of Scent,” where he documents the life (so far) of Luca Turin, biologist,
perfume addict, groundbreaking almost-Nobel-prize-winning olfactory theorist and
lucid lyrical author of France’s best-selling perfume guide and review book. I
want both books. Except I believe Luca’s is in French. I can’t read French. I
mangle the pronunciation of “jardins ottomans.” But what the hell. A foreign
language is no barrier to obsession.
read this! This is Luca’s review of Chanel no.
Chanel’s mastery of raw materials
and orchestration shines through. Starting with a tremendous leafy-peppery green
as of the earthy breath of a lush jungle after a storm, the genius of 19 lies in
maintaining this unripe greenness like a tense unresolved musical chord to the
very end, without succumbing to sweetness. The rigor of intellectual elegance
and restraint. An absolute masterpiece.
“A tense unresolved musical chord”
that never succumbs to sweetness is what I want my writing to
This is what he wrote of Givenchy’s
Built on a towering tuberose
and buttressed by mighty synthetics, Amarige is an olfactory typhoon. It will
put you off your food, ruin a concert, stifle a conversation, turn an elevator
into a torture chamber, revive calls in Parliament for a ban on fragrances in
public spaces, and disrupt radio traffic. This being said, it is unforgettable.
That last line – ah. The pacing of
the sentence before it does feel like a typhoon building, the commas marking the
gathering and ascending of storm winds, and then, the eye. “This being said, it
is unforgettable.” I feel the laughter bubbling out of me in the quiet of my