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The Perfect Scent


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About the Author

Chandler Burr is the scent critic for the New York Times Style Magazine and the author of The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses. He lives in New York City.


A tale of two perfumes, as Coty aims to launch a new scent in New York with Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker, while in Paris Hermes looks for a way to recapture the perfume market with a perfect whiff. From the author of The Emperor of Scent. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

New York Times perfume critic Burr (The Emperor of Scent) follows the creation of two new scents-Un Jardin sur le Nil by French luxury house Hermes, and Lovely, a celebrity fragrance by Sarah Jessica Parker-in a kind of travelogue through the international perfume industry, "one of the most insular, glamorous, strange, paranoid, idiosyncratic, irrational, and lucrative of worlds." The former perfume was conceived by Hermes, informed by a trip to Egypt, then crafted by Jean-Claude Ellena, who represents a breed of "ghosts" known in the biz as perfumers. For the latter, Parker worked as artistic director of a corporate scent-making team. Burr illuminates perfumery's clash of cultures and values-French artistic purity versus American commercialism. Worldwide, this highly secretive industry's PR machine propagates several anachronistic myths. For example, it insists that perfume ingredients are naturally derived (the overwhelming majority are not, because of concerns about quality control, ecological impact and allergies, among others) and that the big names on the bottles are personally involved in creating scents (perfumers alone typically do this; Parker was a rare exception). Burr makes a strong case that this mythmaking works to the industry's detriment, and that inviting the public behind the scenes might help to reverse the industry's declining sales. Burr's is a thorough and often hilarious account of perfumery's colorful characters, the science and art of fragrance creation and the human experience of scent itself. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance." --The Dallas Morning News

"The Perfect Scent has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location." --Los Angeles Times

"An inside, Hollywoodesque account." --The New York Times Book Review

"Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle." --Associated Press

"Passionate and captivating." --The Toronto Star

"An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well." --The Wall Street Journal

"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions." --The Kansas City Star

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