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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful to have some prior knowledge about physics and chemistry!,
Well, I wish I'd had Luca Turin teaching me chemistry! Here is a scientist, who is, to use that classic word generally associated with popular TV detectives 'a maverick' . He's outside the mainstream, passionate, committed, and charismatic. And a scientist. Maverick and scientist are made for the production of conflict AND excitement.

I'd concur with the...
Published on 2 Aug 2010 by Lady Fancifull

versus
6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the description !
Although this book is well written I have to say that unless you are already in or SERIOUSLY interested in the chemistry side of scent this is not a book for you !
I could only get through a third of it and I must say that I find all the blurb about it very misleading,there is almost no content about scent,just loads of science on molecules !
VERY,VERY...
Published on 14 Jun 2009 by Craig Purves


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful to have some prior knowledge about physics and chemistry!,, 2 Aug 2010
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
Well, I wish I'd had Luca Turin teaching me chemistry! Here is a scientist, who is, to use that classic word generally associated with popular TV detectives 'a maverick' . He's outside the mainstream, passionate, committed, and charismatic. And a scientist. Maverick and scientist are made for the production of conflict AND excitement.

I'd concur with the reviewer who says this is all about molecular chemistry. Yes it is. But boring? Absolutely NOT. I have some layperson's chemistry, enough to edge my way through with a lot of wet towel to the head moments - but its true to say that if you are wanting something exciting about olfaction which is more for the lay reader, there are better books, Luca Turin's own Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, a delightful, witty encyclopaedia of perfumes past and present, Chandler Burr's biography of Turin, which is more completely friendly to the physics and chemistry naif The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses, or, if your interest is in olfaction and its evolutionary development and effects on home sapiens the engaging The Scented Ape: The Biology and Culture of Human Odour. And if you can get hold of it Lyall Watson's fabulously readable Jacobson's Organ: And the Remarkable Nature of Smell

Back to Turin, and this book. He explains clearly and engagingly 'functional groups' from an olfactory perspective, is utterly engaging about molecular chemistry, finding ways to help the almost innocent to understand how odour can be analysed, not just by complicated machines (GC/MS) but, more excitingly within the nose itself. He explains current thinking, and the battles between those who say olfaction is due to molecular shape (particle) and those who say it vibrational (wave) Shapers and Wavers! I was fascinated by the explanation of the elegance and complexity of experiments to show that the nose is a biological spectroscope.

There's no denying that this book requires hard work by the reader who doesn't have beyond A level physics and chemistry, but if you are interested in the science of smell, you will be hooked. I'd say its crucial to understand the subtitle of the book - its as much about the SCIENCE of smell as it is about adventures in perfume!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly readable science book, misleadingly marketed, 29 Mar 2011
By 
AnnPan (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
Luca Turin is a witty and accessible writer who explains difficult scientific concepts with great clarity. But I get the strong impression that his publisher is trying to ride on the coat-tails of the outstandingly readable Perfumes: The A to Z Guide (the cover design is a bit of a clue). The author is a biophysicist with a passion for perfume which leads him into the world of chemistry. If you are not an organic or phyical chemist but you love reading science books that are aimed at an intelligent layperson, and are prepared to go with Turin and not get too fussed if you can't follow every word, then stick with it. This is one of those fascinating accounts by a maverick who goes against the established science and comes up with a highly plausible new theory - in this case, the mechanism by which we are able to smell. Not only that, but Turin puts his money where his mouth is, and putting his theory into practice he starts inventing new synthetic perfume ingredients commercially - pretty convincing I'd say. I loved this book but I must confess (a) I have a (very ancient and dusty) first degree in Physiology & Biochemistry with Chemistry, and (b) I don't have very many friends that I can pass this book on to. Perhaps I am underestimating my booksharing friends. It really is a riveting read. Try it.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a masterpiece, 23 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
What a great, great book. I just finished reading it and was heading for the computer to leave some good words on Amazon to praise this masterpiece. Being a perfumer's apprentice myself, I can judge the book from own experience, working with most of the raw materials described and having had similar insights in the last few years.

Mr. Turin knows 100% what he is talking about. This is no "I copy from other books and hopefully nobody will notice" type of thing. "The secret of scent" is amazingly well written, it reads like a novell, like an adventure in science. Reading this book means great fun while teaching you the cornerstones of modern perfume design at the same time. Luca writes in a way so you can understand and not so you just know how dumb you are and how smart the author thinks he is, as many other "science books" are composed. I would recommend it to just everybody being interested in how perfumes "tick", but for perfumers it is the "#1 must read".

"The secret of scent" starts with a description of why we can't make perfumes only with natural substances alone and how it came we went deeper and deeper in understanding scents using chemistry. It then explains very detailed and in a crystal clear and logical chain HOW WE SMELL! Being a graduated physicist myself, I'm fully convinced Mr. Turin found the solution to this thousand years old mystery.

"The secret of scent" really left me breathless; a true revelation in the science of scent. IMHO, this book has a place among the "100 best popular science books ever written".
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all perfume lovers., 19 May 2006
By 
Prince Barry (North of England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Secret of Scent (Hardcover)
At last another book written by the legendary Luca Turin. Fans of his perfume reviews have been waiting for Dr Turin's new book for months, if not years. His Perfume Guide which has been out of print for many years is almost like a bible to the many perfume lovers from around the world.

Now we have The Secret of Scent. It delivers the most amazing and interesting pieces of information for the layman and chemist/perfumer alike. His witty style keeps the prose moving and he makes the complicated parts easy to understand.

For any perfume lover, this book is a must buy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret of Scent, 4 Jan 2010
By 
N. Wykes - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
Concise, beautifully written and, if you can cope with some of the more technical elements, highly informative. Achieves the right balance of entertainment and informed detail. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the science of smell.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Smell of Success, 21 Jun 2009
By 
M. Sear (Milton Keynes UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
I bought this for a good friend who has an interest in perfumes. She took it away on a city break and spent large chunks of time reading it instead of touring Budapest. She loved the book - simple as. Easy to read, and insightful is so she described it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 28 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
A great book that was recommended. An really interesting especially if you have a passion for perfume!.
A book to get lost in.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An insight into the perfume world., 12 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
A good read, I enjoyed the easy going style of the writer. Gave interesting insights into the world of perfumery and the big fragrance houses. Was amused but not surprised to learn that the accountants control the formulation of new scent with their rigid budgets. No wonder so many modern scents smell like toilet cleaner!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forever Interesting & Entertaining !!!, 18 Feb 2013
By 
J. Collins "jodilovesbooks" (American in London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
I am a true fan of Luca Turin's writing. I've loved fragrance for as long as I can smell.
My memories of scents be it my grandmother's Shalimar or a perfume I wore with
each boyfriend/husband are ingrained deep in my soul. Luca Turin brings this very important
sense to life in full vivid colour. I trust his opinion (exception being Fracas parfum - A BIG NO !!!)
It's a smallish book that will fit into your handbag - Get this book and learn a fascinating subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's like book porn for perfume geeks, 18 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell (Paperback)
I bought this book on a whim - and because of the amazing reviews it had - and I wasn't disappointed. This is more than a book, it is a journey through fragrance and France and chemistry and business politics all wrapped up with nostalgia and exquisitely crafted prose.

Yes it is heavy on the chemistry but that's perfumery! The intricacies of scent molecules and atoms are woven like a spell or story rather than a science textbook - you'll be fascinated even if you hated school science.

The book is small and easy to handle, making it ideal bedtime reading (oh come on, I can't be the only one who reads science in bed? can I?).

The author's powers of description are so apt that I could swear that wafts of Patchouli and Ambrette seed were gently diffusing from the pages and sending me into raptures.

I will be sad when I have finished, much like when engrossed in a touching film and the end brings about that grey melancholy of 'normal life' again.
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