Leigh-ann's Reviews > Perfumes: The Guide

Perfumes by Luca Turin
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's review
Dec 30, 2008

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Read in February, 2009

This book is tough to rate. On a positive note, the writing is some of the most original and expressive that I've ever had the pleasure to read. It's funny and thought-provoking, and full of interesting tidbits about the perfume industry. You won't be able to resist reading Turin's reviews about your favourite scents (or scents that you despise).

On the other hand, reading "Perfumes: The Guide" is a bit like reading an encyclopedia. Hundreds of different perfumes are reviewed, sometimes with a single sentence, other times with multiple paragraphs, but each review is independent of those around it. It would be a great "bathroom reader"-type book... you can pick it up, open it to any page, and find something amusing to hold your attention for a few minutes. It wasn't a book that I could read for hours on end, but I think I'd like to own a copy of it so I can peruse it at my future leisure (my review copy was from the library).

If you're looking for insight into which scents are the "best", you'll be disappointed. Everyone's nose is slightly different, so a perfume that Turin raves about might be one that you find appalling. Turin hates one of my favourite perfumes, "Light Blue" by Dolce & Gabbana, but NYT perfume critic Chandler Burr loves it, so even the experts disagree. I purchased small sample of a scent called "Lime, Basil, Mandarin" (Jo Malone) because Turin was so passionate about it, but I don't find it all that special and it's not something I would recommend to others.

If I was to try to sum up this book in one sentence it would be, "Read it for the entertaining and original writing, don't read it to try to become a perfume expert."
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message 1: by Pat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Pat That's exactly how I see the book, too. Maybe in the future there will be other ways to predict who might love a certain smell and who won't? At the moment Turin at least offers much more useful advice than all of the perfume selling personel bothering you with their nonsense "this smells nice on you".

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