News: 524 posts

Latest news from the fragrance world and other interesting reading

Luca Turin’s NZZ Folio Columns

From 2003 to 2014, perfume critic and scientist Luca Turin wrote columns for the Swiss magazine NZZ Folio on all things scent related. The topics ranged from the beauty of Jean Patou Sublime and Guerlain Mitsouko to the reflections on science and culture, and the columns had a wide following. This month the articles have been released in an e-book form, titled simply The Folio Columns. The foreword is written by Tania Sanchez, Turin’s co-author on Perfumes: the A-Z Guide.


Turin is also the author of The Secret of Scent, a book that the perfume lovers with a penchant for chemistry will find fascinating. Like all of Turin’s writings, it’s witty, erudite and full of surprises.

The Folio Columns: 2003-2014 by Luca Turin, Tania Sanchez (Foreword)
Print Length: 310 pages
Language: English

Available via Amazon.

Doors Open Day at The Osmotheque

On Saturday, September 19th, the Osmothèque perfume conservatory will open its doors to visitors. Part of the Journées Européennes du Patrimoine program, the event gives a chance to discover the Osmothèque and its activities. As part of your tour (the entrance is free of charge), you can explore 4 rooms organized by olfactory themes, rose, vanilla, bergamot and patchouli. Then you can smell various natural and synthetic materials used in perfumery. Finally, you can visit the famous cave d’Osmothèque, a climate controlled cellar where the conservatory stores its 3300 fragrances.

coty chypre ad

The most interesting part of the visit for many would be the perfumes, and quite a few jewels are available. For instance, in the patchouli room, you can smell Coty Chypre (1917), Réminiscence Patchouli (1970), and Rochas Mystère (1978), in addition to modern patchouli examples like Thierry Mugler Angel (1992) and Dior Patchouli Impérial (2011).

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The (Blind) Smell Test at WWD

As promised, today I’ll give you a brief update on The Smell Test series from Women’s Wear Daily. The goal is to blind test recent launches and offer anonymous opinions. All ten judges, myself included, receive fragrances in plain lab bottles, marked only by number, smell at their leisure and offer a rating from 1 to 10. WWD is one of the leading and most influential fashion and beauty publications, and it’s commendable that the magazine offers such a feature.


You can see the results and read our short comments in the links below. I will only make a few observations: First, all statements claiming that perfume is somehow too subjective to be described or reviewed critically don’t stand the test. The exercise blew this tired argument out of the water again and again.  Yes, everyone has his or her own sensitivities and preferences, but by and large, the consistency of responses has been impressive.

Second, there has been much positive response to the feature. (If any houses have been upset by their product receiving a low score, they’ve kept quiet.) Since WWD is primarily geared toward the beauty industry and its movers, all of this is a good sign. The industry also feels that things can’t continue in the same “let’s drown them in launches” (or “let’s do another Angel/Light Blue/another best seller”) mode, and as s result the attitudes towards criticism are changing.

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Perfume Muse Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn has been a muse for film directors, couture designers, and makeup artists. She also inspired perfumers, and while Givenchy L’Interdit was created especially for her in 1957, many a fragrance creator mentions the actress and fashion icon with reverence. I can understand it, because there is something about Audrey that I find touching and poignant. It’s not just her elegance or sense of style; it’s also her grace, warmth and a certain fragility. Audrey charms as much as she intrigues me.


This year, the National Portrait Gallery in London is celebrating Audrey’s legacy with an exhibition showcasing Audrey’s life and career through photos. It spans her childhood in Holland and early years as a dancer in London. It then tracks her rise to fame in Hollywood and concludes with her work as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. Audrey worked with some of the best photographers, including Cecil Barton, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon, and many of her images can be counted as part of pop culture–think the famous Holly Golightly half turn with a cigarette holder. What’s fascinating about the exhibit is the inclusion of rare images and personal photographs donated by Audrey’s sons, Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

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Anosmia : Living Without Scents

Whenever I read about hackneyed surveys asking, “which sense would you give up,” and see respondents blithely give up their sense of smell as “the least useful”, I get a cold shiver down my spine. Anosmia is the condition of having no sense of smell, usually as a result of trauma, and it has few cures. It leaches color, texture and pleasure out of life, even more than the loss of hearing or sight does.


Anosmia, like many other subjects related to brain and olfaction, is still poorly understood, but what’s without doubt is the suffering it causes. “The biggest shock of my life was tasting chocolate after my accident and discovering that it was the most vile thing ever. Sticky, bitter, pasty,” commented a friend who lost his sense of smell after a motorcycle crash. He also complained that making love was not the same when you couldn’t smell someone’s skin. Everything that brought joy previously now seemed blander, duller, poorer.

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  • angeldiva in Daily Pleasures : Jasmine Shower Gels: Hi V !!! What a timely post, as I relate so completely to the daily grind because I had not had a vacation in 14 months! So, I am writing… October 13, 2015 at 4:04am

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