The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance

The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance cover

The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance

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Breathe in the natural and cultural history of scent with this richly illustrated book inspired by the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents

“This work . . . is a true original—a rarest of rare legacy volume. This book was created by a beautiful elder who is a polymath: meaning, a highly unique person of multiple modern and old ways of knowing. . . . Mandy Aftel’s dons and talents are now resting in your hands in this magical tome that, I deeply sense and hope, will bless you time and again.”
—From the foreword by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Reyés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves and the forthcoming La Curandera, Walking in Two Worlds

Mandy Aftel is one of the world’s preeminent natural perfumers, with a clientele ranging from the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen to Ivy Ross, head of hardware design at Google. Eschewing the synthetic molecules that dominate commercial perfumes, Aftel creates her complex and subtle fragrances using only natural essences. For her, each of these essences is a gateway to a lost world of scent, stretching back to the beginnings of human civilization and intertwined with the history of medicine, cuisine, adornment, sexuality, and spirituality. In 2017, Aftel opened a one-room museum—the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents—in her backyard in Berkeley, California, to help a modern audience rediscover the enchantment of this lost world. Her museum has attracted thousands of enthusiastic visitors and has been featured in the New York Times, Vogue, Goop, O: The Oprah Magazine, and numerous other media outlets.

Now Aftel has created this beautiful book, illustrated with treasures from her museum’s collection, so that readers at home can immerse themselves in the world of scent. She guides us through the different families of botanical fragrances (including flowers, woods, leaves and grasses, and resins), depicting each plant with a hand-colored antique woodcut and revealing its olfactory notes and lore. Special chapters are devoted to the most rare and precious fragrances—such as ambergris, formed of a rare secretion of the sperm whale—and to antique essential oil bottles, handwritten recipe books, and other evocative artifacts. The Museum of Scent, which includes a bookmark subtly scented with a natural essence, invites us on a sensuous, imaginative journey.

Mandy Aftel, an internationally known artisan perfumer and authority on natural fragrance, is the owner of Aftelier Perfumes and the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents in Berkeley, California. Her other books include Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume, which helped sparked the natural perfume renaissance and has been translated into eight languages. Aftel's work has been featured in the New York TimesVogueVanity Fair, and numerous other major outlets.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Reyés is the author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, which has been published in forty-two languages, and La Curandera, Walking in Two Worlds, forthcoming from Texas A&M University Press.

ISBN: 9780789214713

ISBN-10: 9780789214713

Publisher: Abbeville Press

Publication Date: 10/31/2023 - 12:00am

On Sale: 10/31/2023 - 12:00am

Pages: 264

Language: English


Health & Fitness / Beauty & Grooming

Design / Fashion & Accessories

Health & Fitness / Aromatherapy