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The Perfume Lover Hardcover – 15 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (15 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007411820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007411825
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.9 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

“Femme fatale Denyse Beaulieu undresses the art of perfumery with a sensual, scintillating striptease.”
Laren Stover, author of THE BOMBSHELL MANUAL OF STYLE

“A uniquely personal–even intimate–story of a love affair with perfume and with Paris. Chatty, gossipy, and charming, THE PERFUME LOVER draws aside the veil on the secret world of scent.”
Tilar Mazzeo, author of THE WIDOW CLICQUOT AND THE SECRET OF CHANEL NO. 5

“A gorgeous romp through the history of perfume and a personal exploration of its role in Beaulieu's life as a woman and world class sensualist … A thoroughly delectable and passionately intelligent read.”
Debra Ollivier, author of the bestseller WHAT FRENCH WOMEN KNOW

“Written with wit and passion, insight and elegance. I read if first with interest and then again, for pleasure.”
Fragrances of the World

About the Author

Denyse Beaulieu is a Paris-based fragrance writer and industry consultant who established herself as one of the foremost bloggers in the field with Grain de Musc. She has learned the principles of perfume composition with the help of some of the profession’s most prestigious noses.
Her expertise has been acknowledged by at the London College of Fashion where she teaches an intensive “Understanding Fragrance” course and the Société Française des Parfumeurs where she is lecturer. She was born in Canada, where she first started as a writer by covering the punk rock scene for local magazines, and moved to Paris 25 years ago to do her Ph.D. at the Université Paris VII on the Marquis de Sade.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anna Bindi VINE VOICE on 11 Nov. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Difficult to tell what the author is trying to convey with this book. In a nutshell, we are faced with an extremely long-winded "dissertation" about various fragrance compounds and relative methods of extraction, interspersed with non-descriptive passages about the author's "risque" encounters and other stereotypical personal experiences. If you love perfumes or have an interest in perfume making you will not learn anything new, if on the other hand you are a perfume newbie, this book will not encourage you to learn any further. Sadly, just give this one a miss.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Hattiesburg Fiddlefaddle on 19 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
The sections of this book that concern the history of perfume and the creation of a brand new perfume are absorbing, and are as beautifully written as practically anything else you'll read this year. Sadly, the lengthy sections dealing with the "personal history" of the author are, (at times) unintentionally hilarious and (almost always) utterly cringeworthy.

Taking the media images of sex and fragrance rather too literally, the author seeks to make her own history as fascinating and as erotic as perfume itself, and this, at times, amounts to little more than a guided tour of her (sexy, natch) underwear and the contents thereof - I lost count of how many times the phrase "and the hand in my knickers!" was used - all of which culminates in a faked orgasm demonstration for your delight and edification. The author does admit, finally, to having a madonna/whore complex, but it's rather more Bet Lynch than Madonna.

All of this rather falls short of fascination after the first couple of "sexytimes" interludes and the eroticism, simply put, just isn't erotic, making this a rather embarrassing and somewhat frustrating book for the average reader - if the memoir sections had been cut, and the prancing, preening, "aren't I fabulously sexy, dahling?" sections been kept to a minimum, then this would have been a great book.

Read it for the descriptive prose, and use it as a primer about perfume, but just try to skim over the "fur coat and no knickers" sections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By artemisia on 15 Mar. 2014
Format: Hardcover
Agree with other reviewers. The factual parts on the perfume industry are interesting in places and I felt that - as someone who loathes most perfumes - I did learn a bit more about how they are made, their ingredients, history, etc.

For me, though, the book is spoilt by the author's pathetic and egocentric harping on her status as God's gift to men, her recounting of her tawdry affairs as if they were the height of sophistication and she was one of the grandes horizontales of gay Paree. Only the most unsophisticated would be remotely impressed. Even her accounts of her meetings with the perfumer she works with to create 'her' perfume are all about her, how he reacts to her, and the importance of her role. Enough already! Don't know if she really is this vain or insecure - if not, it's a shame she has created a persona for herself which evokes neither liking nor respect..

The very worst bit is saved for the end, when she recounts the night in Seville which inspired the perfume in breathless Mills and Boon style. Embarrassing from an adolescent, worse from a woman who must be pushing 50 or more.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. R. on 16 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The perfume which is the centrepiece of Denyse Beaulieu's book is due out at L'Artisan Parfumeur this spring, named Seville a l'Aube, about the same time as The Perfume Lover reaches the bookshops. I was in L'Artisan's Covent Garden shop last Friday and they were swooning over this new scent; the staff member who'd lived in Seville said that it smelled just right. So top marks to perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who gets the best supporting artist role in the book. Top billing goes to Denyse Beaulieu. Let's be fair; she does call the book a personal story, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite that personal.

A Perfume Lover is three books braided together skillfully: one part history and development of perfume, one part creation of her scent with Duchaufour, and one part autobiography. In parts one and two we learn loads about the perfume industry, often from her reports of conversations with Duchaufour and other perfumers. Then Beaulieu writes about her relationships with men and the influence they had on her choice of perfumes. She does seems oddly proud of her affair with the married "Monsieur", her infidelities in general, and particularly her cleavage. She lost my empathy early on when she described putting the puppies in the window - showing her cleavage - a ruse she said she often used as a journalist to extract information. For shame! She also wrote "A Cultural History of Sexuality" and this other area of interest pushes its puppies on to the pages of A Perfume Lover quite often. If that's what you like, great, but I didn't find it edifying. I'd have been happy just learning more about scent. I'm guessing that some readers will find this alluring, but for me it made her sound like what they call up north a bit of a slapper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Jan. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Make no mistake, author Denyse Bealieu is quite a gal! As likely to
be consuming Jaques Derrida before breakfast as she is stowing her
underwear in her handbag whilst in the lift on the way to an amorous
liaison. She is an exotic creature with an innate sense of style and
a great nose to boot! Her book 'The Perfume Lover : A Personal History
Of Scent' is a cracking read, even for the uninitiated. It delivers
just what it says on the bottle. Her insight into the perfume industry and
the colourful characters who design some of the world's most exclusive
and much-loved fragrances is both fascinating and entertaining. It is
clear from the off that she knows her subject inside out and both her
passion and and knowledge bounce off the page in beautifully wrought prose.

At the heart of the book is her collaboration with perfumer Bertrand
Duchaufour to create a scent which might encapsulate a fondly remembered
night of passion in Seville some years before. M. Duchaufour evidently knows
his onions when it comes to making perfume and their journey takes us through
ninety variations before arriving at the final realization; adding and
subtracting a myriad of rare olfactory substances in pursuit of the elusive
and ineffable notes which will pin down Mlle Beaulieu's romantic reverie.
Her way with words (she tends towards the French absorption with semiotics)
is both detailed and playful and mixes up historical illumination with
personal experience and technical nous to nail her subject to the mast.

If her publisher produces a "scratch 'n' sniff" edition I'll be the first in line!

Highly Recommended.
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