“So, what is it about naturals that speak to you, Mandy?” - asked Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder of The Institute for Art and Olfaction in LA, who invited artisan perfumer Mandy Aftel for a broad-ranging talk about the revised 2022 edition of her book Essence and Alchemy, her work, and perfumery as a whole. Mandy Aftel is the owner and nose behind the natural perfume line Aftelier Perfumes, as well as the author of nine books including the very seminal Essence and Alchemy. She also recently started a museum called the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents
"Everything. Really everything. I think first of all their intense beauty, just how extraordinarily they are varied, and nuanced and just gorgeous they are. I'm just knocked out by the complicatedness of their beauty aromatically. It's as if, you know, if nature is the original perfumer for me. And the way the different facets of the smells are fit together. I love the resonance of the materials with us as human beings throughout the ages and throughout the world. I find it very uplifting and connecting to other people using those materials. I love that they are open-source, the people had access to them everywhere throughout time, and I love their mysteriousness that you kind of can’t get all of it, that they are not totally known. I loved that they are tricky to work with. I like working in an art form that gives you a lot of room to grow as an artist, and they really are challenging materials and they give you a lot of room to express yourself into grow.” - Mandy Aftel
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to share Saskia's large-format conversation with one of the pioneers of contemporary natural perfumer, Mandy Aftel, in the PERFUME Special Edition of Aromatika Magazine. Read this highly inspiring interview-article with thought-provoking lines such as ‘synthetics and naturals are like neon versus candlelight’.