Aside from compliments about one’s intellect or kind demeanor, the only thing better than You look amazing today is You smell amazing. If you actively attempt to garner the latter, there’s no doubt you’re already familiar with Essenza in Fremont. And you should also be familiar with Mandy Aftel.
If it matters to you at all, Madonna and Liv Tyler are — in fact, the Berkeley-based perfumer and author made them their own customized scents. A leading expert on natural oils, natural ingredients, and seductive, sweet, earthy, rich, and otherwise desirable smells, Aftel will be at Essenza on Saturday April 24 from 4 to 7 to demonstrate her enviable talents.
Folks from Theo Chocolate will be there too. That little bit above about natural ingredients? I’m not just talking about wild frankincense and organic ginger. Check Aroma, a cookbook Aftel penned with chef Daniel Patterson.
On Saturday, Theo will offer Essenza’s guests a rare essential oil confection created in collaboration with Mandy; a complementary red wine will be served as well.
Below is a brief Q and A with Aftel to get you ready for the event. Oh, and, speaking of getting ready for the event: I’d recommend not wearing your favorite fragrance. Chances are good you’ll have a new one before the day is through, and you certainly don’t want to miss a note of Essenza’s esteemed guest.
Wear What When: Can you explain the intense connection between taste, smell, and our personal histories?
Mandy Aftel: The process by which smell becomes fused with place or experiences is actually involuntary. Smell is the only sense that connects directly to brain’s limbic system — the center of taste, emotion, and memory. This direct link gives scent its emotional power, and it is why we form such strong attachments to things that smell or taste good.
WWW: You’ve been called the Alice Waters of perfumes. How would you like to revolutionize – or at least improve – the American scent industry?
MA: Cooking and natural perfumery share many common characteristics, not only in the reliance on the effects of the limbic system, but the importance of the ingredients in the quality of the final result. I would love to see the use of the best quality natural essences in perfumery.
WWW: I’m interested in your gender non-specific take on scents. Describe the notes and harmonies of a scent you would give a man who professes to be not interested in cologne.
M.A.: I would introduce them to my Fig perfume. It is a real favorite with men and smells like the ripe fruit.
WWW: I love how you relate a meal’s ingredients to a perfume’s ingredients. It’s all about sourcing the most delicious stuff. Are there any correlations between your favorite meals and your favorite perfumes?
M.A.: My favorite meals are quite simple and focus on the beautiful combination of textures, colors and flavors. I think the same way about my perfume essences when I am creating a perfume; the balance between heavy and light essences, woods and florals, sharp and flat aromas.
WWW: Are there any Northwest ingredients, either food- or scent-oriented, that especially appeal to you? Anything you’re excited to get your hands on while you’re here?
M.A.:I love the atmosphere that permeates Seattle: the water, the smell of coffee, the bohemian atmosphere combined with the rugged outdoors, and of course, the rain.