Perfumes: The A-Z Guide Paperback – International Edition, October 27, 2009
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-"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"
About the Author
Tania Sanchez is a writer of poetry, fiction, and essays, a sometime journalist, and a senior editor for a small nonfiction publishing house in New York. She is also an avid perfume collector and all-around perfume expert. She has contributed hundreds of perfume reviews on several of the perfume boards and blogs, as well as writing her own blog, which not infrequently deals with perfume. She provided editorial advice in exchange for perfume during the development of Luca Turin's The Secret of Scent.
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These guys really do know how to break scents down. I don't agree with them all the time, but at least now I have a critical framework to hang my opinions on. And they are hilarious when they hate something. Still, I hope it goes without saying that choices about scent are personal, and if they trash something you love, so what? Chances are you won't love everything they recommend--although you should try to at least get your hands on a sample to find out what they're talking about.
One: this book is nearly a decade old. It doesn't need an update; it needs a second volume. A revolution in niche fragrance (perhaps kick started by this book, among other things) and a decade's worth of new releases from mainstream houses seem to call for another volume.
Second: *general* ($-$$$$) price points in would be nice, somewhere in the reviews. It seems that the reviewers often have a particular grudge against a fragrance house as a whole, and I wonder if it may have something to do with price-to-quality ratio. This may be an editorial decision, but I see no shame in calling out a producer who overcharges gullible consumers for luxury goods that promise substance and don't even deliver style.
Even so, if we need critics for anything, we need them to help us broaden our horizons, and to help us discern quality and value along the way. Bravo, Mr, Turin and Ms, Sanchez. Please write another book, and tell us what you've found in the last 9 years.
Turin and Sanchez have been criticised for their acerbic takes on many of the scents they review. As a fan of Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde, I rather enjoy a clever back-handed compliment. I love this book..
In truth, most of what's out in the department stores is derivative, bottom-line-enhancing, mass-market swill. (see the BBC mini docuseries about scent, and anything on fragrance by Chandler Burr.)
Niche fragrance is not immune to swill-dom, and they let us know it!
This is a book best enjoyed with access to high end fragrance at places like Saks, Nieman-Marcus, etc. Dont be intimidated but don't be greedy. Shout out to Amy at Sachs Fifth Avenue in Tampa!
There are online repositories of scent where you can buy a little or a lot. Lucky scent comes to mind.
And if you love something that people hate, so be it!
Although my native language is spanish I enjoyed very much, and learn a lot about my favorites fragrances and the world of perfumes in general.
This is the best book ever. Ever. I love pouring through books like this as actual reading (not merely reference), and you could certainly read it cover-to-cover. It is amazing to read, and informative. The reviews are well-written, from a reading perspective I especially enjoyed the fact that there were bargain-basement perfumes included (all the tacky celebrity perfumes- from Celine Dion to Elizabeth Taylor to David Beckham): they really did take every scent possible on- even the venerable Aqua Velva. From a buying perspective I appreciated the even-handed way they were reviewed.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that there are so many perfumes excluded (I'm assuming that these perfumes were made post 2008)... I know it's not the authors' fault that the book was published 7 years ago, like many products (cosmetics/electronics/films/wine etc), perfumes are coming into the market so often now that a 7-year gap would include tons of fragrances. I hope they'll consider doing a 10th anniversary edition in 2018 (or sooner)- I'd give 10 stars and pay double the price for an updated version.
These authors seem to have other publications and blogs and so on, this book was so good I'll be looking for other works by these authors even though I'm not especially into fragrance.
This is SO entertaining and useful... buy it! You won't regret it!
Top international reviews
Anyway, I don't want to detract from the book too much because it's great fun to read, addictive and especially in short little bursts, it's wonderful to just pick up, have a flick, read a few reviews and move on with something else, but as I say, you can't consider this as a guide in any meaningful sense. Showing it's age a little now, but full of more classics than you can shake a stick at. I haven't bought the 2018 guide yet but I'll pick it up at some point as they're excellent books, you just have to take them for what they are and don't give them too much weight. Follow your own tastes and take the reviews with a grain of salt, or a skip-full.
Buy this and pray he writes a new one.
There's also a new Guide published in 2018 which is great for rating recent fragrances.
I don't always agree with their ratings but it's a great place to start