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    Default Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?


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    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    The Dreamer gets 4/5 while both Dzing! and Dior Homme struggle with a 3 star rating ?

    Out of those three, I only sort of like Dzing!, but The Dreamer is nowhere near a 4/5.
    -

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    The Dreamer gets 4/5 while both Dzing! and Dior Homme struggle with a 3 star rating ?

    Out of those three, I only sort of like Dzing!, but The Dreamer is nowhere near a 4/5.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    Yes but he should explain WHY a certain fragrance is getting a rating of 3 and not a 4 or a 5 - the reviews read like this:

    The Dreamer - incredible, superb, outstanding, genius: 4/5
    Dzing! - awesome, incredible, great: 3/5
    Dior Homme - drool worthy, stupendous, awesome: 3/5
    -

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    ...
    Last edited by pluran; 25th October 2006 at 01:15 AM.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Well, how would he justify his ratings? He listed the things about The Dreamer that he liked, including its creativity. I dont see what else he could have written to explain why he liked certain scents. His tastes probably differ from some people. Thats expected. I do love The Dreamer though.

  7. #7

    Talking Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    Yes but he should explain WHY a certain fragrance is getting a rating of 3 and not a 4 or a 5 - the reviews read like this:

    The Dreamer - incredible, superb, outstanding, genius: 4/5
    Dzing! - awesome, incredible, great: 3/5
    Dior Homme - drool worthy, stupendous, awesome: 3/5
    Hmm: 3 terms of hyperbolic praise for the fragrances that get 3 stars, and 4 terms of hyperbolic praise for the one that gets 4 stars.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    To be honest, I find Burr's reviews no different than any other review from any other person. I've disagreed with is his recommendations (Clinique Happy) and disagreed with his dislikes (YSL M7.) And of course, we agree on some fragrances as well (Dior Homme, Dreamer.)

    So in the end, what makes him any different or unique?

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    Hmm: 3 terms of hyperbolic praise for the fragrances that get 3 stars, and 4 terms of hyperbolic praise for the one that gets 4 stars.
    lol awesome observation !
    -

  10. #10

    Exclamation Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    It's actually this thing below that has me confused....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/op...ewanted=1&_r=1

    T: Style’s perfume critic — like the advertising-driven concept for the glossy new real estate magazine — is part of The Times’s calculated effort to create new content and publications that will attract additional advertisers. The redesign of most of the paper’s existing weekly sections, such as Travel and Dining, has given them a magazine-like flair intended to increase their appeal to advertisers
    Is this supposed to mean that we are not going to see any really bad reviews by products porvided by advertisers any time soon?
    *screatching head*

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I'll say this with the disclaimer that I know nothing about the matters he has been talking about as a 'scientific journalist'. His book 'The Emperor of Scent' is very well written. It is an introduction to modern perfumery among other things, and this fascinated me enough to dig into dry and heavy details about smell preception (I also omitted pages and pages, but that has nothing to do with the way he wrote it). I later searched for more, and discovered articles about the gender thing (theories, science and politics): easy reading, and not a minute lost! Hermes and the Nile I also liked as a piece of lighter journalism despite his personal opinions about Hermes and their creations.

    Unfortunately , I cannot warm up to, or follow him on his ideas and preferences as a perfume critic. This is partly a difference in taste, and as such no problem. But I am not even sure if I can believe in his confessions and dislikes. I do often not comprehend why he likes, or happens to dislike, a brand I love. If we agree, I tick that off. If we disagree, I am not even disappointed.

    Very much in contrast, I do enjoy Turins reviews and other articles about perfumery. He is living proof that it takes more than a skill for journalism to engage me in a subject which he is completely dedicated to. When he disses something I happen to like, I get sad. I will consider his opinion nevertheless. It's different with Burr: No matter whether he praises or disses a perfume - I am never fully convinced. I sometimes even suspect that Burr is not quite honest with his readers. He may have enjoyed his insecticide formulation so much, he couldn't resist publishing it, even at the risk of loosing credibility.

    Take any of the present posters here - I feel their enthusiasm and disgust when they write about their recent shop visits and purchases, and I believe 90% - 100% of it! This is what gets me involved, this is how I found fragrances I now love but didn't like before. NYT could not have this effect, not with Burr stripping.
    Last edited by narcus; 23rd October 2006 at 09:42 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Commercial reviews like these are almost always corrupt. Certain reps from certain companies become your friend....they take you out for lunch, buy the best wine on the list...take you to sport, opera etc. There is often zero correlation between genuine quality and coverage. I have seen this in SO many industries, even if they start more honest, it soon starts.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder
    Commercial reviews like these are almost always corrupt. Certain reps from certain companies become your friend....they take you out for lunch, buy the best wine on the list...take you to sport, opera etc. There is often zero correlation between genuine quality and coverage. I have seen this in SO many industries, even if they start more honest, it soon starts.
    The force of circumstances cannot be ignored. We all have to accept that to a point. Unless he wants to dine completely by himself, or in company of his choice, I suppose free meals and champaign are part of Burr's basic income. His 'Jardin sur le Nil' was an essay paid for by Hermes. That's no secret. But it was a good essay, and a believable story. Marlen has just interviewed the man. He could teach him how to write (commercial) reviews that I can believe if I want to. But Marlen has something Burr has not shown yet: a sincere love for juices in general! This is why Burr may be the wrong man for the job. How would I enjoy Serpent to replace Burr! OK, S's favorite spice is vinegraitte, and it takes time te get used to that style. But if it could be tempered with a little more sugar, Serpent knows a lot more about the perfume business, and he always warrants great entertainment! Sorry Serpent, if I got carried away a bit. More people come to mind, but I promise to stop here!
    Last edited by narcus; 23rd October 2006 at 05:54 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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    Question Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus
    I later searched for more, and discovered articles about the gender thing (theories, science and politics): easy reading, and not a minute lost!
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.

    I do get your point about the enthusiasm and dedication. In those Basenoters you mention it is very apparent and enjoyable to read.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.....
    Neither do I. It worries me to get the notion that he could possibly behave like quicksilver on matters that must concern him to the core. Trashing a few scents is harmelss, in comparison.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.

    I do get your point about the enthusiasm and dedication. In those Basenoters you mention it is very apparent and enjoyable to read.
    Wow,
    That post does make some interestingly lurid reading, and if discussed, could get nasty very quickly.

    Regarding the other subject, who knows the extent to which Burr is being wined, dined, and 69'ed [did I say that?], but I agree with Hirch - the possibilities for corruption are considerable.

    I really envy Burr's new job... think about it... you simply give your opinion on something, and there's no possible fact-checking... no chance of a Jason Blair situation here! Your only limit is the possible need to coddle the advertisers. If he really savaged some big advertising in a review, it's likely his editors wouldn't let it see the light of day. Conversely, if someone gave him a lifetime supply of Maitres Des Poubelles et Galantines and free 3-star lunches ad infinitum, it would be easy to give them nice reviews.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    To be honest, I find Burr's reviews no different than any other review from any other person. I've disagreed with is his recommendations (Clinique Happy) and disagreed with his dislikes (YSL M7.) And of course, we agree on some fragrances as well (Dior Homme, Dreamer.)

    So in the end, what makes him any different or unique?
    Yeah, that's the same thing I think. There's not so much fun in reading them. There are possibly a lot of aspiring journalists who could do the same thing he does, or better.
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    It's actually this thing below that has me confused....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/op...ewanted=1&_r=1



    Is this supposed to mean that we are not going to see any really bad reviews by products porvided by advertisers any time soon?
    *screatching head*
    Chandler Burr does harshly condemn fragrances, but as yet not in the column.

    On NPR's On the Media, Bob Garfield asked Burr, "[H]as it occurred to you that it's a sort of a transparent gimmick to just get more fragrance advertising within the pages of the Times?"

    Burr responded: "Yeah. That it would be perceived that way, of course, has occurred to me. I actually proposed it to The Times. I proposed it because perfume is an art, and I believe that it needs, like all real arts, to have a legitimate critical apparatus applied to it. The question of is this done for advertising pages I think is going to be answered pretty dispositively in the second and third columns. In the second column, I take a perfume by Davidoff and I say, smelling this is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell. In the third column I have a perfume from Azzaro, a brand that I hate across the board, and I say, this thing smells like a soulless assembly line robot. Now, you tell me what you think advertisers are going to respond to that." (1)

    In an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation a few days earlier, Burr also criticized "the Antonio Banderas scent, which I understand was a financial success [...] It reminds me of a perfume that I actually review---I won't tell you the name just because it's coming out in the New York Times [...] and I said, 'this perfume is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell." (2)

    Then a week later Lisa Cox Barrett of the Columbia Journalism Review has him saying "There's a perfume by Davidoff that I review in T: Men's coming out on September 17 that I describe as 'like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell.'" (3)

    Those of you who read the column will note, however, no such language appears there. (4)

    Indeed Burr has been deriding certain scents at least since January 2006, when he wrote, "Look at the Kenneth Cole scents or Z by Zegna: Smelling them is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell." (5)
    Last edited by d4; 23rd October 2006 at 06:24 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I have read most of his reviews and he's somewhat entertaining but lightly informative.
    I do believe his reviews for the paper have been less than satisfactory.

    I'd much rather read the reviews of my fellow basnoters.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Whatever else he may write and think and do aside, these reviews IMHO are useless. Too short to be substantial, strangely flat in their newsbyte enthusiasm, devoid of any transparent system of evaluation. It might help if he did just one perfume and got into more depth.
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    This is why there shouldn't be critics in the first place. This guy is going to single-handedly prevent people from considering perfumes that they might otherwise enjoy, especially since he's the only one of his kind.

    I'm guilty of the same thing with movies. If I read a particularly nasty review of something, I kinda don't feel like watching it. Luckily, with movie reviews, there are thousands of them, and you can usually find some kind of consensus. But with Chandler Burr being the only english language scent critic published in a major media outlet, there is no way to weed out a ranting negative review of a perfume that many others (here, for instance) find great.

    I'm not against him reviewing, and i'm sure his reviews are mostly going to be ok...there just need to be more like him for the sake of evenhandedness and comparison.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 23rd October 2006 at 09:32 PM.
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  22. #22

    Question Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by LiveJazz
    But with Chandler Burr being the only english language scent critic published in a major media outlet, there is no way to weed out a ranting negative review of a perfume that many others (here, for instance) find great.
    To wit, he writes:

    Case in point: M7. The original provokes, more than any other release, the deep question: What… were they thinking…? Here are two of the most masterful perfumers on the planet, Alberto Morillas and Jacques Cavallier, under (in theory anyway) Chantal Roos and Tom Ford's artistic direction, and they create the smell of a smashed Fiat engulfed in flames in the emergency lane of the A6, an alarming chemical storm of burnt rubber, charred metal, singed leather, and a touch of hot polycarbon. This is not, actually, a criticism: It was (I mean this) a well-constructed, thoughtfully built car in flames.
    (1)

    Criticism or not, does anyone here agree with any of that description?

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I own a copy of the "Emperor of Scent" and it is a catastrophe of a book by a journalist. It is a one-sided, kiss up to Luca Turin. This is supposed to be an explanation of how scent works...the problem is that there are no interviews with other scientists. There are no dissenting views. There are no scientists that agree with the theories presented. In fact, the scientific theory by Turin wasn't ever accepted by his peers as valid. And yet, here is a whole book devoted to what? A theory with no believers? It's really just a big commercial for Luca and for Chandler. I have to admit though that I really like Luca Turin.

    As for Mr. Burrs reviews, they are fluffy icing with absolutely no substance. He has a well used thesaurus, for sure.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    To wit, he writes:

    (1)

    Criticism or not, does anyone here agree with any of that description?
    I was nearly shocked when I smelled M7. But I had to hide my displeasure because it was a gift from my syster to her husband and they both were very satisfied. And I find no problem with this situation whatsoever. Should I?

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by paintrman
    ....There are no scientists that agree with the theories presented. In fact, the scientific theory by Turin wasn't ever accepted by his peers as valid. And yet, here is a whole book devoted to what? A theory with no believers?
    Believe it or not, that's exactly what the book is about. And it is not about Journalism and not about the validity of belief! Look at it as a biography, or a zoomed in chapter of one. If you care to go into details, it is also a study of academic power structures in the UK at the turn of a century.

    As it stands now, the theory must be regarded as not sufficiently proven. But as long as there isn't a better one, it is still a valid theory. For more: Luca Turin / The Secret of Scent/Faber&Faber London, 2006 /ISBN978-0-571-21537-9
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    As it stands now, the theory must be regarded as not sufficiently proven. But as long as there isn't a better one, it is still a valid theory.
    Well, there is the theory that was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    Well, there is the theory that was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    wow. thanks for the great link!
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Interesting comments, all.

    I like Chandler Burr's reviews because in every case for those fragrances I have tried, I agreed with him. This naturally leads me to relax my level of skepticism for his new reviews; I'm more willing to take him at his word. That's normal, I think.

    I have read The Emperor of Scent and I can see how easy it is to make the mistake of thinking it is a cheerleading book for Luca Turin (who I think is great, as a perfume maven anyway), far from it. In fact, there are many references to how difficult Turin is as a person and even more so as a scientist. There are references to how the book was almost never finished several times in the course of writing due to violent disagreements between Burr and Turin. Turin doesn't come out smelling of roses, no pun intended.

    As for the scientific validity of Turin's theory of smell (it's actually not his per se), from what little I know of the sciences, I don't think it's too far-fetched. It's at least logical. The fact it's not widely accepted doesn't mean much as I only have to point to Galileo.

  29. #29

    Thumbs down Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I have to say, I simply can't stand the guy. I have never read perfume writing more vague than his.


    In his last article, "Color Coded: Chandler Burr on the Fragrance Industry's Dirty Little Secret," (The New York Times Style Magazine Beauty Fall 2006) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/st...=1&oref=slogin he repeatedly refers to Kenzo Amour as "floral." Nothing else. Not what color or family of floral, not what sort of character it has, and certainly no mention of any actual flower. And how are we supposed to differentiate it from "Flower by Kenzo, a well-constructed, lovely flowery scent?"

    Now take the descriptions from the sidebar with the actual "reviews" (which don't seem to appear on the online version): he describes Kenzo Jungle as nothing more than "spicy and strong." And how's this for oblique? Fragile by JPG is "a scent like an instantly recognized face passing through a gauntlet of flashbulbs. You glimpse the sleek black dress, and then she's gone." Of Chanel No.19, "[it] is rather a stunning ingenue," and here's my favorite for vagueness: "In Love Again is a star from a 1959 Technicolor film. Here is a perfume of saturated color, hot magentas and yellows and cool cyans bleeding onto celluloid . . . its hyperrealism making it a kind of gorgeous olfactory pornography." Great, Mr. Burr, but WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?????

    And where are his editors?

    If the point of giving him an article is to regard perfume like other art forms and review it with the same respect and dignity as one would a film, a play, an opera, ballet, etc., they ought to send him back to journalism school to have it hammered into his head once and for all that the purpose of a review is not simply to rattle off personal opinions, nor to write flowery and nondescript advertising copy, but first and foremost, to inform the reader what they're in for if they choose to partake of the experience themselves. If the review has thoroughly described the experience for the reader, then, and only then, has the reviewer earned the right to pass their own judgment on its quality. On that front, Chandler Burr has absolutely failed, and I don’t understand how the staff at the Times Magazine lets this stuff get published.

    There are great perfume writers out there. I'm deeply disappointed that this is the writer who is going to represent the fragrance world to the mainstream public.

    I nominate Columbina of http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/ to replace him.
    Last edited by Turkish Hookah Dancer; 24th October 2006 at 01:13 AM.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    YES! You are correct! I agree with you completely and laughed out loud about Mr. Burr's writing!

    Oh, I have a secret crush on Columbina (Marina) and read her blog daily. She has never steered me wrong. I ordered my bottle of L'eau de Navegateur blind because of her and she was 100% right about it. It is fantastic.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Hi Turkish Hooker!

    Hmm... apparently, you have no use for metaphor.

    I can't speak for the Times editors, but were I one and approached by a best-selling author, writer of articles in such magazines as National Review, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, oh, I don't know, I think I'd give said author the benefit of the doubt, more than I would say, a forum poster, for example.

    I'll check out Columbina's blog, sounds interesting!

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    Smile Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Hehe.. you know what's ironic? Columbina quotes Burr all over her blog!

  33. #33

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    My thought is that he writes well enough about perfume to get a 250K advance on his book about the making of Le Jardin sur le Nil. Can't kick the feeling that the issue is not his writing or his observations per se, but that others feel more entitled to the success he is experiencing as a perfume writer. I recall when a Burr appearance on the boards was a welcome event. And I also recall that the Times published ten of his perfume articles prior to his column, and that each one was applauded by the same people who now denigrate his abilities.

    That's all.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Nope, sorry...it's definitely his writing that I don't like. I also remember laughing about some of his observations here on Basenotes about a year ago with others of like mind, and that was long before the Times contract.
    Last edited by paintrman; 24th October 2006 at 05:11 AM.

  35. #35

    Thumbs up Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Today I caught a whiff of an amazing smell: it was like stepping on a manhole cover, looking down and noticing your shoe is covered in glitter, and then realizing you forgot to turn the lights off when you left the house. It was an incredible, awesome experience. 3/5
    Last edited by d4; 24th October 2006 at 06:26 AM.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    Well, there is the theory that was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    This is the shortest and clearest summary I have seen of this so far. Thanks, dcampen! The way I (neither chemist, nor biophysicist) understand it, Turin is still working on the question what makes a molecule a lilac molecule, or how can otherwise identical molecules have different smells. This thread is about Burr, and therefore I would love to discuss Turins merits in the scientific arena at another occasion in more detail. I believe Burr did present the matter well to a wider public and gave an overall picture of a man with many talents, L.Turin. That is why I am so disappointed about the crap he has produced latelely, and disillusioned concerning the NYT. He wrote for their Ladies fashion mag before, though. Burr has been discussed here before, and I remember men were mocking his personal taste (hope to find that later). This was what came to my mind, when he was anounced by NYT: I hope he limits himself to feminine frags. He may have a natural vicinity to pleasant smelling things, or not, as a man who has nothing but derogatory comments for masculine fragrances he is not qualified for the job!

    EDIT: "...all those goddamn, tired out, hairy chested, cliché macho, standardized masculine fragrances you find out there...", his refrence to M7 (smells like remnants of a nuclear war), and to Guerlain Vetiver (smokey, masculine...) are quotes I cannot source now. I suppose they are from either ChandlerBurr.com which has undergone changes, or from NYT archives 2004/05 which are no longer public. The context was: Burr's ten personal favorites, I believe).

    Interview in NowSmell This:
    http://nowsmellthis.blogharbor.com/b...1/1013012.html

    Basenotes forum:
    http://community.basenotes.net/showt...=Chandler+Burr
    Last edited by narcus; 24th October 2006 at 09:57 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    To wit, he writes:

    (1)

    Criticism or not, does anyone here agree with any of that description?
    I agree with you — that description of M7 is pretty ridiculous. It doesn't manage to say anything that's true and says a whole lot that's false. The reviews on basenotes are very much better, even where I don't agree with them.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    Today I caught a whiff of an amazing smell: it was like stepping on a manhole cover, looking down and noticing your shoe is covered in glitter, and then realizing you forgot to turn the lights off when you left the house. It was an incredible, awesome experience. 3/5
    Also hilarious.

  39. #39
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I think the problem here is with Burr's monopoly on the position of public critic. Criticism only works when you have a number of intelligent people offering their sincere opinions. The reader then shops among them and over time forms a view as to which one conforms to his or her own preferences. If Chandler Burr were simply a contributor to Basenotes (say) I would have no problem with him giving his impressionistic opinions — but I also think that over time I would begin to discount them too.

    As it is he is going to have a disproprtionate influence on what is available. In this there is cause for real concern. Though I also think that he is not likely to last.

    cheers

    Eluard

  40. #40

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    His articles intrigue me, and I love his candor. I don't think he just mimics Luca Turin, either. All that aside, I wish Burr could/would tie them up with a little more grace -- his style in closing always seems so abrupt to me.

  41. #41

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?


  42. #42
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    If Mr. Burr's pieces develop the directness and nuance of the Basenotes community's sensibilities then I'd say he will be well on his way to doing a whole lot of good for the fragrance world.

    A great many of the fragrances I have purchased over the last several years have come from the many concise and well-written reviews of Basenotes members.

    But I dare say that Mr. Burr, like a well-designed fragrance, will either get better by recommendation or just fade away like the next version of Boss.

  43. #43

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    I agree with you — that description of M7 is pretty ridiculous. It doesn't manage to say anything that's true and says a whole lot that's false. The reviews on basenotes are very much better, even where I don't agree with them.
    I also agree with you here, and with your concerns expressed in the following posts. This may indeed be (have to be) a short lived engagement. In a good review the verdict is of less importance. It is the lines before which should include a minimum of basic orientation, facts that lead up to final conclusions. Fortunately, the majority of reviews within the BN directory tells me why someone likes/dislikes a cologne. Then I can draw my own conclusions, get interested, or forget about a scent quickly. Burr usually leaves me guessing, at best.

    Although I enjoy the accidental priviledge of reading Turins Perfume Notes in Zurich NZZ, his column is simaltaneously published on the internet, and now in English for a bigger audience. As Turin's essays are not limited to cologne but also discuss industry issues, niche phenomena, health aspects, and politics they offer a wider spectrum. His is not simply an alternative to Burr's scent strips but it certainly is an alternative for web oriented people.

    In spite of my recent disappointments, I notice with regret, that the Burr column is not freely accessible. Even his older articles for NYT require paying a fee I understand.
    Last edited by narcus; 24th October 2006 at 07:35 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  44. #44

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy
    I was nearly shocked when I smelled M7. But I had to hide my displeasure because it was a gift from my syster to her husband and they both were very satisfied. And I find no problem with this situation whatsoever. Should I?
    I just happened to be wearing M7 all day yesterday and enjoying it beyond words! It's for once a modern masculine scent that is original. It has its very own merit. There are some similarities to other scents I have tried, but when you smell it you don't think of them instantly (like is the case with many mass-marketed masculine scents). They just give off an instant "masculine cliche" impression and that's most of what there is to them.

    M7 is exactly what I was looking for in the men's perfume isle. I would even buy a bottle of it at certain point.
    Ayala Moriel, Perfumer
    Ayala Moriel Parfums http://www.ayalamoriel.com/
    Visit my SmellyBlog: http://www.smellyblog.com/

  45. #45

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus
    In spite of my recent disappointments, I notice with regret, that the Burr column is not freely accessible. Even his older articles for NYT require paying a fee I understand.
    Narcus, I learned from experience that an online subscription to the NY Times is in fact free. You just need to register and than you can read all the Chandler Burr you want!
    Ayala Moriel, Perfumer
    Ayala Moriel Parfums http://www.ayalamoriel.com/
    Visit my SmellyBlog: http://www.smellyblog.com/

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by paintrman
    I own a copy of the "Emperor of Scent" and it is a catastrophe of a book by a journalist. It is a one-sided, kiss up to Luca Turin. This is supposed to be an explanation of how scent works...the problem is that there are no interviews with other scientists. There are no dissenting views. There are no scientists that agree with the theories presented. In fact, the scientific theory by Turin wasn't ever accepted by his peers as valid. And yet, here is a whole book devoted to what?
    To a large extent, I agree. When I read "Emperor" I enjoyed it, mainly because I learned about scent (about which I knew nothing at the time). It is true that academics savage each other in the quest to discredit others' research and to validate their own. But Turin isn't the only target of this; it's nearly standard procedure everywhere, and everybody tends to get their share.

    Though the book does discuss other theories pretty well (as far as a non-scientist can tell), Turin's dealings with the scientific community are heavily couched in the stance that he's the Lonely Crusader For Truth vs. The Mean-Spirited Shoddy Researchers Who are Ignorning and Quashing the Truth. Ironically, this David vs. Goliath approach probably makes for a better read, but it doesn't seem especially objective, especially in light of the fact that those other folks got the Nobel prize that Turin so badly craved. I imagine that Turin may have wet his pants when that happened.

    I do like the way Burr writes. He'd be a hell of a poet. Just not a great reviewer.

    PS: Paintrman, greetings to you in your great town, where I spent an extremely enjoyable 3 weeks sometime ago! I'm remembering having breakfast in the Jardin, and it's a very fond memory!

  47. #47

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifconfig
    Hi Turkish Hooker!

    Hmm... apparently, you have no use for metaphor.
    Heya - I'll have no cheap shots at my name, you!

    I love metaphor when it's useful. The purpose of a metaphor is to give the reader an understanding that is *more* precise, *more* concrete and *more* visceral than what can be done by directly describing the thing in question. Burr's metaphors do nothing but cloud up and obfuscate matters. When writing about scent, the language should reflect smells. Images and ideas that are not in any way linked with the sense of smell have no place in a perfume review. It's lazy, inaccurate writing, and I defy anyone to tell me anything concrete about a fragrance going solely off one of his reviews.

    I mean, come on – “a lovely flowery scent?” That narrows it down to one of 700,000 fragrances out there. And “rather a stunning ingenue?” That could mean anything. You could say that about such opposite fragrances as Fresh Sugar or Bvlgari Black. Same with the celluloid color swirl metaphor – one could go into just such a pop art acid trip from any number of fragrances – I want to know what makes this one different, and most importantly, what it smells like, not what personal, unrelated imagery it calls up for him. If I wanted nondescript, flowery, vague language, I’d read perfume ads.

    Can you imagine if someone in a publication as prestigious as the Times reviewed a movie without ever telling you what the ambition of the plotline was or who the characters were, who played them, or even what basic genre the film was going for? If you left the article feeling like you still have no idea what the movie is, wouldn’t you feel a bit cheated?

    I can't speak for the Times editors, but were I one and approached by a best-selling author, writer of articles in such magazines as National Review, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, oh, I don't know, I think I'd give said author the benefit of the doubt, more than I would say, a forum poster, for example.

    I'll check out Columbina's blog, sounds interesting!
    As a woman who works in the publishing industry, I must say that someone having been published before, even as a bestseller, has next to nothing to do with the quality of their writing. Times editors especially are approached by more bestselling authors than you can possibly know; I promise you that. There are millions of writers out there. Simply being published does not make Mr. Burr special.

    The point is that good writing doesn't *need* the benefit of the doubt or any kind of qualifier or excuse. It stands on its own. If you leave the byline off the article, it should read just as spectacularly as when you know who the writer is and admire him or her.

    Just read Columbina’s reviews – then I think you’ll understand what I’m talking about and why Burr’s lack of specificity and concrete facts is so apparent. Like others have noted in this thread, even if a reviewer doesn’t like a fragrance, he or she should give the reader enough information about the product that they may end up excited to try the same fragrance that turned the reviewer’s stomach.

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Turkish Hookah Dancer you are spot on. Burr's writing is a lazy scattergun approach to metaphor: fire off a few images and hope one of them resonates with the reader. And if none do, just pretend that the reader is unable to "get it". But this is poor writing: good metaphor is accurate and precise: it is like a lightning strike from God. Burr's writing is at the college newsletter level.

    (BTW I'm having a hard time getting your name. How does one dance with one end of a hookah pipe clamped in one's teeth? I keep imagining someone trying to inflate an octopus.)

    cheers

    Eluard

  49. #49

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    Turkish Hookah Dancer you are spot on. Burr's writing is a lazy scattergun approach to metaphor: fire off a few images and hope one of them resonates with the reader. And if none do, just pretend that the reader is unable to "get it".
    It's exactly that sentiment of "you just don't get it" that came through in his radio interviews that repulsed me. If he's the sort who believes his ideas are just so clear that they don't require careful description to get them across, writing sure ain't the business for him. He seems to fancy himself a genius specifically for the fact that he *doesn't* write about notes, accords, fragrance families and, well - smells. He scoffed at that type of writing in one of his interviews, and I would have been willing to entertain his disdain if only his writing were more accurate traditional reviews.

    (BTW I'm having a hard time getting your name. How does one dance with one end of a hookah pipe clamped in one's teeth? I keep imagining someone trying to inflate an octopus.)

    cheers

    Eluard
    Tanx, Eluard.

    See, you have to picture a Middle Eastern and Turkish Roman fusion dancer in a smoked out narghile den in the middle of Istanbul. That's me. And I'm doused in Fumerie Turque to boot.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Hookah Dancer
    It's exactly that sentiment of "you just don't get it" that came through in his radio interviews that repulsed me. If he's the sort who believes his ideas are just so clear that they don't require careful description to get them across, writing sure ain't the business for him. He seems to fancy himself a genius specifically for the fact that he *doesn't* write about notes, accords, fragrance families and, well - smells. He scoffed at that type of writing in one of his interviews, and I would have been willing to entertain his disdain if only his writing were more accurate traditional reviews.



    Tanx, Eluard.

    See, you have to picture a Middle Eastern and Turkish Roman fusion dancer in a smoked out narghile den in the middle of Istanbul. That's me. And I'm doused in Fumerie Turque to boot.
    I have a feeling that Burr thinks that he borrowed Turin's genius by writing about him. Sort of "IQ-infusion by quotation".

    I must say that the ME and TR fusion dancer image has got me all hot and bothered — if only I could make you out through all that damned smoke! I'll go and spray on some Oud cuir d'Arabie and hopefully that will give me a better idea.

  51. #51

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by Eluard
    I have a feeling that Burr thinks that he borrowed Turin's genius by writing about him. Sort of "IQ-infusion by quotation".
    Quote Originally Posted by Turkish Hooka Dancer
    ..A genius specifically for the fact that he *doesn't* write about notes, accords, fragrance families and, well - smells. He scoffed at that type of writing in one of his interviews, and I would have been willing to entertain his disdain if only his writing were more accurate traditional reviews.
    The two of you have really brought it to the point herewith, and there is little to be added. Maybe this: if I am obscure about basic facts and details of any cologne, nobody can detect my errors. Neither Esther Lauder nor Guerlain can sue me when I see glitter on my shoes stepping on a manhole. Eventually my shoes will step into dog dirt also. Readers will write nasty letters, but I could live with that. Who was our 'hero' getting at? Zegna, an affiliate company of YSL Beauté? That label has been dropped by his previous owners I believe, and may be disappearing anyway. They are probably too handicapped to protest. I am more worried than amused.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ayala
    Narcus, I learned from experience that an online subscription to the NY Times is in fact free. You just need to register and than you can read all the Chandler Burr you want!
    Thank you, Ayala. Please take me by the hand, once more: Yesterday I revived my registration (that I had dumped before in frustration). I enter '@NYT', do a search, and get a listing of all 'scent strips'. When I click on any of these, I see the starting lines of Burr's column plus an offer to read the whole column for $4.75. I remember that experience from August. What have I missed doing?
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    big big bump

    Chandler doesn't seem to have reviewed anything recently, did he? which is sad cause i always loved to read his stuff.

  53. #53
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Holy, that's a lot to read. I'd love to have that stuff printed as I'm not too fond of reading 300 + pages on the internet.
    Smellin good

  54. #54

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I wonder if Burr would argue that he is writing for the common person who doesn't want to know or care about 'notes' and that the 'feeling' is what he is trying to share?
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Perhaps because I started smelling with LT's book around, I tend to agree a lot with LT's ratings, and disagree a lot with Burr's. In particular, Burr seems to appreciate modern, "fresh" sporty stuff, and he also seems to love Ellena's light, transparent style.

    If I remember correctly, he gives high grades to Light Blue, loathed by LT. He also gives 5 star to something by Villoresi - LT doesn't review that perfume, but I doubt he'd have done so ... (and in a video, he also spoke well of Delices de Cartier, possibly my most hated swill).

    cacio

  56. #56

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Burr tries too hard to ape Turin's signature - using imagery and metaphor, often abstract, to describe the feeling a perfume conveys - without also borrowing Turin's ability to describe the structure, ingredients, and craft of the perfume itself. Burr's torrid, purple descriptions are entertaining, but next to useless. Turin's are backed up by prosaic information about the scent, thus offering the best of both worlds. But where Burr really loses me is his tendency to praise pleasant-but-dull commercial stuff like Juicy Couture and Coco Mademoiselle as nectar of the freakin' gods, while damning almost the entirety of the old-school French classics with their musky animalics and overt sensuality, just because he's grossed out by armpit stink. (Has anyone else noticed his obsession with armpits? Miss Dior smells like a "beaver's armpit". Kouros smells like a "trucker's armpit". We get it, Chandler, you like your showers. Now tell us something substantial about the damn perfume.)

  57. #57

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by subhuman85 View Post
    Has anyone else noticed his obsession with armpits? Miss Dior smells like a "beaver's armpit". Kouros smells like a "trucker's armpit". We get it, Chandler, you like your showers. Now tell us something substantial about the damn perfume.
    Too funny!

  58. #58
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by street_a_licious View Post
    big big bump

    Chandler doesn't seem to have reviewed anything recently, did he? which is sad cause i always loved to read his stuff.
    Ever so often you'll see his reviews in GQ. He wrote an essay in Roja Dove's recent book, 'Quintessentally Perfume'. Besides that, he's writing non-perfume fiction.

    I think he's on Facebook (I wouldn't know I am not).
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    It's no big secret that Burr prefers gourmand fragrances, and from what I can gather, he's not shy about it. I remember reading his review of Kouros a while back. He referred to an experience of meeting a Frenchman (allegedly a perfumer) who said "C'est un grand parfum" when describing Kouros. Burr, however, felt it belonged in 1881, and was something that truly stank, thanks in large part to the civet involved. What struck me as odd, however, was Burr's follow-up review of YSL's Elle, which received a meager 1 star. Here a guy sinks a relatively minor release by a big house, but does it with nearly the same aplomb as his review of that same house's most major release. I guess he's consistent.

    The problem is, he holds Kouros in a 1-star margin as Elle. All credibility is lost.

  60. #60
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I agree with him entirely about Kouros.

    It truly is *vile*.

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