Books

There isn't a huge number of serious, high-quality perfume-related books out there, but the list below contains titles which are certainly worthy of your attention. For information about my own book, Le Snob: Perfume, please click here.

Image: Girl Reading by Gustav Adolph Hennig


Coming To My Senses: A Story Of Perfume, Pleasure And An Unlikely Bride by Alyssa Harad (Viking/Penguin) - A thoughtful, touching memoir about Texas-based Harad's deepening love affair with scent. For a full review, click here.

The Diary Of A Nose: A Year In The Life Of A Parfumeur by Jean-Claude Ellena (Particular/Penguin) - A follow-up of sorts to The Alchemy Of Scent (see below). Ellena's elliptical prose in this slim volume often conceals more than it reveals, but his wry observations make up for the somewhat more gnomic passages.

The Emperor Of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession And The Last Mystery of the Senses by Chandler Burr (Arrow) - Insights from some of the world’s most prominent perfumers punctuate this chronicle of the development of a controversial theory of smell.

Essence And Alchemy by Mandy Aftel (Gibbs M Smith) - An in-depth introductory fragrance creation manual from the highly-respected American perfumer.

The Essence Of Perfume by Roja Dove (Black Dog) - Beautiful illustrations and fascinating anecdotes are plentiful in this coffee-table volume which contains a must-read list of historically important feminine scents.

Fragrances Of The World by Michael Edwards - An exhaustive directory featuring perfumes classified according to Edwards’ own Fragrance Wheel of olfactory families. Updated annually.

Introduction To Perfumery by Tony Curtis & David Williams (Micelle Press) - Not for the faint-hearted! A massive tome containing chemical information about both natural and synthetic raw materials, as well as chapters on many other, technical, industry-centred topics.

On Perfume Making by Frederic Malle (Angelika) - Expensive, but full of fascinating stories about the creation of one of the most successful niche brands. Gorgeously illustrated by Konstantin Kakanias. 

The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside The Perfume Industry In Paris And New York by Chandler Burr (Picador) - An account of the creation of two very different perfumes: Lovely from Sarah Jessica Parker and Un Jardin Sur Le Nil from Hermès.

Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez (Profile) - This book needs no introduction; the reviews stand up to endless re-reading and offer plenty of food for thought. 

Perfume: The Alchemy Of Scent by Jean-Claude Ellena (Arcade) - A translation of Que Sais-je? Le Parfum, in which Ellena outlines what he considers to be the most important aspects of his work as a perfumer.

The Secret Of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell by Luca Turin (Faber) - Essentially a chemistry book, but the sections about the creation of perfume will be of interest to most fragrance lovers.

It's also worth mentioning Le Parfum by Edmond Roudnitska. Regrettably, it was never translated and is technically out of print, but copies are often available on Amazon and Abe.

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