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Aftel Archive of Curious Scents

Last Saturday I was invited to visit Mandy Aftel's amazing little Aftel Archive of Curious Scents in Berkeley. A labor of love between Mandy and her husband Foster, this museum took them three years to build and complete. 

Photo credit: Joel Bernstein

This beautiful archive is a special opportunity to see, touch, and smell Mandy's personal collection of antique perfume essences, raw materials, and rare perfumery books. It has taken her thirty years to collect these precious treasures, so we're extremely lucky that she has decided to share them with the public. Her knowledge, enthusiasm, and generosity on this topic are boundless.  

Photo credit: Joel BernsteinThere are a lot of fabulous discoveries: an ambergris display; an interactive breakdown of her Curious perfume notes; a custom-built perfume organ that contains over 200 botanical absolutes. You'll get to taste some chocolate that's flavored with your choice of Chef's Essences. As a parting gift you'll also get to choose three letterpress scent strips to take home.

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly suggest you visit this lovely museum. If you're a perfume lover, this is definitely a must-see. 

Image credit: Joel Bernstein

The Aftel Archive of Curious Scents is open each Saturday from 10am-6pm. Admission is $20 for a 1-hour visit. Tickets and more info are available at

For editorial consideration, a press visit was provided by the brand.

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Reader Comments (4)

Wow Tami, I'm so glad that you & Gio got to come see it, and I love your photos & wonderful review -- thank you so much! 🙏💜👃🏼🏛✍🏻📷👀💋
Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMandy Aftel
Thanks again Mandy for your kind invite! It's a spectacular space you have there! xoxoxo
Thursday, June 7, 2018 at 3:14 PM | Registered CommenterTami
Mandy is so gifted. I'm so glad she continues that age-old art of perfume making into this modern era.
Sunday, June 10, 2018 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn Jung
@Carolyn: She totally is. And we're so lucky to have her sharing her knowledge and gifts with us. :)
Monday, June 11, 2018 at 11:14 AM | Registered CommenterTami

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