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Thread: Luca Turin

  1. #1
    Basteri's Avatar
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    Default Luca Turin

    I bought both of his books (the guide and the other one that I forgot its name now).
    He seems to be some sort of fragrance guru but I find some of his reviews bias, seems like he has some animosity against some houses. Some greatly praised fragrances by many people, blogs and forums get almost insulting low points from Mr. Turin.
    I like his sense of humor and his down the earth approach, he is very simple and straight forward in his appreciations.However very harsh and simple about some fragrances considered gems.
    I am curious to know how serious do you people take his comments.
    Bond and Creed get pretty low scores... it is almost as he does not even put much thought into it.
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    There has been much debate here on the forums with regard to Mr Turin's perspectives on perfume. I think nothing divides this community more (except perhaps, for lengthy discussions on Creed).
    Some love the man, and some hate the man. Whatever the case, his contribution to the science of perfumery is staggering.
    I'll keep my opinions to myself. All it will take is one loose-lipped person to start the next sh*tfight.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    You should take Luca Turins comments about as serious as you would a Radio Talk Show Host. Trust your own nose and you'll never go wrong.

  4. #4
    Basteri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    ok , i don't want to start a controversy about it.
    He sure is a talented mind to the service of fragrances.
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    but is he Jerry Springfield or Larry King ? :-)
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Accidentaly I stepped into a book about him, The Emperor of Scent.

    I saw the castillian version of it in a library especialized in discounts, so it was ridicously underpiced. I did not buy it because I found it had the full array of modisms of bad quality divulgation books, but I am quite prejudicious about these so I better shut my mouth - judge by yourself in case you can find it.

    On the other hand, RedNeck mentioned a book in which he worked as a contributor, a technical work on essences: David J. Rowe, Ed., Chemistry and Technology of Flavors and Fragrances, ISBN 1-4051-1450-9 (2005)

    So I guess there is Luca Turin for everyone's tastes: the mediatic one in The Guide, the professionaly intimate one in Burrs' book and the technical one in Rowe's.

    Just pick your choice..

  7. #7

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    At first I reacted quite negatively towards The Guide. I felt a bit insulted by some of the reviews that seemed little more than drive-by shootings. With time, however, I've begun to trust it, as it gives a nice backbone to my fragrance exploration.
    Yes, he's brutal to the point of cruelty towards Creed, Lorenzo Villoresi and Mona di Orio, but his point of view is rooted in a deep respect for structure and he sticks to his beliefs. Yes, he can come off quite haughty at times. Tania Sanchez offers a nice, human balance to his arrogance, but, as a result, her reviews carry less weight than his.
    In the end, I use The Guide, along with my personal preferences, as a map to navigate through the labyrinth.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 25th November 2008 at 01:26 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Basteri View Post
    but is he Jerry Springfield or Larry King ? :-)
    Who is Jerry Springfield? I will assume you mean Jerry Springer.
    Don't Smell the Flowers,
    They're an Evil Drug to Make You Lose Your Mind --- Dio
    Currently wearing: Allure Homme by Chanel

  9. #9
    Basteri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    thanks ruggles I share your thought, seems you have been in the labyrinth longer than me :-)

    Danho.
    Jerry Springler or what ever his name is, he is a clown that has a talk show in the US, I don't think it gets more classless and trashy than his show, pure rubbish , "rubbish extreme" :-)
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by thebeck View Post
    You should take Luca Turins comments about as serious as you would a Radio Talk Show Host. Trust your own nose and you'll never go wrong.
    +1. Turin is a good writer and a very clever man, but like a lot of things, a certain "groupthink" attitude often gets thrown in because of his reputation and people begin to neglect their own "nose" because Turin, and then XXYY senior basenoter, said something different about a fragrance than what we initially felt.

    As I've said so many times, "Know thyself! (and thy nose!)" It never steers us wrong, though sometimes others who don't know us or our noses can, albeit inadvertently.
    Is there any point in saying everything? -Basho

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    If the second book you got is "The Secret Of Scent", it's a great read.
    Lots of science but broken down nicely for everyone.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by thebeck View Post
    Trust your own nose and you'll never go wrong.
    This is excellent advice. There are several of my favorite scents that were given very low ratings in The Guide by Dr. Turin. On the other hand, he helped me to discover a handful of fragrances that were unknown to me and which I now love.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    I liked the Guide but wouldnt think of it as a collection of rules, that man is just sharing his oppinions, which mostly are more reasoned than the ones of other people.
    I think the guide is written for commercial use, not as a pamphlet for people like BNs.
    I wholeheartedly disagree with a lot of his reviews but take them as input anyway.
    And, from what I have read about him elsewhere (i e Emporer of Scent) I think his nose is scientifically just able to pick up notes better than most other people which might make it harder for him to like frags some of us love.
    Just give him the credit for a great read.

  14. #14
    Basteri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    yes the second book i got is the secret of scent, I got both from amazon
    The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    All it will take is one loose-lipped person to start the next sh*tfight.
    @$$0*&%$%$#**#@@!&&^$$!!!!

    Are you not entertained??? Is this not why you are here??

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    I had a short discussion with Luca Turin back when he was a regular reader/poster on BN. He is a bright guy, and I enjoyed discussing things with him. I am somewhat biased since I am also a science PhD myself (physics with an MS in chemistry), and can appreciate his scientific input. Having said that, I get a little concerned when I read that people are insulted when Luca trashes their favorite smellies. Truthfully, no one should care whether a fragrance is imaginative, hackneyed, trite, or ... whatever. You have a nose which presumably works. If you like what it's telling you, that makes the fragrance de facto good.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Astaroth, you just happened to open the debate with a with juicy and tempting reply i shall resist

  18. #18

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Astaroth i don t get it.
    You say you had a discussion with LT when he was a regular reader poster on BN.
    And you joined on may 2008. Do you mean he was here between may 2008 and a few month ago ?

    ??

    Btw i m sure he reads sometimes this board, and i m pretty sure for example that he read this precise topic...
    Current top 10 in no particular order : Malle - Carnal Flower (pre 2008) ; Montale - Black Aoud ; Bond #9 - Silver Factory ; Tauer - L'air du désert marocain ; C&Z - No 88 ; Francis K. - APOM ; Creed - Aventus ; Amouage - Epic ; Profumum - Dulcis In Fundo ; Amouage - Opus V

  19. #19

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Roc_Xel View Post
    Do you mean he was here between may 2008 and a few month ago ?
    Yes, that's correct. He posted often around the time of the launch of The Guide.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    Yes, that's correct. He posted often around the time of the launch of The Guide.
    And then promptly left after having been relentlessly badgered by a few less-than-polite Basenoters, as I recall. I was pretty embarrassed. It's one thing to disagree with his opinions on fragrances, but that's no reason to get righteous and angry to his face. Turin would be the first to say that they're just his opinions.

    Personally, I agree with Turin about 80-90% of the time, and refer to his book often. I'm not as keen on Tania; whereas Luca seems to have an irrepressible schoolboy fascination with things (I see that same personality a lot in the best scientists I work with), Tania's perspective is more hardened, more class oriented. At least, that's what I read between the lines.
    Last edited by Snafoo; 25th November 2008 at 09:01 PM.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts. Daniel Moynihan

  21. #21

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    wow interesting. I was already reading this board daily and posting and i don t remember having seen him posting. too bad ..

    I don t agree every time with him, would say like 50-70% maybe. I totally about Creed but that s another question, and I love reading his opinions on various frags

    Another question for you :

    Any Idea what Turin usually wears ? I mean I guess he has an amazing wardrobe but did he ever mention which one he wore regulary ?
    Current top 10 in no particular order : Malle - Carnal Flower (pre 2008) ; Montale - Black Aoud ; Bond #9 - Silver Factory ; Tauer - L'air du désert marocain ; C&Z - No 88 ; Francis K. - APOM ; Creed - Aventus ; Amouage - Epic ; Profumum - Dulcis In Fundo ; Amouage - Opus V

  22. #22

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    LT undeniably did a lot of quick sampling for his book. He even alludes to this in the guide (see the review of Timbuktu, for example). He didn't do what I consider necessary to provide an in-depth assessment of a fragrance (for all that he reviewed), which is to wear it, by itself, for at least 4-5 hours, when you can give it a lot of attention. And then come back at least a week later and do it again (3 times absolute minimum). I think he should have addressed the issue about the effort required to really "get to know" a frag, especially for "newbies."

    That said, the book is quite useful, if you understand "where he's coming from." Another allusion in the book is to wearability. Some frags smell great on paper for a few minutes, but are really not something you want to wear for hours (or don't last for hours). Again, he could have addressed this point explicitly, for the newbies, but once you are an aficionado, you know "the routine"' and you can find a lot of useful information in his (and TS's) guide book.

    There are some other things that could've been stated more explicitly in the guide book, such as the distinction between niche and designer, as well as highly blended versus more "articulated" frags. And I don't really think it's worthwhile to assess frags as if there were a universal standard. For instance, I can't stand frags with geranium and sandalwood, and there's no way I could give them "5 star" reviews, so if I wrote a review I would state this point, and tell the reader to sample a strong geranium/sandalwood frag before buying it. If you like that combination, it could be a "5 star" frag for you but a "1 star" frag for me, and that's fine. Thus, I would have stated explicitly a theoretical universal standard (concepts like balance, abstraction, complexity, uniqueness, etc.) while also talking about practical considerations (again, explicitly). I may write such a book some day, but right now I'm in the "hobbyist" stage.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 25th November 2008 at 09:38 PM.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    I had a short discussion with Luca Turin back when he was a regular reader/poster on BN. He is a bright guy, and I enjoyed discussing things with him. I am somewhat biased since I am also a science PhD myself (physics with an MS in chemistry), and can appreciate his scientific input. Having said that, I get a little concerned when I read that people are insulted when Luca trashes their favorite smellies. Truthfully, no one should care whether a fragrance is imaginative, hackneyed, trite, or ... whatever. You have a nose which presumably works. If you like what it's telling you, that makes the fragrance de facto good.
    Hey, I remember that! You two were talking about gaschromo-something (I know what it is, but I don't have my dictionary atm, lol). Very interesting, and I had mentioned this technique here on Basenotes a couple of times myself.
    Real shame he took of soon after, because there were some things regarding this I really wanted to hear his opinion on.
    No guru, not method, no teacher
    Just you and I and nature

  24. #24

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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Today we buy perfumes that have been created now, or fifty years ago or even 250 years ago. That is a lot of territory. What happened to the (critical) reviews of the earlier ones? Nothing, as there hardly were any printed reviews before the nineteen-nineties.

    Who wrote the first Perfume Guide in English ever?
    Luca Turin together with Tania Sanchez.
    Who was the first author of a critical book on Perfume?
    Luca Turin. He wrote Le Guide about twenty years ago for his French audience.
    Two editions were released by an Editor in Paris. Le Guide was written for a French audience mainly.

    The Guide 2008 is hot. No wonder LT and TS got married as soon as it was finished. The Guide is a continuing operation, comparable to the MS Windows project. The second update 2008 is due next month. I have no other books that offer quarterly updates.

    No matter whether one likes Perfume The Guide or not - there is no alternative, at least not in book form! For any 'bad' review contained there, I usually find one in the BN directory that is just as bad, and often worse. To be fair: I also find very good reviews of my favorites in The Guide, and in the BN directory as well. I happen to also like Turin's style, and his (French-Italian) stubbornness. Together with the Column Duftnote in NZZ that makes fifteen years of great reading thanks to a very honest author with a refreshing curiosity and self-renewing originality.

    If only one out of ten guys with their smart concepts for a better perfume guide came up with something halfway decent I would be among the first to their book. (On second thought, some American views on perfume are not helping a European nose at all.)
    May the spirit of Christmas...

    narcus

    PS @ RocXel: I don't want to add to speculations, but Turins top favorites are perfumes he probably never wears but adores as pieces of art. He has a huge collection, as seen in the fantastic interview of NZZ made at his home in 2007. More than once he recommended to wear no perfume at all, at least occasionally. He also went to interviews in 2008 without any fragrance on him.
    Last edited by narcus; 26th November 2008 at 12:44 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    In all honesty I find the guide as useful, if not a bit less, than the reviews here on basenotes. Turin's more scientific approach to the critique of perfumes is one I greatly admire, but there are times I don't find it terribly useful. The Guide has become more or less a quickly-accessed scan of a perfume that I thought about randomly.

    I completely understand the notion that there are scents of less craft than others, however, that doesn't necessarily make them bad, in my opinion. To me, this is not altogether dissimilar from all other art forms. Yes, there is a certain amount of weight given to informed perspective, ie. criticism, but for anyone of free thought, it doesn't, or shouldn't, dictate your own tastes. I love pizza from my neighborhood joint, yet I love osso bucco. Is one better than the other? One is certainly of more quality, but might not hit all the points of desire for that given moment. As for other scenarios? Don't even get me started about what appears in contemporary art museums, heh heh. Turin's and my tastes are not really too akin, ultimately.

    Personally, I think Luca Turin's insights into perfumery will long outlast him. The man is a genius, as well as pretty damned approachable/ understandable for those not in his field. However, I could name at least five basenoters who are, in their own way, genius perfume interpreters as well.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    In some important ways, reviewing frags is like reviewing movies. There is no one "right" way to do it. For example, most people want to know if a movie is like another movie (one that they like), and they have little or no interest in thinking about film in terms of "universal" concepts, such as characterization. And as I said about the geranium/sandalwood combination, some people don't want to see movies that contain certain things, like a great deal of graphic violence. It could be Rambo on the one hand, or Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now on the other, but they will not see those movies.

    This is why, though not perfect, I would review according to multiple criteria if I were to write a fragrance (or movie) guide book. LT and TS obviously enjoy introducing humor into their reviews. That's another thing to consider. Some people like that sort of thing while others want something more straightforward and "technical." I wouldn't mind both! It's like when I was in grad school. You studied under several professors at the same time, and you realized that they all had something different to offer, and if you tried to force the square peg into the round hole, you only caused yourself problems. You were not going to change the professors to conform to your standards. However, I do think that many non-fiction books cause readers problems because the authors don't state their criteria explicitly.

  27. #27

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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I do think that many non-fiction books cause readers problems because the authors don't state their criteria explicitly.
    Exactly. I think more than one of us found that missing here too. I would agree with anybody saying : the Guide is far from prefect! But as long as nobody can show me another (critical) guide, it's still the best guide on perfume.

    Does anybody who has not attacked a specific industry publicly have experience what it takes to do that, and be held responsible for it later? Some tried to sabotage the work of the Turins by not submitting samples. What a silly, useless behavior. I hope nothing worse has happened so far, but what do I know? Therefore I want to be modest when it comes to criticising these two authors. (Just an explanation, I expect nobody to have similar thoughts.)
    Last edited by narcus; 26th November 2008 at 12:42 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    ... Some tried to sabotage the work of the Turins by not submitting samples...
    That is plain stupid. With the Web 2.0, manufacturers might avoid Turin's opinion, but there is a whole bunch of independent critics stating their opinions about their products. OK, our reviews can be cricitized as driven by naive and non experienced criteria, however, a majority of negative reviews might as well state their products are flawed.

    This whole new way consumers get involved with goods bought or tried demands of managers a completely different way of thinking. Still some are not adapting themselves to this new reality. Thus, avoiding Turin's opinion can be a gross mistake, since one way or another, other opinion leaders will do what he has not been able to do.
    Last edited by Pollux; 26th November 2008 at 12:58 AM. Reason: Typo

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by jenson View Post
    Astaroth, you just happened to open the debate with a with juicy and tempting reply i shall resist
    Awww, crap. Now I have to go look for it ...
    EDIT: The thread is here. I'm not seeing anything riské here. And God only knows, I try not to miss an opportunity for off-color humor.
    Last edited by Astaroth; 26th November 2008 at 01:34 AM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Luca Turin

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    At first I reacted quite negatively towards The Guide. I felt a bit insulted by some of the reviews that seemed little more than drive-by shootings. With time, however, I've begun to trust it, as it gives a nice backbone to my fragrance exploration.
    Yes, he's brutal to the point of cruelty towards Creed, Lorenzo Villoresi and Mona di Orio, but his point of view is rooted in a deep respect for structure and he sticks to his beliefs. Yes, he can come off quite haughty at times. Tania Sanchez offers a nice, human balance to his arrogance, but, as a result, her reviews carry less weight than his.
    In the end, I use The Guide, along with my personal preferences, as a map to navigate through the labyrinth.
    I love your analogy, Ruggles. LOL. I love The Guide, and so appreciate the updates. I've explored and re-explored fragrances I thought I hated before based on new criteria. Rush, for example (the ladies version) was one that eventually won me over. I learned that my nose can change and evolve in attempting to understand what Turin meant by a masterpiece. I love the dual reviews between TS and LT, specifically. I'd love it if they did dual reviews on all the fragrances.

    Quote Originally Posted by NYCBoy View Post
    This is excellent advice. There are several of my favorite scents that were given very low ratings in The Guide by Dr. Turin. On the other hand, he helped me to discover a handful of fragrances that were unknown to me and which I now love.
    Precisely. There is no way I would ever have considered trying Lady Stetson without the Guide.

    I wish I could have been a lurking "fly on the wall" when he was posting here months ago. I love the fact that they credit the internet with the growth of fragrance appreciation, and the growth of the industry in general. Tania Sanchez' appreciation for the reviewers and "family" on these perfume websites was gracious and deferential. If by any chance either of you are reading; I personally thank you each for doing so.

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