Read Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume by Mandy Aftel Free Online
Book Title: Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume|
The author of the book: Mandy Aftel
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 1.39 MB
Edition: Gibbs Smith
Date of issue: October 6th 2004
ISBN 13: 9781586857028
Read full description of the books Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume:Someone saw me reading this book, and the comment was, "But you don't even like perfumes!"
That's partly true. I don't like synthetic perfumes. I don't like being bombarded by someone's overzealous application of scent. I don't like synthetic fragrance. (Every time someone tells me their homemade soap or perfume has "only the best all-natural essential oil of banana/cucumber/lilac/fill in blank with any other synthetic scent masquerading as "natural oil," I cringe. There is no such thing as cucumber EO.) Now, what I do like are things that smell good and are subtle. I like history. I like thinking about an everyday thing in a new way or understanding how something works and why.
This is a book that likely receives both more praise and more criticism than it deserves, but how well one likes this book will depend on why one is reading it. It's neither a "how to" book nor a straight history, but it contains elements of both. Within the "how to" part, the author does much better with the explanation of how scent affects (most) people and how to approach the process of building a fragrance blend than she does the nuts-and-bolts of making a specific perfume. There are recipes, but they are either skewed to her preferences -- and she seems to be overly fond of floral and sweet scents-- or contain ingredients that are unlikely to be within the budget (or accessibility) of a hobbyist. Within the history part, she does a nice job of covering how alchemy and perfume-making are related, the history of using scents for ritual and pleasure, and the beginning of the perfume trade; however, don't expect to find the scuttlebutt about the big perfume houses or famous brands.
Because I was reading it for entertainment and as a general history of fragrance, I enjoyed it. The author has a lovely writing style, sensuous and descriptive, although she comes off a little assumptive in a few spots. (No, everyone does not like rose or ylang-ylang and everyone does not like sweet powdery finishes.) The writing reminded me a little of Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses.
I found her recipes the least interesting part of the book, but I understand that she is including them as exercises on how to train one's sense of smell. For me, the best parts of the book were the history of how fragrance has been used throughout various ages/cultures and the section comparing building a fragrance to composing music.
There is a substantial bibliography, and the text is indexed and sourced. The vendor list is likely out of date, but perhaps will be updated in e-book format.
In all, an interesting and enjoyable read.
Read information about the authorToday, almost every perfume is created from synthetic essences. Although synthetics approximate the odors of natural ingredients, they have none of the complexity, mystery or emotional depth. We bring an inexplicable emotional intensity to the experience of an authentic smell and the memories it sparks and creates.
My approach to creating artisan natural perfumes is based in the quality and integrity of the ingredients. I hand blend each perfume from my collection of extraordinary essences, which I have gathered with uncompromising standards for only the finest quality 100% pure and natural materials. I seek out exotic, unusual essences from hidden corners of the world, often smelling a dozen versions of the same oil, searching for the one that surpasses the rest. Finding the essences is like a quest, and I enjoy it as much as the act of creation. Through years of searching I have amassed a comprehensive and strikingly beautiful palette from which to work.
In each perfume, I try to capture a feeling and aesthetic experience. I start with a concept for the perfume, and work to create something modern and luxurious. With some perfumes, the first iteration is almost perfect. Others take endless revisions and weeks of blending until everything comes together in the ideal balance.
Once the formulas are developed, I hand blend small batches of perfume, and bottle it in the same studio it was created in. I am connected to the whole process, and it makes me very happy when people incorporate my perfumes in their lives. It is my hope that people have a feeling of luxury, well-being, beauty and excitement when they wear Aftelier Perfumes.
In addition to my work as a perfumer, I am the author of six books, three of which are on natural perfume. Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume has been translated into seven languages and was the winner of The Sense of Smell Institute's Richard B. Solomon Award. Aroma, a cookbook (co-authored with chef Daniel Patterson), focuses on the essential link between food and fragrance and includes recipes for both. Scents & Sensibilities guides the reader through the history and creation of solid perfumes.
My three other books are The Story of Your Life: Becoming the Author of Your Experience, When Talk is Not Cheap and Death of a Rolling Stone: The Brian Jones Story.
In early 2009, Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel, debuted at the Fifth Avenue store, Henri Bendel. The exhibit focused on education and the history of perfumery. It showcased my perfumes as well as my extraordinary collection of perfume memorabilia. The event was commemorated in a catalogue, which can be viewed here.
As the curator for an exhibition on the history of natural perfume The Foul and the Fragrant: Creating Natural Perfume at the Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California I displayed turn-of-the-century perfume books and vintage memorabilia from my private collection. My artistry with natural perfumery was the subject of the exhibit, Constructing Perfume: Scent, Space, Color at 3A Gallery in San Francisco, which included architectural renderings of my fragrances, and an interactive experience of viewers matching color chips to scents.
In 2004, I was invited to create a perfume for a 2000 year old child mummy in conjunction with the Stanford Medical Center, the Rosicrucian Museum and Silicon Graphics (SGI).
In addition to my work with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson (Coi Restaurant), I have worked with Daniel Barber (Blue Hill, Blue Hill at Stone Barns), Johnny Iuzinni (Jean Georges), and other chefs. I have conducted classes and demonstrations for vintners and sommeliers, and at the University of Southern California, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Ideo, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Apple, Clif Bar, the James Beard Foundation, New York University, Slow Food, London Design Festival, Esalen Ins
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