Mandy Aftel of indie natural line Aftelier has opened the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents:
Natural aromatic materials and their glorious history are constantly invoked in the service of marketing the commercial perfumes from which they are now almost entirely omitted. I decided to open my archive to the public to tell a different story – the original story of fragrance, a story that has been alive in people’s daily lives in almost every culture for centuries, and is in danger of disappearing. I thought that the best way to convey it was to immerse people in this rich sensory landscape I live in every day, and to place it in context, through words and images.
So I created the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents next door to my home. Here visitors will be able to smell more than three hundred natural essences derived from fruits, flowers, trees, grasses, and other natural sources (and take three samples home). They will be able to compare essences that have been aged for a century to their modern counterparts. They will be able to pore over more than fifty antique books from my collection, retracing the amazing history of fragrance. Every item in the Archive is authentic and original, including the hand-tinted postcards and engravings, some of which date back four hundred years.
The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents is located in Berkeley, California, and will be open for visitors on Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm, with a limit of 6 visitors per hour. Tickets are $20 for a 1 hour visit, including 2 pieces of dark chocolate flavored with Chef's Sprays and 3 letter-press scent strips to dip in essences and take home. More information and tickets can be found at the Aftelier website.