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Eugène Rimmel (1820–1887) was one of the most famous perfumers of his time and is well remembered for his landmark perfumery book that has been one of the cornerstones of natural perfumery for over 150 years! His perfume company has gone through various reinventions over the decades and is still around as Rimmel London.

The Aftel Archive acquired an incredible cache of turn-of-the-century essences used by Rimmel's celebrated perfume house; they had been recently discovered in a Paris attic. Many of these hundred-year-old bottles are hand-labelled by fountain pen, and most still have their original contents. Discovering this trove had the excitement of finding buried treasure. I could imagine a person working to create a fragrance in their attic with tiny bottles of different shapes and labels—a mini perfume laboratory.

Rimmel’s Book of Perfumes (1865) contains many of his recipes for perfume and also features his intricate illustration, The Floral Clock (overleaf ).

Mandy Aftel is a preeminent artisan perfumer, educator, and Aftelier Perfumes, she has been hailed as one of the fragrance industry’s “most prolific talents” by Vogue and an “angel of alchemy” by Vanity Fair, and listed as one of the top seven bespoke perfumers in the world by Forbes. She is a founding adviser of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, which has created the Aftel Award for Handmade Perfume in her honour. In 2022, the IAO awarded her the Septimus Piesse Visionary Award for her lifetime achievements. Aftel is the author of nine books, including The Art of Flavor: Practices and Principles for Creating Delicious Food (Riverhead Books, 2017, with two-Michelin-star chef Daniel Patterson), Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent (Riverhead Books, 2014, Perfume Plume award for writing), Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume (FSG, 2001, fourteen foreign editions, Richard B. Solomon Award from the Sense of Smell Institute), Scents and Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well-Being (Gibbs Smith, 2005), and Aroma: The Magic of Essential Oils in Food and Fragrance (Artisan Books, 2004, with Daniel Patterson). In 2017, she created the Aftel Archive of Curious Scents in Berkeley, California—the only museum in the world dedicated to the history and experience of natural fragrance, showcasing her collection of one-of-a-kind-antique artefacts. It has received thousands of visitors.

To learn more about Mandy Aftel and her work, visit her website at

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop. 

Read the full Article in the Perfume Special 2023 edition (10.3) E. available in the shop.

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