Mandy Aftel – Of Scent and Tea

December 7th, 2008 — 5:19pm

I went to Mandy Aftel’s holiday sale today. She’s a perfumer, and I went to buy something wonderful. Her solid perfumes infused with conifer and rose drive me wild.

But I also went just to soak up the smells of her workshop. Bergamot. Civet. Currant. Lavender. Rose. Black Spruce (my absolute favorite). Frankincense. And, um, Myrrh.

She served me some Oolong tea, infused with ginger and Turkish rose. Like drinking perfume.
And what I realized is that we use our eyes to see, ears to hear, and mouth to taste, but we are losing touch with the depth and power of smell. We live in a polluted world, which is hard enough. But also, we live in one where synthetic scents reign.
Which is why smelling natural scents is so powerful, and on occasion, intoxicating.

Which is also why, on this chilly Winter Berkeley day, I’m about to pour myself a bath — and fill it with some Black Spruce absolute.

I am already purring.

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