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Scents & Sensibilities: Creating Solid Perfumes for Well-Being Hardcover – May 16, 2005

22 customer reviews

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$12.95 U.S. Delve into the world of natural perfume and discover how different scents can have a profound effect on your emotions, from relieving stress to enhancing sensuality. In Scents and Sensibilities, author Mandy Aftel teaches you everything you need to know to create your own handmade solid perfumes. Essential oils, concretes, and absolutes are combined to create aromas that enhance well being. Ingredients such as bitter orange, juniper berry, pink grapefruit, lavender, nutmeg, vanilla, sandalwood, and rose can create the perfect perfume for different moods. The book includes step-by-step instructions, photographs, lists of equipment, and types of containers. Scents and Sensibilities gives you the information, know-how, and recipes to bring tranquility, sensuality, and refreshment into your life. Mandy Aftel is the founder of Aftelier, through which she creates one-of-a-kind perfumes for individuals and private labels. Her work has been featured in such magazines as Vogue and Allure. Ms. Aftel is also a counselor and the author of four previous books, including Essence and Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume. She lives in Berkeley, California. Her website can be found at

About the Author

Writer and perfumer Mandy Aftel was a founder and chief perfumer of all-natural perfume company Grandiflorum, and went on to create Aftelier, a company that concentrates exclusively on creating custom perfumes for men and women. As an authority on natural essences and custom perfumes, she has participated in panels for the perfume industry, and demonstrated and taught the art of natural perfumery across the nation. Her work has been featured in publications including In Style, Vogue, W Magazine, Self, O (Oprah) Magazine, Allure, Health, and Elle. Her website can be found at

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith (May 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158685738X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586857387
  • Product Dimensions: 4.5 x 0.5 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By T. Morrison on July 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am a fan of Aftel's work, and I would recommend this for the person casually interested in making solid perfume. This small book -- it's about the size of a CD case -- contains a brief history of solid perfumes, an overview of top/middle/base notes, and easy-to-follow instructions. It's also packed with some beautiful photographs of Aftel's studio and various vessels, such as the shells of pocket watches, used to carry solid perfumes. For beginners, I would give this 4 stars.

For those already familiar with her work, I would give this 3 stars. 90% of the material in the book has already been covered in Aftel's other works, the excellent ESSENCE & ALCHEMY and AROMA. If you have the former, there really is no reason to get this book unless you are a completist or enjoy the photographs.
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42 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Y. Rubensson on November 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Not the nicest thing to say, but I found this book is acompletely waste of both money and reading effort. After reading Ms Aftels first book on natural perfumery, I had expected something similar and was deeply dissapointed. This is one tiny book, but so is Mindy Greens book "Natural Perfumes" and that one is surely worth every dime. The size of the fonts are too large = very little text on each page and the sad fact is, that it contains absolutely nothing new, that wasn't covered in Ms Aftels first book. Some of the pictures are beautiful, but so are the ones in other books on perfumery. The very few formulas that is offered are simple beyond simpleness and I believe that even beginner at the art of NP could come up with more inovative ones.

My advice is - don't buy this book! If you is interested in natural perfumery, there are quite few books on this topic, that offers more knowledge and inspiration than this one.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Clementine on July 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is not the most informative book about perfumes or aromatherapy that you can purchase. It has rudimentary info on a handful of selected oils and concretes. These topics are covered in more depth in Mandy Aftel's previous books, for those who want to know more. I am giving this one four stars for its beauty, its simplicity and for two very important points that it makes: 1) the act of creating a solid perfume is meditative for the practitioner, and 2) the use of a solid perfume, carried in a lovely container, can be a comforting and joyful daily ritual.

Aftel truly understands that the creation a beloved perfume should be a pleasant harmony of art, science and magic. Read it, try it and prepare to be delighted!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca of Amazon HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Using solid perfumes is a simple activity to incorporate into your life for reduction of stress...over time, just a whiff of your special fragrance can help you to become calmer and more grounded." ~Mandy Aftel

Mandy Aftel's work has been featured in Vanity Fair, Vogue and Allure. She creates unique perfumes for private labels and for individual clients. In this lovely colorful book, she explores how you can make your own solid perfumes and maybe even refill a collectible compact you discovered in an antique store. This book has made me want to go visit more antique stores to look for the little compacts you refill with the liquid perfume mixture. You could also use glass or new metal containers.

A Brief History of Perfume introduces you to the process of extracting the essential oils from plants. Entertaining facts about the Egyptians wearing solid perfumes on their heads makes this very enjoyable.

"As the ancients used perfumes in brooches, rings, pendants, and charms, so can we incorporate the same pleasurable effects of solid perfume in jewelry today."

The chapter on essential oils also explores top notes, absolutes and concretes. Perfume ingredients that are described include: Bitter Orange, Bois de Rose, Ginger, Lime, Pink Grapefruit, Virginia Cedarwood, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Lavender, Nutmeg, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Bezoin, Cocoa, Frankincense, Labdanum, Oakmoss and Vanilla.

Tools, beakers, bamboo many things I didn't know to use when making perfumes. You will probably find you have many items in your kitchen.

A Basic Solid Perfume Recipe is the starting point for your own discovery. Detailed instructions with pictures lead to the blissful moment of your own creation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophilia Eclectica on October 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you have Essence & Alchemy, you don't really need this book, although I'm happy to own this one, as well. I love the many pictures and the lush binding and the overall aesthetic mood of the book. I also enjoyed the history sections, where she speaks of balms and perfumes in antiquity (some of which is in Essence & Alchemy, but it's presented somewhat differently in this book).

Scents & Sensibilities is slightly more safety-aware than Essence & Alchemy, but in it she still advises the use of of cold-pressed citrus oils (I'm guessing Mandy Aftel had not, at the time her books were written, heard of phototoxicity), so before you use any of the recipes in this book, do your homework and learn about the cautions associated with essential oils.

As for the perfume recipes, there aren't that many of them, and the basic recipe for the beeswax and jojoba base is the same as the one given in Essence & Alchemy. If you know anything about aromatherapy or perfumery, you don't need these recipes, so buy the book for its lovely aesthetic graces, rather than its formulae or other content.
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