People In Perfumeland – Mandy Aftel Of Aftelier Perfumes

In this new series of mini-interviews, I posed twenty questions to people in Perfumeland that I admire. The questions are very personal ones, the focus of this series is on the people behind the brands, not the products. I find it fascinating to know who made my favorite scents and to find out more about them. I’m very thankful to all who agreed to participate and to all of those who hopefully will in the future.

I’m honored to start this weekly series with a perfumer we all know and adore, the wonderful Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes.

mandy aftel

Mandy is a natural perfumer based in Berkeley, California where she has her own perfume studio. There she creates her amazing fragrances, teaches perfumery courses and collaborates with famous chefs by creating her Chef’s Essences. Mandy is also an accomplished author who gave us the widely read Essence&Alchemy: A Book Of Perfume and several other works pertaining to scent and aroma. She is now in the process of writing another book about fragrance that is eagerly awaited by many.

Mandy’s perfumes have had a big influence on my fragrant journey, some of her perfumes are very important to me because they have a great emotive power, one breath is enough to transport me. Mandy gave me an appreciation of the complexity of natural perfumery and the sheer beauty of natural essences. In her studio she does more than merely mix essences, her sums are always more than the parts. She is a true alchemist.

Enjoy Mandy’s anwers:

A good day starts with… a pot of oolong tea

I’d never leave the house without… a beautiful handbag

I always feel good when… I’m around my husband

My favorite thing in the world is… my bed

The next thing I want to buy is… more tiaré (gardenia) absolute

The place I always come back to is… Oaxaca, Mexico

My personal style is… special pieces loved over many years that feel like me

My favorite perfume… the last one that I made

When I travel, I… am thrilled when the plane ride is over

To relax I need… to feel in integrity with my values

I like to gift people with… something that is particular and deeply knowing of them

When I have a bad day, I… take a bath

I find my inspiration… in the gorgeous essences I create with

Something I would never want to miss… a moment with my husband

My last mistake was… trusting people who turned out to be mean

In my fridge there is always… brussel sprouts

On my nightstand I keep… my ipad mini

The perfect weekend starts with… no plans

My role model is… Bob Dylan

Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… ???

cepes tuberose aftelier

I love that Mandy is a fan of handbags, tiaré and brussels sprouts! Thank you very much for your time, Mandy!

Aftelier perfumes that really got to me and inspired some of my favorite reviews: Cepes&Tuberose :: Tango :: Secret Garden :: Sepia

Now, dear reader, please tell me: Did you enjoy this post? Is this kind of interview something you’d like to see more of? Anything you want to ask Mandy? Is there a question you feel should be included in these questionnaires in the future?

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57 Responses to People In Perfumeland – Mandy Aftel Of Aftelier Perfumes

  1. cookie queen says:

    Totally fascinating interview. I would be interested in their first remembered fragrance purchase! Fragrant hugs from the kitchen. xxx

  2. Sandra says:

    Wonderful start to the series! I enjoyed this very much and look forward to future interviews.

  3. Miss Woolf says:

    Thank you for this dear B (and apologies for being absent for so long), Mandy comes across as such a lovely woman (and of course I love her creations too). I look forward to this new series (and now I’m off for my morning yoga and a pot of oolong tea). Wishing you a beautiful day.

  4. Ines says:

    I loved it! Short and sweet. :)
    Looking forward to next installments.

  5. Jordan River says:

    A series; much better than the TV kind. I have Ancient Resins wafting from my beard, Mandy on Kindle, and Alchemy in my heart. I would love to know the name of the next book (but not if it is not too soon to reveal).

  6. Hi I love Mandy Aftel. My friend got me her book essence and alchemy for my birthday and I googled her. I have been dreaming of meeting her and taking one of her perfume courses. Thank you so much for the interview I’m a big fan and taking babysteps into perfumery. I even started to blog on it!

  7. solanace says:

    Lovely interview, and the suggestion of asking about the first perfume purchase is great. How adorable is Mandy Aftel? I’d love to take a course with her!

  8. Marilyn Welsh says:

    I think these interviews are a great idea. Most perfume lovers would like to have some insight into the artisans who create beautiful, complex, sophisticated fragrances – that can have amazing impact on the body’s senses & moods.

  9. Nana says:

    Lovely review B, thank so much for this insight into the lives of our favourite perfumeurs…
    Could you ask them what they would wear as a fragrance (not their own)…

  10. Suzanne says:

    I think these types of interviews are fun and make for great reading, Birgit. Looking forward to more of these!

  11. brie says:

    YES YES YES B! Please do more of these! Next to Laurie Erickson, Mandy is my idol (although I have not sampled many of her fragrances!). It was her book, Essence and Alchemy, that I read about half a dozen times in the short time span of a month that sent me down the rabbit hole of “blending” with organic essential oils!

    So I think you already know who I would love for you to interview next :D!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I do, and she is on my list of course! :)

      • arline says:

        I agree with Brie, and am right there with her.

        Mandy is adorable (and probably the only one I know of, that always has brussel sprouts in her fridge)

        I wish her perfumes were not out of my price range!!!!

        • Olfactoria says:

          It’s the high quality natural essences that command the price, I guess… I totally understand you though, budget-friendly they are not (but they constitute luxury and that rarely comes cheap).

  12. Persolaise says:

    Thanks Birgit, I always enjoy interviews like this. They may be brief, but they really put the subject on the spot and reduce pointless waffle :-)

    I guess Mandy and I feel the same about flying!! :-D

  13. ringthing says:

    I really enjoyed this, I’m a fan of the short & sweet interview. More, please :)

  14. Tara says:

    I love this format, B. The questions are great. More please!

    I feel like Mandy is a kindred spirit – apart from the brussel sprouts :) I guess the only thing I’d add would be some kind of book related question.

    Looking forward to the next instalment already.

  15. arline says:

    I would love to know what perfume she wears, and if she wears other perfumers perfumes.

  16. Love it, and feel the same about Mandy Aftel, and her wonderful book – and having just bought an iPad mini (I am in love with it) I feel I am in great company!

  17. aftelier says:

    What a lovely honor Birgit! I always felt so closely connected to you when you’ve had such personal & powerful responses to my perfumes, and I love your brilliant and insightful writing. And your questions here were terrific: clever, intimate, poignant – thank you so much!
    xo Mandy

  18. Mandy Aftel says:

    PS My husband roasts tiny brussel sprouts and they are a revelation — the secret is roasting, smallness and balsamic vinegar. My new book doesn’t have a good title yet, unfortunately.

  19. Much like Mandy and Asa, I love a pot of oolong tea. This was a wonderful first installment to your series, Birgit. I look forward to all of them.

  20. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Back then, Mandy and her book (Essence & Alchemy) turned me from aromatherapy to parfum. Now – after reading about her oolong tea in the morning, brussel sprouts, and Bob Dylan – I like her even more. Can’t wait to read her new book !

  21. Undina says:

    Great format, Birgit! It was a very enjoyable reading. I look forward to more of these (I love series! :) )

  22. I love this style of interview where we actually get to know other aspects of the perfumer. That said, Haute Claire just arrived in the mail so off to some perfume sniffing business!

  23. Loved this, thanks!

  24. Alexandra says:

    I really enjoyed the short questionnaire, and would love to see more: it gives a great mix of thoughtful and random answers! The only question I might add is favourite book or last read book – as I think we established there are a lot of reading fanatics among your readers (ah I see Tara already beat me too it!).

  25. I loved this questionnaire! Keep them coming! As for any additions, I’m sure as time goes on, more questions will be added because people will come up with new and exciting ideas they didn’t think of before.

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