Aftel Archive of Curious Scents - Atlas Obscura

Aftel Archive of Curious Scents

Nose around a unique collection of more than 300 natural aromas used to craft perfume fragrances. 


An assortment of aromatic artifacts fills a quaint backyard cottage in BerkeleyCalifornia. The Aftel Archive of Curious Scent is the first museum in the United States dedicated solely to the experience of natural fragrances.

Walking through the museum, you can touch, see, and, of course, smell the raw materials used to craft perfume essences. The small museum is devoted entirely to natural aromatics and artifacts. In our outdoor garden annex, you can sniff over 40 essences made from fruits, flowers, grasses, trees, and animal secretions.

The collection contains items like a taxidermy civet, a cat-like animal with a particularly pungent glandular section; perfume essences that are 100 years old; and a papier-mâché “vegan taxidermy” musk deer, an animal that was driven to near-extinction because of its highly coveted secretion.

Every item in the archive is authentic and original. After nosing around the collection, visitors can choose five scented samples to take home from among over 200 bottles of natural essences.

Know Before You Go

Open every Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are available on the website. Walk-ins also welcome, pay at the door. Contract or 510-841-2111 for more info.

In partnership with KAYAK

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