Mini Review of The Little Book of Perfumes by Turin and Sanchez

It's not every day I'm offered a free pre-release copy of a book - let alone one about Perfume.  Needless to say, I was suspicious but hopeful when I replied to the email I was sent by a Penguin publicist requesting I review a new book.  My copy of The Little Book of Perfumes the Hundred Classics by Tuca Turin and Tania Sanchez arrived a few days later.  As I'm a big fan of the original book PERFUMES-The A-Z Guide by Turin and Sanchez, I was excited to read their new pared down perfume primer. Note to publicists: this is an incredibly smart way to generate buzz in the perfume community-very smart indeed!

First, the cover and design of the book is eye catching. A graphic black and white printed cover opens to hot pink liner pages.  Snazzy.

As I thumbed through the pages reading reviews of the 100 Classic Perfumes, I was most happy to note that Luca and Turin devoted a good deal of content to dealing with the revisions of many of these classic perfumes due to IFRA regulations.  Many of these classic perfumes have been so heavily revised they are but a shallow remembrance of their former greatness.  I appreciated that the authors were careful to re-sniff the revised 2011 perfume versions with many of the natural ingredients removed and meticulously note the changes brought about by IFRA's restrictions.  

No Oakmoss Allowed!

No Oakmoss Allowed!

When teaching my Introductory Natural Perfume Blending classes, one of the topics that most surprises students is the modern revisions to classic perfumes.  When I explain that the current versions of the favorite perfumes, perfumes they have strong scent memories attached to; fragrances worn by their mother or grandfather will never smell the same they are shocked and sometimes angry.  I was pleased the authors focused on these changes and the foreward written by Tania Sanchez speaks volumes on the topic of regulation.  

Along these lines, my favorite review in The Little Book of Perfumes is written on a perfume that many consider the holy grail of classics: Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue.  The review of the original perfume is as one might expect, glowing.  Turin writes, "This is Guerlain the virtual pastry chef at his best, with a fragrance that teeters on the edge of the edible for hours without missing a step.  If you're Red Hot Riding Hood and a hungry wolf just rang the bell, this is the one for you."

Regarding the revised 2011 version of L'Heure Bleue Sanchez writes, "A pretty stranger has come in claiming to be your best beloved.  It is hard to be angry with her.  She is clearly out of her mind; they look nothing alike.  You sit and wait patiently for your love to turn up.  The windows go dark, night after night while the stranger smiles and dawdles, waiting for you to forget.  Can you?"  I love this review, witty and making it's point clearly.  Please stop messing with our perfumes!  Let the consumer decide.  Excessive regulations on possible allergens are not the answer.

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1 comment

I agree! Enough of the nanny state already—I think most adults have enough sense to quit wearing a fragrance if it proves somehow incompatible with their body chemistry. And I’d much rather gamble on a potential allergic reaction to a natural ingredient than spray chemicals on my skin!


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