photo courtesy of Aftelier Perfumes
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I have smelled the most beautiful fragrances at Mandy Aftel’s studio in Berkeley. The fact that her fragrances are all-natural made it even more satisfying. Few people know that most perfumes available, at both department stores and drug stores, are made with artificial fragrances using chemicals that are byproducts of petroleum. (I know—not the kind of thing you want to be spraying on your neck.) Aftel is a pioneer in the world of natural perfumery, and I’d recommend her book Essence an Alchemy: A Natural History of Perfume to anyone with even a passing interest in the topic.
Mandy sells her perfumes in pretty little bottles and also makes solids using organic unfiltered beeswax and jojoba oil that come in small silver compacts. New to her line: body and bath oils, body scrubs and products for the face. It was impossible for me to pick a favorite scent when I visited (read the “Behind the Green Scenes” feature), so I bought four miniatures (Fir, Shiso, Cacao, Tango) and one solid (jasmine). Of course I want to go back for more.
You can check it out yourself when Aftel opens her space to the public for her annual holiday sale, set this year for Saturday, December 15, and Sunday, December 16, at the Aftelier studio (1518 Walnut St., Berkeley).