The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance, by Mandy Aftel of indie perfume house Aftelier, will be published in October of this year. Aftel's prior books on perfumery include Essence & Alchemy, Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent, The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food, Scents & Sensibility and Aroma.
Mandy Aftel is one of the world’s leading bespoke perfumers, with a clientele ranging from the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen to Sir Jony Ive, the former chief design officer of Apple. 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.
The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious and Wondrous World of Fragrance by Mandy Aftel is available now for pre-order at Amazon, $45 for Hardcover.
This is exciting news.
Yes, she’s a good writer and I look forward to this. And love that you get a scented bookmark