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July 03, 2008 - Image 49

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-07-03

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• the beauty phile

Scents And Sensibility

A stylish and scientific review of the history of fragrances.

BY LYNNE KONSTANTIN

"The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more
than any other is this: 'What scent drives men wild?' After years
of intense research, we know the definitive answer: It is bacon." So
begins Perfumes: The Guide (Viking; $27.95) – proof that
you don't have to be a fan of perfume to be a fan of this
/0.
unique reading experience. Stylish, erudite and tons
of fun, Perfumes is a witty yet scientific review of the
history of scents. Authors Luca Turin, a well-known
olfactory scientist, and Tania Sanchez, a perfume col-
lector and critic, combine their talents and evocative
prose to answer frequently asked questions such as
"What's the difference between eau de toilette and per-
fume?" while critiquing almost 1,500 fragrances, separat-
ing the divine from the downright disgusting in a manner
that is both entertaining and educational. Here, a sampling of
three of their five-star-rated picks (plus a one-star rating) — and
what they had to say about them:
31 Rue Cambon (Chanel). "I cannot remember the last time, if
ever, a perfume gave me such an instantaneous impression of ravishing
beauty at first sniff."

r

Eau de Guerlain (by Guerlain). "Eau de Guerlain is to
citrus what the mandolin, with its doubled-up strings, is to
a guitar. It is as if, by some arcane miracle of perfumery, the
ivory and green notes of citron and verbena have
been made to sing in harmony with the jaunty
lemon-bergamot tune exactly a major third on
either side, giving the whole thing a ravishing,
nostalgic timbre."
Pleasures (Estee Lauder). "It caught the
mood of women tired of loud eighties fra-
grances. They just wanted to smell clean, and
not just transiently, but all day, broadcasting
the spotlessness of their intentions. The message
was that nothing had been deliberated added, that
the pleasant, white radiance was just squeakiness writ
large."
Princess (Vera Wang; shown). "Stupid name, heart-shaped
bottle, little crown on top. I half expected it to be really great just to
spite me. But no, it's probably the most repulsively cloying thing on the
market today."



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