Essence and Alchemy

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Revised 2022 Edition of Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume by Mandy Aftel.

"For centuries, people have taken an instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin and using them to pray, to heal, and to make love. Yet in many ways perfumery, with its lush history and creative and sensual possibilities, is a lost art. No one knows this better than artisan natural perfumer Mandy Aftel, who has spent nearly thirty years immersed in the world of scent, culling the most beautiful natural essences from all over the world and using them to create exquisite fragrances.

In Essence and Alchemy, which has been published in fourteen foreign editions, Aftel teaches the art of making natural perfumes, complete with recipes. She resurrects the social and metaphysical legacy that is entwined with the evolution of perfumery, from the dramas of the spice trade to the quests of the alchemists. Tracking scent through the boudoir and bath and into the sanctums of worship, she offers insights on the relationship of scent to sex, solitude, and the soul, unearthing a forgotten world of natural essences and their profound resonance with body, mind, and spirit."

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