Originally Posted by the_good_life
Absolutely. Constructive criticism will improve a second edition. It's not about nitpicking or trashing the authors. Some fans seem to be more sensitive than the authors. I will contribute an extensive review after studying the book in detail, but I can already second the observation that the index is extremely user-unfriendly and needs some loving attention (as it is it looks like it was thrown together 5 minutes before the deadline). Not referencing the concentration is also a minor but irritating issue (the Habit Rouges, the Jickys, the Jaipurs etc. are very different animals IMO)
As a guide I feel this is the Yang to the Yin of the fabulous H&R guides of the 1980s and early 90s
(no, Turin&Sanchez are not the first). The H&R guides classed the fragrances according to modernized oriental-chypre-fougere-citrus-lavender scheme, provided a color photo for each fragrance and a highly detailed pyramid giving the general characteristic of top middle and bottom and then listing primary and secondary notes of each. They gave a far-ranging introduction to the history and technology of perfume making and contained a good little dictionary of key natural and synthetic ingredients. All this provided the "hardware" I find lacking in Turin/Sanchez, which is, but for the introductory part, not so much a guide as collection of brilliant mini-essays and aphorisms. The combination of these two types of perspective on perfume makes for a sum greater than its parts. Don't get me wrong - I love the book and the reviews are a pleasure to read. I just think it takes considerable knowledge of perfume to put them into perspective. And while they may inspire neopyhtes to explore the world of perfume, which is wonderful, I don't feel they will generally be much use as actual shopping guides. They provide little of the kind of information that would help you form an independent opinion of what awaits you. Thus, I think the book would have profited most from a different title (e.g. Which perfume to get laid?
for my own information: Are you talking of H&R Duftatlas /H&R Efition/Glöss Verlag Hamburg/ISBN 3-87261-075-9 ?
I have the second edition and can only confirm its excellence, particularly their pyramids separately tagged at all levels. It is quite objective, but not at all critical. They made a big mistake not making at least two other language versions of it. The book has therefore been unduly ignored. It could have been the No.1 guide during the past 20 years even though it didn't engage in rating perfumes. The Edwards Annuals have more perfumes and cost a lot when you would expect them being supported by perfume brands. But I doubt if the Edwards system is any better. ME does not differentiate between technical information and industry press releases, and I don't think I want to pay for that.
H&R books are sometimes referred to as Leffingwell's. Is that correct, or are there English versions of the Atlas, or additional books even? The Fragrance Charts only have been updated until 2001 ( PDF downloads). Hoping for a newer one would be wishful thinking, I suppose.2.
Did you look at the perfume note tags in 'The Guide'
yet? I actually found a few quite fitting. But I have no idea whether they are a sign of a systematic approach to yet another fragrance classification, or if they are just improvised. Maybe I haven't found the key to them yet.
With all the problems involved in fragrance pyramids (flowers/ fruits/ roots & grasses, and actually just chemistry behind them) I might not even want a guide to include this information in the traditional ways, particularly not if the author is Luca Turin, who did so well without any of that in his French Guide. And again, without detailing notes he is still writing his best English and German reviews in the Scent Notes Column in Zurich's Folio (Duftnote). A lot of the original material has fortunately been used in the new guide. An aesthetic himself, and probably some kind of an elitist, he seems to be best at writing about those perfumes he loves - old an newer ones! His selections have been five star fragrances anyway, and there was no need to spell that out. - But the facts of life sometimes require a book to conform to the market too, and this one has enough elements to make it truly successful in the US.3.
Taking this Guide as is: will it make a difference for consumers and thus also have an effect on the industry? I think it has the potential to make buyers more critical and aware, and make marketers not just think of buyers as willing subjects of their manipulations. Then it all depends on how this book will sell. If it sells very well in the first year, maybe thereis hope for different language versions of it. After all, there is a perfume market outside America. Whats your guess: assuming that every third perfume freak will wish to own the only critical reference book in existence how many copies can they sell to active bloggers world wide? - Price matters, of course. While some can buy ihe Guide for as low as $ 15, I had to pay double as much (in Swiss Franks) which was ok for me, but perhaps too much for the book to become a bestseller.