Well, it’s gratifying to see one of my favorite books getting some recognition. Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez was picked as #55 in the top 100 books of 2008 by the editors on amazon.com – quite a feat, in my opinion.
Check it out: Best Books of 2008: Top 100 Editors’ Picks
My initial high opinion of the book still holds. You can see my review on Amazon. But what’s really fascinating to me is that – thanks to both membership on Basenotes (www.basenotes.net) and this wonderful book, I’m actually better able to criticize it. This demonstrates quite well to me (1) just how useful and educational this book is, and (2) why it doesn’t seem to provoke as many raves from certain talented noses who I also respect. Bluntly, people who are in the same league as the authors of this book are in a position to quibble about the reviews. At the other end of the spectrum, as a newbie, every word of this book was a revelation to me. Now, as an aspiring colognoisseur, I can see a few of Turin’s personal preferences, and can appreciate the resulting olfactory blind spots (well – perhaps myopias is a bit more fair). But don’t think for a minute that I find this book any less useful, now that I actually know a tiny bit of what the authors are talking about. On the contrary, it becomes more essential every day.
I think this book is widely accepted – even by its detractors – as a milestone in the history of the fragrance world. But for me it is much more. Just like some fragrances which change the olfactory landscape from the moment of their release, I would dare to say that this book is already a classic. And certainly so in my collection.
PS – Perfumes: The Guide – even though just released this year – is already headed for a second edition. However, the date is uncertain, and I advise not waiting to make a purchase. The reviews in the first edition are still quite fresh, and updates are available for free on the authors’ website.