Monday, May 3, 2010

Perfumes: The A-Z Guide

Since I started a job today where I actually get to move around I went into town to buy lunch at David Jones, stopping on the way back at Borders to get the latest British Marie Claire so I'd have something to read while I was noshing on my chicken and avocado baguette. However, no BMC to be found, and I had no interest in reading about Sandra Bullock's latest dramas, so I was about to head out when I spotted a book called Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez.  It's about time someone wrote something like this - there are dozens of websites devoted to perfumes, but hardly any books. Or at least, hardly any that don't ramble on in some florid Nigella-esque wankfest and put the reader to sleep.

I haven't been able to put this down - I was constantly sneaking looks at it this afternoon every time a different perfume popped into my head. They're all there - from the daggy classics like Opium to the Cashed Up Bogan favourites like Glow by J-Lo. The perfumes are rated out of five and then there's a short review of each one. The reviews are witty and sometimes hilarious, but still tell you what you need to know. At the beginning of the book are a couple of essays putting forth the theory that perfume is an art rather than a science, and they make a strong case. There's also an interesting and comprehensive Q&A.

If you're a perfume lover, this is a great book to have, even though I was a bit miffed at the dismissive two line review of my beloved Fleur Oriental. And how can you not love people who sum up Paris Hilton's Heiress like this:

Hilariously vile 50/50 mix of cheap shampoo and canned peaches. 

Not gonna lie, that's pretty much what I imagine Paris Hilton smells like in real life. 

I'll leave you with the one that made me laugh very suddenly during my tea break today, making me look like a bit of a goober. It's part of a review of Gardenia Passion by Annick Goutal, a perfume I have been wanting to try for some time. It's a bit mean, and it won't stop me from trying it, but it did make me giggle quietly to myself for some time:

According to Laurice Rahme... she exorted Goutal to create this fragrance for American women, because American women liked gardenias. The trouble was that Goutal reportedly didn't, which is possibly why Gardenia Passion is actually a tuberose, halfheartedly disguised in a veil of bitter green foliage like an uninvited dinner guest in red satin trying to sneak in by crouching behind a fern.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book!! Although they do butcher a few of my fave perfumes as well; look up the review for Michael Kors...quite funny; even if it is one of most treasured perfumes!