The Clever Root

Fall / Winter 2015

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Page 49 of 111

5 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t Natural Perfumer Mandy Aftel Leads a Scent Evolution BY DEBORAH PARKER WONG / PHOTOS BY STEPHANIE SECREST SCENT SCENT SCENT SCENT SCENT SCENT s anyone who has held their nose in an effort to swallow something unpleasant is aware, our ability to taste is inex- tricably linked to our sense of smell. While the mechanics of olfaction rely on a bulb of nerves and cilia on the roof of our sinuses—the olfactory epithelium—the ability to discern aromas and flavors whether they're emanating from jasmine absolute or Cabernet Sauvignon requires considerable skill. When it comes down to differentiating molecules, perfumers are among the most highly trained. Winemakers study their methods to identify the specifics of terroir and to eliminate unwanted aromas and flavors in wine. Chefs of all kinds are increasingly drawn to their materials and, more particularly, to those of natural perfumer Mandy Aftel. Aftel's home studio sits on a quiet street in Berkeley, California, tucked behind what has long been a mecca for gustatory flavor seekers, Chez Panisse. And while she opens the doors of her sanctuary to the public 5 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t Berkeley-based natural perfumer Mandy Aftel is an advocate for natural essences in an indus- try dominated by the use of synthetics.

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