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  1. #181
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I agree with Mando's commentary and Yes, you are correct about Amarige. Another case in point: the end of the Black (5*'s LT) review. "it has its place with Bandit, Tabac Blond, and Cabochard among the great emancipated fragrances of all time."
    Bandit is rated 5*'s
    Tabac Blond is rated 1*
    Cabochard is rated 2*'s
    So what exactly does LT mean by the reference at the end of the review? We can infer all sorts of things, but that's not the point.
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  2. #182
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    [...]
    Also also...man, I really really want to smell PdN NY.

    I've commented already on the book, but can now comment on PdN NY, since I'm wearing it today.

    From my SotD entry: it reminds me of a not-quite high-class New Yawk streetwalker. Probably from Yonkers, not the Bronx. Had been attending Sarah Lawrence, majoring in Film History with a minor in Science, Technology and Society. Due to a bad influence from SUNY and a taste for the wild side, she found herself in dire straits. She now makes a living doing exotic dancing at a club in Morningside Heights (with an apartment in Greenpoint). She'll finish up her degree "one of these days". That's PDN NY for ya.

    Just my impression.
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  3. #183

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I found myself thinking that this could have been a self published book, in that organization was poor in every way (won't detail it all here, as it's been discussed aplenty on BN threads). My question is (since I don't have much knowledge of the field), what were the editors thinking? Isn't it obvious, even to someone who knows nothing about fragrances, that this format makes no sense? Some frags get shredded in a few words, while others are discussed in great detail, and what is discussed about the ones that get a lot of coverage can vary greatly. It's almost like whoever was in charge of giving final approval said to himself/herself, "oh, who cares, we know that some people are going to buy this book no matter what's in it, so let's just get the presses rolling already and be done with it."

    Do others agree?

  4. #184

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Do others agree?
    They needed an editor who isn't intimidated by them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hoos
    From my SotD entry: it reminds me of a not-quite high-class New Yawk streetwalker. Probably from Yonkers, not the Bronx. Had been attending Sarah Lawrence, majoring in Film History with a minor in Science, Technology and Society. Due to a bad influence from SUNY and a taste for the wild side, she found herself in dire straits. She now makes a living doing exotic dancing at a club in Morningside Heights (with an apartment in Greenpoint). She'll finish up her degree "one of these days". That's PDN NY for ya.
    I would like that!
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  5. #185

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by RHM View Post
    I agree with Mando's commentary and Yes, you are correct about Amarige. Another case in point: the end of the Black (5*'s LT) review. "it has its place with Bandit, Tabac Blond, and Cabochard among the great emancipated fragrances of all time."
    Bandit is rated 5*'s
    Tabac Blond is rated 1*
    Cabochard is rated 2*'s
    So what exactly does LT mean by the reference at the end of the review? We can infer all sorts of things, but that's not the point.
    He's talking about old formulations.



    Oh, and the "cronyism" thing was more along the lines of, if LT knew a crappy perfume was done by a big name, it seemed like he'd give the fragrance the benefit of the doubt on the star rating. I don't have any examples right from memory, but I recall thinking that too.

    But who cares? We all have opinions, and opinions are like Rose Poivree.
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  6. #186

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I believe they are lauding Lauder for one simple reason; in this day and age where no fragrance seems to be sacred, and almost all of the classics have been tampered with, Lauder is a haven to it's classics. They have not discontinued any of their older scents, nor have they done crazy alterations with the formulas, they still sell them all. As far as the newer scents, while BP may not be my cup of tea (as the saying goes) I am still able to appreciate the composition, which is more than I can say for many modern Guerlains.
    I personally feel Lauder is a very nice company for fragrance.

    As far as Amarige; it is all types of hideous, but on a loudness scale it definitely will always make top ten. Hence the star/top ten disparity.
    Last edited by Brielle87; 28th May 2008 at 11:03 PM.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  7. #187

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    As for the writing style, and the critiques; I said this before, and will again, I just adored them. As I have read through this book, I find them saying things that I have said many times. I love that some of the criticisms are as cutting as a razor, some of these perfumes 'smell' as cutting as a razor. Many of the scents in the book, when I smelt them for the first time, I had stated " I wouldn't use this to pour in my worst enemy's toilet bowl." That is probably why I loved all aspects of this book. I may not love all the same scents TS and LT do, and I love a couple that they hate (and I can even honestly understand why) but all in all, I adore this book. I hope the houses that have trifled with the classics will wake up, and fix what they have destroyed.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  8. #188

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    A key question is, who is this book aimed at? If a "newbie" reads it, thinking that he or she will try to determine what to buy based upon the recommendations, I think there would be more disappointed people than satisfied ones. I wouldn't have minded the book as is, if there was also a ratings system for longevity and sillage, a notes pyramid, and other vital information on the frags (even if there were some frags with incomplete information). Because they didn't do this (and because so many frags were not included, with no explanation why), I think the title is misleading. It should be called something like, Perfumes: Assorted Reviews by Two Aficionados.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 29th May 2008 at 02:45 AM. Reason: spelling error

  9. #189

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    They needed an editor who isn't intimidated by them.
    In spite of a number of flaws, we have nothing less than a comprehensive, first shopping guide for the 21st century, and a handy reference next to the desk- or laptop of any perfume blogger. All in all it seems to address advanced perfume lovers mainly, and it offers more material than had been promised. But besides its practical use (doomed to be outdated in five to ten years) the book is also a great elegy on perfumes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, written by someone who has seen a lot of land, and whose memory reaches back far enough to revive those treasures, and bits of their own past together with them. LT loves these perfumes and that's where I enjoy reading him most.

    The book as a whole is like the primeur of some good wine - if it had been given more time to mature it could have been quite extraordinary. I cannot recognize if a third party was involved in editing their manuscript, or not. I remember LT praising Tania Sanchez' excellent editing capabilities (she worked on the manuscript of 'The Secret of Scent'). It could well be that both authors didn't see the need for further assistance.
    Last edited by narcus; 6th September 2011 at 02:32 PM. Reason: spelling error
    '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.

  10. #190

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Because they didn't do this (and because so many frags were not included, with no explanation why), I think the title is misleading.
    What explanation is necessary? Wouldn't "we didn't get around to that one" pretty much suffice?

  11. #191

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    I believe they are lauding Lauder for one simple reason; in this day and age where no fragrance seems to be sacred, and almost all of the classics have been tampered with, Lauder is a haven to it's classics.
    But that's not fair. Just because they're old and unchanged doesn't make them good, does it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    As far as Amarige; it is all types of hideous, but on a loudness scale it definitely will always make top ten. Hence the star/top ten disparity.
    The top ten was for BEST loud fragrances, not loudest fragrances. Otherwise, my Butyric Acid/Tertiary Amine cologne would be at the top :-P

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    I love that some of the criticisms are as cutting as a razor, some of these perfumes 'smell' as cutting as a razor. Many of the scents in the book, when I smelt them for the first time, I had stated " I wouldn't use this to pour in my worst enemy's toilet bowl."
    But how is that a useful critique? We get that they hate Love in White, to use a popular example, but saying something to the effect of how I'd rather have lice than hair that smells like it-that doesn't tell me how specifically the perfume fails.

    I often found myself thinking that LT and TS are to fragrances what Beavis and Butthead are to music videos, more so than Leonard Maltin and Pauline Kael are to movies.

    (For the record, I've smelled Love in White on a strip. It smells like kind of a bland drugstore potpurri. It's not that bad, but I wouldn't pay more for it than Old Spice. Maybe the drydown smells like genocide or something)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    I hope the houses that have trifled with the classics will wake up, and fix what they have destroyed.
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I wouldn't have minded the book as is, if there was also a ratings system for longevity and sillage, a notes pyramid, and other vital information on the frags (even if there were some frags with incomplete information).

    ...

    I think the title is misleading. It should be called something like, Perfumes: Assorted Reviews by Two Aficionados.
    I was amused that the back of the dust flap says that it is a "definitive" guide to the world of perfume. There's nothing definitive about it.

    Not even the glossary :-P

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    The book as a whole is like the primeur of some good wine - if it had been given more time to mature it could have been quite extraordinary. I cannot recognize if a third party was involved in editing their manuscript, or not. I remember LT praising Tania Sanchez' excellent editing capabilities (she worked on the manuscript of 'The Secret of Scent'). It could well be that both authors didn't see the need for further assistance.
    A good editor acts as a medium between the author and the audience. I think a lot of the reviews are more about them showing off than useful perfume instruction, you know?

    For a study in these kinds of contrasts, read a capsule or two out of Marjorie Garber's Shakespeare After All after reading a few of the review pages from the guide. One is legitimately a guide, the other is merely called a guide.

    But as I said, I really like the book in question for what it is, but I really don't think it is what it claims to be.


    By the way, Dzing! does smell like cardboard/paper...but only on a test strip. It's so much more than that when it dries down, though. I got the feeling that the reviews are based mostly on top notes. Anybody else feel that way?
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  12. #192

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    But that's not fair. Just because they're old and unchanged doesn't make them good, does it?
    The above comment, in regards to Lauder, could ring true...but it does not. Lauder has many wonderful scents, they are definitely a hidden treasure, at least to some 'aficionados' of scent, and they are without pretensions. Without smugness, if you will.
    You never hear someone say "Uh, I only wear Lauder, you know..."

    We all take what we want out of the book, and we all enjoy it for what it is, I am happy someone finally told it like it is, so to say, even though they did not please everyone. Personally, five of my favorites were deemed ugh, but that is alright, I still enjoy them. On the other hand when someone charges a ludicrous amount for a scent, it should be a masterpiece, not finger-painting.
    Maybe I took so much out of the book, because my saying for years has been "Stop serving 'ground round', while trying to convince everyone it is 'filet mignon' ", and Turin has shone the light of day on these very practices. Many companies will default to mediocrity, because they know at least a majority of people will be fooled.

    But, in the end "Chacun a son gout"/ each to his(her) liking.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  13. #193

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    The above comment, in regards to Lauder, could ring true...but it does not. Lauder has many wonderful scents, they are definitely a hidden treasure, at least to some 'aficionados' of scent, and they are without pretensions.
    A lot of them are tasteful, but that many "masterpieces?"

    I'm skeptical. I think they shouldn't have had star ratings at all, to be honest. Just some descriptions, and maybe some recommendations, as in, if you like X, you might like Y1, Y2, and Y3 as alternatives (they did that in some places), and maybe a description of what they think might be the target audience.

    Or, if they were to have stars, do it like the All Music Guide, where they review whole albums, and talk about the moods of the albums, and occasionally have a capsule on a few individual songs. That's a guide! I understand how that can be a lot of work, but doesn't perfumery deserve this exhaustive a treatment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    You never hear someone say "Uh, I only wear Lauder, you know..."
    Not on this board, I've heard it once or twice down in dixieland ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    We all take what we want out of the book, and we all enjoy it for what it is
    I liked it, but it could have been a lot better. A lot. Like, if I printed out all the pages from the BdJ, PST, and NST, put them in order, and stapled them together, I would have a more informative guide, I think.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    I am happy someone finally told it like it is, so to say, even though they did not please everyone. Personally, five of my favorites were deemed ugh, but that is alright, I still enjoy them.
    I don't think they "told it like it is" in many instances in bad reviews, and in many good ones too.

    LT in particular routinely references his experiences, which aren't common at all. When he introduces a new reference, he often doesn't define it properly, and I end up behind where I started, with just a bunch of new (forgive the following post-modern parlance) scent-signifiers floating around in the air, with no reference in my mind to tie them to.

    How am I supposed to know what the leather interior of a 1953 Bentley smells like? Is it different from the leather interior of a 2006 Ford Focus? Is it different from the leather at the Wilson's store at the mall?

    Maybe the Bentley is metonymy for luxury in general...but for metonymy to be useful in this context*, it needs to take a specific object (or idea) with which the target audience is likely familiar, and from that, induce a previously unreached conclusion about a common property associated with that object (or a more general associated idea). Two examples from the book:

    GOOD
    Freshly mowed lawn smell ---> "green smell"

    BAD
    1953 Bentley smell ---> "luxury smell"

    I know that what he wants me to do is imagine "wow, a Bentley! That must be great, huh?" But I can't. I just scratch my head and lose interest. Maybe he's assumed I've smelled the perfume in question, and he's trying to tell me that's what a 1953 Bentley smells like, in which case, he's got the concept of "guide to perfumes" backward.

    Besides, this point is moot, because a reference volume should be light on linguistic tropes anyway, in the interest of "telling it like it is," no? LT never seems to miss an opportunity to mention something ridiculously specific and subjective, and state it as though we've all agreed to it. It's like he can't decide whether he's writing poetry for his closest friends or reviews for a general audience. This is why they needed an editor, I think.


    *the opposite is true for the punchline of a joke, where an unexpectedly obvious conclusion is drawn from an unusual starting point.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    On the other hand when someone charges a ludicrous amount for a scent, it should be a masterpiece, not finger-painting.
    Maybe I took so much out of the book, because my saying for years has been "Stop serving 'ground round', while trying to convince everyone it is 'filet mignon' ", and Turin has shone the light of day on these very practices.
    But all he would have to say is, for example, "Creed's offerings are mostly overpriced and hardly unique. One can almost always find similar fragrances with better compositions at far lower prices." He does that occasionally. That would be telling it like it is. No need to call their boxes "fugly" or whatever, that's just silly, and not in an endearing way (to me at least).


    For its advertised purposes, the guide is mostly useless. It should be called Luca Turin's Companion to Perfumes, with Tania Sanchez because that's what it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    But, in the end "Chacun a son gout"/ each to his(her) liking.
    Says you! ;-)
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  14. #194

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Did you really believe that Oliver Creed is a perfumer? My sister lived in France and she said everyone in Europe knows Oliver Creed is not a perfumer, but Americans tend to believe everything they read in media press releases. Bourdon s the one who made most of his fragrances.

  15. #195

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by penelope99 View Post
    Did you really believe that Oliver Creed is a perfumer? My sister lived in France and she said everyone in Europe knows Oliver Creed is not a perfumer, but Americans tend to believe everything they read in media press releases. Bourdon s the one who made most of his fragrances.
    You're sister seems to be an amusing instance of Americans who live abroad for a brief time and then, having acquired European sophistication , proceed to look down on and lecture the provincial bumpkins they left behind. James Fenimore Cooper after 7 years in Paris and Europe is a nice example of this.

    Of course 95% of Europeans have never even heard the name Olivier Creed.
    And I seriously doubt whether those who do have ever thought much about who really makes Creed perfumes.
    Did your sister talk to people in the perfume industry with insider knowledge? Now that would be intertesting. But if Bourdon was the secret in house perfumer of Creed, I think Turin would think more highly of the house. It's no surprise he only gave Bourdon's GIT 4 stars and treats the othe perfumes as at best nice & simple, but uninteresting as compositions. That doesn't mean most Creeds aren't made by anonymous noses supervised by M. Creed. All I can say is I don't believe a word of their PR, as is the case with any other house.
    My Wardrobe
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  16. #196

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post

    I liked it, but it could have been a lot better. A lot. Like, if I printed out all the pages from the BdJ, PST, and NST, put them in order, and stapled them together, I would have a more informative guide, I think.

    In terms of the Guide's reviews section (vs the introductory sections) the *only* reason I have for believing that the authors know anything about perfume is because so many people on this board vouch for them. I was really excited at first to read every review of every fragrance that I either own or am very familliar with, and after having done so, I'd put money down that when it comes to a good chunk of what's in that book, most of the fragrances were tested exclusively on paper, or else judged from sniffing the bottle cap, or else were written after having smelled them 15 years ago.

    It takes time to get to know a fragrance enough to have something relevant to say about it, and the great bulk of the reviews that I'm qualified to make a judgement on showed no evidence of this whatsoever. Far too many of the reviews reviews are witty blurbs consisting of really superficial observations and mis-characterizations that are impossible to make if you have familliarity with the fragrances in question.

    I guess you can't expect anyone to do better than that - imagine having to write intelligently about 1500 fragrances. How much time would it take, even divided by two people to put something on your skin, let the entire devellopment play out, while paying attention to all the stages, and focusing enough to percieve what's going on - then wait till it fades away (unless you have magical soap that can get rid of all traces of a perfume) and move on to the next one! It'd take years. You'd have to cut corners - you write intelligently about those fragrances you really are intimately familliar with, test hundreds of others on paper, or write observations based on having tried something ages ago.

    But what really, really gets me about the book isn't even in the book. I was browsing around Turin's blog archive and I found a section dealing with natural perfumery which he basically dismissed outright. Now that doesn't bother me, as everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the way he treats people is inexcusable and disgusting. Look at how he deals with Ayala Moriel (do a search on the pdf archive of his blog) - she was posting regularly contributing to the discussion on his site, and in anticipation of a discussion on natural perfumes, she sent him several samples of her line, and he just trashed them with abandon as if she were Paris Hilton, and was just a complete asshole about it. And I've tried some of the ones he was dismissing, and again just like the book, he was way off. He gave them a sniff for three seconds out of the bottle and wrote some snide remarks. He was even criticizing her for sending or creating too many perfumes. Ha ha, how witty.

    It's one thing to recklessly trash Creed which is a well established business run by a familly of millionaires, and whose sales and standard of living aren't going to be significantly affected by some nasty comments by some blog, even a popular one. However, when you're dealing with small artisans who's clientele are a small community, a significant segment of whom may be reading your pompous comemntaries, if you don't have anything nice to say, you should just shut up. Sometimes opinions are just entertainment, and sometimes they can have an impact. It's legitimate to smash politicians or powerful people or businesses who are harming people. It's harmless to smash huge celebrities and big businesses who aren't going to be harmed by your words. Not everyone is Madonna and Micahel Jackson. To value the honk of your own horn so much that you don't stop to think for ten seconds about the effect of your words, especially when you aren't even giving a well considered opinion is the definition of gasbag.
    Last edited by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR; 30th May 2008 at 08:22 PM.
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  17. #197

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Caesar, I think you make some very good points. The book does seem rather rushed and thrown together. And I don't think there is ever an excuse for unkindness. I've been enjoying my copy, and I regard it as entertainment, but sometimes I just want to know what it smells like, not a cute remark or rhapsodic side tangent. Anyway, I can certainly appreciate what they've tried to do, and often I've laughed at loud at some of the reviews. The book has made me take a second look at some fragrances, called others to my attention that I wouldn't have really thought about. But it is not really a guide, let alone the definitive guide.

  18. #198

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    In terms of the Guide's reviews section (vs the introductory sections) the *only* reason I have for believing that the authors know anything about perfume is because so many people on this board vouch for them. I was really excited at first to read every review of every fragrance that I either own or am very familliar with, and after having done so, I'd put money down that when it comes to a good chunk of what's in that book, most of the fragrances were tested exclusively on paper, or else judged from sniffing the bottle cap, or else were written after having smelled them 15 years ago.

    It takes time to get to know a fragrance enough to have something relevant to say about it, and the great bulk of the reviews that I'm qualified to make a judgement on showed no evidence of this whatsoever. Far too many of the reviews reviews are witty blurbs consisting of really superficial observations and mis-characterizations that are impossible to make if you have familliarity with the fragrances in question.

    I guess you can't expect anyone to do better than that - imagine having to write intelligently about 1500 fragrances. How much time would it take, even divided by two people to put something on your skin, let the entire devellopment play out, while paying attention to all the stages, and focusing enough to percieve what's going on - then wait till it fades away (unless you have magical soap that can get rid of all traces of a perfume) and move on to the next one! It'd take years. You'd have to cut corners - you write intelligently about those fragrances you really are intimately familliar with, test hundreds of others on paper, or write observations based on having tried something ages ago.

    But what really, really gets me about the book isn't even in the book. I was browsing around Turin's blog archive and I found a section dealing with natural perfumery which he basically dismissed outright. Now that doesn't bother me, as everyone is entitled to their opinions, but the way he treats people is inexcusable and disgusting. Look at how he deals with Ayala Moriel (do a search on the pdf archive of his blog) - she was posting regularly contributing to the discussion on his site, and in anticipation of a discussion on natural perfumes, she sent him several samples of her line, and he just trashed them with abandon as if she were Paris Hilton, and was just a complete asshole about it. And I've tried some of the ones he was dismissing, and again just like the book, he was way off. He gave them a sniff for three seconds out of the bottle and wrote some snide remarks. He was even criticizing her for sending or creating too many perfumes. Ha ha, how witty.

    It's one thing to recklessly trash Creed which is a well established business run by a familly of millionaires, and whose sales and standard of living aren't going to be significantly affected by some nasty comments by some blog, even a popular one. However, when you're dealing with small artisans who's clientele are a small community, a significant segment of whom may be reading your pompous comemntaries, if you don't have anything nice to say, you should just shut up. Sometimes opinions are just entertainment, and sometimes they can have an impact. It's legitimate to smash politicians or powerful people or businesses who are harming people. It's harmless to smash huge celebrities and big businesses who aren't going to be harmed by your words. Not everyone is Madonna and Micahel Jackson. To value the honk of your own horn so much that you don't stop to think for ten seconds about the effect of your words, especially when you aren't even giving a well considered opinion is the definition of gasbag.

    Great points; however, I do believe the book should be judged on its own merits, not on statements Turin made on his blog. I also believe independently produced fragrances should be evaluated by the same standards as any other fragrance. To do otherwise would be a disservice to parfumeurs, an indication that their work was not taken seriously.

    That said, every parfum and parfumeur deserves a fair evaluation. Certainly, making an outright dismissal of natural perfumery was short-sighted. And no parfumeur should be treated disrespectfully.

    As for the book itself, I agree that it seems haphazardly produced. I still enjoyed it, but I found myself distracted by errors and omissions. Some of the pithy reviews seemed more about the authors' attempts to be clever than about the fragrance being reviewed.
    Last edited by Minou2; 30th May 2008 at 10:00 PM.

  19. #199
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I think it might take an average of 4 hours to reasonably evaluate the opening, middle notes and drydown of the average scent. Many more hours for some, less for others. And then, I would think multiple wearings would be necessary to really come up with a reasonably correct personal opinion at that. So...

    1500 frags at, lets say, 3 individual 4 hour wearings would come out to 750 full 24 hour days. Or, more realistically, 1500 full 12 hour days of wearing and evaluating at regular intervals each day. That is 4 years of everyday without fail 12 hour wearings, not counting time for washing off fragrances to be able to evaluate another without tainting it with the previous fragrance.
    Last edited by kbe; 30th May 2008 at 10:18 PM.
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  20. #200

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    (...)It's almost like whoever was in charge of giving final approval said to himself/herself, "oh, who cares, we know that some people are going to buy this book no matter what's in it, so let's just get the presses rolling already and be done with it."

    Do others agree?
    I may be stating what others already know, but - iirc- that was the sentiment behind Turin's first guide - he fouhnd a publisher who didn't really care what it was, but just knew that people would buy it.

    Now, I'm a fan of Dr. Turin, but at the same time there are a lot of comments posted in this thread that I had either conveniently not considered or glossed over. Such as the throrough testing of scents. I'm willing to allow that a good portion of the reviews were pulled together form memory - Guerlain Vetiver, Mitsouko, etc. One whiff, and the memory comes into focus and the words start flowing. Iirc, he's done this in the past. But some...not so sure. Others seem to get short shrift, as though they had already made up their mind about the scent from the name - CKIN2U, for instance (not that I've tested it...). But is it possible that they tested on multiple body parts - opposing wrists? Backs of hands?

    Turin and Sanchez have been farily upfront in stating that their personal preferences played a role in their reviews. If they just plain hate acquatics, then each acquatic gets hammered (Except Cool Water, which I don't understand at all).

    I also don't understand the mind-set behind some of the ratings. It's as though some are rated well because they smell really good (Chanel PM), and others are rated well because they're well-composed or daring or conceptually brilliant (Tommy Girl, Bvlgari Black). So, some are easily wearable - which is the point of buying a bottle and spraying away - and others are simply unwearable in polite society but still great?

    In balance, I like reading it for entertainment and have found a few new bottles for the wardrobe that I'll not be without anytime soon. But right now the slipcover is back on it and it's back on my bookshelf.
    Last edited by tfaust; 30th May 2008 at 11:01 PM.

  21. #201

    Smile Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I received my Copy of "Perfumes: The Guide" yesterday.

    Manos, hands of fate, you seem to have got a bone to gnaw on about Mr. Turin. I do not think the analogies, comparisons or allusions in Perfumes: The Guide were obscure to a person with a liberal arts education. One needn't have smelled the leather of a 1953 Bentley to 'get' that Mr. Turin was referring to the smell one gets from leather seats and trim in a vintage English automobile. Sniffing the interior of any Jaquar from the 1960s era would adequately convey a similar smell. It would not smell like the leather in a brand new Lexus, for example.

    Manos, I'd say it's up to you to 'reach' a bit, not for Mr. Turin to downscale his personal descriptions of perfume to a level you can understand, when many of his readers are delighted with his style.

    Gaius Julius, I like your commentary and appreciate what you said re: Ayala Moriel's perfumes. She is an incredibly wonderful person and a gifted perfumer. Everybody, even Mr. Turin, should take the time to be respectful to others. ~smile~ I hope that the next edition of Perfumes: The Guide will include a separate section on small parfumeurs such as Ms. Moriel and Hove' Perfumes of New Orleans. The small independents do some good work and deserve attention.

    Not setting myself up to be a critic, I'm enjoying the book a lot. For the 18 bucks I paid buying through Amazon it's a good value and is useful enough even to an experienced 'nose.'

    I've been an infrequent reader at Basenotes longer than I've been a member. I always check reviews here before or after I buy a perfume or receive perfume as a gift.

    http://vincentandmorticiasspeakeasy14846.yuku.com/
    Last edited by Morticia; 31st May 2008 at 12:58 AM. Reason: spelling

  22. #202

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by penelope99 View Post
    Did you really believe that Oliver Creed is a perfumer?
    I do. He's not a $100/fl oz perfumer though, like, for instance, Roudnitska.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    All I can say is I don't believe a word of their PR, as is the case with any other house.
    Or any other thing ever, right? :-)

    Hell, in Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feyman, Richard Feynman pretty much says that you can't even believe what you read in a peer-reviewed physics paper unless you work through the entire thing on your own.

    So...I guess it's always an issue of trust, really, since I never have time to do that with everything in my life, what with the Celtics in the playoffs and all ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    I'd put money down that when it comes to a good chunk of what's in that book, most of the fragrances were tested exclusively on paper
    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    Far too many of the reviews reviews are witty blurbs consisting of really superficial observations and mis-characterizations that are impossible to make if you have familliarity with the fragrances in question.
    Maybe they should have broken it into narrative chapters, like "great chypres," and "aquatics - are you actually stupid or do you just smell that way?" (I think I've accurately reflected their viewpoints on these here :-P )

    They can summarize the elements of a fragrance genre, write extensively on the great great ones from each one, a little on why the lesser ones are lesser, and lump the bad ones in together and dismiss them collectively.

    You could use the index to find a specific fragrance. I think that format would give him more of a place to play.

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    Look at how he deals with Ayala Moriel (do a search on the pdf archive of his blog) - she was posting regularly contributing to the discussion on his site, and in anticipation of a discussion on natural perfumes, she sent him several samples of her line, and he just trashed them with abandon as if she were Paris Hilton, and was just a complete asshole about it. And I've tried some of the ones he was dismissing, and again just like the book, he was way off. He gave them a sniff for three seconds out of the bottle and wrote some snide remarks. He was even criticizing her for sending or creating too many perfumes. Ha ha, how witty.
    I did what you said.

    He does come across very childishly there. There might be some backstory there that we don't know about (such as, maybe she dared him to review her stuff as proof that natural fragrances can be good, to try to prove him wrong about that stuff. Of course I'm just speculating)

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    To value the honk of your own horn so much that you don't stop to think for ten seconds about the effect of your words, especially when you aren't even giving a well considered opinion is the definition of gasbag.
    Yeah, I had to learn that one the hard way :-)

    I like your reviews the most of any of the more prolific BN reviewers, by the way.

    Quote Originally Posted by lilybelle View Post
    (sometimes) I just want to know what it smells like, not a cute remark or rhapsodic side tangent.
    That's what I've been trying to say this whole time, but you said it better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Minou2 View Post
    Great points; however, I do believe the book should be judged on its own merits, not on statements Turin made on his blog.
    That's a really good point

    Quote Originally Posted by kbe View Post
    I think it might take an average of 4 hours to reasonably evaluate the opening, middle notes and drydown of the average scent. Many more hours for some, less for others. And then, I would think multiple wearings would be necessary to really come up with a reasonably correct personal opinion at that.
    What I was thinking was, you could design a temperature-controlled plate that goes steadily from, I don't know, say 55F to about 100F or so, in the course of about 15, maybe 20 minutes.

    What you would do is, you'd get the plate real nice and clean and down to its starting temperature, throw a bit of juice on there, start the heat-up program, and smell it every thirty seconds or so. It would be like watching a whole movie on FF.

    You could hook it up to a stagnant vent line so the perfume notes have somewhere to go, and when you're done, just run it out with some fresh air and clean the perfume residue off with some ethanol.

    You could calibrate it with your nose, so you take something you know, like for me, it would be GV, and I'd say, at point t1 in the program, GV smelled like it did after 30 minutes on my skin. At point t2, 3 hours, etc. That part doesn't have to be that precise.

    Then, when you find something really nice that you otherwise wouldn't have time to give a fair shake, you can throw it on and really get into it.

    If you're writing a "definitive guide," there's no excuse for spraying perfume on a cold test strip, sniffing it twice, declaring it sucks, and saying "NEXT!" even if the perfume is Skanktastic by Britney Spears.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    Manos, hands of fate, you seem to have got a bone to gnaw on about Mr. Turin. I do not think the analogies, comparisons or allusions in Perfumes: The Guide were obscure to a person with a liberal arts education. One needn't have smelled the leather of a 1953 Bentley to 'get' that Mr. Turin was referring to the smell one gets from leather seats and trim in a vintage English automobile. Sniffing the interior of any Jaquar from the 1960s era would adequately convey a similar smell. It would not smell like the leather in a brand new Lexus, for example.
    Damn! Where did you go to school where they taught you that? ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    Manos, I'd say it's up to you to 'reach' a bit, not for Mr. Turin to downscale his personal descriptions of perfume to a level you can understand, when many of his readers are delighted with his style.
    I don't think they're useful. I do think they're fun.

    I really don't mind reaching, and I am at least smart enough to fasten the velcro on my shoes without hurting myself most of the times I can remember

    ...but I really think that LT is more often doing a high-brow comedy routine (replace "hipster" for "high brow" in TS's case) than he is getting down to the business of instructing on perfumes.

    I named three blogs that routinely have better (both more practical and more accurate) reviews than that book does. The more I read here and there, the more I get the impression that Emperor Turin really is simply naked.
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  23. #203

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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I'll sum this book up rather succinctly: every scent Turin loves/loved or owns/owned got 5 stars. Everything else gets a spritz on a tester card with the scent's name on it, a quick whiff, and then a two minute writeup.
    I can do thaaaaat.

  24. #204

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Minou2 View Post
    Great points; however, I do believe the book should be judged on its own merits, not on statements Turin made on his blog.
    I guess I misspoke in the sense that my criticisms of the book itself would still be the same even if I hadn't been offended by Turin's behaviour in the blog, though if I hadn't read the blog I may have been a bit more reserved in my criticism for the same reasons I thought he should treat small independent perfumers with reserve!

    In terms of schemes for properly evaluating 1500 without it taking 12hrs a day for 4 years, I'd guess the best solution would be to divide the task up among many reviewers, especially some of the reviewers from the great blogs out there. Each reviewer should focus on fragrances they already know or have already reviewed, and then each be assigned a certain number of fragrances they're interested in or something like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Minou2 View Post
    I also believe independently produced fragrances should be evaluated by the same standards as any other fragrance. To do otherwise would be a disservice to parfumeurs, an indication that their work was not taken seriously.
    I agree with you there, but with a little qualification. One shouldn't condescend to, or rave about a small house (or musician, or film director, or writer etc) if you don't think they merit it, but one should be alot more thoughtful about what they say since when it comes to the arts, beyond a certain level level of technical mastery, so much of one's opinion is going to be subjective.

    You might try a perfume and not like it, but then a year later realize that you weren't "listening" to it properly. Criticize what you can really talk about objectively (longevity for example, notes that clash, etc), and then measure your words very carefully when it comes to the subjective, or just don't review that particular fragrance. On the other hand, you don't need to restrain yourself when you're dealing with a Creed or YSL or Lutens or someone very established because you're not potentially ruining their careeers, and a little witty roasting isn't so harmful, even if it is off base.

    I released my first film a few years ago, a documentary. It got a bunch of reviews, many of which were very good, some average, and a few negatives. I was disappointed with negative reviews, but usually the criticisms were reasonable, so I couldn't complain, and only blame myself, or just the reality of different tastes.

    One local guy however just trashed the thing in the most vicious way - and the irony is that the guy completely misunderstood the whole spirit of the thing - just about every other review was saying how I treated the subject/protagonist of the documentary with alot of respect and admiration when I could have made it into a freakshow, and this guy's big criticism was that I just made it into a big freakshow! English was not the nasty reviewer's first language, and the guy just missed the point but wrote a vicious review anyways. Maybe the guy had a chip on his shoulder because I got voted higher ranking as a local filmmaker than him that year or his mom didn't give him his allowance that week, or who knows, but Luckily his was just one review among many, and the film did well, but if his had been the only big review, the movie would have been toast at local screenings and he would have cost me alot of money, and reputation when I was just barely getting off the ground. That is reprihensible and irresponsible.

    I've tried several Ayala perfumes, and loved some (Yasmin, Zohar and Black Licorice especially) and disliked a couple or didn't really get into a couple of others. But I won't talk about the ones I didn't like, because what do I know? Maybe I was in a weird mood that day. Maybe I needed to get into the right mindframe to get it properly. And why should I dissuade you from trying something I may have not liked because of fancy, unless I really had some solid criticism to make where I knew exactly what I was talking about. You should read the blog, it's just gross the way he behaved!

    The good perfume blogs and basenotes reviews often write things like "at first I really hated this one, but I kept coming back to it ... and now it's my SOTD every day this week" etc - there's nothing like that in the Turin/Sanchez book!
    CAESAR SEEKS:
    Slumberhouse : Norne
    Parfums d'Empire: Fougére Bengale

    CAESAR SWAPS/SELLS:




  25. #205

    Smile Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Manos, thank you for your sprightly good humour.~smile~

    I am re-reading the first couple of chapters of Perfumes: The Guide. I do believe every cognoscenti is being too hard on the book, and for some reason, too hard on Ms. Sanchez in particular. Maybe it's because many of us know, or think we know, a whole lot about fragrances and we are fairly well interred in our casks of perfume knowledge in the way Lord Nelson was put in a large barrel of brandy to keep.

    But I have the conceitedly amazing ability to use my mental time machine to go back to my 23 year old wild about perfume, Y wearing self. "The Guide", had it been around for me then, would have been as treasured by me as the collected writings of Colette.

    Ms. Sanchez is a better writer than she's being given credit.Her style is friendly and non-condescending. She gives information in an entertaining way and it's condensed to be readily understood. She knows literature and gardens and a lot of important stuff but she's not 'esoteric.' Personally I'm more like Luca, but at 23 I would've been more like Tania.

    Let's congratulate them both and be delighted that the book is selling well and more people will be helped to appreciate and become knowledgeable about good perfumes. This will 'advantage' us all!

    http://vincentandmorticiasspeakeasy14846.yuku.com/

    Oh, btw, I like Ayala's 'Pisces' and 'Autumn'. (Never thought I'd go for a frag named Pisces.)
    Last edited by Morticia; 31st May 2008 at 03:45 AM. Reason: spelling, content

  26. #206

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I don 't understand why some people take things on such a personal level, ok fine he hates the Creeds well you know what a lot of people don 't get that line either and I 'm one of them; with legendary perfume houses such as Guerlain, Chanel and Patou, honnestly I don 't see the point what the Creeds have to offer. I tried Fleur de The Rose Bulgare, it was this old citrucy musty rose that my boyfriend begged me to wash off.
    He trashed the Carons but this was only because they 've been terribly reformulated. I am a big lover of Caron perfumes, I 've been wearing them since the late 80's and I didn 't wait for Luca Turin to tell me the new versions are crap because I realised that a long time ago already. I 've been buying Caron vintage since 2003. I 'm glad he addressed this issue of perfume reformulations whenever he feels it 's important, one way or another, strangely I happen to agree with him on the reformulations and that 's weird like I tested the new Mitsouko at the Guerlain boutique of the Waldorf Astoria hotel and I thought he 's damn right the new one reformulated by Edouard Flechier is not bad at all! But thanks goodness I don 't always agree with him, Beyond Paradise and Badgley Mishka (reviewed by Tania Sanchez) rated 5 stars, I don 't even understand it. I also wish Tania Sanchez had not participated in this work, nothing against her, actually she didn 't do a bad job but I feel indifferent to her, I just couldn 't care less about her, I just wanted everything reviewed in his guide was him and only him.
    Last edited by girlsodeadly; 31st May 2008 at 04:24 AM.

  27. #207

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I found myself thinking that this could have been a self published book, in that organization was poor in every way (won't detail it all here, as it's been discussed aplenty on BN threads). My question is (since I don't have much knowledge of the field), what were the editors thinking? Isn't it obvious, even to someone who knows nothing about fragrances, that this format makes no sense? Some frags get shredded in a few words, while others are discussed in great detail, and what is discussed about the ones that get a lot of coverage can vary greatly. It's almost like whoever was in charge of giving final approval said to himself/herself, "oh, who cares, we know that some people are going to buy this book no matter what's in it, so let's just get the presses rolling already and be done with it."

    Do others agree?
    Now that I have had time to reflect, I guess I would have to agree. Today it hit me why I felt a deflated sense of disappointment from this book. On the one hand I do enjoy reading Luca and Tania's impressions and opinions of the fragrances, but I kept coming up with an emptiness after sitting with the book on different occasions. I realized that I was wanting something a bit more academic, perhaps. I would have loved to have had not only the house of the perfume, but the individual perfumer named for EACH and EVERY perfume. I would also have liked to have the notes identified for EACH and EVERY perfume. These are details that enhance my understanding and experience of a perfume. While I love the poetry of the reviews, I think I would like them more if they were combined with facts given in a systematic and consistent way. As Bigsley and others mentioned, some entries were a few sentences that seemed to be thrown off the cuff , and others were little novellas. Granted, some perfumes may have more complexity, but there could have been a bit more consistent treatment throughout.

    oh, I know , easy to criticize. I do enjoy the book. Maybe my expectations were unrealistic. But I WOULD love a guide that has both the poetry and the solid, factual information that I seek. That would be a great reference guide.

    For now, Basenotes will have to do...and come to think of it, the directory right here does a GREAT job. Grant, you could publish Basenotes guide to perfumes with sample reviews from the gang, include each perfumer, notes, and all the wondrous details that you already include, and I bet that would be a hit. :bounce:
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  28. #208

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I would have loved to have had not only the house of the perfume, but the individual perfumer named for EACH and EVERY perfume. I would also have liked to have the notes identified for EACH and EVERY perfume.[/QUOTE]

    Bear in mind that

    a) the author of many fragrances is disputed, and we would have had to rely entirely on the only reliable database, i.e. Michael Edwards. We did not feel appropriate to disseminate information it has taken him years to acquire and which is commercially valuable to him.


    b) Notes: the vast majority of perfumes contains almost nothing but synthetics, the "notes" listed in their literature are more often than not pure fantasy. For such fragrances, only a GC/MS analysis would tell you the notes, and I doubt very much a list of 250 aromachemicals would be of any use. Even when it's doable, is it much use ? Rothko contains red, Brahms contains B flat and Joy contains rose: so what ?

  29. #209

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    [/QUOTE]I would have loved to have had not only the house of the perfume, but the individual perfumer named for EACH and EVERY perfume. I would also have liked to have the notes identified for EACH and EVERY perfume.[/QUOTE]

    Bear in mind that

    a) the author of many fragrances is disputed, and we would have had to rely entirely on the only reliable database, i.e. Michael Edwards. We did not feel appropriate to disseminate information it has taken him years to acquire and which is commercially valuable to him.


    b) Notes: the vast majority of perfumes contains almost nothing but synthetics, the "notes" listed in their literature are more often than not pure fantasy. For such fragrances, only a GC/MS analysis would tell you the notes, and I doubt very much a list of 250 aromachemicals would be of any use. Even when it's doable, is it much use ? Rothko contains red, Brahms contains B flat and Joy contains rose: so what ?

  30. #210
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    But I have the conceitedly amazing ability to use my mental time machine to go back to my 23 year old wild about perfume, Y wearing self. "The Guide", had it been around for me then, would have been as treasured by me as the collected writings of Colette..
    Thanks, Morticia. That's where I find value in this book. When I was a noobie to cinematic appreciation in my youth, my first movie book wasn't some encyclopedia - it was "The 50 Worst Movies of All Times", followed shortly by "The Golden Turkey Awards". When I finally found reviewers who thought somewhat like I did (Ebert, particularly), I devoured their reviews. I did NOT go anywhere near an exhaustive compilation for a long time, and I still use those only for reference. I'd almost rather google for a loud opinion anyway. And I take those hyper-hateful local critics with a pound of salt, by the way.

    Five years from now, if there is a book like Manos is describing/desiring, I will buy it. But not right now. I'm a noob, loving my Terre d'Hermes the way you, Morticia, must have loved Y. I actually WANT poetry, and imagery, and snark and spittle and one reviewer's opinions on a whole bunch of stuff. I'm glad there were only two reviewers - three would have been a crowd. I want to get into a smart guy's head - even if he has the occasion to be a bigot and a jerk - just like me. I'll never even smell the roadkill that went under a Bentley, but if the guy can make me think I can smell the inside of it when I try this perfume, I'll solve the equation bass-ackwards and be glad I lived to do it.

    The great thing about basenotes is that I can read a lot of reviews here, from a lot of reviewers, and in a lot of styles. I would probably plunk down money for a compilation of some of them. In fact, I always scan for certain reviewers. The nice guys, the frag-haters, the straight-shooters, and all the rest. I mean, I scan down the avatars to see who's talking. In fact, this may or may not be a good thing for LT and TS, but I would love to buy some more compilations by single reviewers. I think a few of the people here could probably put out nice, edited, guides that I would really like. And they could do them in a variety of styles, just like climbing and hiking guides, which range from admirably stiff to hilariously obscene. I purchase multiple guides to various places, and I can assure you that other hikers and climbers do the same.

    Turin & Sanchez is like a mix of a classics guide, a rotten tomatos guide, and "my thoughts on perfume". Perfect for noobs and serious fragrance people who want spicy. But that doesn't mean that I wouldn't buy Bois de Femme's Nicey-Nice Guide to Natural and Faux-Natural Fragrances. Or Manos' Systematic Guide to Fragrances: 1900-2015. Or the Gaivs DVD Visual Guide To Perfumes. There may be flaws in the Turin book, but I'd really like to see more review compilations with different flaws. For that reason, I think there's virtue in autopsying Perfumes: The Guide. But I'm glad Turin did it, mostly because it breaks ground for others to do the same, or better.

    Sorry for going postal on you guys - I just had to vent. Maybe it's my way of going on a drunken wake for YSL, God bless his soul.

  31. #211
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    The book brought me out of a certain degree of fragrance doldrums and I appreciate it more all the time. Whether or not I agree with it all is irrelevant. It's helped me to realign my perceptions, and for that I'm always grateful.

    It kicks ass all the way around, and I just hope there's another one comin'.
    Last edited by pluran; 2nd June 2008 at 10:05 AM.

  32. #212
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    ...
    Last edited by pluran; 2nd June 2008 at 10:12 AM.

  33. #213

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I just had to pipe in for all the people who keep speaking of notes, and how they wish there was a 'concise' listing of them for each fragrance. Well taking this back to the other aspect of art that people are using in comparison, painting. When an art critic speaks of work by an artist, one would not say; ...and when Rembrandt used 'yellow # 5' to create a softened glow around his subject... What they say is ...the way he used many warm shades to surround his subjects in a soft, almost ethereal glow... This is because it is easier to grasp the idea, when thinking of a painting or other visuals, of what is there with descriptive adjectives, as opposed to a laundry list of the possible colours utilized.

    Now, as M. Turin stated, "the vast majority of perfumes contains almost nothing but synthetics"; would everyone enjoy reading through a laundry list of chemicals, some of which are more closely related to nail varnish remover than a flower, or just enjoy reading about what a fragrance is supposed to smell like. Sorry to burst the bubble of everyone who thinks their favorite scent is composed, using a scent organ, by mixing all pure essential oils from flowers, and the like. This has not transpired in ages, and if the big firms had their way, it would cease tomorrow, so as to keep costs down; profit, profit, profit, thats the bottom line, if it happens to smell nice...eh. Your favorite scent probably has more chemicals in it than your bathroom cleanser, get over it; it just happens to smell like flowers or leather, instead of germ free powder room.

    The joy of the book is; when a fragrance misses the mark, should smell like iris...yet smells nothing like iris, they say it bluntly. If people want to just open a book, and have lots of happy 'notes' listed, Jan Moran wrote two lovely books just like that. Now if you want someone who is not afraid to say 'this stuff smells like crap to me', the guide is the book.
    I personally enjoy the guide, I will state once again, because I have said many the same thing, when smelling some of the scents reviewed. Working in cosmetics you have the pleasure of 'trainings', where a company rep comes in, hands out free bottles of a new scent, then tries to tell you what is 'in' said fragrance. It is like sitting through a torture session, the bullsh*t being shoveled there. I was usually the one who would not 'play nice', I would be the first to say "this smells like raw sewage kissed one of the holding vats for this scent", which did not play with their allegorical ' sun kissed petals, touched by the first rains of a late spring shower...' So it is truly nice to read a book where two people, who actually will be listened to, tell it like they feel it to be.
    So, love the book, or hate the book, it is what their true impressions of a given scent were. People saying what they actually think, what a nouvelle idea.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  34. #214

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by GAIVS IVLIVS CAESAR View Post
    In terms of the Guide's reviews section (vs the introductory sections) the *only* reason I have for believing that the authors know anything about perfume is because so many people on this board vouch for them. I was really excited at first to read every review of every fragrance that I either own or am very familliar with, and after having done so, I'd put money down that when it comes to a good chunk of what's in that book, most of the fragrances were tested exclusively on paper, or else judged from sniffing the bottle cap, or else were written after having smelled them 15 years ago.

    It takes time to get to know a fragrance enough to have something relevant to say about it, and the great bulk of the reviews that I'm qualified to make a judgement on showed no evidence of this whatsoever. Far too many of the reviews reviews are witty blurbs consisting of really superficial observations and mis-characterizations that are impossible to make if you have familliarity with the fragrances in question.
    I agree fully. Many of the reviews evinced a clear lack of familiarity with the fragrance, and I'm not just talking about the negative ones.

    I'm sure we've all had the experience of loving (or hating) a fragrance on the first, second, fifth, even tenth full trial (by that I mean "on your own skin, from application to last lingering traces of dry down") and then at some point doing a complete turnaround: that intoxicating accord somehow turns nauseating, or that offensive olfactory growl mysteriously becomes "fascinating" or "profound."

    Since the book is far from comprehensive anyway, I would have preferred that they limit themselves to the fragrances that they truly know well. The catch, of course, is that they're only going to want to make the effort to live with the fragrances they already like.

    In any event, I'm still on the fence about whether writing about perfumes isn't just a waste of time anyway. Apparently Le Labo refused to send Turin samples, saying that writing about perfume was like "dancing about architecture." No, actually, THAT would make sense. Writing about perfume seems more akin to doing architecture about dancing. A hundred reviews by a hundred different brilliant reviewers are still no substitute for actually smelling the damn thing, even once. (Assuming, that is, you actually want to know the fragrance and not just be entertained by the language.) The problem is that perfumes are abstract; are sometimes more, and sometimes less, than the sum of their parts; and their parts don't even really smell like what they're supposed to. We all know what real peaches smell like, but that's certainly not the "peach" note in Mitsouko.

  35. #215

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    The problem is that perfumes are abstract; are sometimes more, and sometimes less, than the sum of their parts; and their parts don't even really smell like what they're supposed to. We all know what real peaches smell like, but that's certainly not the "peach" note in Mitsouko.
    Only because Mitsouko 's peach doesn 't smell like the real thing that it makes it interesting. The greatest perfumes have the capacity to sublimate natural aspects of reality and take it to another level. That 's why Tihota 's expensive natural vanilla is a bad vanilla and that Shalimar 's synthetic vanilla is a masterpiece!

  36. #216

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by girlsodeadly View Post
    Only because Mitsouko 's peach doesn 't smell like the real thing that it makes it interesting. The greatest perfumes have the capacity to sublimate natural aspects of reality and take it to another level. That 's why Tihota 's expensive natural vanilla is a bad vanilla and that Shalimar 's synthetic vanilla is a masterpiece!
    I didn't say it *should* smell like peach. My point was simply that the commonly used verbal descriptors and analogies are imprecise and therefore of little help. If you've smelled undecalactone and somebody says "It's got undecalcatone in it," that's a little more helpful, but even that doesn't give you much idea of how it sits in the context of the rest of the composition. As I said, perfumes are not the sum of their parts. If they were, fragrance companies would green-light them on the basis of ingredient lists plus--if they're feeling whimsical--poetic verbal descriptions, instead of sniff tests. They don't. I'm of the school that believes that not only should consumers not listen to reviewers, they shouldn't even listen to their own first impressions. That's why I don't buy bottles until I've lived with a decant for a good couple of months.
    Last edited by FloatingPoint; 2nd June 2008 at 10:58 PM. Reason: clarified wording

  37. #217

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    Manos, thank you for your sprightly good humour.~smile~
    Who you callin "sprightly?"

    Wanna fight?!? ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Morticia View Post
    Ms. Sanchez is a better writer than she's being given credit.Her style is friendly and non-condescending. She gives information in an entertaining way and it's condensed to be readily understood.
    More than LT, yes, but that's not saying much. Still, I'd rather more "why" than "what"

    Quote Originally Posted by girlsodeadly View Post
    I don 't understand why some people take things on such a personal level, ok fine he hates the Creeds well you know what a lot of people don 't get that line either and I 'm one of them
    People don't like being told they're idiots who paid $100/ounce of crap, whether it's true or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtamara41 View Post
    I would have loved to have had not only the house of the perfume, but the individual perfumer named for EACH and EVERY perfume. I would also have liked to have the notes identified for EACH and EVERY perfume.
    https://secured.3pmarketing.com.au/fotw/order.aspx

    Pony up, chief :-P

    Quote Originally Posted by luca turin View Post
    For such fragrances, only a GC/MS analysis would tell you the notes, and I doubt very much a list of 250 aromachemicals would be of any use. Even when it's doable, is it much use ? Rothko contains red, Brahms contains B flat and Joy contains rose: so what ?
    GC/MS won't tell you "notes." What Varian model tells you "animalic" when you put MKK in the sampler?

    "Rose" is several levels of abstraction above "B flat" and "red," which are both pretty well defined in terms of frequency ranges (or power of 2 multiples thereof)

    ...unless you're telling me that I should be able to look at the 1H NMR spectra for all the synthetic rose variants and say, "hey man, I don't know what these chemicals are, but $5 says they all smell like rose!" because seriously, you can have a jpeg of a Rothko, and you can have a midi of a Brahms, but you can't have useful equivalent for Joy (or even "rose" itself), can you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Manos' Systematic Guide to Fragrances: 1900-2015.
    The book I want would be called The Joy of Fragrance, which would discuss the families of fragrances, who would normally wear them, great successes in genre, near misses (with what went wrong), and total crap. That would be a book that suits LT's talent more, I think.

    You probably read my description of a GC without the C and thought I wanted something more technical. I was just suggesting a tool you could put together that would show you everything that happens in a fragrance in a short time, so you wouldn't appear as though you only smelled it on a test strip when you reviewed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Sorry for going postal on you guys - I just had to vent. Maybe it's my way of going on a drunken wake for YSL, God bless his soul.
    My hurt feelings.

    Let me show you them ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    The book brought me out of a certain degree of fragrance doldrums and I appreciate it more all the time. Whether or not I agree with it all is irrelevant. It's helped me to realign my perceptions, and for that I'm always grateful.

    It kicks ass all the way around, and I just hope there's another one comin'.
    It's great for people who already have a lot of experience, but if you do, you usually know what you like already, and just need suggestions where to go from there. I could say, "I like Paris, but I want something that isn't as sweet. Is there anything like that?" and then shazam!

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    Now if you want someone who is not afraid to say 'this stuff smells like crap to me', the guide is the book.
    What if I said "Born to Run is stupider than a Roma in Novosibirsk, Rubber Soul is the worst thing to happen to pop music since the flat 7 sharp 9, and Grosse Fuge should be renamed 'Guano Pilaf'"

    would you say, "wow, that guy is fearless!"? I hope not. I'd wonder what the hell I was talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brielle87 View Post
    So, love the book, or hate the book, it is what their true impressions of a given scent were. People saying what they actually think, what a nouvelle idea.
    The problem is that they are saying exactly what they think, without regard for the audience.

    They're not communicating; they're just writing stuff, or in many cases, trying to demonstrate how clever they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    Since the book is far from comprehensive anyway, I would have preferred that they limit themselves to the fragrances that they truly know well. The catch, of course, is that they're only going to want to make the effort to live with the fragrances they already like
    Amen, brother.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    Le Labo refused to send Turin samples, saying that writing about perfume was like "dancing about architecture."
    I wonder how they fared in the reviews...

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    Writing about perfume seems more akin to doing architecture about dancing. A hundred reviews by a hundred different brilliant reviewers are still no substitute for actually smelling the damn thing, even once.
    For real. You're pretty dang smart, you know that?

    Regarding your point...boy is it sure nice when someone tells you what he thinks is going on, so when you do smell it, you might really connect with it, for better or worse.

    That's why I like the Marjorie Garber Shakespeare book. It blows the plays wide open so you can see not only what a genius (more than a genius, really. no other field has one like him) writer Shakespeare was, but also what genius itself really is.
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  38. #218

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    Regarding your point...boy is it sure nice when someone tells you what he thinks is going on, so when you do smell it, you might really connect with it, for better or worse.
    I agree, which is why I'm still on the fence about perfume criticism. I also wish I could find a perfume critic with whom I *consistently* agree or disagree, either of which would help me winnow my sampling pool. As it is, none of them save me any time or money at all over purely random selection. I find it far more useful to simply drill down and explore further the work of perfumers and houses I already know I like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    That's why I like the Marjorie Garber Shakespeare book. It blows the plays wide open so you can see not only what a genius (more than a genius, really. no other field has one like him) writer Shakespeare was, but also what genius itself really is.
    Shakespeare was a force of nature. I haven't gotten around to buying Garber's book yet, but your repeated recommendations have convinced me I should.

  39. #219

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    I didn't say it *should* smell like peach. My point was simply that the commonly used verbal descriptors and analogies are imprecise and therefore of little help. If you've smelled undecalactone and somebody says "It's got undecalcatone in it," that's a little more helpful, but even that doesn't give you much idea of how it sits in the context of the rest of the composition. As I said, perfumes are not the sum of their parts. If they were, fragrance companies would green-light them on the basis of ingredient lists plus--if they're feeling whimsical--poetic verbal descriptions, instead of sniff tests. They don't. I'm of the school that believes that not only should consumers not listen to reviewers, they shouldn't even listen to their own first impressions. That's why I don't buy bottles until I've lived with a decant for a good couple of months.
    I understand your point but I believe consumers ought to read different opinions about what they like or not because it 's challenging, makes us think a little, one way or another. In the end I still believe Beyond Paradise is not a masterpiece, the Pope himself could tell me it is, I still think it 's a dull floral and nothing would change that.

  40. #220

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post

    People don't like being told they're idiots who paid $100/ounce of crap, whether it's true or not.
    Of course not however, this guide is not just about the Creeds and just so you know, no offense but perfumery doesn 't evolve around this brand. Don 't forget this book has done a great job addressing reformulations concerns. This was long overdue!

  41. #221

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by girlsodeadly View Post
    I understand your point but I believe consumers ought to read different opinions about what they like or not because it 's challenging, makes us think a little, one way or another. In the end I still believe Beyond Paradise is not a masterpiece, the Pope himself could tell me it is, I still think it 's a dull floral and nothing would change that.
    I think your point is valid, but given that human life is finite, I would rather that people spend their free time reading about science, history, philosophy, politics, literature, etc. than perfume. Now, the sense of smell itself poses some wonderfully rich aesthetic, epistemological, and anthropological questions, and any critic brave enough to enter that territory (few are) gets my seal of approval. The science of smell is also fascinating and Turin's work in that area, though controversial, seems to be a valuable contribution. But as long as you're free to sample perfumes before you buy them, critics who presume to give buying recommendations are gloriously redundant.
    Last edited by FloatingPoint; 3rd June 2008 at 05:20 AM.

  42. #222

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by penelope99 View Post
    Did you really believe that Oliver Creed is a perfumer? My sister lived in France and she said everyone in Europe knows Oliver Creed is not a perfumer, but Americans tend to believe everything they read in media press releases. Bourdon s the one who made most of his fragrances.
    Really? I didn't know that. Creed should hurry and tag the names of Ellena and Bourdon to all their perfumes. Then see how automagically all the blogs run by french perfume fangirls/perfumistas ejaculate over Creed juices...

    Oh the irony..
    -

  43. #223
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    GC/MS won't tell you "notes." What Varian model tells you "animalic" when you put MKK in the sampler?
    Actually it almost can. In the hands of a skilled analytical chemist, essential oils are routinely analyzed for their components, giving retention time peaks and fragment masses for all of them. These are all cataloged. A really good chemist can sometimes even determine what part of the world the original plants came from.

    http://www.chipsbooks.com/idesoil4.htm

    For more, do a Google search on the strings "essential oil" and "retention time". Or, if you really want to see neat stuff, Google "gas chromatograph" and "neural network". You'll find gems like this:

    http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/lo...762.pdf?temp=x

    This kind of research has been going on for well over a decade. It's not new. Seriously, how you think copycat companies reverse engineer popular fragrances?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    ...unless you're telling me that I should be able to look at the 1H NMR spectra for all the synthetic rose variants and say, "hey man, I don't know what these chemicals are, but $5 says they all smell like rose!"
    Proton NMR is rarely useful as an identification tool when the sample is composed of dozens of molecules in which the electrical environments of protons in different components are similar. For example, the chemical shift of methylene group protons in non-branched aliphatics is going to be virtually identical, regardless of how long the carbon chain is, so the component spectra are confusingly superimposed over each other.

    I had this happen to me with a sample containing only two components. The professor decided to make my life difficult by giving me a sample of two aldehydes with similar boiling points (so complete physical separation via distillation became impossible) and strongly overlapping NMR spectra. A GC followed by an HPLC were the things that really saved my ass and permitted identification.

    Don't underestimate how far science has gotten over the past 100 years. Especially when combined with high-speed database analysis, it's staggering.

  44. #224
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by luca turin View Post
    Notes: the vast majority of perfumes contains almost nothing but synthetics, the "notes" listed in their literature are more often than not pure fantasy. For such fragrances, only a GC/MS analysis would tell you the notes, and I doubt very much a list of 250 aromachemicals would be of any use.
    I would imagine the saving grace here is that companies using only synthetics are probably using only the most prominent components of the natural oils, so analysis of their GC profile is probably a bit easier than in the case of a natural note. It might even be possible to figure out what natural note the manufacturer is looking to emulate cheaply.

    Of course, in the case of natural components, the myriad of retention time peaks form a sort of "fingerprint" that would be easier to assign to a previously-cataloged spectrum.
    Last edited by Astaroth; 3rd June 2008 at 06:42 AM.

  45. #225

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    I would imagine the saving grace here is that companies using only synthetics are probably using only the most prominent components of the natural oils, so analysis of their GC profile is probably a bit easier than in the case of a natural note. It might even be possible to figure out what natural note the manufacturer is looking to emulate cheaply.

    Of course, in the case of natural components, the myriad of retention time peaks form a sort of "fingerprint" that would be easier to assign to a previously-cataloged spectrum.

    Yes, much simpler in the case of synthetics, but many modern fragrances have drifted away from emulating anything natural, so that in a few years time the note in some future composition may end up being called "Eau Bleue" by reference to a Jacques Cavallier's creation, rather than to a natural. In addition, many synthetics are not nature-identical.

    As for naturals, the fingerprint is of course precious and can tell skilled analysts everything about a material. The difficulty comes when you mix lots of naturals and the GC becomes a royal mess. I'm always amazed at the skill of the GC guys in reverse-engineering the composition.

  46. #226
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by penelope99 View Post
    Did you really believe that Oliver Creed is a perfumer? My sister lived in France and she said everyone in Europe knows Oliver Creed is not a perfumer, but Americans tend to believe everything they read in media press releases. Bourdon s the one who made most of his fragrances.

    Who knows who makes the Creeds, but it’s unlikely that many of the perfumers are on the same level as Bourdon. Green Irish Tweed is one of the few Creeds with a solid and durable underlying structure, and that tells me that Bourdon probably did have a lot to do with making it.

    Last edited by pluran; 3rd June 2008 at 10:26 AM.

  47. #227
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    I also wish I could find a perfume critic with whom I *consistently* agree or disagree, either of which would help me winnow my sampling pool. As it is, none of them save me any time or money at all over purely random selection. I find it far more useful to simply drill down and explore further the work of perfumers and houses I already know I like.
    Yes, exactly! When I finally understood how my tastes were a function of Roger Ebert's, I was in movie heaven, and spending money only on things that I never regretted. Soon, I had a function relating (for some genres, negatively) to Gene Siskel. And I discovered some guy (whose name escapes me) who was almost my evil chiral movie twin. Everything he hated, I loved, and vice versa. I would jump for joy when he would dump on anything that I thought I might like.

    I'm finding that I am starting to get a fix on how my tastes match/don't match Turin's, and to a lesser extent, Sanchez's. That's why I'm so excited, and not giving up on perfume criticism.

    Still, as you say, drilling down on known favored houses and perfumers is definitely a great way to go, especially for more experienced afficionados, but even for noobies. I found a couple of niches that I love already. Finding a template reviewer is probably far more useful to a noob like me than it is for somebody with considerable experience.

    It's all starting to make sense.

    PS - Manos may have a point about the title. Perhaps "The Joy of Perfumes: A Guide" might have been more indicative of the content. Although I imagine that many factors (other than what best describes the book) have to go into picking a title.

    The point about spending times with disliked frags is a good one. That's a tough issue. I know that time has made me do 180's on a non-negligible number of frags. This is perhaps the/an Achilles heel of fragrance criticism.

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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by RHM View Post
    I agree with Mando's commentary and Yes, you are correct about Amarige. Another case in point: the end of the Black (5*'s LT) review. "it has its place with Bandit, Tabac Blond, and Cabochard among the great emancipated fragrances of all time."
    Bandit is rated 5*'s
    Tabac Blond is rated 1*
    Cabochard is rated 2*'s
    So what exactly does LT mean by the reference at the end of the review? We can infer all sorts of things, but that's not the point.
    If you read the book in context it's obvious that he's talking about the vintage formulations of TB and Cabochard when referring to them as some of the great emancipated fragrances of all time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    ...It's great for people who already have a lot of experience, but if you do, you usually know what you like already, and just need suggestions where to go from there. I could say, "I like Paris, but I want something that isn't as sweet. Is there anything like that?" and then shazam!
    I read it for a variety of reasons, and generally speaking I've gotten a lot more out of the average half page of it than I have from this whole thread.


    And while Turin and Sanchez provide numerous alternatives to various fragrances, I don't wear YSL Paris (quality, but not my thing) and definitely don't need an alternative for it. Far from it.


    Last edited by pluran; 3rd June 2008 at 11:08 PM. Reason: V20GMid

  49. #229

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    Actually it almost can. In the hands of a skilled analytical chemist, essential oils are routinely analyzed for their components, giving retention time peaks and fragment masses for all of them. These are all cataloged.
    No, no, I know, and agree with your points - and you're clearly an expert.

    I was more picking at his metaphor. It's more of the concept that 466.2 * (2^n) Hz is B-flat, and 625-740 nm is red, and that's pretty simple.

    X set of peaks on X spectrum indicates rose scent requires a huge database to correlate, which is not a simple connection to make, so it's not really a valid comparison. I wouldn't even bring it up except that there's a lot of that kind of thing in the book.



    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    Proton NMR is rarely useful as an identification tool when the sample is composed of dozens of molecules in which the electrical environments of protons in different components are similar.
    I'm not married to 1H NMR as an example.

    Anything that turns a chemical into a tensor would do-the point I'm trying to make is that there isn't any simple correlation that I know of that you could use to...let's say, if you have a tensor for a rose-smelling chemical, what numerical operation you would do on it to get the tensor for an iris.

    An example would be, multiplying the frequency of any B-flat by 1.122 gives you the frequency for a C (in the common equal-tempered tuning).

    It's kind of abstract, I know, and there are holes that I am fully aware of (the difference between a violin B-flat and a trumpet concert B-flat does require a database of waveforms, for instance), but I would still recognize Beethoven's 9th if it were played only in sinewaves and clicks.

    Quote Originally Posted by girlsodeadly View Post
    Of course not however, this guide is not just about the Creeds and just so you know, no offense but perfumery doesn 't evolve around this brand. Don 't forget this book has done a great job addressing reformulations concerns. This was long overdue!
    Agreed. I happen to have the old GV. I remember going to Sephora and sniffing what they have, thinking I got a bad batch, and wondering why I liked mine better, and now I know.

    The key thing is, if anyone says your creed fragrance (or your amarige) that you really really like is crap, don't take it personally. If you like it, you wear it, torpedoes be damned. It's always nice to have a second, qualified opinion floating around in your head, and that's where the book's strength is.

    I do wish they would have given allegedly junk perfumes as much space as, say, Roger Ebert gives junk movies, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Yes, exactly! When I finally understood how my tastes were a function of Roger Ebert's, I was in movie heaven, and spending money only on things that I never regretted. Soon, I had a function relating (for some genres, negatively) to Gene Siskel.
    Ebert's also a wonderful, wonderful writer. He connects with the sophisticated film snobs out there as much as he does with the goofballs like me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    Manos may have a point
    Let's not get hasty, here ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    I imagine that many factors (...) have to go into picking a title.

    Chiefly, selling it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    The point about spending times with disliked frags is a good one. That's a tough issue. I know that time has made me do 180's on a non-negligible number of frags. This is perhaps the/an Achilles heel of fragrance criticism.
    I find that I hate Acqua di Gio not because it's bad (it's not bad), but just because I'm sick of the idiots around here who wear it (if any of y'all wear it, I'm not talking about you), but I'd really have to wear it out real good to know that.

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    I read it for a variety of reasons, and generally speaking I've gotten a lot more out of the average half page of it than I have from this whole thread.
    I'll change your transmission fluid if you want
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  50. #230

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    I agree, which is why I'm still on the fence about perfume criticism. I also wish I could find a perfume critic with whom I *consistently* agree or disagree, either of which would help me winnow my sampling pool. As it is, none of them save me any time or money at all over purely random selection. I find it far more useful to simply drill down and explore further the work of perfumers and houses I already know I like.
    Check the blogs. There are a lot of really good ones. GJS is my favorite reviewer here.

    Quote Originally Posted by FloatingPoint View Post
    Shakespeare was a force of nature. I haven't gotten around to buying Garber's book yet, but your repeated recommendations have convinced me I should.
    You can definitely buy less with $14. Let me know if you like it as much as I do.
    Last edited by Manos, The Hands of Fate; 3rd June 2008 at 04:36 PM. Reason: wrong conjunction
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  51. #231
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    I was more picking at [Turin's] metaphor. It's more of the concept that 466.2 * (2^n) Hz is B-flat, and 625-740 nm is red, and that's pretty simple. X set of peaks on X spectrum indicates rose scent requires a huge database to correlate, which is not a simple connection to make, so it's not really a valid comparison.
    I guess the point I was trying to make is that claiming a quantitative definition for a rose note is no longer that far-fetched. The use of large databases of GC/MS data coupled with neural networks and Fast Fourier Transform techniques is quickly making this a reality. And I'm pretty sure Dr. Turin is at least peripherally familiar with these methods, and that's probably why he made the comparison.

    A time will come in the future when human beings will not be required to make these identifications at all; it will all be done automatically by learning algorithms coupled to extensive databases of spectra.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    Anything that turns a chemical into a tensor would do - the point I'm trying to make is that there isn't any simple correlation that I know of that you could use to ... let's say, if you have a tensor for a rose-smelling chemical, what numerical operation you would do on it to get the tensor for an iris.
    You wouldn't. The similarity between the rose and the iris would only be that the two of them can be represented, for the purposes of identification, with the same mathematical technique (e.g. a spectrum of GC retention times and peak ratios).

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    ... the difference between a violin B-flat and a trumpet concert B-flat ...
    This is actually an almost perfect analogy. The notes coming out of both instruments have the same major frequency peak, but differ in the amounts of higher harmonics (multiples) of that frequency. Those higher harmonics are what enable our ears to differentiate the instruments.

    The fragrance analog in this case would be notes that contain mostly one particular chemical but differ in their other components (e.g. citral in lemon myrtle and in lemongrass). An even better example would be the essential oil signatures of roses from different parts of the world (e.g. Bulgaria vs. Iran).

  52. #232

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    I guess the point I was trying to make is that claiming a quantitative definition for a rose note is no longer that far-fetched. The use of large databases of GC/MS data coupled with neural networks and Fast Fourier Transform techniques is quickly making this a reality. And I'm pretty sure Dr. Turin is at least peripherally familiar with these methods, and that's probably why he made the comparison.
    Right, but it's like the difference in comparing Coca-cola and soft drinks vs comparing Coca-cola and "fluids"

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    You wouldn't. The similarity between the rose and the iris would only be that the two of them can be represented, for the purposes of identification...
    That's right, you wouldn't! That's how B-flat is not like rose ;-)

    Put it this way: I know B-flat, D-flat, E, and G will have a real nasty sound when you play 'em together (even sine waves in just tuning), but I think the average person is a long way off from being able to infer what mood you'll get when someone tosses incense in with musk and ozone.

    I think people will always need to throw it together to smell it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    This is actually an almost perfect analogy.
    The analogy I think he should have made, to be honest. Inconsistent analogies are worse than no analogies.

    Rose isn't simply B-flat...it's a deliberate middle B-flat, played with Paganini's il Cannone violin, medium vibrato through a vintage Telefunken U87 set 2 m from the violin (+3deg phi, -7.65deg theta) in a semi-elliptical room of volume 427.3 m3 with medium density auralex acoustic insulation covering approximately 26.53% of the ceiling surface. Oh, and the humidity is 46% (relative), and the mic pre is a vintage Focusrite with mullard tubes.

    See what I'm getting at?

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    The fragrance analog in this case would be notes that contain mostly one particular chemical but differ in their other components (e.g. citral in lemon myrtle and in lemongrass). An even better example would be the essential oil signatures of roses from different parts of the world (e.g. Bulgaria vs. Iran).
    And your Guarnerius has livelier bass response than my Stradivarius ;-)
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  53. #233

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    I would have loved to have had not only the house of the perfume, but the individual perfumer named for EACH and EVERY perfume. I would also have liked to have the notes identified for EACH and EVERY perfume.[/QUOTE]

    Bear in mind that

    a) the author of many fragrances is disputed, and we would have had to rely entirely on the only reliable database, i.e. Michael Edwards. We did not feel appropriate to disseminate information it has taken him years to acquire and which is commercially valuable to him.


    b) Notes: the vast majority of perfumes contains almost nothing but synthetics, the "notes" listed in their literature are more often than not pure fantasy. For such fragrances, only a GC/MS analysis would tell you the notes, and I doubt very much a list of 250 aromachemicals would be of any use. Even when it's doable, is it much use ? Rothko contains red, Brahms contains B flat and Joy contains rose: so what ?[/QUOTE]

    Well, see, now, I didn't know that.
    Thanks for the clarification.
    I've just been feeling left out lately when basenoters are discussing various perfumers and I am quite unfamiliar with who they are and what they have created. I'm curious.

    But I DO appreciate knowing that Joy contains rose, for instance, because just that reference point jumpstarts my experience. I've been enjoying how I can experience rose so differently when it is combined with other notes. Or other synthetic aromachemicals as the case may be

    Ironically, earlier today I looked up your review of Cuir de Russie and thoroughly enjoyed the description of how the notes of ylang, jasmine and iris meld to create the effect of luxurious leather. On p.133, you gave me what I wanted.
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  54. #234

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    This is a great book. I picked it up last week and I ended up reading it for seven hours straight the first night.

    Turin's ability to grasp the world and its complexity metaphorically is some of the best I've ever seen. This man is an obvious genius, and his co-author is no slouch either. I've already purchased several fragrances based on their reviews and every one of them is superb.

  55. #235
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    The analogy I think [Turin] should have made, to be honest. Inconsistent analogies are worse than no analogies.
    I would prefer to use the expression incomplete analogy. When someone with technical training has been given the task of describing something to someone with less training, corners inevitably need to be cut. I was told in high school electrons were balls of charge that spin around nuclei. That analogy was wrong, but it allowed me to predict chemical reactivity adequately. Later, when I was a graduate student, I learned how it really happens. But I needed more preparation before I could grasp it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    Rose isn't simply B-flat...it's a deliberate middle B-flat, played with Paganini's il Cannone violin, ... and the humidity is 46% (relative), and the mic pre is a vintage Focusrite with mullard tubes. See what I'm getting at?
    Sure, and this is where fragrances get really interesting. Since we can now separate absolutes into identifiable components, we can create scents that do not exist in nature. The definition of a particular note will inevitably become blurred, and may in fact only be kept around as a convenience for the general public.

  56. #236

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    After digesting it for a month, I find that Turin's reviews are mostly ace and laser sharp. Sanchez, on the other hand, often compares fragrances to people which makes her come off as suffering from a passive/aggressive disorder.
    Also, Turin use his metaphors succinctly, while Sanchez will start using one, then another and yet a third. By the time I finish one of her reviews, I am often lost.
    That said, I reach for it daily. There's so much to learn from Turin's expertise.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 6th June 2008 at 03:38 AM.

  57. #237

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Some things I keep coming back to when thinking about this book:

    1. I wish a more systematic approach would have been adopted.

    2. I'd like to see a "technical" section for each fragrance, telling the reading things like what notes/accords were predominant in each stage, how long each stage lasted, etc.

    3. There should be a sillage rating.

    4. Why not present longevity graphically, which would show how strong the frag was different times. The graph could be divided into different stages (such as top notes, middle notes, and base notes, if the frag developed that way).

    5. The reader should have been told what the criteria for assessing frags was. For example, is Jovan Sex Appeal for men a 4 star frag because it's better than expected, or is it really better than all those very expensive niche frags that got three stars or less?

  58. #238
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    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Some things I keep coming back to when thinking about this book:

    1. I wish a more systematic approach would have been adopted.

    2. I'd like to see a "technical" section for each fragrance, telling the reading things like what notes/accords were predominant in each stage, how long each stage lasted, etc.

    3. There should be a sillage rating.

    4. Why not present longevity graphically, which would show how strong the frag was different times. The graph could be divided into different stages (such as top notes, middle notes, and base notes, if the frag developed that way).

    5. The reader should have been told what the criteria for assessing frags was. For example, is Jovan Sex Appeal for men a 4 star frag because it's better than expected, or is it really better than all those very expensive niche frags that got three stars or less?
    Ah, this is my point. I think that somebody else should do the book you are talking about - but not Turin. I love Perfumes: The Guide because it was clearly done by authors who loved what they were doing, and didn't force it to be something else. Turin's style is like a fragrance that I like, and God help him if he reformulates too much! Remove the snarky rubber note and Black: The Guide is ruined. Add a numerical accord and the tea note of talky metaphor is drowned out. Take out those Sanchez base notes and I'll be missing them. We know what kind of response reformulation gets around here...

    But the book you describe is great, and I would buy it. No ifs, and, or buts. It's a dramatic orchestration and a classic. And I'd pay 2-3 times what I paid for Turin's book. It would not be bedtime reading, but I would devour it! And I guarantee that several of you could write this book. PleasePleasePleasePlease...

  59. #239

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    I would prefer to use the expression incomplete analogy. When someone with technical training has been given the task of describing something to someone with less training, corners inevitably need to be cut.

    I say "inconsistent" because the completeness isn't the same on both sides.

    Sometimes the analogies aren't meant to be instructive as they are meant either to be funny or to show off all the culture LT or TS has. We know they're smart - they got their own book, after all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    I was told in high school electrons were balls of charge that spin around nuclei. That analogy was wrong, but it allowed me to predict chemical reactivity adequately. Later, when I was a graduate student, I learned how it really happens. But I needed more preparation before I could grasp it.
    No, that analogy (say, the Lewis "dot" structure) was correct in that its implications are carried out in the limited behaviors the analogy applies to (reactions).

    Obviously, you would use a different analogy to describe electron diffraction - that of a pressure wave on the surface of water, for instance.

    So it would be that electrons - in reactions, like a ball; in transit, like a water wave.

    (The truth is, we'll never understand electrons like we do balls and water because we can't separate one of them and interact with it directly using nothing but our own bodies, like we can with a wave or a ball. Of course, according to Immanuel Kant, we can't know any-...ah to hell with him. That's another discussion for another time)

    So, like, if you're using analogies for teaching, one side of the analogy should be universally understood enough to explain the other side. Turin's analogies tend to run to the obscure where they should be lucid, which makes them...let's say, "non-guiding."

    If the instructive side of analogy is meant not to be understood and applied, then the whole thing is a joke. Literally, it's a joke: he's trying to make us laugh. See the Love in White review - why should any of us know specifically what the lice in Nouakchott feel like after 30 days of rough sleep such that we can quantify how bad Love in White smells? It's a joke.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    Sure, and this is where fragrances get really interesting. Since we can now separate absolutes into identifiable components, we can create scents that do not exist in nature. The definition of a particular note will inevitably become blurred, and may in fact only be kept around as a convenience for the general public.
    No, see, the analogy I just made, I was trying to demonstrate how useless an absurd level of specification is. Why a Focusrite pre with Mullards. Why not an Alesis with Sovteks? Why Paganini's Guarnerius and not the Gibson Stradivarius Joshua Bell uses? Why not a smaller room with a different shape...none of these details illustrate anything about "rose."

    You shouldn't assume my analogy is correct just because it has a crazy amount of technical detail, because all that detail I chose arbitrarily. It's a bluff.

    Another beef I have is, he should only go nuclear on, say, 4 or 5 reviews. As it is, about 1/4 of the book reads like a cartoon spit-take.

    If every time Ebert saw a bad movie, he rehashed his review of North, he would dilute his credibility. Like, this many fragrances can't be so offensive to him that they stir him to this level of vitriol unless his skin is thinner than Rutherford's gold foil (see what I did there?)...maybe he's exaggerating-like, most of the time.

    LT misses out on a lot of teaching moments, because he goes for the "Oh no she di'int!" reaction, or, "man this dude is cultured, so he must be right."

    If he weren't going to take the time to review something properly and lay it all out for us, he should just omit it, rather than dismiss it with a joke. He shouldn't ever try to bluff the readers.
    Last edited by Manos, The Hands of Fate; 6th June 2008 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Phrasing
    Current frags (in order of preference):

    1) GIT
    2) GV
    3) MR

  60. #240

    Default Re: New Luca Turin book - your thoughts? Here are mine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Manos, The Hands of Fate View Post
    Another beef I have is, he should only go nuclear on, say, 4 or 5 reviews. As it is, about 1/4 of the book reads like a cartoon spit-take.

    If he weren't going to take the time to review something properly and lay it all out for us, he should just omit it, rather than dismiss it with a joke. He shouldn't ever try to bluff the readers.
    We get complaints from both directions: some readers say we should explain at greater length why crap perfumes are crap. Some say we should omit them altogether. Saying a lot about very little is tiresome, but saying nothing fails to steer people away from the awful stuff. So we tried to be both brief and funny, but obviously not everyone is pleased.

    Seriously, though, those who want a completely different book should just write it. There's plenty of room.

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