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Perfumes: The A-Z Guide Paperback – October 27, 2009
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Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez are experts in the world of scent. Turin, a renowned scientist, and Sanchez, a longtime perfume critic, have spent years sniffing the world's most elegant and beautiful--as well as some truly terrible--perfumes. In Perfumes: The Guide, they combine their talents and experience to review more than twelve hundred fragrances, separating the divine from the good from the monumentally awful. Through witty, irreverent, and illuminating prose, the reviews in Perfumes not only provide consumers with an essential guide to shopping for fragrance, but also make for a unique reading experience.
Perfumes features introductions to women's and men's fragrances and an informative "frequently asked questions" section including:
What is the difference between eau de toilette and perfume?
How long can I keep perfume before it goes bad?
What's better: splash bottles or spray atomizers?
What are perfumes made of?
Should I change my fragrance each season?
Perfumes: The Guide is an authoritative, one-of-a-kind book that will do for fragrance what Robert Parker's books have done for wine. Beautifully designed and elegantly illustrated, this book will be the perfect gift for collectors and anyone who's ever had an interest in the fascinating subject of perfume.
Picking a Perfect Perfume
For Perfumes: The Guide, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez tested nearly 1,500 fragrances--some glorious, some foul. Here they offer some humble advice on finding something worth loving among the stinkers.
1. Smell top to bottom
Perfumes usually unfold in three (often very different) stages: the sparkling first few minutes are the fragrance's top note, followed by its true personality, known as the heart note, and ending with the base note, aka the drydown, hours later. Something you love at the counter you may loathe by the parking lot. We recommend top-to-bottom tests on skin and on paper, since some scents that disappoint on the heat of skin may shine on your shirtsleeve.
2. Write it down
Bring a pen to write names on paper test strips, so you're not in anguish hours later, trying to recall which is the third scent from the left that transports you to Shangri-La. Keep a cheap, possibly extremely trashy paperback on hand, so you can store strips between pages to keep them separate.
3. Rest your nose
Noses tune out, which is why you can smell your friends' homes but not your own. Smell no more than five scents per day on paper strips and try on only the best one or two, to keep your nose reliable.
4. Check the radiance
To get a good sense of how the perfume will smell to other people as you walk past, try spraying a test strip and leaving it in the room while you step out for a bit. Come back fifteen minutes later and breathe in: that's the radiance.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a legitimate view, and one to which I am highly sympathetic. That said, I think the authors overlook (or deliberately ignore) some of the factors that render the purely aesthetic appreciation of perfume difficult at best. First of all, perfumes are made to be worn. The final aesthetic effect of a fragrance is inseparable from the time, place, and person(s) involved. Of course this "framing" or contextualization effect is at work in all art forms, but it is arguably more important for perfumery than for others. Given the fact that perfumes are mixtures of chemicals, factors such as temperature, humidity, skin pH, decomposition, underlying body odor, age-related hyposmia, differing olfactory thresholds, etc.Read more ›
The Kindle edition is actually taken from the older, outdated hardback edition; which is to say it does not contain the numerous updates, new reviews(~450) and new Top 10 lists.
I enjoyed the fact that fragrance classifications were toyed with - and with extreme precision. For every "woody citrus" there's something like "evil tuberose" or "sad shampoo". But the authors don't spare themselves from the microscope, either - and hilariously so. [Spoiler: Tania admits to falling in love with one of my wife's favorites while drunk in the store, only to regret her romantic mistake upon sobering up.Read more ›
1. It's a bit sad to me that folks are so insecure. So what if Turin and Sachez have a different opinion than you? I have heard people say they were devastated that The Guide doesn't say "their scent" is great. It doesn't say some of my favorites are either, and I could care less.
2. Why is everyone saying it's bitchy? Yes, it's scathing, but it's not bitchy. There's a world of difference. Turin and Sanchez love scent and this comes through. They are having fun, I would imagine. And what do we do when we're having fun? Make jokes. Overstate. No, it's not bitchy, for it's never mean just for the sake of it.
3. These folks are professionals in their field. Dr. Turin designs new scent molecules. It is no wonder that they both go for the unusual and even the unwearable. The vast majority of the mid-scale department store scents smell the same: how would you like it if you had to test these on a regular basis? I'm sure your taste, too, would become more refined and gravitate to more bang than, say, yet another quiet white floral.
4. Folks, have some faith in your own opinions and just enjoy. The bottom line is this: this book is a great deal of fun. If you're looking for a list of ingrediants, google it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As of 2016, this delightfully written guide to perfume stands as one of a kind. The authors have done their best to provide a reasonably exhaustive. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Enjoyable read for anyone who loves perfume. I love Luca Turin's writing style.Published 3 months ago by Linda
This informative, well-written guide is a must for perfume aficionados.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Half the fun of this book is reading all the ways the author says he hates a fragrance. Also has some great information, Gave wife some ideas of perfume she wanted to try and for... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Jim E
To the publishers/authors: PLEASE update this book with perfumes made in the last 7 years!!
This is the best book ever. Ever. Read more
I don't mind that the opinions are subjective or that the book is not a "hard" reference. The topic is perfume after all, which should be fun and not too serious. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jennifer