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The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell Paperback – 17 May 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell
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  • Perfumes: The A-Z Guide
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  • The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur
Total price: £41.46
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (17 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571215386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571215386
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'The Secret of Scent may be a curiosity, but it is one that will have you smelling the silence of a snowy night.' Observer"

Book Description

The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell by Luca Turin, the man Newsday describes as 'a renegade scientist and perfume critic with an extraordinary sense of smell.'

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I wish I'd had Luca Turin teaching me chemistry! Here is a scientist, who is, to use that classic word generally associated with popular TV detectives 'a maverick' . He's outside the mainstream, passionate, committed, and charismatic. And a scientist. Maverick and scientist are made for the production of conflict AND excitement.

I'd concur with the reviewer who says this is all about molecular chemistry. Yes it is. But boring? Absolutely NOT. I have some layperson's chemistry, enough to edge my way through with a lot of wet towel to the head moments - but its true to say that if you are wanting something exciting about olfaction which is more for the lay reader, there are better books, Luca Turin's own Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, a delightful, witty encyclopaedia of perfumes past and present, Chandler Burr's biography of Turin, which is more completely friendly to the physics and chemistry naif The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession and the Last Mystery of the Senses, or, if your interest is in olfaction and its evolutionary development and effects on home sapiens the engaging The Scented Ape: The Biology and Culture of Human Odour. And if you can get hold of it Lyall Watson's fabulously readable Jacobson's Organ: And the Remarkable Nature of Smell

Back to Turin, and this book. He explains clearly and engagingly 'functional groups' from an olfactory perspective, is utterly engaging about molecular chemistry, finding ways to help the almost innocent to understand how odour can be analysed, not just by complicated machines (GC/MS) but, more excitingly within the nose itself. He explains current thinking, and the battles between those who say olfaction is due to molecular shape (particle) and those who say it vibrational (wave) Shapers and Wavers!
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Format: Paperback
Luca Turin is a witty and accessible writer who explains difficult scientific concepts with great clarity. But I get the strong impression that his publisher is trying to ride on the coat-tails of the outstandingly readable Perfumes: The A to Z Guide (the cover design is a bit of a clue). The author is a biophysicist with a passion for perfume which leads him into the world of chemistry. If you are not an organic or phyical chemist but you love reading science books that are aimed at an intelligent layperson, and are prepared to go with Turin and not get too fussed if you can't follow every word, then stick with it. This is one of those fascinating accounts by a maverick who goes against the established science and comes up with a highly plausible new theory - in this case, the mechanism by which we are able to smell. Not only that, but Turin puts his money where his mouth is, and putting his theory into practice he starts inventing new synthetic perfume ingredients commercially - pretty convincing I'd say. I loved this book but I must confess (a) I have a (very ancient and dusty) first degree in Physiology & Biochemistry with Chemistry, and (b) I don't have very many friends that I can pass this book on to. Perhaps I am underestimating my booksharing friends. It really is a riveting read. Try it.
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Format: Paperback
What a great, great book. I just finished reading it and was heading for the computer to leave some good words on Amazon to praise this masterpiece. Being a perfumer's apprentice myself, I can judge the book from own experience, working with most of the raw materials described and having had similar insights in the last few years.

Mr. Turin knows 100% what he is talking about. This is no "I copy from other books and hopefully nobody will notice" type of thing. "The secret of scent" is amazingly well written, it reads like a novell, like an adventure in science. Reading this book means great fun while teaching you the cornerstones of modern perfume design at the same time. Luca writes in a way so you can understand and not so you just know how dumb you are and how smart the author thinks he is, as many other "science books" are composed. I would recommend it to just everybody being interested in how perfumes "tick", but for perfumers it is the "#1 must read".

"The secret of scent" starts with a description of why we can't make perfumes only with natural substances alone and how it came we went deeper and deeper in understanding scents using chemistry. It then explains very detailed and in a crystal clear and logical chain HOW WE SMELL! Being a graduated physicist myself, I'm fully convinced Mr. Turin found the solution to this thousand years old mystery.

"The secret of scent" really left me breathless; a true revelation in the science of scent. IMHO, this book has a place among the "100 best popular science books ever written".
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Format: Hardcover
At last another book written by the legendary Luca Turin. Fans of his perfume reviews have been waiting for Dr Turin's new book for months, if not years. His Perfume Guide which has been out of print for many years is almost like a bible to the many perfume lovers from around the world.

Now we have The Secret of Scent. It delivers the most amazing and interesting pieces of information for the layman and chemist/perfumer alike. His witty style keeps the prose moving and he makes the complicated parts easy to understand.

For any perfume lover, this book is a must buy!
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