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4.3 out of 5 stars
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
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75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2008
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2014
My go-to Bible - I am addicted to scent so discovering this book has been a further education .
I love the pithy descriptions of some of the more dubious scents, the history of perfumers , the description of the Osmotheque in France .
I dont necessarily agree with some of the critique , I love Caleche , its not IMO a "wan aldehyde" its gorgeous and I have worn it for years but , each to his own , Luca didn't have the pure perfume , just the de soie .
My one criticism is that its now 4 years out of date Luca and Tania - so if you cannot be bothered to update , you are doing your readers a disservice although I know that book royalties to authors are pathetic - however, we, your fans , would appreciate your views on what is happening now in the fickle world of fragrance .

Keep it up Luca & Tania , but don't keep us waiting too long , no one will buy a book 4 years out of date for much longer .
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 13 December 2009
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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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2008
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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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2011
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 Prada ! The book is amusing in places and can be too over the top and vitriolic towards some fragrances that folks may love; but as I say, it is according to personal taste and association or memories with different accords and fragrances that folks hold dear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 July 2014
Hehe I'm laughing my way through this book. It's funny in more ways than one - many of the reviews are really spot on with great stories and associations in a very bitchy way. Love that. And some of the reviews are just so self important that I can't help but laugh. Sometimes my taste collides with the authors but often that is not the case. This book is great if you read it as two people's opinions on perfumes and I've found more than a few perfumes that I've never heard of and are now dying to try out. No question that the authors know their smells but don't use this as a guide. Go out and follow your own nose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 July 2014
This is the book to buy in order to research your next perfume purchase. Highly amusing in places, but overall highly informative and extremely useful. Bacon! Who would have thought it... This book makes it possible to buy a superb perfume and not break the bank. Introduces you to some that you may not have even considered testing. Do not be persuaded by the newest perfumes on the market, especially at Christmas; these newer concoctions usually command the higher prices (particularly the lower to middle market) whereas this book can guide you to a classic that may have been formulated some time ago but is of significantly higher quality with the added bonus of better value for money. Use it to make a short list, then test perfumes (only one or two at a time max.) in store in the morning, then go away for the day and check the scent over the whole day so that you experience the all the complex perfume layers. Make sure you try it on your skin, away from any existing perfume application, as this will always affect how each scent actually smells on you. I rarely wear make-up but always wear the best perfume (for me) that I can afford. I highly recommend this book to all women... and some men, if interested.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2008
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 31 October 2008
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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