From Kings to Dunkin Donuts

Realize Magazine talks to Mandy Aftel of Aftelier. It's a long conversation — about 40 minutes — and covers topics ranging from how Aftel got interested in fragrance; to her latest book, Fragrant; to her perfume organ and the basics of top, middle and base notes (they smell a 100 year old sandalwood, among others). At about the 23 minute mark, Aftel mixes up a perfume from one of the recipes in her book, and talks about how the music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen helps her create. [Note that the sound is messed up for a couple minutes early on in the video, but it resolves quickly.]

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Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel ~ book review

Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel, book plus kit

In fiction, an effective writer uses plot not just to move the story along, but to illuminate an underlying theme. If Mandy Aftel’s Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent were a novel, the plot would be the five essences — cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, and jasmine — around which she structures the book. The theme would be beauty.

In Fragrant’s first chapter, Aftel writes about how she became involved with perfume, then says:

As I researched and thought about the deeps ways that perfume touches our most primal selves and the collective self of our species, I realized that I had the makings of an adventure story of sorts…

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Aftelier Organic Ylang Face Elixir ~ scented body product review

Aftelier Organic Ylang Face Elixir

The weather has suddenly turned cool and windy here in the northeast, so it’s the perfect time for me to upgrade my skincare for extra moisture and protection — and if I can work a good-smelling product or two into my regimen, then all the better! Natural perfumer Mandy Aftel of Aftelier has just released a new Organic Ylang Face Elixir, which I’ve been sampling this week. It contains organic ylang ylang, a creamy floral blended with bright pink grapefruit and blood orange, both known for their toning and softening properties, in a base of seven organic oils (rice bran, sweet almond, apricot kernel, camellia, grapeseed, squalene and rose hip seed).

When I first became seriously interested in fragrance, and I was smelling as many perfumes as I could in order to define what I liked, I realized that ylang ylang was (and is) one of my favorite floral notes…

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