His latest two reviews are up, and they are extremely entertaining to read. Incredibly well written.
I think people may be forgetting the sheer breadth of reviewing over a thousand perfumes. Anyone who has written a review with some deliberate thought knows that it takes a little time. To wear, test, and write three a day would take a year. Who here could imagine doing three a day EVERY day for a year? Reviews aren't LT's main gig. He's always been more into the hard-core science academic side of things. Combine your day job with writing a book and I'm sure you could see the limitations....thus perfume strips, thus some short reviews. And until the general public gets caught up with the level of passion that most of us Basenoters have toward perfumes, I don't think too many people are going to be making the sort of living they want to be making as perfume reviewers. It's better than it ever was, but there's still a long way to go.
Last edited by Indagnacious; 18th April 2014 at 09:18 PM.
Such an amusing thread. The perfume world is so lucky to have Luca Turin around. Many great reviewers on various sites, including this one, use his words and ideas (Basenotes' own serpent used them to great effect), but, not surprisingly, the ones who use his words and ideas the most are the people who attack him. In the past his reviews may have been primarily directed toward the perfumers, and while Perfumes: The A-Z Guide is an intriguing blast for everyone open to it, notice the dedication page, where it says: "For the perfumers".
I love these editorial reviews from the first book. I just hope there's another one coming. And in case you didn't realize it, anyone here is free to write their own book.
I completely agree that the book is as "gripping as any thriller" and that "Turin confirms his right to be classed alongside Proust". This book is a hundred times more compelling and contains far more relevant information than any perfume book ever published. It's like the distance between a hawk from the moon. Nothing is even close, and for many reasons nothing probably ever will be.
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez)
Editorial reviews: (I wrote them out, so if there's a mistake it's mine)
“Their work is, quite simply, ravishingly entertaining, and it passes the high test that the high test that their praise is even more compelling than their criticism...Its blend of technical and evocative writing is exemplary in the strict sense; people who write about smell and taste in any context should use it as an example.” John Lanchester, The New Yorker
“Along with being witty and knowledgeable about the chemistry and culture of perfume, Sanchez and Turin are whizzes at conveying, through words, all that the nose knows.” -Style.com
“With Turin, Sanchez developed one of the most distinctive voices in fragrance writing” -Elle
“Entertaining and indeed encyclopedic.” -Forbes.com
“Unfailingly entertaining...This will be a must have...Their passion for a few scents and their outrage at the others’ failings make for entry after entry of hilarious, catty comments interspersed with occasional erudite, eloquent disquisitions.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Perfumes: The Guide shines a bright, revolving searchlight over an extensive, potentially limitless smell-scape, and offers much to contemplate, even to regret, and most importantly alerts you to the need to set aside some fairly solid prejudices ...[The authors have] produced a provocative and hugely entertaining book.” -The Times Literary Supplement
“Turin and Sanchez offer some of the most stylish, erudite and hilarious criticism in any subject field.” -The Dallas Morning News
“Far more addictive that it has any right to be.” -The Guardian (U.K.)
“[A] magnificent book that could do for the perfume industry what the best guides do for wine...It opens the mind to the vivid intricacies of scent and is a cracking good read.” -The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
“Perfumes: The A-Z Guide is one of the best books I have ever read. It is dazzlingly good.” -India Knight, The Sunday Times (U.K.)
“Dazzling insight abounds in Perfumes...shocks with originality.” -Maclean’s
“Forget everything you have read about [scent] and grab a copy of Perfumes...a work as gripping as any thriller.” -Jan Moir, The Daily Mail (U.K.)
“On one level this is a serious, instructive tome. On the other it is an addictive, dip-in-and-outable romp through some of the greatest and worst scents ever produced.” -Daily Express (U.K.)
“There is a great tradition of olfactory literature, and in Perfumes Turin confirms his right to be classed alongside Proust or Patrick Suskind as a poet of smell.” -The Observer (U.K.)
“No one can doubt that they’ve written a work of the highest criticism , one which elevates writing about perfume to the best sort of writing about wine or rock music.” -Philip Hensher, The Independent (U.K.)
“They make it so entertaining, you don’t even have to like perfume to enjoy perfume to enjoy reading about it.” -The Denver Post
“Compelling because it’s arrestingly honest, passionately poetic.” Grazia (Australia)
“(My) favorite book of open-sky criticism this year.” - Dwight Garner, “Paper Cuts” (the New York Times blog)
“[T]his bigoted, snarling, monomaniacal, subjective, triumphalist and quite magnificent book.” -Prospect (U.K.)
“[N]othing less than an essential possession. Most books that are calles life-changing don’t make the least little difference to anybody whatsoever. In its own field, this one deserves the name.” - Evening Standard (U.K.)
“I breathed in, rather than read, in one delighted gulp; opinionated, knowledgeable, sharply written, and surprisingly comprehensive, it’s a purely enjoyably book.” -Hilary Mantel
Luca Turin's "Duftnotes" Articles 2003 - 2010 - http://doublebasenotes.blogspot.com/
It would also be great to see Octavian Coifan replace all the great articles he wrote on his blog. As knowledgeable about perfume as anyone ever has been and writes just as well. He removed 99% of what was there. There was a massive amount of it. http://1000fragrances.blogspot.com/
Last edited by pluran; 2nd May 2014 at 02:47 AM.
Sure. Le Guide was brilliant. Besides, who ever expects to agree with critics all of the time? Movies? Check. I've seen some duds because I read good reviews. Restaurants? Check. Shoes? Them, too.
The problem arises when readers' opinions don't match those of the reviewer. Some people feel ashamed, as if they might have misunderstood something that superior people understand. Other people are frustrated because critics got to tell the whole world something negative and affect sales, while supporters remain mute and ineffectual. Yet other people are angry when they trust reviews and spend their money, and their experiences don't live up to the hype.
Like pluran said, though, everyone is free to write a book. Turin put in many years of research and work in order to reach the level of "expert." At least he knows more about his subject than most of the stars of reality TV. To me, the unfortunate aspect of today's public taste is that shock value sells entertainment media.
I fell down the perfume rabbit hole after purchasing a copy of 'The Guide'. Did I treat it as gospel initially? Probably - I didn't know much, and I sought out the things flagged out as good. As time went past, however, I found myself knowing what I liked and being better able to form my own views. I think Luca Turin has done a great service to the perfume community by getting newbies interested in the first place.
Last edited by joshuaang; 25th April 2014 at 12:20 PM.
Check out my perfume blog, The Smelly Vagabond: http://thesmellyvagabond.wordpress.com
I've just spent a few days in Vienna and couldn't avoid repeating to myself the sentence about the Ottoman Empire bringing administrative inefficiency and baggy trousers in areas that would otherwise have been irremediably German!
(LT on Cuir Ottoman, a fragrance quite misreviewed by him, IMO. Love his writing- and Cuir Ottoman anyway!)
"Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen
Looks like they are trying to get two more reviews up today:
Message in a Bottle: Viktor & Rolf and Hermès
luca turin reviews bonbon and jour d'hermès absolu
(From the main page, but following the link... it "doesn't exist")
Having Simultaneous Affairs with: Amouage Memoir Man, Fate Man, Interlude Man, Epic Extrait (yep... the femme version), Tribute, Homage, Opus IV, VI, & VII • Puredistance M, Black • Tauer L'Air & Carillon pour un Ange • Knize Ten Golden • L'Artisan Al Oudh, Traversee du Bosphore, Dzing! • TF Noir de Noir • Xerjoff Homme, Richwood, Regio, 1861, 1888, Zafar • Serge Lutens MKK, Gris Clair, Fille en Aiguilles, La Myrre • H de Parfums 1740, Noir Patchouli, Tub3 Animale • Abdes Salaam Tabac, Sharif, Mecca Balsam • Slumberhouse Vikt, Baque • MDCI Invasion Barbare, Chypre Palatin • Nicoläi NY, Vie de Chateau Intense, L'Eau Mixte • Dior Leather Oud & Patchouli Imperial • Chanel Sycomore • Guerlain Derby, Songe d'un Bois d'Ete • MFK Oud Cashmere Mood • Ormonde Jayne Man
Didn't he already review Jour d'Hermes EdT? Come on, Luca, we are jonesing hard and you are giving us scrapings from the pipe!
:-) The fragrances reviewed reflect the launches in the Gulf....
Link to article, pls? Thankee.
Here you go - arabia.style.com
Thanks for publishing them, Shashi
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'”
― Isaac Asimov
Apparently different enough that the reviews sound rather dissimilar, other than the central tea stuff. Gotta give him a little bit of flanker leeway - and room for the occasional 4- or 5-star fragrance!
Jour d'Hermès (EDP): http://arabia.style.com/beauty/beaut...saab-hermes/#9
Jour d'Hermès Absolu (EDP): http://arabia.style.com/beauty/beaut...rances-2014/#7
I do like the original - I'll be interested to see if the Absolu does anything for me.
Have to say that I'm disappointed about BonBon, but Spicebomb has left me happy for quite a while.
Visit my huge swap page: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/211...-ml-Gotham-etc
Or visit my Sales page: http://www.basenotes.net/threads/211...o-make-offers!
Samples, etc. for Sale at my Crystal Flacon page: http://flacon.ambaric.net/viewtopic.php?t=282
My fragrance blog: http://bigslyfragrance.wordpress.com/
Personally I seem do not be interested in any other "expertise" of any perfume than how it clicks/agrees with my nose/skin/brain
when I read any reviews, (can not say I read Turin ones though) I just sort of see between the lines - if the person does it casually for number of reviews or tries to go deeper, I often then go back to perfume to see that catchy perspective from another humans..soul..and sometimes I do find it, what I personally missed in it
So some people with their reviews are capable to open their world of smells to me< but mostly - not)
and thinking that no matter which are your intentions each review will get PROFIT to producers..hmmm...weird in some way
I like intelligent snarky writing and love the book - that being sad, I have bought some $200+ juice that got one star reviews :-)
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improving olfactory environments one molecule at a time....
Thanks for the link! I enjoyed the reviews -- funny and enlightening -- with skillful writing that still incorporates his great use of metaphor, allegory, irony, and hyperbole. As far as the ratings go, agree or disagree -- it matters not.
Now, once again, how can I find some fragrance samples in this cattle-and-corn state where I live?
What about Turin's upcoming new book of reviews? Any update?.
I want it more than any fragrance.
There's also some rule about them being available at the time of writing, the believe. I met Luca and Tania last year and offered a decant from my 1982 bottle of Norma Kamali Incense, but Luca noted that they couldn't really review it because it's pretty much extinct. That could be why the vintages are only mentioned in passing?
Any update on the new book? Is it still going on?