Profile 12.99 (620pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
Perfumes: the A-Z Guide, By Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez
Friday 30 October 2009
Like cocktails, blue cheese and Renaissance painting, perfumes offer some of the greatest of all sensory pleasures. Yet, with the arguable exception of Robert Parker's book on Bordeaux wines (his analysis is mainly olfactory), they have scarcely ever been written about.
This guide to 1,500 scents, as scintillating as it is comprehensive, puts right this omission. Of course, you begin by looking up your own whiff. This reviewer discovered that Jo Malone's Grapefruit Cologne is "fine but lasts as long as you can balance a broom on the end of your finger."
However, Malone's Lime, Bail and Mandarin Cologne is "simply wonderful" and particularly recommended for males. In their introduction, the authors state the only reason men should wear perfume: "Because you like it". We are steered away from Salvador Dali's Laguna Homme ("If you drive a Moscow taxi at night, this one's for you") though, surprisingly, David Beckham's Instinct (made by Coty) is "a solid, handsome piece of work".
Rigorously uninfluenced by reputation or celeb-association, the authors give five stars to Chanel No.5 and Rive Gauche (both in its old and new formulations), while dishing out a grudging one to Burberry London (the designation "chav spit" is borrowed from AA Gill) and Gaultier 2 ("nauseating"). With new notes on 451 fragrances in the paperback, this pungent, entrancing book is a wake-up call for the nostrils. One to buy before Christmas.
Arts & Ents blogs
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Arrest made after man is found by the side of the road with his penis cut off
- 3 Michael Schumacher 'experience' gives F1 legend chance to 'show his character', says Lewis Hamilton
- 4 Girl found in the Amazon rainforest with neighbour Grover Morales after going missing for 7 months
- 5 Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor