Later this month, Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’s latest book, The Little Book of Perfumes, is released. According to the publishers, the book is "devoted purely to those fragrances that earned their highest praise, the “masterpiece” rating. Stunningly produced, this petite volume concentrates on ninety-six top fragrances and four legendary scents preserved only in the French museum of perfume, the Osmothèque."
While The Little Book of Perfumes celebrates such masterpieces of the perfumer’s art, it also sounds a warning: just as the four great historical perfumes described within are gone forever, the other ninety-six may be at risk too. Many perfumes are changing, some for the better but more often for the worse, due to negligence, penny-pinching, extraordinary regulatory decisions, misguided modernization and all the other shifts that can take your favorite perfume away from you forever.
So is your long-loved favorite still great? Turin and Sanchez weigh in on which classic perfumes are still worth hunting down, which new fragrances are destined to be remembered for years to come, which are better than ever and which seem on the decline. The Little Book of Perfumes is your guide to the beautiful, diverse, and controversial world of classic fragrances, before they’re gone forever.
For those who already have Turin and Sanchez's Perfumes: The Guide, most these reviews may be familiar to you, Sanchez explains on her blog
Penguin and Profile, our publishers in the US and UK, approached us with an idea for a derivative work: 100 Great Perfumes, taken entirely from reviews we’ve already written, save for a small number of new ones to bring the number up to a round 100, since if I recall correctly there were only 96 five-star reviews. This book, slender and adorable, would be for people who cannot bear to read us ragging on their poor deceased relative’s favorite or for perfume shops and counters that would like to be able to sell such a book along with a nice perfume at Christmas, and who found the original too bitey.
We always thought, and still do think, that good things said about perfume mean absolutely nothing if you only ever say good things. Also, we thought it might be dull to read rave after rave without a palate cleanser. Yet we were assured an entirely positive tribute to the glorious art of perfume was in the making. On consideration, we saw an opportunity.
To top the 96 scents up to a round 100, the duo went to the Osmothèque and reviewed the original versions of four classic scents: L’Origan, Chypre, Emeraude, Iris Gris.
Sanchez adds "We considered doing [the original] Fougère Royale but both Penguin and Profile were resolutely against 101 fragrances, so it fell by the wayside."
The Little Book of Perfumes is available late October (US) and early November (UK). Basenotes will feature a review of the book shortly.