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  1. #1

    Default Useful Books For Amateur Perfumers

    I've just spent almost all of today reading the many, many fascinating posts in this forum and I thought the best way I could show my gratitude to the people who took the time to post tons of useful information would be to try to reciprocate with a thread which will, hopefully, prove as useful as some of the ones I was fortunate enough to discover today.

    I thought that maybe some of you might consider it valuable to share the titles of books (as opposed to websites, online PDF journals etc) which have helped you make progress along the path to creating your own scents. Sadly, there aren't many 'perfumery manuals' out there, no doubt because the main players in the industry prefer to keep their cards close to their chest. However, I'm sure we could compile a list of useful texts if we put our heads together. Here are some which I have found worthwhile:

    Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez - love it or hate it, it needs no introduction and it contains lots and lots of food for thought.
    The Emperor Of Scent by Chandler Burr - Ostensibly an account of Luca Turin's attempt to get the industry to take his theory of smell seriously, this highly readable book contains tons of insights from some of the world's most well-known perfumers.
    The Perfect Scent by Chandler Burr - By telling the story of the creation of Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely and Hermes' Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Burr again provides many intriguing stories from the world of perfumery.
    The Secret Of Scent by Luca Turin - Some may find the emphasis on chemistry a little off-putting, but, as in the two books above, the anecdotal tales about the creation of scents are thoroughly fascinating.
    What The Nose Knows by Avery Gilbert - The earlier chapters, which deal with specific notes and odours, are well worth a look.

    Any more ideas would be welcome :-)

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Useful Books For Amateur Perfumers

    Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Penguin (Non-Classics). Paperback - Oct. 27, 2009. ISBN: 978-0143115014
    - the “go to” guide to fragrances with sometimes snarky reviews

    The New Perfume Handbook (2nd Ed.) Groom, Nigel. Chapman & Hall, London: 1997. ISBN 0-7514-0403-9
    Perhaps a little old now, but excellent articles on perfume materials and methods of extraction, botanical origins, etc.

    The Essence of Perfume. Dove, Roja. Black Dog Publishing, London: ND. ISBN 978-1-906155-49-0
    Very detailed about perfume ingredients, both natural and the more important synthetics. Also, lots of information about making perfumes, proportions of top, middle, and base notes in different formulations, etc.

    The Secret of Scent. Turin, Luca. Harper Collins, New York: 2006. ISBN 0-06-113383-3
    Turin's book on his theory on the physical mechanism of smell, but also full of interesting information about the breakdown ingredients of natural oils, etc.

    What the Nose Knows. Gilbert, Avery. Crown, New York: 2008. ISBN 978-1-4000-8234-6
    A book that includes interesting information about recent scientific studies of olfactory acuity, among other things.

    Essence and Alchemy. Aftel, Mandy. North Point Press, New York: 2001. ISBN0-86547-553-9
    An interesting book about historical and practical perfumery from a person who taught herself how to make scents.

    The Chemistry of Fragrances. D.H. Pybus, C.S. Sell. Royal Society of Chemistry; 1 edition (October 20, 2004). ISBN-13: 978-0854045280

    The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses. Chandler Burr. Random House; 1st edition (January 21, 2003). ISBN-13: 978-0375507977
    Tom Ford Splits:Noir de Noir, Neroli Portofino, Lavender Palm, Plum Japonais, Champacca Absolute, Tobacco Vanille ONE LEFT: Italian Cypress, Patchouli Absolu, Amber Absolute, Tuscan Leather, Oud Wood

    Most of the time I am very proud of the Basenotes community. Time after time I have witnessed the thoughtfulness, empathy & genuine friendship that members of this community extend to others - oldtimers & newcomers alike. There are other times, however, when egos get the upper hand and civility goes out the window. My philosophy is that I won't say anything here that I would not say if you were standing in front of me. Welcome to Basenotes, each and every one of us. ~ TwoRoads

  3. #3

    Default Re: Useful Books For Amateur Perfumers

    Very few books are to be found on the technical side, or the compounding one, and fewer are modern books. As someone stated, perfumery is "an art without a handicraft"; teaching and schools are restricted to the happy few who are prone to develop a career into industry or are alredy in career.

    So the "professional" knowledge is scarce between amateur "perfumistas" .

    Among the recent technical books i could quote the following:

    • Calkin – Jellinek; Perfumery practice & principles; Wiley & sons, 1994; ISBN 0471589349

    • Bedoukian, P.; Perfumery and flavoring synthetics; Allured, 1986; ISBN 091371012X

    • Curtis, T. – Williams, D.; Introduction to perfumery; Micelle Press, Weymouth, 2001; ISBN 9781870228244

    • Lamparsky, T., Mueller, P.M.; Perfumes, art science and technology; Kluwer or Elsevier, 1991 ISBN 1-85166-573-0

    Of course every book focuses on a particular aspect of the art, so don't expect to find a comprehensive treatise or manual to teach you all you want to learn. Practice and patience are as important as a good smelling technique and the knowledge of the raw materials.
    Some books ask for a little or more knowledge of the odorants chemistry and terminology, as they are intended for a specialized audience.

    Suggestions for more and newer books are very appreciated.

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