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This review is from: The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur (Hardcover)
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I'm not sure what I expected from this little (and it is little, just 145 small pages and those only sketchily filled) book. Probably something closer to a laboratory journal, a history of the creation of a specific perfume, a detailed examination of the science of perfumery. What I got was something far more delicious. Perfume and perfumery are discussed at length, of course, this is a perfumer's diary, but there's little of the laboratory here. This is the collected thoughts - on nature, the city, music, food, fashion, scent and perfume - of a man whose passion also happens to be his job, with a little gentle philosophy thrown in. The overall feel is that of a favourite blog; bite sized pieces of a life; a Tumblr or Pinterest without pictures. No illustrations are needed, the word-pictures are enough. It's no wonder Jean-Claude Ellena talks of `writing' or `composing' perfumes, and the pictures he composes have an enchanting, dreamy quality, in pastel colours, like distant music, watercolour landscapes, clean linen, pressed flowers, dried lavender. Beautiful and quietly extraordinary.