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The book doesn't simply address the fans of natural perfumery but aims at the hearts of everyone with an interest in the sensual and spiritual aspects of scents. It's more of a journey into discovering what the world around has to offer as well as the mystical bond between the senses and our grasp of the cosmos. Using scent as the medium Aftel with her usual sensuous prose explores basic essences and rarer or more exceptional ones with the same passion for observation and analytical deconstruction. Without requesting insider knowledge or expertise in perfumery jargon Fragrant takes the reader into a 5 part adventure; each punctured by a single momentous essence that can turn into fragrance.
Cinnamon marks with its spicy trail the beginning of man's search for the exotic East and the wealth it offers.
Mint is the smell of familiarity. Know throughout the world and marking home and homeland mint can act as a powerful symbol for that which is luxurious in its easing into the comfort of the "here and now".
Incense stands for mysticism and for a spiritual endeavor. The smoky trail these resins produce which rises in the air is our gateway to the realm of the gods.
Ambergris from the whale is the seafaring adventure turned prized loot; a substance as soft as a sable coat and as sensuous as bare supple skin itself. It's symbolizes human curiosity and evokes all the quirkiness that animal essences stand for.
Jasmine stands for beauty and the unapologetic pleasure in savoring that beauty; whether it be permanent or ethereal... like the vapors of a perfume.
Little anecdotes are dotting the pages and recipes for easily composed perfumes (in a variety of forms such as solid or oil or alcohol based) are included. A few of them involve the addition of one rare and unexpected ingredient into an otherwise familiar mix; like the chocolate drink laced with ambergris that Charles the I of Englad used to enjoy!
Fragrant the Secret Life of Scent is a book that should be part of every well versed library on scent and olfaction but also a welcome gift to anyone wanting to explore the sensuous facets of our everyday life.