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

4.9 out of 5 stars 7 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: 4.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,115 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.

Review

aWhile the authors embrace point systems and science, they also offer vivid, funny, evocative descriptions of the smells they write abouta]To enjoy "Perfumes," you donat need to know, or even to like, perfumes, such is the brio of Turinas and Sanchezas prosea]This is fun to read a and a rare pleasure, tooa]The joy of Turin and Sanchezas book, however, is their ability to write about smell in a way that manages to combine the science of the subject with the vocabulary of scent in witty, vivid descriptions of what these smells are like. Their work is, quite simply, ravishingly entertaining, and it passes the high test that their praise is even more compelling than their criticisma]Its blend of technical knowledge and evocative writing is exemplary in the strict sense: people who write about smell and taste in any context should use it as an example.a
-"The New Yorker"
aThis comprehensive book is unfailingly entertaininga]Their passion for a few scents and their outrage at the othersa failings make for entry after entry of hilarious, catty comments interspersed with occasional erudite, eloquent disquisitionsa]This will be a must-have for anyone who already loves perfumesa]and those who arenat 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.a
-"Publishers Weekly," starred review
aAfter spending the better part of a weekend reading a galley a often aloud to anyone willing to listen a I'm convinced Turin and Sanchez offer some of the most stylish, erudite and hilarious criticism in any subject field.a
-"Dallas Morning News"

"Ravishingly entertaining. . . . Its blend of technical knowledge and evocative writing is exemplary in the strict sense: people who write about smell and taste should use it as an example."
-"The New Yorker"

"As vivid as any criticism I've come across in the last few years, and what's more a revelation: part history, part swoon, part plaint."
-Jim Lewis, "Slate"

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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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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
This is a great book. It's handbook sized but stuffed full of information. More than1800 perfumes in here. It includes history, what each one smells like,star ratings,if something has been reformulated or totally extinct. Sense of humour from the writers here too. The super 5 star perfumes are printed in purple on the page.I tended to read these first. Of course,everyone's opinion is different but it's very interesting. I find myself picking it up a lot.
Does make you want to go out and buy though!
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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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