About Mandy Aftel

About Mandy Aftel

Today, almost every perfume is created from synthetic essences. Although synthetics approximate the odors of natural ingredients, they have none of the complexity, mystery or emotional depth. We bring an inexplicable emotional intensity to the experience of an authentic smell and the memories it sparks and creates.

My approach to creating artisan natural perfumes is based in the quality and integrity of the ingredients. I hand blend each perfume from my collection of extraordinary essences, which I have gathered with uncompromising standards for only the finest quality 100% pure and natural materials. I seek out exotic, unusual essences from hidden corners of the world, often smelling a dozen versions of the same oil, searching for the one that surpasses the rest. Finding the essences is like a quest, and I enjoy it as much as the act of creation. Through years of searching I have amassed a comprehensive and strikingly beautiful palette from which to work.

In each perfume, I try to capture a feeling and aesthetic experience. I start with a concept for the perfume, and work to create something modern and luxurious. With some perfumes, the first iteration is almost perfect. Others take endless revisions and weeks of blending until everything comes together in the ideal balance.

Once the formulas are developed, I hand blend small batches of perfume, and bottle it in the same studio it was created in. I am connected to the whole process, and it makes me very happy when people incorporate my perfumes in their lives. It is my hope that people have a feeling of luxury, well-being, beauty and excitement when they wear Aftelier Perfumes.

In addition to my work as a perfumer, I am the author of six books, three of which are on natural perfume. Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume has been translated into seven languages and was the winner of The Sense of Smell Institute's Richard B. Solomon Award. Aroma, a cookbook (co-authored with chef Daniel Patterson), focuses on the essential link between food and fragrance and includes recipes for both. Scents & Sensibilities guides the reader through the history and creation of solid perfumes.

My three other books are The Story of Your Life: Becoming the Author of Your Experience, When Talk is Not Cheap and Death of a Rolling Stone: The Brian Jones Story.

In early 2009, Living Perfume: The Natural Alchemy of Mandy Aftel, debuted at the Fifth Avenue store, Henri Bendel. The exhibit focused on education and the history of perfumery. It showcased my perfumes as well as my extraordinary collection of perfume memorabilia. The event was commemorated in a catalogue, which can be viewed here.

As the curator for an exhibition on the history of natural perfume The Foul and the Fragrant: Creating Natural Perfume at the Doheny Memorial Library, University of Southern California I displayed turn-of-the-century perfume books and vintage memorabilia from my private collection. My artistry with natural perfumery was the subject of the exhibit, Constructing Perfume: Scent, Space, Color at 3A Gallery in San Francisco, which included architectural renderings of my fragrances, and an interactive experience of viewers matching color chips to scents.

In 2004, I was invited to create a perfume for a 2000 year old child mummy in conjunction with the Stanford Medical Center, the Rosicrucian Museum and Silicon Graphics (SGI).

In addition to my work with Michelin-starred chef Daniel Patterson (Coi Restaurant), I have worked with Daniel Barber (Blue Hill, Blue Hill at Stone Barns), Johnny Iuzinni (Jean Georges), and other chefs. I have conducted classes and demonstrations for vintners and sommeliers, and at the University of Southern California, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Ideo, Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, Apple, Clif Bar, the James Beard Foundation, New York University, Slow Food, London Design Festival, Esalen Institute, French Laundry Restaurant, San Francisco's Exploratorium, San Francisco Decorators Showcase and COPIA (The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts). I've appeared on CNN and the PBS TV series "Diary of a Foodie." As an authority on natural essences and custom perfumes, I have participated in panels for the perfume industry under the auspices of the Fragrance Foundation.

My work has been featured on CNN and in Vogue, Vanity Fair, In Style, Time, Body and Soul, Natural Health, Alternative Health, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Food and Wine, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, Allure, Health, Elle, Forbes.com and 7 by 7. I was named "best scent" in San Francisco Magazine's "Best of the Bay", included on the "it list" of perfumers in Perfumer and Flavorist magazine, was chosen as one of the twenty-five most influential people in perfume by Basenotes.net and was named one of the top seven bespoke perfumers in the world by Forbes.com.

Click to read an in-depth profile of Mandy's pioneering perfume work by Nathan Branch

Mandy Aftel is a recognized authority in Natural Perfume and a true pioneer in the modern field of Naturals
Rochelle Bloom, President, Fragrance Foundation

The Queen of Green...she started a revolution that we now take for granted as part of our environmentally conscious culture.
Beauty News

Mandy Aftel is one of the fragrance industry's most creative thinkers, not to mention one of its most prolific talents.

Mandy Aftel is an indisputable icon in the world of perfumery, and quite arguably, the Mother of Natural Perfumery.

Mandy Aftel is the perfumery guru and pioneer who managed to alight an all naturals aromatics Renaissance with her body of work and especially her seminal book, Essence & Alchemy, the cornerstone on which the naturals movement has flourished.
Perfume Shrine

Aftelier is for me and many others the gold standard of natural perfumes.

The trend toward using natural ingredients was pioneered by perfumer and author Mandy Aftel.

Mandy Aftel is like the Alice Waters of American natural perfume

Mandy Aftel has spearheaded the artisanal natural perfumery movement in the United States
Now Smell This

One of the great living masters of natural perfume
Affluent Lifestyle magazine

Natural fragrance guru
San Francisco magazine

Mandy Aftel is truly a fragrance genius
Organic Beauty View

Winner of Perfumer's Lifetime Achievement Award as "The Last of the Alchemists"
Perfume Smelling Things

Angel of Alchemy
Vanity Fair

One of the perfume industry's best noses
Jack and Hill

A natural perfume maker with a media dossier that rivals any A-list celebrity
Body and Soul

An Exquisite line of Perfumes
Alternative Medicine

Highly sophisticated blends
Town and Country

Couture fragrance...one of Hollywood's chicest secrets

Aftelier Perfumes: most wanted...perfectly chic
Harper's Bazaar

Perfumer to the Hollywood A-List
Cooking Light

Ms. Aftel's work as a natural perfumer has been trendsetting...Essence and Alchemy...became a corner stone upon which the contemporary natural perfumery movement was built.
Bois de Jasmin

Essence and Alchemy is in no doubt partly responsible for the current growing interest in natural perfume. You would be hard pressed to find a natural perfumer without a well-thumbed copy of this book on their bookshelf.

About Mandy Aftel
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