Book Review: On Perfume Making by Frederic Malle
Edited on 6/28/12
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Book Review: "Le Snob: Perfume" by Dariush AlaviSmell matters. It really is as simple as that.
Book deals for perfume bloggers very much seem to be the in thing at the moment and as far as Im concerned this is not something one should complain about. After all some of the best perfume writers are bloggers and their insight into the secret world of scent should be highly valued, and it appears that it is. So far this year weve already had books from esteemed fumeheads such as; Denyse Beaulieu (of Grain de Musc), Alyssa Harad and most recently Dariush Alavi.
Dariush Alavi, or Persolaise as he is more widely known, is a man that knows a lot about perfume. Visitors to his Jasmine Award winning blog will be very familiar with his knowledgeable, evocative and irreverent perfume commentary and for those who arent; where the devil have you been?!
For Alavis literary debut he has teamed up with publisher Hardie Grant to pen the latest in a series of discerning Le Snob guides to the finer things in life such as Shoes, Cigars and Champagne. His subject is of course perfume and Le Snob: Perfume is not only a guide to Alavis best picks of the mainstream and niche perfume worlds, but also acts a succinct reference to both those who are and are not fragrance addicts.
Why be a snob about perfume?
Perfumery is an art form. The artists who practice it (the perfumers) use the tools at their disposal to give texture and structure to idea in their head. The artworks they create take what already exists in the world and re-present it to us in ways which amuse, enrage, perplex, repel and enchant.
Alavis perfume picks, which are split into mainstream and niche sections, and then ordered by gender, range from the expected classics (Nº5, Shalimar and Mistouko) to the more unique examples of perfumery (Black Afgano, Amaranthine and Iris Ganache), all of which are explored with Alavis infectious enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge in quick succession.
On the one hand this means that each feature is suitably punchy and succinct, but on the other Alavis style cant help but leave one desiring more. It is in this instance that the Le Snob structure, which is the same for all guides under the Le Snob umbrella, acts as a slight hindrance. But one must not forget that Le Snob: Perfume is much more than just a collection of perfume reviews, instead it is a quick and handy reference to the world of perfume for newbies and connoisseurs alike, that covers the fundamental whys, wheres and hows of buying and wearing perfume.
A well-chosen scent can have a private conversation with its wearer for hours; it can punctuate the day with moments that range from moving to surprising to heart-breaking.
Le Snob: Perfume contains the length and breadth of Alavis perfume knowledge but he has also recruited some of the perfume industrys big guns such as; Francis Kurkdjian, Roja Dove, Andy Tauer and Linda Pilkington to provide interesting titbits and advice. Whether it is the subject of marketing, synthetics or how to apply perfume, these contributions compliment Le Snob: Perfumes central core of reviews to make it an easy pick-up-and-go guide.
You should never judge a book by its cover (as the saying goes) but one would be doing Le Snob: Perfume a disservice by not mentioning just how wonderfully it is presented. Tonwen Jones sublime watercolour illustrations that brighten the pages of the book perfectly match Alavis colourful style of writing and when combined they make for a very handsome package indeed.
In a world where Luca Turin and Tania Sanchezs Perfumes: The Guide is seen as the reference guide for perfume, Le Snob: Perfume enters the ring as a serious contender that, whilst not be as all-encompassing as Turin & Sanchezs tome, perhaps offers a more positive and encouraging view (there is no snark to be found here) of the industry. With Le Snob: Perfume you will find not only a guide to some of the best smells on the market but also an insight in to one mans passion for perfume.
Buy Le Snob: Perfume at Amazon
About the Author
Thomas Dunckley is a self-proclaimed perfume nerd and is the writer of perfume blog The Candy Perfume Boy. If you would like more information please visit www.thecandyperfumeboy.com or email him at thecandyperfumeboy at gmail dot com.
- Book Review: Floating Gold by Christopher Kemp
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