- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1st edition (January 22, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805080376
- ISBN-13: 978-0805080377
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #942,485 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York Hardcover – January 22, 2008
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. New York Times perfume critic Burr (The Emperor of Scent) follows the creation of two new scents—Un Jardin sur le Nil by French luxury house Hermès, and Lovely, a celebrity fragrance by Sarah Jessica Parker—in a kind of travelogue through the international perfume industry, one of the most insular, glamorous, strange, paranoid, idiosyncratic, irrational, and lucrative of worlds. The former perfume was conceived by Hermès, informed by a trip to Egypt, then crafted by Jean-Claude Ellena, who represents a breed of ghosts known in the biz as perfumers. For the latter, Parker worked as artistic director of a corporate scent-making team. Burr illuminates perfumery's clash of cultures and values—French artistic purity versus American commercialism. Worldwide, this highly secretive industry's PR machine propagates several anachronistic myths. For example, it insists that perfume ingredients are naturally derived (the overwhelming majority are not, because of concerns about quality control, ecological impact and allergies, among others) and that the big names on the bottles are personally involved in creating scents (perfumers alone typically do this; Parker was a rare exception). Burr makes a strong case that this mythmaking works to the industry's detriment, and that inviting the public behind the scenes might help to reverse the industry's declining sales. Burr's is a thorough and often hilarious account of perfumery's colorful characters, the science and art of fragrance creation and the human experience of scent itself. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance.” ―The Dallas Morning News
“The Perfect Scent has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location.” ―Los Angeles Times
“An inside, Hollywoodesque account.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle.” ―Associated Press
“Passionate and captivating.” ―The Toronto Star
“An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions.” ―The Kansas City Star--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
I was also intrigued at the idea that fragrances were all unisex until the early 20th century - prior to then, men and women wore what they liked, rather than what was 'marketed' to them. And finally, finally! I understand why the majority of American fragrances smell the same to me - because they ARE the same (common ingredients in standard proportions)... and also why French perfumes are so vastly different.... and most interestingly, perhaps, is a wonderful and insightful discussion of "naturals" vs. "synthetics" in fragrance, which has forever altered my perspective on what is a 'quality' ingredient.
The only reason I gave the book for stars instead of five is honestly because the very end of the book felt rushed - felt incomplete. Given that it started life as an article in the New Yorker, I'm not surprised... articles and books have different requirements for endings. But I was very sorry to see the creative process that brought Parker's latest fragrance, Covet, to market in 2007 given only a paragraph in the end (though the origins are clearly visible throughout the early creative process and then meetings where IFF is trying to discern Parker's scent preferences. It would have been a nice coda to the original story, or perhaps to weave the Covet story throughout.
I bought the book on the strength of Burr's earlier work, and those who used it (as I did) as a virtual shopping list of fragrances to try will find this book an even better resource. And for the record, Jardin sur le Nil is one of my favorite fragrances, along with Jardin Mediterran and the newly-released Kelly Caleche. I am not a big fan of Lovely - but Parker's personal favorite scents are some of my own, and I also wear Covet on a regular basis... and now I will look forward to her next release, which I hope will have that 'dirty' feel she's been wanting to put out there from the beginning...
He fills this book with so many interesting tidbits about perfume and scent that I have frequently quoted from it when trying to make a point about fragrance to a friend or colleague. I love the bits of science that are injected into this book, the overviews of molecules and their uses in many industries. The information is so fun (and for me, mind-boggling), that I have read the book several times.
That said, his writing style drives me just about batty. I get so tired of his sentences structure, his fragments that are meant to drive home a point, that I have to stop reading every few pages and put the book down. As other reviewers have noted, he is slightly obsessed with describing exactly how each and every individual is dressed (always to the nines, no matter what); on one hand, this can get a bit grating, but on the other, it does help the reader visualize and mentally sort all of the players in these stories. If you speak French, you may be thrilled with the French sentences that are inserted every other paragraph or so. If you do not speak French, you might still find these delightful, as they are helpfully translated. If you are a grumpy person like me, you might wonder if Burr isn't showing off just a wee bit.
If you are interested in fragrance, this book is a must-read. Don't let the fact that Burr has some rather startling pronouncements about smells terrify you - he might be wrong.