by Frederic Jacques, August 2018
Mandy Aftel is an American perfumer and the owner of the natural perfume line Aftelier Perfumes. She is the author of many books on fragrance but also of innovative essential oils cookbooks she put together with renown Chefs. She is a dear friend of mine, a fantastic soul with an incredible drive, and the most knowledgeable and honest person I have met in our industry- I mean the fragrance industry. Although it is not a new book, I wanted to write a few words about “Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent “ that Mandy was generous enough to give me a while back, with a very touching note and her signature. I knew she had dived into a lot of research for that book- like for everything she does- but I did not know I would learn so much. As a fragrance guy- and a French one at that- you think you know a lot, not quite everything , but a lot…
I might also have thought: “ok, 5 ingredients that each represent a key space in perfume history, but why these 5 and not half a dozen of others, isn’t it somewhat arbitrary?” Then I shut up and started to read. This was going with a completely new angle, and actually explaining Everything, a true 360° on the five key driving factors of Humanity, through a complete and hyper documented journey into the history of 5 corresponding ingredients: How Cinnamon has been the symbol of quintessential Luxury for centuries, while mint has always been about the universal need for Home. How Amber Gris is the answer to the insatiable Curiosity of the human mind and its hunting instinct, why Frankincense is the ultimate aid for Spiritual elevation and last but not least, about Jasmin being the most important ingredient of all as it satisfies the soul’s eternal thirst for Beauty.
You can find the book here in the Aftelier shop. For us at The Society of Scent, we like it so much that we will soon embark on a collaboration with Mandy on the very subject of these 5 fantastic ingredients. This will become one of the documented projects in our Unfinished Series. Stay tuned.