Thursday, February 12, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez

Perfumes: The Guide is a wonderful tribute to the art of perfumery written with humor and passion. The authors write about scent like others write about food or wine and, just like a good food or wine writer will have you seeking out food and drink, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez will have you running for the perfume counter to start sniffing away for that smell that will send you to nirvana.

The book begins with several essays followed by almost fifteen hundred fragrance reviews. A nifty glossary of materials and terms (aldehydes anyone?) is located toward the back of the book for those of us who can appreciate nice smells but are otherwise clueless as to the fascinating art of perfumery.

I'll leave you with a quote by Tania Sanchez from her essay "Beauty and the Bees":
"[Perfume should] engage our attention to a satisfying end, first creating an expectation and then satisfying it in a way different and better than you hoped."

Thanks to Bellezza for bringing this book to my attention!


  1. You wrote a wonderful review, Terri!! I loved this book, and read it all the time when referring to perfume. I have a rather embarrassing collection, and now, I see that several of them are not considered "masterpieces." Most glaring of all to me was his review of Cabotine, which, I'm sorry to say, has been one of my favorites. Most surprising to me was how he rates almost all of Lauder's as above excellent. I do, though, love Clinique's American perfume he calls brilliant. Do you know it?

  2. Bellezza: I didn't end up with any of the "masterpieces" either, but one of my perfumes managed a four star rating (Coco Chanel). Another of my perfumes actually got one star. Ouch! I don't think I've ever smelled Aromatics. I'll have to go take a sniff next time I'm at the Clinique counter. Do you know about The Perfumed Court? I'll be ordering some samples from them soon.

  3. Terri, I wrote you back about the Perfume Court: wonderful place! As to Aromatics, it's not for everyone, but I've worn it off and on since I was 17. It's magical to me, but it made my principal sneeze.