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The Perfume Lover: A Personal Story of Scent by [Beaulieu, Denyse]
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The Perfume Lover: A Personal Story of Scent Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Length: 325 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

“Femme fatale Denyse Beaulieu undresses the art of perfumery with a sensual, scintillating striptease.”
Laren Stover, author of THE BOMBSHELL MANUAL OF STYLE

“A uniquely personal–even intimate–story of a love affair with perfume and with Paris. Chatty, gossipy, and charming, THE PERFUME LOVER draws aside the veil on the secret world of scent.”
Tilar Mazzeo, author of THE WIDOW CLICQUOT AND THE SECRET OF CHANEL NO. 5

“A gorgeous romp through the history of perfume and a personal exploration of its role in Beaulieu's life as a woman and world class sensualist … A thoroughly delectable and passionately intelligent read.”
Debra Ollivier, author of the bestseller WHAT FRENCH WOMEN KNOW

“Written with wit and passion, insight and elegance. I read if first with interest and then again, for pleasure.”
Fragrances of the World

About the Author

Denyse Beaulieu is a Paris-based fragrance writer and industry consultant who established herself as one of the foremost bloggers in the field with Grain de Musc. She has learned the principles of perfume composition with the help of some of the profession’s most prestigious noses.
Her expertise has been acknowledged by at the London College of Fashion where she teaches an intensive “Understanding Fragrance” course and the Société Française des Parfumeurs where she is lecturer. She was born in Canada, where she first started as a writer by covering the punk rock scene for local magazines, and moved to Paris 25 years ago to do her Ph.D. at the Université Paris VII on the Marquis de Sade.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1294 KB
  • Print Length: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Collins (15 Mar. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006FH2ZBO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #525,006 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The perfume which is the centrepiece of Denyse Beaulieu's book is due out at L'Artisan Parfumeur this spring, named Seville a l'Aube, about the same time as The Perfume Lover reaches the bookshops. I was in L'Artisan's Covent Garden shop last Friday and they were swooning over this new scent; the staff member who'd lived in Seville said that it smelled just right. So top marks to perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour who gets the best supporting artist role in the book. Top billing goes to Denyse Beaulieu. Let's be fair; she does call the book a personal story, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite that personal.

A Perfume Lover is three books braided together skillfully: one part history and development of perfume, one part creation of her scent with Duchaufour, and one part autobiography. In parts one and two we learn loads about the perfume industry, often from her reports of conversations with Duchaufour and other perfumers. Then Beaulieu writes about her relationships with men and the influence they had on her choice of perfumes. She does seems oddly proud of her affair with the married "Monsieur", her infidelities in general, and particularly her cleavage. She lost my empathy early on when she described putting the puppies in the window - showing her cleavage - a ruse she said she often used as a journalist to extract information. For shame! She also wrote "A Cultural History of Sexuality" and this other area of interest pushes its puppies on to the pages of A Perfume Lover quite often. If that's what you like, great, but I didn't find it edifying. I'd have been happy just learning more about scent. I'm guessing that some readers will find this alluring, but for me it made her sound like what they call up north a bit of a slapper.
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Format: Hardcover
The sections of this book that concern the history of perfume and the creation of a brand new perfume are absorbing, and are as beautifully written as practically anything else you'll read this year. Sadly, the lengthy sections dealing with the "personal history" of the author are, (at times) unintentionally hilarious and (almost always) utterly cringeworthy.

Taking the media images of sex and fragrance rather too literally, the author seeks to make her own history as fascinating and as erotic as perfume itself, and this, at times, amounts to little more than a guided tour of her (sexy, natch) underwear and the contents thereof - I lost count of how many times the phrase "and the hand in my knickers!" was used - all of which culminates in a faked orgasm demonstration for your delight and edification. The author does admit, finally, to having a madonna/whore complex, but it's rather more Bet Lynch than Madonna.

All of this rather falls short of fascination after the first couple of "sexytimes" interludes and the eroticism, simply put, just isn't erotic, making this a rather embarrassing and somewhat frustrating book for the average reader - if the memoir sections had been cut, and the prancing, preening, "aren't I fabulously sexy, dahling?" sections been kept to a minimum, then this would have been a great book.

Read it for the descriptive prose, and use it as a primer about perfume, but just try to skim over the "fur coat and no knickers" sections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As someone quite interested in fragrance, the art of creation, the industry, and the story behind it, there are only so many books out there to read, and eventually you may be left with The Perfume Lover as the next-best book to consider.

Though the story of her contact with her pet perfumer and their process is moderately interesting (if very repetitive), her egotistical and self-indulgent hyperbole about her many torrid relationships (mostly apparently involving men falling at her feet), leave a bad taste in the mouth.

This is essentially the memoirs of a narcissist, and judging by the author's use of a prehistoric portfolio shot of herself on the dust jacket, I can only assume she wishes she were younger, and more attractive, and this book was a vessel to tell everyone how sexy, intelligent, and cultured she is.

As a book relating to perfumery - not so good.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Difficult to tell what the author is trying to convey with this book. In a nutshell, we are faced with an extremely long-winded "dissertation" about various fragrance compounds and relative methods of extraction, interspersed with non-descriptive passages about the author's "risque" encounters and other stereotypical personal experiences. If you love perfumes or have an interest in perfume making you will not learn anything new, if on the other hand you are a perfume newbie, this book will not encourage you to learn any further. Sadly, just give this one a miss.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Hmm. Well, I loved reading all the sections about perfumery, the history of scents, tales of the famous 'noses' etc. But the personal details of Denise's life were all a bit too egotistical and not that gripping.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I kept veering backwards and forwards with this book, between enjoyment and irritation, the further I got into its journey. Initially, a detailed breakdown of the olfactory notes of various essential oils and absolutes, and an engaging writing style, had me clutching the book (whilst sniffing its pages) with delight. However, as we progressed I began to be less enamoured, as the book is more about Denyse, and her in-your-face femme fatale personality than I really had an interest in. I feel as if I've learned rather more about her undergarments, her erotic adventures, her vampy shoes and furs than I needed. Despite clearly being hugely knowledgeable about the perfume industry, with which she periodically recaptured my interest, and despite several nods and mentions to other acknowledged experts in the field of perfumery or olfaction - Chandler Burr, the inimitable Luca Turin, Jellinek et al - all of whom have a well-loved place on my bookshelves, Denyse herself resolutely hogs centre stage. It's somehow all of a piece that though she quotes from some of these experts and sources, there is no crediting of them, no bibliography.

This is a book about perfume, and more specifically about one woman and her desire to be a muse to a perfumer and have a scent created for her which goes live and commercial. It's not a book about olfaction per se, and it's probably therefore not quite fair to compare it to another recent read, another personal journey, with aroma as its theme, the utterly absorbing Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum.
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