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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing honesty and splendid wit
Quite apart from its sheer range and depth in tackling its subject, this book is really entertaining. It blows a welcome blast of fresh air through the fragrance business, exposing some of its frailties ('We *never* change our fragrance formulas' is the lie you hear most often) and gambolling in the glittering light of enthusiasm when reviewing favoured scents. The...
Published on 27 Sep 2008 by Colin Roth

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's A Matter Of Personal Taste
The opinions of the two authors of this book are mostly according their opinions and their taste. There are, however, good descriptions so that one can "smell" the accord from the description or comparison.

I preferred Roja Dove's style of writing as it is more factual and less criticising. This book is a bit like watching "Ugly Betty" or The Devil Wears...
Published on 4 April 2011 by CarolG


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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing honesty and splendid wit, 27 Sep 2008
By 
Colin Roth (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Perfumes: The guide (Hardcover)
Quite apart from its sheer range and depth in tackling its subject, this book is really entertaining. It blows a welcome blast of fresh air through the fragrance business, exposing some of its frailties ('We *never* change our fragrance formulas' is the lie you hear most often) and gambolling in the glittering light of enthusiasm when reviewing favoured scents. The fragrance reviews are splendidly opinionated, but it's always clear that what's being praised is quality, coherence, balance, rather than 'niceness', so you're still free to exercise your own preference when you're shopping. I'm particularly impressed by the authors' recognition of the part appearance and presentation play in our enjoyment of fragrance, so they tell you when the packaging is the best thing about a scent, and when the opposite is true, too. They're also very good at pointing out that where fragrance is concerned, you very rarely 'get what you pay for', because some of the cheapest products on sale are very good, and some of the most expensive are not. Even if you fall into the least favoured category of person - someone who wears fragrance because they're frightened of smelling of themselves, rather than because they actually like what they're wearing - you'll find constructive suggestions here, with splendidly direct warnings about pitfalls you might want to avoid. A splendid read, and a reliable guide - which will need updating with new editions every few years!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Scent of Success, 13 Dec 2009
By 
Simon Savidge Reads "Simon" (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Paperback)
I was then dubious about giving my book thoughts as I haven't read it from cover to cover. I was dubious about reading this book at first as I thought it would just be for girls... I was wrong. Could I be converted into the world of smells and scents by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez????

The answer is a resounding yes. From what I have read so far I know this book is one that I will be treasuring for quite sometime, hopefully for life. I am not the biggest perfume addict in the world and so really I am coming to this book from layman's terms. I would say that I've no idea about perfumes whatsoever, I like what I like and don't like what I don't like it's that simple. Imagine my thrill when the aftershave/cologne I wear gets a full 5 stars and the comment "buy it even if you never put it on" mind you its quite pricey so would be a waste just sitting there.

The writing of the book from Luca and Tania is brilliant, it's honest, blunt in parts, comic in others but most importantly it's accessible. There is an introduction to perfume criticism, a look at what male and female scents work, a history of perfume and also a whole twenty pages of readers questions answered. Whether you know nothing about perfume or heaps about it you can't help but be charmed by the reviews. One which had me in hysterics was a review of Paris Hilton's `Can Can' was simply "can it, by all means". The experts are never patronising and though some reviews are a little OTT you just think it's fabulous and carry on wanting to read more and more. And this book hasnt just been a hit with me, my partners loved it, guests have loved it... its a household hit!
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for handbags and manbags alike!, 9 Sep 2008
This review is from: Perfumes: The guide (Hardcover)
A danger to credit cards everywhere! This book is so evocative - descriptions of the good perfumes make you want to rush out and buy them without even smelling them first and reviews of the bad ones are screamingly funny. It's absolutely beautiful and a perfect present - also a brilliant way to drop a hint to your boyfriend, either because you want one of the scents or if you don't like his.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for scent freaks. A total joy - could't put it down!, 14 Mar 2011
By 
AnnPan (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Paperback)
I don't know what made me pick this book up in the bookshop - perhaps the curiously standout cover - but I haven't been able to put it down since! I wish I could write this well and this succinctly - the authors demonstrate the acute observation that is usually the preserve of great stand-up comedians and first rate novelists. The articles and reviews in this book are so intelligently and wittily written that I just kept reading in the bookshop and in the car before driving away with this book burning a hole in my bag. I have learned a great deal about perfume and its construction, but in some ways that is secondary to the book's brilliance. The authors are in such accord that the reviews flow seamlessly with no gear changes or jolts of differing styles - and they are a total joy to read. I laughed, I cried, I argued and agreed out loud and insisted members of my family listened to some of my favourites. A great book to read in great greedy gulps or parcel out for five minute dips ( if you are so disciplined) and, surprisingly good to read aloud.

One sour note - for the editor. It needs a proper index at the back. You should have made the authors do a more comprehensive glossary, the perfumes listed under their houses should be indexed by page number and not just allowed to rely so lazily on alphabetic indexing; great that you added it for the 2009 edition so why didn't you finish the job?

And Luca, I think you were a little hard on Miss Dior, but what do I know...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scentsational (ouch!) Olfactory heaven verging into synaesthesia, 9 July 2010
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This review is from: Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Paperback)
This is a gloriously hedonistic, decadently seductive book. Famous 'nose' and perfume scientist Turin and journalist and perfume adept Tania Sanchez have put together a gorgeous encyclopaedia of thousands of perfumes. It's a bit like the classic Egon Ronay guide to Hotels and restaurants, which would be lovingly pored over by hotel and restaurant afficionados, sensuously reading about luxury hotels across the world which they may or may not ever get to visit - only for those with an interest in perfumes.

There's no way I'm ever going to get to smell the literally thousands of fragrances they analyse but the wonderful descriptions, sharp observations and sheer hedonic bliss within these pages is an imaginative delight.

I've developed a pretty strong antipathy to most perfumes as many of them smell irreducably of synthetic stand alone perfume notes (much much cheaper to produce and reproduce) , eg rather than neroli,the ideally hand-picked flowers of the bitter orange tree, a splash of linalool, limonene, linayl acetate and other major constituents to produce an ersatz neroli note, but this book evocatively builds symphonies of aromas. It becomes almost possible to imagine notes you haven't yet encountered. Its far too rich for a cover to cover read, that would be olfactory overload, but like fine chocolate, rewards the dipping reader who slowly savours snippets of the text. rather than wolfs the whole bar down in one.

As well as an appreciation of perfumes themselves, Turin and Sanchez celebrate the whole experience of an appeal to the senses, which is reinforced (or diminished) by the shape, heft and colour of bottle and packaging.

Some omissions in the first edition, such as an indication of pricerange and an index of perfume houses and their fragrances are in the 2009 edition.

Drunk on the wit and wisdom of the A-Z I'm ready to submerge myself into the (according to the reviewers) more scientific and chemical/molecular nature of Turin's other book The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell

A couple of snippets from the a-z - inevitably, the great, memorable fragrances inspire Turin to lyric prose, whilst the downright nasty give rise to snappy put down, more suitable for short quoting - so here is

Valentino's Rock and Roll: 'A little rose and lychee affair, as enticing as pink nylon nighties sold in sex shops'.

I don't know this perfume, but imagining rose and lychee together sounds as stickily unappealing as Turin snappily suggests

Guerlain's L'Instant Magic 2008 'Competent but boring peony citrus composition; less unpleasant than some but still completely unnecessary.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip down memory lane.., 18 Sep 2008
By 
J. A. I. Poole "tree pixie" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Perfumes: The guide (Hardcover)
I spent last night poring over this book with my friends, male and female, looking up the various scents we have proudly worn then laughing and reminiscing while reading out the dead-on reviews. E.g. Poison 'The fragrance that everybody loves to hate...a must for every collector but please don't wear it to dinner'! It's warm, witty and wise - unlike anything else I have read on the subject.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love with fragrance delivered with wit, 29 Dec 2008
By 
purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Perfumes: The guide (Hardcover)
I've never quite tipped over from perfume lover to perfume fanatic but this fascinating book could be the tipping point!

Both writers know their stuff but what makes this such an engaging read is their wit and their passion for perfume, which is highly addictive. I've been haunting the department stores (braving Christmas time crowds!) to try out the rave review items, I gathered all my perfumes together for a review and to follow the move from top note through to `dry down', I have so many bookmarks in my copy that it's bristling with paper. Luca Turin is a biophysicist who makes molecules for the perfume industry (who knew!). He is extremely knowledgeable and erudite and embellishes his descriptions with references to books, films and music - it's a sensory experience to read his critiques and you feel you are learning about perfume. Tania Sanchez is a sharp-witted blogger with a lust for perfume - she is very much the junior partner but provides some street cred. The pair met when Sanchez commented on Turin's well known perfume blog and have since married after collaborating on the book.

My only issues with it are:
i) there is that there is little indication of price in the book - except occasionally when they say that something is cheap or expensive so the danger is that you can fall in love with the description of a perfume and then find it is way out of your price range and
ii) the 1500 perfumes are entered in alphabetical order by name but then not indexed or grouped by maker.

These are small points but would make the browsing when out much easier.

I'm grateful to the guide for pointing me at trying fragrances that perfume snobbery would have kept me from trying - eg Estee Lauder and Tommy Girl and for exploding some myths.

A couple of examples from the pens of Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez:

Danielle Steel Danielle - `As Slim Pickens says in Dr Strangelove ` A guy could have a pretty good time in Vegas with this!' The fragrance is not all that bad. To be sure, it is a sour pinched floral in the current manner and feels like the formula is only a few bucks away from being cheap enough for wall-socket air care, but is has a weird papaya-like overripe twist in it that saves it from instant oblivion.'

Beyond Paradise Men `'Wear it, and after a few hours you will find your daily life suffused by the same feeling of peace you get when you settle into an armchair after tidying your flat from end to end. All other masculines (and most feminines) will seem loud, coarse and bare by comparison. Its composer Calice Becker has miraculously found a way to suspend perfume time, and bottle a never-ending dawn such as Concorde pilots used to see when flying westwards, racing with the sun. LT

Ormonde Jayne Champaca `is a handsome, well-built fragrance in a square shoulders eighties style, compellingly botanical and synthetic in what feels equal parts, giving a soft, slightly buttery floral a backbone of amber and a pleasantly rich, green woody herbal aura....'TS

Muscs Koublai Khan (Serge Lutens) **** beastly musk
No other perfume musk comes close to this potent animalic antidote to the laundered age, not even the obsolete and unavailable natural musk tincture. Back before I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb, I reviewed Muscs Koublai Khan as "the armpit of a camel driver who has not been near running water in a week." The scent is the same but my horror is gone. The fragrance turns out to be a lost-world fantasy of firelit palaces, with the soupy, sleepy warmth of two beneath a quilt....TS

I am now teetering on the edge of obsession but I smell nice...
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendid book, 31 Oct 2008
By 
Joan Cecil (Gloucestershire UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Perfumes: The guide (Hardcover)
This book is hugely readable. I bought it really out of curiosity - could anyone really write about perfume, surely you would need to sample them to appreciate their qualities? Not so. This is written so well, you can really get a feel for the product, the descriptions of the perfumes that I do know are so accurate, and actually make me appreciate all the complexities in them. Very witty, with some laugh-out-loud moments, I read this in two sittings and turned back immediately to start again. This is the next best thing to having a perfumery in your living room , without the hovering assistants. I read this on holiday in France, and on the ferry home took it into the onboard shop, reading, spraying & sniffing to the puzzlement of some passengers. I tried perfumes that I would have normally ignored, recognized the levels and descriptions from the book in each of them. A beautiful book, one you could read again & again. I do highly recommend this, it would make a great present for your best friends, male and female.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good comprehensive guide, 4 July 2012
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This review is from: Perfumes: The Guide (Hardcover)
Excellent guide to perfumes with well written descriptions. I bought a scent 'unseen' based on the recommendadtion and loved it. Maybe I was just lucky but I'd recommend this - makes a great present too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good guide, 19 May 2012
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Very good read, so much so I realised immediately that I had spent 120 on fake or stale perfume from a very reputable store. I am glad that I bought the download. It is very interesting and hopefully will save me more. A must buy for perfume lovers.
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Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Tania Sanchez (Paperback - 22 Oct 2009)
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