Essence and alchemy a natural history of perfume
Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume by Mandy AftelSomeone saw me reading this book, and the comment was, But you dont even like perfumes!
Thats partly true. I dont like synthetic perfumes. I dont like being bombarded by someones overzealous application of scent. I dont 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. Its 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, dont 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 Ackermans 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 ones 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.
Essence and Alchemy A Natural History of Perfume
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.
Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume, Paperback
Simply link your Qantas Frequent Flyer membership number to your Booktopia account and earn points on eligible orders. Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Your points will be added to your account once your order is shipped. Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! 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. About the Author Mandy Aftel is an American perfumer and author of four books on natural perfume.
To say that Mandy Aftel took the world of natural perfumery by storm is hardly an overstatement. Little over a decade ago, while doing research for a novel, she found herself immersed in a collection of ancient perfume books. It was the start of a lifelong passion for natural essences: she put her literary ambitions on hold, and eventually established her very own perfume studio. Her current business, Aftelier , is a flourishing operation based in Berkeley, California. We take a closer look at her book Essence and Alchemy , which played a major role in the recent popularization of natural perfumery. Essence and Alchemy is a practical guide to natural perfumery, which makes it slightly different from the books we've discussed so far.
For centuries, people have taken what seems to be an instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin.
lola by melissa scrivner love