This book was the best read I have had for a long time! Buy this book!
Now you, as a man, may think, how can a book on perfumes be so good. Well, it is, it is erudite,
lucid, decisive and above all, screamingly funny. I laughed out loud many times when I was reading it. More importantly this one book completely revised my understanding of perfumes, including men’s fragrances and made me into a men’s perfume addict. I now know what I am smelling and why.
Truthfully, I had known what I was smelling before, but Turin and Sanchez’ Perfumes gave me a proper education, to go alongside my style street-smarts. Tremendous, magnificent and life-enhancing – buy this book!
My review starts below.
Who are they?
Luca Turin is a biophysicist, an expert on smell, a perfume creator and an expert on perfumes. He has several businesses in the field of fragrances and he is the proponent of a
quantum theory of smell. He is widely recognised as one of the foremost experts on fragrances alive today. Tania Sanchez is a writer, journalist and perfume expert. Both of them have been
involved in fragrances since their teen years.
Oh, and they are married to each other. Which lends a real dynamism to the writing.
“Perfumes the A-Z guide” is what it says on the cover and a whole lot more. The A-Z review are wonderful, the contents of Turin and Sanchez’ professional database disgorged into print. There are over 1,500 reviews, everything from
Angel (Thierry Mugler) to Yohji Yamamoto Homme. And these are not dry-as-dust catalogues, they are wonderful word-sketches, gems in their own right.
But Perfumes is more than that. The reviews are folded into a real book, considered, smart, elegant, which makes a case for Perfume being an art. From this bold start, Perfumes discusses how to smell, understand and enjoy fragrances.
Then using its own guidelines it has two beautifully written, easy to understand, sections on Female Fragrances and Male Fragrances. This is followed by a brief history of perfume, which makes a very interesting read, as Turin and Sanchez do not shrink from
recording the dastardly misdeeds of the perfume companies.
It is worth buying simply for their detailed listing of the best male fragrances.
And funny. Here is Tania Sanchez in Feminine Fragrances:
“The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more than any other is this:
“What scent drives men wild?”
After years of intense research we now know the definitive answer. It is bacon. Now, on to the far more interesting subject of perfume”
Now that’s writing.
Did I mention that this is a great book? The reviews of fragrances are definitive, with notes on the history of the fragrance, the creators (where available) and of course the scent. The individual
fragrances are placed within price bands. Most important of all, Turina nd Sanchez give a ranking (from 1 to 5 stars) for each fragrance.
Best of all Turin and Sanchez give lists of the best male and female fragrances. There are other lists, best floral fragrances, best oriental fragrances. There is even a best bang for your buck
list. This book is superb, simply as a buying guide.
Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez review them all. The great, the awful, the celebrity fragrances (David Beckham, Brittany Spears).
They have an assessment for each one and take no prisoners.
This is the review for Allure Homme Sport, by Chanel
“A pleasant but studiedly nondescript confection of citrus-metallic notes set against a spicy-sweet background related to the drydown of Pour Monsieur. Like being
stuck in an elevator for twelve hours with a tax accountant.”
And that’s just one.
Not just a great read, Perfumes A-Z helped me to find fragrances similar to the ones I like without doing the spray and sniff thing. This is an incredible boon. Those of you who read my article on how to buy
a men’s fragrance will know about creating perfume shortlists. This book takes a huge amount of work out of doing that. This book is the map, the guide and the teacher.
I have had my copy for four weeks and I am careful with books. However I have used this book so much it looks old, there are sticky-note page tags on hundreds of pages, my copy looks like it is sprouting small untidy yellow leaves. It is underlined, noted and highlighted to within an inch of its life.
Huge amounts of fun, really useful. I say again – buy this book!
Our other articles on men’s fragrances are:
How to choose a men’s fragrance – here
20 Good men’s fragrances – here
Luca Turin talks about smell and fragrance on TED - here
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