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The Scent Trail: How One Woman's Quest for the Perfect Perfume Took Her Around the World

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Lyttelton?s passion for fragrance inspired her to have a signature perfume created just for her?and then to embark on the ultimate olfactory odyssey. Armed with a list of ingredients, she tracked down each component of her scent, tracing its origins, history, and culture.

From the iris fields of Tuscany to the vetivert distilleries of India, from the nutmeg plantations of
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by NAL Trade (first published July 2nd 2007)
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I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I loved hearing about her travels to far flung places in search of a signature custom perfume. I loved reading about the Damask Roses,Dragons Blood globules and many other mysterious things.I had to google the damask roses of Turkey and the Dragonsblood trees in Socotra. Reading about ambergris and civet and their disgusting origins yet their aphrodisiac effects, and the origins of many other scents. Though the authors desire to travel for 2 years in search of thi ...more
Kirsty Anderson
I very much enjoyed this book about the author's journey in search of the sources of a 'bespoke perfume' she has created. The fantasy element (wouldn't it be wonderful to have a perfume crafted just for you!) was lovely and her search through place and memory was delightful. She travels to Turkey for the Rose harvest, Italy for Orris Roots, India for jasmine and all through the middle east for saffron, myrrh, frankincense and ambergris. Lush, romantic, indulgent the story was fascinating... my o ...more
One woman's journey to find her bespoken fragrance and aah what a journey it was. She is on the search for rare and local ingredients to produce her signature scent/perfume. Her travels brought her to Europe, for example to Grasse, France and then she took a more exotic turn through Morocco and Yemen. Her stories are fun and full of adventure. She also discusses a brief history of each ingredient, flower, spice, it's filled with facts and knowledge. While I was watching Jeopardy, I was able to a ...more
This wasn't a story so much as her erroneous "facts" gathered on vacation. I felt her to be a bit conceited, and self-righteous (I'm thinking in particular about how she went on and on about how she discovered her choices were all "high" flowers, and how she was too kind to the environment use synthetic musk. *eye roll*)

It's hard to have any interest in a bespoke perfume for a stranger, particularly when they don't bother to really give you a good picture of who they are for you to try to unders
The book reminds me of a Victorian travel narrative, although the quality of the prose would be somewhat better in a real Victorian travel narrative. Celia doggedly sniffs out the scents she wishes to include in her bespoke perfume by travelling to those exotic places where natural scents such as jasmine, nutmeg, and myrrh are produced. Along the way, she connects scents to memories to explain her selections. She also includes a number of boxed essays on particular scents or related topics. The ...more
Dec 06, 2009 Anya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone who's curious about perfume and likes to read about travelling
It took me a really long time to read this book, because it is full of information about how a perfume is made, where ingredients come from. I learned a lot and this book made me want to know even more.
Kanchan Bagchi
An excellent travelogue and a thoroughly researched book about the magic of perfumes!
Jenny Novacescu
My favorite perfume book of many. Written for the beginner.
Loved it. An awesome journey to create her bespoke scent!
First, let me say it is kind of incongruous that a smoker would be interested in perfumes, unless Celia wants to mask the tobacco smell on her. I am also surprised that smoking has not dulled her sense of smell. She waxed lyrical about the smells and different layers of perfume and I kept thinking, but you smoke, doesn’t that distort your sense of smell? Oh well, now for comments on her book.
I had hoped that while on the scent trail, this book would evoke more presence, give more description of
"The Scent Trail" is a travelogue focused around finding the ingredients for the author's custom-created perfume. The first chapter talked about the process she went through to decide which scents to have the perfumer put into her perfume. She then traveled to France, Morocco, Turkey, Italy, Sri Lanka, India, Yemen, and Socotra to personally buy the ingredients for her perfume.

Along the way, she gave snippets of interesting history and information about the perfume trade. We also learn about the
I learned about this book when the author was interviewed by Rick Steves and was intrigued by the concept -- travelogue fueled by a desire to visit the places where certain perfume ingredients came from: Tuscany, Grasse, India, an island off the coast of Yemen, etc. The premise of the book is that the author is having a custom perfume made and that she will travel across the globe to obtain the best ingredients from their sources. Certainly travel books have been written on far flimsier concepts ...more
I had a love hate relationship with this book. I found the history of perfumes, her conversations with perfumers around the world, and her inserts of related information to be quite interesting. I found her reasons for travelling with her son and or husband to be a bit fake, like she only needed to mention them for the sake of mentioning them. I either would have liked her to leave her son out of it or to explain his reactions a bit more in depth. How did he like travelling? What was it like to ...more
The factual, informative bits of this book are really interesting. Unfortunately the writing really lets it down though - Lyttelton has an extremely inflated view of herself, and also seems absolutely unaware of both this and her position of extreme privilege! It also has a tone that I've noticed in a few other books by journalists (mostly female) - a kind of lazy writing style, one that is fine for an article, but comes across as a bit stale in a whole book. They also always seem to have a tend ...more
The book (and subject) was interesting. Anyone interested in scent...and persons fond of travel will find something to enjoy in the book.

The author does come off fairly pretentious at times, which can be grating on the nerves. If one can get past that occasional "voice" reading the book can be an interesting experience.
The basic premise of this book is that the author decides to have a bespoke perfume made for her. This may not seem like the most inspiring of premises, however it leads to the author exploring a variety of different places and cultures as she investigates the ingredients she has chosen for the perfume: where they come from, the people who harvest them, legends surrounding them, their history etc. She looks at ingredients like neroli, ambergris, jasmine, myrrh and frankincense.
I thought Scent Trail was going to be more of an 'eat, pray , love' type of book -self discovery through a physical and metaphysical journey. Instead, it is a well written journalistic account of a woman who searches the origins of each ingredient in her bespoke scent throughout thr globe. Reccomended for perfumistos only, but a valuable reference on the origins of the most rare natural ingredients.
Ruth Laura Edlund
For it was, this book was nicely done (although it had a few really annoying editing errors). It wasn't trying to be _Eat, Pray, Love_. The author travelled the world to collect the ingredients for her bespoke scent, and then pitched her reminiscences of her trips as a book. This was a clever idea, and make for an entertaining read if you are interested in perfume.
I LOVE FRAGRANCE. A scent that appeals to me will make my day. So, when I picked up this book at the library, I couldn't wait to start reading it! The descriptive blurb is so appealing. I thought, Wow! I'm going to love this! But................. I didn't! The narrative jumps all over the place. Maybe it's just me, but this scent trail is chaotic.
Tells the story of how a perfume is composed. Very interesting. Features components you'd not expect, like solidified whale spit. Premise: woman has custom perfume created for her based on olfactory memories, then she visits the sources of the ingredients. Tantalizing.
About a woman having a signture perfume created just for her, and her travels to all the places the ingredients for her perfume come from around the globe, Marrakech, Turkey, Italy and Azrou......scent connected to memories and emotions....
I wish I had the backing to be able to travel for two years in search of the perfect scent for myself! What a privileged woman. Incredible journey. I could almost smell all the different ingredient absolutes she described. A delicious read.
I wish there was a category that said 'tried to read but couldn't finish the book'. That's where I'd put this one. Lots and lots and lots of detail about how perfume is made. I just couldn't get through it.
Aug 12, 2013 Relyn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: scholarly readers interested in scent
I must admit, I ended up skimming this book. I like the idea behind it, but her approach was far too scholarly for my taste. I know others will love it, but I want more story in the memoirs I read.
Liked the information, it was interesting to find out about all the various scents and their hostories. Didn't like her style. She uses big important words in an overly self-conscious way.
A woman creates her own scent with the help of a parfumier. Then she travels the world to study to production of the ingredients. Interesting. I wish I could have read it in "smellorama".
Katie Huff
A lot of good information. I am glad I read it, compelling only in a truly non-fictional way, but I feel like she did some great research and I loved learning about the scents.
The information regarding the scents was fascinating; the author's personality was bleak.
Perfume + travel = awesome book
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The Scent Trail: How One Woman's Quest for the Perfect Perfume Took Her Around the World

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