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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 7 May 2006
Considering the book is quite in depth in outlining the history of perfume, its practical and very readable .Attention to all details have been provided regarding essential oils throughout history to the present, including discussion on synthetic and consumer perfumes plus various recipes to produce your own natural perfumes.Throughout each chapter there are fantastic illustrations of period engravings and tales about the magic of perfume.To date the best book on essences and perfume I have read.
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on 24 January 2006
This book is brilliant - it magically captures the science, history, scents and tradition of perfume. It also gives suppliers and suggested basic recipes. This is a must for anyone interested in aromatherapy or creating their own scents.
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on 13 January 2012
I bought this book expecting an overview of the "world discovered in perfume's wake" as Amazon quotes from the backcover of one edition. I expected some history, a little background, insight into the cultural significance of perfume to fill in the gaps I still had after reading the very technical Luca Turin on the same subject. If you share these expectations reconsider getting this particular book.

The author provides some history, but it is very short and my impression while reading was that it's very unfocused. There's no timeline, no key thought to hold it all together as the author just rambles on about alchemy and how magical perfume is, which is not at all how I like my history served. The whole book up to the actual perfume making from essential oils is very repetitive and all I remember stated over and over again in one way or another boils down to: essential oils good (and earthy, natural, magical, etc.), synthetic compounds bad (non-magical and earthy that is). After a few times reading what is really only the author's subjective feeling and preference in choosing the ingredients for her everyday work I seriously considered putting the book down.

When you go past the whole alchemy/history piece, you get to what clearly is the author's passion - actual perfume making. Still infused with the "natural good, synthetic bad" approach, I imagine it would be extremely helpful to anyone wanting to make their own perfume. It was very informative, consistent and organized, taking the reader step by step further into the secrets of composition, actual mixing of ingredients and all the equipment you need to start your own perfumery workshop, from beginner to advanced perfumer. The author shares a lot of insight and her own experiences, even including a list of recommended shops and links.

The only problem is... I don't want to make my own perfume. While I enjoyed the latter part of the book, I still think the author should have skipped the first part and written a book called "How to be your own perfumer." To sum up, if you are interested in knowing how to get started on your own perfume - this is the perfect book for you. If, like me, this is not really what you're after, look for something else.
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on 24 November 2010
The fastest reading in last years - I really liked it. It gives basic understanding about composition of perfume, how to work on it, also some historical and antropological insights why perfumery is so special and even magic.

I reccomend it for everyone starting to understand perfumery.
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on 17 September 2010
Just how much I loved this book, I have never seen someone write with such passion like this woman.

I felt like I was reading such a complex, interesting subject. It make me want to go and research everything I can on perfume.

It has made me want to be apart of creating natural perfumes. It opens your eyes to the sadness of loss of great natural perfumes and smells

This is an amazing book, by just reading this you will feel true passion for anything you love.
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on 13 April 2011
This is a poetic, informative book on the history of perfume. It touches on various philosophical aspects in order to describe the nature of scent and provides an introduction to creating your own perfume. Easy reading, difficult to put down and full of infectious enthusiasm, this book will make you want to embark on creating your own perfumes imediately! Even if you have no intention of creating perfumes (which you may well have by the time you finish this book), Mandy Aftels Essence and Alchemy is an entertaining, inspiring and educational read.
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on 12 August 2013
Excellent introduction to perfume making for the beginner seeking to understand perfumery, the making and background. It is easy to read and not loaded with technical jargon.
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on 18 August 2012
I love this book and pick it up frequently when blending room sprays. I agree that it is not the most logical of formats in the way it is structured but it is an enjoyable, enthusiatic, random canter through the history of perfume with helpful, practical advice including which scents blend with others, the notes of some oils and a handful of perfume recipes.

All in all an informative and useful book but not a text book guide to making your own perfume - I'm sure it's all there you just have to find it (and mark it once found!)
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on 1 December 2014
I really love this book and I am now making my own perfume - thank you :o)
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on 18 November 2014
Very fast delivery, book in good order (very good book too!).
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