I hope that the publisher's imprint 'Le Snob' won't put people off buying, because this little book takes an egalitarian approach to perfumery, not a superior one. It's helpful, clearly and beautifully written, and open about things which perfume manufacturers and marketers sometimes are not.
Of course, some of the scents which Dariush Alavi describes are expensive, but he takes the opposite of a snobbish attitude to them. The only vague snobbishness is the book's desire to stop people wasting good money on dreadful scents. Which is just plain good sense. He takes a 111 perfumes (if I've counted correctly) and explains why they are worth trying, and where they fit into the circle of scents (see page 23). You don't get a more accessible brand than 4711, but it has earned a place in the guide because they make a great cologne.
The author has chosen perfumes he thinks are wonderful, so you don't get the scathing assassinations of inferior scents which Luca Turin gives you. And he's had to edit to fit the space available, so I'm sure there are some more he'd love to put in there but hasn't been able to. But he gives you a good place to start if you're thinking of exploring some new fragrances and don't want to be overpowered by single minded salespeople.
Some of perfumery's mysteries are unveiled here, gently, without upsetting the major perfume houses. The Fundamentals section is an essential read. The reviews are short and helpful. Dariush Alavi writes an influential perfume blog, Persolaise, and there his reviews are more literary, worldly, entertaining and - well - long.
Bying perfume for a present can be a bit hit and miss. Get this instead and you really can't go wrong.
I was not a perfume fanatic, I was not a perfume fan nor did I possess the basic knowledge about perfumes BEFORE I read this book. I was told it was a good, short, concise book for newbies and for those in the know as well, so I gave it a shot. I must say, the introductory chapters simply opened the doors to new corridors for me and I started to really appreciate what perfumes really are, how you can categorize them, how they are made, what are the different types and how you can start to describe the smells (reminds me of wine tasting to an extent). As a newbie, I think that information was extremely useful to me and now I have a different take on what smells I actually like and I have even started narrowing down my favorite 'smell palette'. I actually uncovered a whole new smell world and I wear what suits my mood, my looks and it makes me feel confident and is a part of my character and not just some random after shave splash on the face - I couldn't have done it without the info. and tips in this book. Then there are the actual reviews in the book, I didn't know most of those perfumes, I would go so far as to say I didn't know 99% of them, however, I wasn't a perfume expert. Nevertheless, the descriptions and reviews are well written, some are very witty and very creative and once you latch on to some smell characteristics, it makes it easier to understand the reviews and I recommend passing by perfume shops whenever you are in a mall just to compare notes with the author and build up your own smell buds. Another thing to mention which I rarely pay attention to; the book itself (physically) is actually quite impressive, it is small enough to tuck away in your bag as it is like a diary/calendar sized book with a band that goes around it to keep it shut; I thought that was a smart touch. The font size and spacing between lines make it a really comfortable read and the illustrations are really eye catching and pleasant to look at. This really makes a great present and if you put a little time into reading it, you get so much more out of your smell life so if you are not too familiar with the ins and outs of perfumes I highly recommend it because this book smells good and so will you.
I am rather a latecomer to Mr Alavi's perfume blog, but having become a regular reader, I was delighted to see that he was to publish this. It is a beautiful volume, clearly & concisely written (& gorgeously illustrated), reflecting the author's knowledge as well as opinions. It's a lovely book for dipping into & I have done so many times since receiving it. It would make a fitting gift for someone at the start of their fragrance world exploration, & a fine addition to a perfumista's existing library.
Is it too much to hope for another, longer book at some point?
Like most people I enjoy buying and using new perfumes, but I had no idea to immense depth that exists within this topic. I learnt things that I never even thought about before in terms of the "perfume world". It makes a great gift. In fact, I had actually bought this book as a gift for my brother-in-law as he likes to seek, find, collect and try different scents from around the world. I began to read the first few pages simply because there was nothing else to do. The book quickly drew me in and I became more engrossed in it with every passing page. I really enjoyed this book. It has enough richness and detail to keep you "scent-illated". Pardon the pun. Wink, Wink!
Easy to read and engaging, it gave interesting tips and insights into a topic that I had known very little about.
Despite having the words "le snob" in the title, it is unpretentious. Written in a witty yet accessible way, Perfume invited me in and created a space where I could start to appreciate what I had regarded as a daunting and complex world.
As a beauty writer, this book was a must-have for me, but I think any reader interested in perfume would find it worthwhile. The small format makes it easy to carry around, and limiting the perfumes to 100 gives a good guide to where a collector might start.
What a delightful book! It feels good, it looks good - like a Moleskine or Rhodia blank notebook, only less expensive - and it does your knowledge bank good. I had thought of giving this to my wife as part of her birthday present. It sits on MY desk though! Great to dip into or read in a single sitting. Informative, entertaining and easy to read and return to. Sincere thanks to the author and publisher ... a great price too. I knew nothing about perfume before I read this.
Wonderful book which I am very glad to have ordered; however there is one problem with the copy I recieved, pages 102 to 103 are blank (and there are a few others), meaning missing perfume reviews. This problem aside the book is informative and well written, in much the same way as the authors blog. Enjoyed.