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The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York Paperback – 6 Jan 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA; 1 Reprint edition (6 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312425775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312425777
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,115 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance."--"The Dallas Morning News
"""The Perfect Scent" has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location."--"Los Angeles Times
""An inside, Hollywoodesque account."--"The New York Times Book Review
""Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle."--Associated Press

"Passionate and captivating."--"The Toronto Star
""An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well."--"The Wall Street Journal"
"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions."--"The Kansas City Star"


"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance."--"The Dallas Morning News

"""The Perfect Scent" has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location."--"Los Angeles Times

""An inside, Hollywoodesque account."--"The New York Times Book Review

""Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle."--Associated Press

"Passionate and captivating."--"The Toronto Star

""An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well."--"The Wall Street Journal"

"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions."--"The Kansas City Star"


Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance. "The Dallas Morning News"

"The Perfect Scent" has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location. "Los Angeles Times"

An inside, Hollywoodesque account. "The New York Times Book Review"

Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle. "Associated Press"

Passionate and captivating. "The Toronto Star"

An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well. "The Wall Street Journal"

Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions. "The Kansas City Star""

About the Author

Chandler Burr is the scent critic for the "New York ""Times Style Magazine "and the author of "The Emperor ""of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last ""Mystery of the Senses." He lives in New York City.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
170,000 bottles of perfume are sold in France every single day. Chanel 'No.5' is known to some in the fragrance world as 'le monstre' because of its unshakeable hold on bestseller lists. Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy are owned by the same parent company, LVMH, which incidentally, also owns Sephora, Louis Vuitton, Moët and Hennessy. If you didn't know these facts - and if such things interest you - then you really ought to pick up a copy of 'The Perfect Scent', Chandler Burr's fascinating and thoroughly engrossing account of the creation of two very different perfumes.

On America's East Coast, Sarah Jessica Parker - standing at the front of a surprisingly large team - is the public face of a convoluted process which eventually results in the production of the well-regarded 'Lovely'. Meanwhile, in France, one of the undisputed masters of the craft, Jean-Claude Ellena, starts mixing his fragrant potions to put together what becomes 'Un Jardin Sur Le Nil' for the house of Hermès. Burr is granted complete access to all the key meetings which lead to the creation of these two very different scents and uses his insights to tell the story of how an idea eventually becomes a packaged bottle on a shelf in a department store. He intersperses this tale not only with well-summarised and readable accounts of the industry's history, but also with discussions of the merits of chemical ingredients versus natural and an examination of the current structure and state of the perfume market. Needless to say, he finds time to throw in a fair amount of glamour too, with acerbic descriptions of glitzy parties, lavish launches and deliciously eccentric characters.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chandler Burr is definitely knowledgeable about the perfume industry as a whole and, when writing this book, had a tremendous advantage above many other journalists in the same field by being an involved onlooker in the creative process from the very beginning. He got to know the teams at Hermes and at Coty, interviewed Jean-Claude Ellena & Sarah Jessica Parker, and observed the fascinatig process of the creation and marketing of a fragrance from the inside - and in detail; however for me this was not enough.

An essential aspect of any book of this nature is the impression one gets of the impartiality of the author however, although I am convinced that Chandler Burr started the process which culminated in this book with a totally impartial approach, it soon appeared to me that he soon developed a closer working relationship with all those involved in the creation of 'Lovely'. To me this was not surprising. Most of the Coty team, SJP and Chandler Burr himself were American, with a shared (and rather more open) approach to publicity; Hermes is a French company with strong family roots and, I suspect, an instinctive wariness concerning the dangers of letting a 'stranger' in on their deliberations. Coty were aware of the advantages of getting CB on side and one of the results was a free bookmark, scented with the perfume they had created and were wanting to sell - so I (and thousands of other people) have smelled 'Lovely' but not 'Un Jardin sur le Nil'.

'Lovely' is indeed lovely, a charming, well-constructed feminine fragrance. Maybe 'Nil' is equally lovely but I don't know, I haven't yet had a chance to test it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a brilliant introduction to the arcane world of perfumery. A must-read for any perfume or cosmetics enthusiast, and very funny and at times shocking. Let down by the godawful style of writing - the author would clearly rather be a novelist and there are acres of self-aggrandising rubbish and hip street talk to wade through. But read it for the information it contains, not the style.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've long been interested in fragrance, & I read Luca Turin's 'bible' with great interest (it confirms my thoughts on how many lovely fragrances are 're-formulated'). This is a remarkably open account of a highly secretive industry, and a really fascinating read. Hermes fragrances are now on my wish list (I understand about the exclusivity, but oh how I wish they weren't quite so expensive!)- & while I never usually purchase any 'named star' fragrance, I might make an exception in this instance! One final thought: I am filled with curiosity over those fragrances that didn't make the commercial cut...
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Until a few weeks ago I knew nothing about the perfume industry.
I have an interest in 'business biographies' ... books that explain the initial concepts, developments, marketing and growth of everyday products. I am not talking text book stuff here, just lively and informative journalistic style that entertains.
This book delivered for me. Next time my lady takes me through the 'cosmetics hall' at the front of a department store or we are waiting for our flight to be called as we loiter in the departure lounge perfume shops I shall have more idea of what went on behind the scenes. I never did see Sex in the City but, after reading this book I wish I had as Sarah Jessica Parker sounds an absolute delight.
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