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Perfumes: The A-Z Guide Paperback – Oct 27 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (Oct. 27 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780143115014
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143115014
  • ASIN: 0143115014
  • Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 4.1 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 680 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #108,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Less a guide in the sense of helping people choose the perfect fragrance than a wide-ranging, critical review of some 1,200 perfumes, both famous and obscure, this comprehensive book is unfailingly entertaining. A collaboration between Turin, a well-known olfactory scientist, and Sanchez, a perfume collector and critic, the book brings their exquisite connoisseurship to life in a contagious manner. Their passion for a few scents and their outrage at the others' failings make for entry after entry of hilarious, catty comments interspersed with occasional erudite, eloquent disquisitions. French perfumery Guerlain is subject to both: Jicky is an object lesson in perfumery... a towering masterpiece, while Aqua Allegoria Pivoine Magnifica is like chewing tin foil while staring at a welding arc. Other startlingly evocative metaphors abound, especially those comparing perfumes to people, whether someone real (Amy Winehouse, Paris Hilton) or a general type (socialites, someone ill with bronchitis). This will be a must-have for anyone who already loves perfumes, though many of the reviews will cause violent disagreement, and those who aren't utterly perfume-obsessed will still appreciate the opening essays on olfactory science, the history of perfume, general types of fragrances and how to choose perfumes. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


As scintillating as it is comprehensive...this pungent, entrancing book is a wake up call for the nostrils. The Independent An unexpected classic of criticism -- Philip Hensher Spectator (Books of the Year) If you are at all interested in perfume, one of life's greatest sensual pleasures, this is an essential possession -- David Sexton Evening Standard This husband-and-wife team has produced a work of perfume criticism that is as gripping as any thriller. -- Jan Moir Daily Mail I loved it and bought it for all my friends. I have to say that this is certainly my favourite non-fiction book ever and is very likely my favourite book of all time! If I had to take only one book with me onto a desert island for an indefinite time, it would be this one. Joanne Harris - author of 'Chocolat' The perfect gift for the scent addict in your life...witty and informative - and, occasionally, deliciously bitchy. The Times Brilliant writing... I shall now spray on my favourite scents in quite a different frame of mind! -- Joanna Trollope By email hugely engrossing...the writing is brilliant...gorgeous. Evening Standard Lyrical and acerbically witty compendium. The Times From riotous one-liners to elaborate reviews, fragrance experts Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez have written an authoritative guide to the best and worst scents. Daily Express It's a great book because it brilliantly combines technical knowledge with evocative, poetic and often laugh-out-loud-funny prose to provide incisive, vivid and honest criticism of all perfumes - from the 'staggeringly bad' to the 'deeply divine'. If you want to open your mind to the intricacies of scent - and enjoy a brilliant, entertaining read along the way - I can't recommend it enough. Elle consistently entertaining...scathingly inventive bitchiness. Sunday Business Post astonishingly brilliant and witty companion to all things fragrant. Spectator dazzlingly comprehensive compendium...the writing is the olfactory equivalent of mouthwatering. Observer genuinely wonderful...the authors's sense of smell is amazing. Daily Telegraph I was fascinated... a description of every perfume known to man, which sounds peculiar, but is mesmeric. -- William Leith Evening Standard (Books of the year) a staggeringly complete compilation of perfume reviews...ridiculously entertaining. Daily Mail For any fragrance indispensable beauty bible. Norwich Evening News Highly entertaining critique which had me both fascinated and laughing out loud in equal measure... addictive and informative. -- Phyl Clarke Irish Times It's scents-sational! -- Rochelle Warner A wise investment and an addictive read. -- Gillian Nelis Sunday Business Post The authors' evocative and vivid writing style convinces us that perfume isn't a science but an art. Never again will you be able to walk past a perfume counter with quite the same nonchalance... if you have a nose for a good book, buy this one. -- Anita Sethi Independent on Sunday They're funny, bizarre, weird, hilarious writers. -- Alex Heminsley BBC Radio 2 It's an eau-de-must-have. If it came in a bottle we'd wear it. The City Weekly Magazine (Australia) As riveting as a novel and as therapeutic as a recipe book. -- Jan Masters Reader's Digest --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Quite a few of my favourite fragrances are the authors' top choices too, like YSL M7, Azzaro, and Cool Water. Almost none of my wife's favourites are listed in the book. A book like this is obviously very subjective. But I learned a lot about how to describe fragrances, how to apply them, and what goes into them. All in all, a lovely book, really enjoyed reading it. It is now a reference every time I want to try a new perfume.
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By NW on Nov. 20 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really good book for those in the fragrance business or for those looking to pick a signature scent. Easy use for quick reference purposes. The book was missing its dust cover and a bit banged up on the corners but otherwise it was in good shape.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you've read "The Emperor of Scent" about the brilliant rebel scientist, Luca Turin, you must have this book. Even if you haven't, and you have become interested in our least understood sense, 'smell'....this is a fabulous book. It doesn't matter whether you agree with his ( and his equally nose-worthy partner's) choices for favourite perfumes. What's engaging about the book is their commentary. The descriptions of their perceptions of the various hundreds and hundreds of perfumes they review, can be ruthless, funny but always enlightening and extremely perceptive. Learning to actually 'describe' a scent, has been the most interesting aspect of this book. I find smells generally hard to describe....either they're 'nice' and I like it, or they're 'bad' and I don't like it. To learn to identify chemical components or categories (spicy, floral, citrus, woods, aldehydes etc) and then to articulately describe feelings and more abstract qualities around these scents, opens up a whole new world of appreciation. Our society emphasizes being articulate about visual and aural perceptions but not about our primal sense of smell. This is a great book for taking a new journey and educating yourself about how we 'smell' and enjoying two people who are obviously masters in the art of understanding 'scent'. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the book. Funny, intelligent, instructive. It would be nice if this guide have been updated to include new perfumes, but also other earlier perfumes that are not reviewed.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great compendium of scent and perfume descriptions.
Some are funny and others biased but overall, a great reference book.
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