Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume

ISBN: 0865475539
ISBN 13: 9780865475533
By: Mandy Aftel

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Reader's Thoughts


Gorgeous writing and excellent instruction for any interested in learnign to craft natural perfume. It is not a comprehensive work on the art, but it is an inspiring starting point and has been a valuable resource to me in my blending.


This book was extremely helpful to learn how to make your own perfume. I loved this book. :)


Beautiful writing style and great information for a perfumer just starting out. Towards the end she lost me a bit because it started going a bit off topic. Great read, very helpful!


This is a cross between a layman's textbook on perfume (including resources for the beginning perfumer, and a recipe to create as you progress through the book) and a philosophical treatise on the intersections of perfume with alchemy, spirituality, and sex. It covers the history of perfumery fairly widely, but not in great depth. I'd buy a copy of this purely for the bibliography.


so far so bad. assumption-laden and factoid ridden. irritating and ill-informed. there's some fascinating writing about olfactory processing in humans. this is not it.I plugged on for a while as she has a vast collection of antiquarian perfume and alchemy books. I had a vain hope some distillate of that history might have infused these pages.


If you are interested in this topic, this is a good book with lots of illustrations.

Lana Zoubkov

It was my first book on perfume and I think it was a great introduction for someone who would like not only enjoy perfume but also experiment creating my own signature fragrance.


Very very interesting. Read it while re-reading Jitterbug perfume and at the same time we discovered


This is a pretty interesting book about smells. Nice smells. Written by an author who is passionate but, if I remember correctly, very slightly overbearing.


Reading this book was a direct result of my new obsession with the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, a boutique perfume oil company that I just ADORE. There's lots of practical information, a big helping of encouragement to experiment, and lots of good mythological and historical tidbits.


A very sensual book that can inspire a new hobby.


I picked this up at an airport bookshop ... I believe it was on our way back from Europe that one time when we went. An interesting look at the history and making of perfumes. It actually inspired me for a few months to try making my own.

Patricia Joynton

I read this book b/c my daughter Stefanie and I were going on a trip in California to a naturalist place and making perfume was an activity of the resort we were going to. I was getting ready for the trip, but then a mud slide took out the road to the resort and we had to cancel.Glad I found it. Think I will make my own from my garden. I've always considered fragrance when I order my plants, especially roses.


I eventually lost interest and stopped reading this book.

Tristan Tarwater

Read this book as an intro to perfumery and scent. Enjoyed the narrative and information there. Not a recipe book by any means but a good read.

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