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  1. #1

    Smile Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Hello!

    I have recently become fascinated by the world of fragrance, and I'm so happy I discovered this site. I was wondering if anyone could recommend me a good book from which I can start building a basic knowledge of fragrances, including the history fragrance houses. I'm very impressed how some people can disect and describe the components of the 3 notes, and pinpoint what's on each. Any hope I can become nearly as good as them?

    Thank you!

  2. #2

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Oh dear! There are several good books I've seen recommended, but I don't recall their names. Welcome to basenotes anyway! I have done all my exploration on the internet, basenotes, and my own nose. Nothing really beats sniffing and sniffing! If you go back though this forum, I recall some very good descriptions of the fragrance families. I hope you enjoy yourself here. I certainly have!

    Some of the crowd that usually responds to these questions are busy studying for finals, I suspect. I've had my final final many years ago--hence the unfamiliarity with books.
    Last edited by Shycat; 18th December 2006 at 06:56 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Hello and welcome!

    My two favourite books are 'The book of perfume' by Elisabeth Barille and Catharine Laroze. Lots of information about the process of making scent and about the perfumers. A beautiful 'glossy' book.
    And 'Perfume Legends; French Feminine Fragrances' by Michael Edwards. The milestones of French perfumery are discussed with lots of information about the making of the particular scent and (added bonus for me), the bottle. Also a large 'glossy'.

    Of the less expensive books 'The perfume guide' from Susan Irvine comes to mind. Although the information is rather short, it has decent scent pyramids and a good picture of the bottles. Maybe nice for a start.

    And please, thake a look at this site: http://www.biblioparfum.net/index.php?lang=en

    I think you will find a lot of info about books there
    The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp

  4. #4

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    A nice story about fragrances you can find in Patrick Susskind's the perfume: story of a murderer.
    Great Book!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    You might enjoy:

    * Chandler Burr, The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses. New York: Random House, 2003. ISBN 0-375-50797-3.

    * Luca Turin, The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell. New York: Ecco, 2006. ISBN 0-06-113383-3.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Perfumes,splashes & colognes by Nancy M booth ISBN #0-88-266-985-0

  7. #7

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    I have Jan Moran's, "Fabulous Fragrances". It's a few years old and covers only women's perfumes. It is a good primer though. You should be able to find it cheap online.

    Paul
    “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

    ~ Robert Brault

  8. #8

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Turin's Secret of Scent covers some semi-difficult Chemistry. Try checking it out of a library before investing money on it.
    De gustibus non est disputandum

  9. #9

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Minty S
    You might enjoy:

    * Luca Turin, The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell. New York: Ecco, 2006. ISBN 0-06-113383-3.
    Have you read this one Minty? It sounds interesting.
    "Where should one use perfume?" a young woman asked. "Wherever one wants to be kissed," I said. - Coco Chanel

  10. #10

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by ifconfig
    Turin's Secret of Scent covers some semi-difficult Chemistry. Try checking it out of a library before investing money on it.
    I absolutely agree with ifconfig!! I have this book now for months already and there is just too much chemistry in it for me to enjoy it very much, however, it is very well written.
    It would not be my first choice to give to a scent novice
    The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp

  11. #11

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Bump, because I seem to loose this topic every time I search for it.
    Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none are undeservedly remembered - W.H. Auden

  12. #12

    Thumbs up Emperor of Scent

    I agree, I love this topic. Because of this topic I got two books. I'm currently reading Emperor of Scent and whiloe there is chemistry in it, it's not that difficult to follow IMO and the rest of the book is so fascinating, and Luca Turin is such a delightful character...I heartily recommend it for those interested in the perfume industry, perfume history, and the science of how we smell.
    Beauty is but the sensible image of the Infinite.
    Like truth and justice it lives within us; like virtue and the moral law it is a companion of the soul.
    -George Bancroft {1800-1891 American Historian}

    =

    current favorites:
    Balmain Jolie Madame, Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan
    =

  13. #13

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scentsibility
    I have Jan Moran's, "Fabulous Fragrances". It's a few years old and covers only women's perfumes. It is a good primer though. You should be able to find it cheap online.

    Paul
    Jan Moran continues to milk it.. I have a copy of "Fabulous Fragrances II". It covers *some* men's fragrances, but it is majority women's fragrances.

    She tends to give a positive review to everything, but it does have a good notes reference with each fragrance covered.
    Last edited by radix023; 25th January 2007 at 09:08 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Emperor of Scent

    Quote Originally Posted by mochi227
    I agree, I love this topic. Because of this topic I got two books. I'm currently reading Emperor of Scent and whiloe there is chemistry in it, it's not that difficult to follow IMO and the rest of the book is so fascinating, and Luca Turin is such a delightful character...I heartily recommend it for those interested in the perfume industry, perfume history, and the science of how we smell.
    ditto. the emperor of scent is brillant IMO. This story is so interesting. Being perfume-less for 45 years, this book was the springboard to my fascination. Tho I am now obsessed w/ the world of perfume, I hold myself back, too. I like being a novice and leaving mystery a mystery.

    On another note, I really get giddy when i am reading fiction and the authors pays special attention to perfume. Recently, I completed Barry Eisler's John Rain mysteries. He detailed the perfume of two characters throughout the series. In the last series he revealed that one character ordered a special recipe from Guerlain. I don't know why but that disappointed me; I just didn't expect her to wear Guerlain. But< I guess, that is why it is a mystery.
    -Jam

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Riannon
    I absolutely agree with ifconfig!! I have this book now for months already and there is just too much chemistry in it for me to enjoy it very much, however, it is very well written.
    It would not be my first choice to give to a scent novice
    I am learning not to pre-judge the learning background of others and consider it on the same level as my own. For example, my next door neighbor (retired) I just found out after many years of living side by side was a university level chemistry professor. While the world of perfume might be new to him and he would be considered a 'scent novice' based on a recent conversation about cologne etc, I would bet he would have no problem at all with the chemistry in the above mentioned book. The exception rather than the rule, I know, but...
    'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon

  16. #16

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Madame Mirabou's School of Love, by Barbara Samuel, a novel about a woman who opens a perfume shop. She describes some of her blends. A good read.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by kbe
    I am learning not to pre-judge the learning background of others and consider it on the same level as my own. For example, my next door neighbor (retired) I just found out after many years of living side by side was a university level chemistry professor. While the world of perfume might be new to him and he would be considered a 'scent novice' based on a recent conversation about cologne etc, I would bet he would have no problem at all with the chemistry in the above mentioned book. The exception rather than the rule, I know, but...
    My reluctance to give exactly that book of Luca Turin to a 'scent novice' was not based on a presumption that she would not understand the chemistry, but rather because in my experience someone who is new to scent will have more interest in other information about scents and houses.
    The interest in the chemical process involved usually comes later.

    After all, the initial question of this thread was "if anyone could recommend me a good book from which I can start building a basic knowledge of fragrances, including the history of fragrance houses"

    Turin's book is hardly about 'basic knowledge' and lacks the history of fragrance houses.

    So, rather than (god forbid!!) pre-judging a learning background, which would be rather stupid of me, I gave the advice that was the most sensible in my opinion and recommended the books that have the basic knowledge of fragrances and the history of fragrance houses.

    And when your next door chemistry professor would have asked me the same question as the starter of this thread, I still would recommend to start his passion for perfume with books that tell all about the great houses and the way noses come to create a scent

    Start with the easier to understand knowledge and learn to appreciate the love and effort that goes in creating a fragrance (and a bottle). After that: maybe this book of Luca Turin for those who will want to go in depth.
    The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp

  18. #18

    Wink Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    you can try this book Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume (Paperback)
    by Mandy Aftel
    To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
    Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970),

  19. #19

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    I've bought Michael Edwards newest book, and I'm using it frequently.
    Some books are undeservedly forgotten, none are undeservedly remembered - W.H. Auden

  20. #20

    Default Re: Any recommended books on fragrances?

    Perfum Legends by Michael Edwards is excellent for history. It's also interesting, just a great read. It's a big coffee table book, so expensive, unfortunately, but I don't think you can beat it for a solid book that will give history, a solid list of great perfumes and why. No self-respecting perfumista should be without it.

    Patty
    Visit our perfume blog - Perfume Posse

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