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Bella Book: Perfumes: The Guide

Last week's issue of the New Yorker had a fascinating preview of a new book, Perfumes: The Guide. I highly recommend devouring the story, which examines how we develop our own "scent palates." Just as wine connoisseurs are able to distinguish flavors such as oak, chocolate, and grass in what they drink, people can train their noses to identify individual notes within a scent.

Biophysicist Luca Turin and perfume critic Tania Sanchez are the authors of Perfumes: The Guide, and their noses know. They've reviewed more than 1,200 fragrances, and just from reading a few excerpts in the article, I know I'll buy this book. Have a look at some of their more critical reviews:

  • Amarige by Givenchy: “If you are reading this because it is your darling fragrance, please wear it at home exclusively, and tape the windows shut.”
  • Heiress by Paris Hilton: “Hilariously vile 50/50 mix of cheap shampoo and canned peaches.”
  • Vera Wang Princess: “Stupid name, pink perfume, heart shaped bottle, little crown on top. I half expected it to be really great just to spite me. But no, it’s probably the most repulsively cloying thing on the market today.”
  • Love in White: “A chemical white floral so disastrously vile words nearly desert me. If this were a shampoo offered with your first shower after sleeping rough for two months in Nouakchott, you’d opt to keep the lice.”

Fantastic writing, no? The wit and vibrancy of their reviews are reason enough to read the book, but Sanchez and Turin's combined knowledge seals the deal. And as for the New Yorker story? Read it all the way through to find out which scent drives men wild. You might be surprised.

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AmberHoney AmberHoney 8 years
I like Princess as well, but I would surely add this to my library. I love books!!
sunshowers83 sunshowers83 8 years
cocomademoiselle, I love Coco Madamoiselle! I would read this book just for the hilarious critiques, whether or not I agree with them at all. :)
cocomademoiselle cocomademoiselle 8 years
Oh yes, and that last sentence of the article... hilarious!
cocomademoiselle cocomademoiselle 8 years
The article in the New Yorker is so well written, interesting and even poetic! The vocabulary...!!! (I had to look up words in the dictionary while learning quite a few things!) The book must be very interesting too! Science, humor and reviews... good ingredients! One of my favourite books is the novel "The perfume" by Patrick Suskind. It is so well written, you can smell it! Pure literature. I find the world of scent to be fascinating and very hard to describe with words.
kyangiegirl kyangiegirl 8 years
I love Princess!!! I can't believe the review they gave it! She would probably think that all of my favorites stink. She probably thinks all of the Victoria's Secret perfumes are crap, and they are all my favorites, especially the new Ooh La La!
WiCkeD_LaDy WiCkeD_LaDy 8 years
That's right!! about the Paris Perfume.... all of her perfume smell awful
emalove emalove 8 years
Sounds funny.
SugarCat SugarCat 8 years
Princess is my absolute favorite. Pfft to them!
Greentea1203 Greentea1203 8 years
I'll probably look through it at a bookstore to look up the ones I wear, just out of curiosity. haha..
em1282 em1282 8 years
The writing seems great, but this will just be a 'thumbed through it at the bookstore' read for me. I just am not fond of what a lot of people consider to be great fragrances--and c'mon, how easy is it to rip on a Paris Hilton fragrance? It's obviously going to smell cheap, just like the lifestyle its namesake embodies. :)
terryt18 terryt18 8 years
Pretty funny descriptions... to each his own, eh, matenstelo?
mochi26 mochi26 8 years
Yikes...I actually went out and got a sample of the Vera Wang Princess perfume last night! I'm wearing it this morning and I have to's not that bad. At least not as bad as the review makes it sound!
bluecanary bluecanary 8 years
I think reading about perfume is probably easier on my budget than actually buying all the perfume that I want to. (cough, cough, addict) Will catch up on this and Chandler Burr's over the summer for sure!
AKirstin AKirstin 8 years
I love reading the blogs devoted to perfumes, so I imagine I'd enjoy this as well. :)
Spicyeggplant Spicyeggplant 8 years
I am so there! Perfumes are so much fun, even though I can't wear them on weekdays (coworkers with scent allergies).
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 8 years
ha! i'd love to read this when it comes out.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 8 years
Seems snobbish... I'm familiar with Luca Turin, but it sounds to me that Tania is the one being so snarky. What were their favorite perfumes? I have known some "experts" that love a absolutely rank perfume that smells of swamp grass. Whatever, the price tag doesn't mean it smells good. Sure, there are alot of bad cheap perfumes but it's now 50/50 equal with the bad expensive perfumes. I think there will be over 800 perfume launches this year alone.. If I'm not mistaken.
sophia_HL sophia_HL 8 years
funny, I'm reading The Emperor of Scent right now. It's the story behind Luca's adventures in writing this book.
asilgrif asilgrif 8 years
Sounds like a fun read.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 8 years
Haha they sound brilliant! Like going perfume shopping (or sniffing) with my girlfriends... I think I shall have to read this!
kpatel1980 kpatel1980 8 years
interesting book.
GiggleSugar GiggleSugar 8 years
I am soooo buying this book. Looks like a good read and I am a perfumaniac!
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