Mandy Aftel’s Essence & Alchemy — BOOK GIVEAWAY!


Is this just a cheap ploy to make others fall in love with Aftelier Perfume’s Mandy Aftel as I have?

All signs point to yes!

As many of you know, I’ve been working through Mandy Aftels Level I Workbook, a home course in natural perfuming. I’m deep into the section where the student is charged with smelling from her collecting of essential oils and learning how to smell deeply. I’m beginning to think about it as recalibrating my nose.

Did you know that most peoples’ sense of smell gets worse as they age, but a perfumer’s sense of smell actually gets better? Maybe it’s like a crossword puzzle for the nose and the brain.

Anyway, I’m interested in sharing what I’m learning about perfume and scent and giving back, so this month, I’m starting my perfume and travel book giveaway feature of this website by holding a contest for a copy of natural perfumer Mandy Aftel’s classic tome on perfuming, Essence & Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume.

Every obsessive has a book that started it all for them, the gateway drug into a world of exploration. This is the book that opened up the idea for me that I could learn more about scents, sniffing, and perfuming and that I could remake the world of smelling in my own way. Part primer on the how’s and why’s of natural perfuming and part rhapsodic  treatise on the history of scent in society, it has just enough well-chosen anecdotes to feel definitive in the kind of prose that makes real readers swoon. A must read for all sniffaholics and scent hounds.

To participate in this giveaway, leave a comment in the comments section telling me what book opened up your particular obsession. I will choose a winner using a random number generator on Friday, February 21 at 10:00 a.m. PST.

13 thoughts on “Mandy Aftel’s Essence & Alchemy — BOOK GIVEAWAY!

  1. Sarah Wilkins says:

    For me it was Alyssa Harad’s Coming to my Senses. That got me interesting in perfume in general. Can you have too much perfume?


  2. Mary Adams says:

    The first mystery novel that I read as a teen was Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart–and it set me on a path to read all kinds of mysteries. It had everything–the orphaned governess, the French chateau, the strange accidents to her little charge, the brooding (but compelling) de Valmy men. I’ve read and enjoyed tons of mysteries since then, but none had quite the same magical mix as that first one.


    • Emily Grosvenor says:

      Cool! I have this idea that I want to read mysteries but I never no where to begin. I can’t do too much thrill (Gone Girl pretty much kept me on edge all day) or gore. I think Three Bags Full might be my kind of speed. It’s a mystery where a flock of sheep figure out the crime.


  3. Angela @ Cottage Magpie says:

    Which book? That depends on which obsession! Of course I have several. Like millions, my obsession with chick list was sparked by Bridget Jones’ Diary. My obsession with YA fantasy was sparked by a book of princess tales that I read as a child overandoverandoverandover. My quilting obsession wasn’t sparked by a book originally, but oh, how I have collected books along the way! 🙂


  4. Emily Grosvenor says:

    And the winner is: Ariel Ocean! Please contact me with your mailing information and I’ll send you out a copy of Ms. Aftel’s book. Let me know how you’re perfuming is going! Thanks to everyone for participating. I will be having a new drawing every month, some perfume books, some travel books, some home books, so please keep checking back!


  5. nicolelachapelle2014 says:

    Kathy Keville and Mindy Green’s “Aromatherapy a Complete Guide to the Healing Art” started me down this path. I am only recently beginning to branch out into the “strong stuff”: absolutes, concretes, tinctures, so a book with an emphasis on perfumery would be most welcome!


      • Emily Grosvenor says:

        No way, I’m going to check out your book! But check back in again, I’ll do a different perfume book every month. In the meantime, I’m going to follow your adventures in tinctures and perfuming. I started making some lavender tinctures last winter and found it wholy exciting. The urge to capture ephemeral beauty is great in this house!


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