“Sensual” describes the essence of experiencing the full spectrum of emotions, using all of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and intuition.
Taking pleasure in the senses is called “sensuality.” Sensuality demands a response. Responding to your senses creates a relationship between you and your world around you.
Scents unlock emotions. Think about the last time you put your nose near a bouquet of flowers; remember how the scent raised your spirits. Did a spontaneous smile brighten your face? Did you briefly isolate the delicate fragrance from your other senses or did you enhance the fragrance by noticing the color and texture of the pedals and leaves? Right now, are your emotions stirred by your memory of the scent of flowers?
Aromatic oils and herbs have been used for millennia as aphrodisiacs and seductive potions. The Egyptians used scents for healing and to induce pleasant dreams. Likewise, the Greeks used various scented oils as antidepressants, sleep aids, and aphrodisiacs.
Modern research demonstrates how smells influence your moods, evoke emotions, counteracts stress and enriches your living environment.
There are slightly more than a handful of highly trained and uniquely gifted authorities in natural perfume. Mandy Aftel is recognized as one of the elite pioneers in the modern field of natural perfumery. Forbes.com http://www.forbes.com has recognized her as one of top seven bespoke perfumers in the world.
Mandy Aftel, the nose behind Aftelier Perfumes http://www.aftelier.com, handcrafts sumptuous liquid and solid perfumes from more than 500 of the finest pure and natural essences in the world. Over many years, she has sourced a collection of scents, many of them so rare that they no longer are found in the marketplace.
Dubbed the “angel of alchemy” by Vanity Fair http://www.vanityfair.com, Aftel is passionately ensuring the art of natural perfumery, once near extinction, evolves and thrives.
Much like the fabled “Pied Piper”, her fragrances lure you away, absorbed in your senses, much like the piper’s music in the children’s rhyme.
Aftel is personally leading an aromatic revolution. “The golden age of naturals hasn’t happened. Yet”, she claims!
Aftel has designed custom blends for Hollywood stars, writers, and restaurants, as well as private labels. I am one of those very lucky people to have a custom fragrance formulated just for me!
My custom perfume has become my trademark, my signature scent. People are becoming to recognize me by the aura that my exclusive fragrance creates.
I am thrilled!
Yet, best of all, the scent of my custom perfume reminds me of the exquisite process I participated in with Mandy Aftel as she identified the scents that attracted me most.
I arrived at her enchanting home in a most charming Berkeley neighborhood, near the University. Rows of delicate antique perfume bottles in every shape, size, and color fill the front window.
I entered the front door. The welcoming scents of flowers and herbs fill her home. Her studio displayed a complete library of more than 200 rare books on scents. I studied the titles of the books closely and Aftel had authored three, Essence and Alchemy: the Natural History of Perfume, Aroma (a cookbook focusing on the link between food and fragrance), and Scents and Sensibilities.
She kindly prepared a shimmering glass of rose scented water for me to enjoy as we departed on our luscious journey through my sense of smell.
This is how Aftel describes her consultation for custom perfumes:
“My creation of a personalized perfume begins with a ninety-minute consultation, in which I guide my clients through an authentic experience with scent. Rather than rely on questionnaires about food or lifestyle preferences, I take them on an aromatic tour of my collection of more than a hundred natural essences, so that I can create a blend based upon their direct, unique emotional and sensual responses to the ingredients themselves. As we sample the essences, I note the client's responses, both verbal and nonverbal, looking for the alchemy that will transform these raw, sensual materials into the right formula for this particular person. Each scent reacts differently to each person's skin, and each person reacts idiosyncratically to each scent.”
Aftel presented an array of scents to me. She instructed me to experience the scents with my eyes wide open. Finally, as nearly 2 hours passed, we had chosen a collection of scents most pleasing to me. In her special way, she then combined most of these scents into my custom fragrance.
The sensually creative experience continued. Aftel sent me a small sample of my unique fragrance. She offered to make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure my final product was perfect. It was perfect the very first time. Good thing, because I could not have given it up!
Natural perfumery “satisfies the hunger for authenticity” that seems so necessary in transitional times like these.
Aftel explains, “Scent has always provided a direct path to the soul, and no one becomes immersed in it can fail to be pleasurably changed by the experience.”
Scents are grounding and generate a sense of pleasure that reaches the most primal area of our human brains, the limbic lobe, the seat of sexual and emotional impulses, reassuring us that beauty does exist in everyday living.