yet, in many ways, perfumery is a lost art, its creative and sensual possibilities eclipsed by the synthetic ingredients of which contemporary perfumes are composed, which have none of the subtlety and complexity of essences derived from natural substances, nor their lush histories. Essence and Alchemy resurrects the social and metaphysical legacy that is entwined with the evolution of perfumery, from the dramas of the spice trade to the quests of the alchemists to whom today's perfumers owe a philosophical as well as a practical debt. Mandy Aftel tracks scent through the boudoir and the bath and into the sanctums of worship, offering insights on the relationship of scent to sex, solitude, and the soul. Along the way, she imparts instruction in the art of perfume compositions, complete with recipes, guiding the reader in a process of transformation of materials that continues to follow the alchemical dictum solve et coagula (dissolve and combine) and is itself aesthetically and spiritually transforming.

 

About Mandy Aftel

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Writer and perfumer Mandy Aftel was a founder and chief perfWriter and perfumer Mandy Aftel was a founder and chief perfumer of all-natural perfume company Grandiflorum, and went oumer of all-natural perfume company Grandiflorum, and went on to create Aftelier, a company that concentrates exclusiveln to create Aftelier, a company that concentrates exclusively on creating custom perfumes for men and women. As an authoy on creating custom perfumes for men and women. As an authority on natural essences and custom perfumes, she has particrity on natural essences and custom perfumes, she has participated in panels for the perfume industry, and demonstrated ipated in panels for the perfume industry, and demonstrated and taught the art of natural perfumery across the nation. Hand taught the art of natural perfumery across the nation. Her work has been featured in publications including In Styleer work has been featured in publications including In Style, Vogue, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, Allure, Healt, Vogue, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, Allure, Health, and Elle. Her website can be found at www.aftelier.com. h, and Elle. Her website can be found at www.aftelier.com. Daniel Patterson opened a new restaurant in San Francisco in June 2004. Named one of America's Best New Chefs by Food & Wine, Patterson previously was chef-owner of Elisabeth Daniel (Best New Restaurant in the United States--James Beard Foundation) and Babette's. He lives in San Francisco.
 
Published April 1, 2011 by North Point Press. 272 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Computers & Technology, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, History, Religion & Spirituality, Self Help, Arts & Photography, Literature & Fiction, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife. Non-fiction

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