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Watch Perfume, a Fascinating BBC TV Show

The BBC's New Show About Perfume Is Fascinating

Even if fragrance isn't a passion of yours, the BBC Four's new miniseries about it is fascinating enough to enthrall even the most disinterested. The show, Perfume, offers an unprecedented look inside the multibillion-dollar global perfume industry and elucidates the complex and sometimes bizarre work behind the scents you experience every day. It's a story that would have been impossible to tell even a decade or two ago, when brands' perfumers and the process of fragrance creation in general were closely guarded secrets.

The program tackles everything from the research that goes into creating that laundry-fresh detergent scent to the industry's most unusual employees, the "skins," who attempt to re-create the eating and hygiene habits of specific groups for fragrance testing. One skin on the show even bathes less frequently and eats nothing but ramen and other bachelor staples to try to mimic the odor profile of a young adult male. Woefully stereotypical ideas about dudes aside, it's fantastic stuff.

If you're Stateside, you won't be able to watch the show on the BBC player, but you can still catch the episodes. Check out the first 15 minutes of the last installment above, and if you'd like to see the rest of the episode, just keep reading.

ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
I've read it, and Luca Turin's guide, with Tania Sanchez. :) I also read any article I can find in magazines. I think he still writes for T magazine, and he used to write for Allure ever so often. Now I love hearing input from Frederic Malle, too.
Annie-Tomlin Annie-Tomlin 6 years
It's an interesting show, no? Have you read The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr? I interviewed him and he's quite a writer. If you are interested in the process of fragrance development, definitely check out that book. I don't think race itself plays into scent preferences, but culture and place definitely do. When you think about Brazil, as the video discusses, there's a lot of warm weather and tropical flowers in the country. It would surprise me if, say, a musky amber woods fragrance were to be as popular as something with hibiscus. Reminds me of eating certain foods during warm or hot weather. In summer, the idea of eating something heavy or sauce-y is just unappealing. Then again, my brother wants to open a chili place in the warm part of Ecuador, so maybe that theory will soon be put to the test.
ModernGraceKelly ModernGraceKelly 6 years
Thanks for sharing! I absolutely love more insight into the perfume industry. It's so interesting to see those perfumes you've never seen in duty free shop overseas. The fact that different races and cultures prefer different perfumes is just so interesting.
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