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The Museum of Scent: Exploring the Curious & Wondrous World of Fragrance
The Museum of Scent

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The Museum of Scent
invites you on a sensuous, imaginative journey! I created this beautiful book, illustrated with treasures from my museum's collection, so that readers at home can immerse themselves in the world of scent, and I even developed a scented bookmark to include with the book. I guide you through the different families of botanical fragrances (including flowers, herbs, 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 evocative artifacts like antique essential oil bottles and handwritten recipe books.

Hardcover signed by Mandy Aftel. If you would like the book inscribed to a particular name, please specify that name in the comment field when ordering.
Our Price: $40.00


Mandy Aftel is a natural-born writer at baseline – a storyteller-cum-pedagogue supreme – and her prose, like her aquarelles – flows effortlessly into our consciousness without any murmur of pretension. Writing, painting, educating, mentoring, composing – each seems to emanate from her being like breath. We are seduced by knowledge accrued over her lifetime of exploration and her insatiable curiosity. One of the dividends of The Museum of Scent is that we become ensnared in the process and eager to read further.
Ida Meister, CaFleureBon

This work . . . is a true original―a rarest of rare legacy volume. This book was created by a beautiful elder who is a polymath: meaning, a highly unique person of multiple modern and old ways of knowing. . . . Mandy Aftel’s dons and talents are now resting in your hands in this magical tome that, I deeply sense and hope, will bless you time and again.
From the foreword by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés Reyés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves

The world of perfumes is a universe all its own, and Aftel's book is a colorful, authoritative guide. There are some authors who know everything there is to know about their field. Mandy Aftel, author of Fragrant and Essence and Alchemy, is one of them, and the result is this sumptuous book... In 2017, she opened a small museum at her home in Berkeley, California, called the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents, to educate people about the history and culture of perfumes. Her latest book is another step in this project, cataloguing her collection of essences and oils, as well as prints, photographs, and maps. This book could be read straight through or dipped into randomly. A beautiful book about beautiful things, with a fascinating narrative by an author who loves her subiect.
Kirkus, starred review

Opening up this book is like opening up a whole new room in your imagination you didn’t quite realize existed―even if you never thought you were interested in perfume. It’s gorgeous to look at and gorgeous to read, bristling with details and wild histories. It’s a book to pick up again and again―whether you land on a page about onycha shells, shiso, or honeysuckle, you’re swept into a dreamy world―a cabinet of curiosities for the senses that’s both exquisite and endlessly surprising.
Jean Godfrey-June, Executive Beauty Editor GOOP

The Museum of Scent is a beautiful catalogue of Mandy’s olfactory expertise and artistry. This book is a wonderful guide through the rich and fascinating world of perfumery, and a joyful invitation to sniff your way through life!
Alice Waters, chef and owner of Chez Panisse

In The Museum of Scent, author Mandy Aftel writes, "You just don't smell an aroma, you fall into it." The same is true of this magnificent book: It is so rich in story, information, and images, you don't just read it, you fall into it and don’t want it to end!
Ivy Ross, co-author of NY Times bestseller Your Brain on Art and VP of Hardware Design at Google

From the queen of artisan perfumers, a delightful introduction to the universe of scent and scented materials. Aromatics leap off the page in all their singularity, accompanied by astounding images and fascinating context. In book form as much as in real life, Aftel's carefully curated collection presents a whole that is revelatory in every one of its component parts.
Saskia Wilson-Brown, director & founder, The Institute for Art and Olfaction

The Museum of Scent, written and illustrated by Mandy herself, is not only educational, informative and beautifully presented, it is a magical journey through the earliest history of perfume, a deep dive into scent families, ingredients and written in the first person as if Mandy Aftel was speaking to you.
Michelyn Camen, founder CaFleureBon