A book about perfume written by a scientist and a perfume critic is going to be boring, right? Wrong. Turin and Sanchez have a way with words that not only make the world of fragrance accessible, but also entertaining.
Perfumes The A-Z Guide introduces us to perfume criticism, takes us through the different ways we perceive feminine and masculine fragrances, teaches us how to go about choosing a new scent, and gives us a brief history of perfume. This is all before we come to the frequently asked questions section which is the most comprehensive I’ve seen anywhere. Each chapter is written with not only knowledge, but more humour than you thought possible when discussing perfume. All that’s left are the perfume reviews.
Oh, the perfume reviews. There are almost 1,500 no holds barred, if we think a perfume is awful then we’ll say just that, reviews to dip in and out of. Preceding each review is a star rating out of five, a price indication (based on the standard US retail price) and a two word description of the perfume’s main character, e.g. Alien by Thierry Mugler is described as a woody jasmine.
I’m not going to lie, I went straight to my favourite perfumes to see what Turin and Sanchez thought of them. Isabella by Isabella Rosselini is not listed and the others didn’t fare as well as I would have liked, MyQueen by Alexander McQueen received two stars (not recommended) and Alien by Thierry Mugler received three stars (good). Although it was interesting to see where our opinions differed, there is no fear of me changing my mind and we do agree that Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb is far too rosy. I’ve said before scent is a personal thing and you like the perfumes you like even if others don’t. That’s what we love about them and is one of the reasons why there are so many on the market.
Whether you are a newcomer to, or a long time lover of, the world of fragrance there is something here for everyone. Perfumes The A-Z Guide would make a welcome addition to any book shelf or coffee table. Luca Turin’s other book The Secret of Scent is firmly on my to-read list and my to-try perfume list has almost doubled in length.