Fragrances of the World 2015

Perfume expert Michael Edwards has released an updated version of his guide, Fragrances of the World. “My first guide book in 1984 listed just 38 new fragrances,” says Edwards. Meanwhile, the 2015 edition includes 8,000, with 1,500 new additions. As he explains, “The book organises perfumes into 14 fragrance families – including Woods, Oriental, Floral, Fruity and Citrus – and even more subfamilies from which to choose.  Refreshed weekly the online databank provides current and up to date details on new launches, while the annual guide book is an iconic sales tool with current and historic references at your fingertips.”


The book is intended as a guide for retailers and it lists the fragrances sold today. It also contains discontinued, iconic and limited edition fragrances. The listings are indexed by gender and brand for ease of reference. The book is available at, $210 (a coupon code FOTW15 for a 10% discount is valid before the end of March.) Via press release

In other book releases, indie perfumer Mandy Aftel has recently published Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent. It also includes a smelling kit of essential oils such as cinnamon, mint, frankincense, ambergris, and jasmine.



  • WJ: I think I need to have that.
    The coupon code is FOTW15 March 10, 2015 at 9:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for the code! March 10, 2015 at 9:47am Reply

  • Ariadne: What a fascinating website. I particularly enjoyed the top 100 questions and the fragrance wheel. The book is an obvious treasure! March 10, 2015 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: This book is intended for the retailers, but if you can still find Edwards’s Perfume Legends, it’s worth the splurge. The best collection of fragrance stories! March 10, 2015 at 9:47am Reply

      • ElenavL: Hi Victoria, do you mean that if you have Perfume Legends you do not need the new one? I realise my question sounds kind of dumb, but I am confused by “intended for retailers”, and wonder what is the format of the book (and I agree that Perfume Legends is wonderful). March 10, 2015 at 6:45pm Reply

        • Victoria: I meant the book I describe in this post, not the Perfume Legends. They’re two completely different publications. Fragrances of the World is a list of fragrances classified by families. The Perfume Legends is a collection of 45 perfume stories. March 10, 2015 at 6:56pm Reply

  • irem: These books are very tempting but also very expensive for the average perfume lover – or so I tell myself. I do have his “Perfume Legends” book, though, and it is wonderful. I’ve read and re-read it several times. The stories never fail to engage and entertain me.

    I know it’s a bit off topic, but there is one thing I wanted to ask you dear Victoria. It is re: Chanel No. 5. I have tested the EdT in the new – and cool – magnetic cap bottles. And to my surprise I loved it. No. 5 was always a scrubber for me. Have they changed the formula? I searched for an answer online, but couldn’t find one. I always respect and trust your opinion. Have you tested the new bottles? Many thanks! March 10, 2015 at 11:43am Reply

    • Victoria: These books are mostly for the retailers, so they’re pricey. Instead, you could suggest your local perfume counter to buy one to keep on hand.

      I’m going to make a point to stop by the store and smell it soon. I heard that it was tweaked, but I’m not sure how much. But then again, Chanel usually does its reformulations really well, even if it has to make the necessary changes. March 10, 2015 at 5:49pm Reply

      • irem: Thanks a lot Victoria.
        I fully respect No.5 as one of the pillars of perfume history, but it was not for me. I always go back to it regularly and try again, hoping to grow up to it one day. On my recent try I loved it and could not understand why. There are two possibilities: 1) reformulation 2) my nose did indeed grown up to it (helped by the quarter bottle of Bois des Iles that I’ve drained since Christmas).
        Nora’s comment let’s me think that it is more likely the first scenario.
        Also, I visited my local Sephora yesterday to ask for a No. 5 sample. The tester was the old bottle, and unmistakably the No.5 that does not work for me. Two possibilities yet again: 1) reformulation 2) the bottle did turn bad, after all Sephora puts their fragrances literally in the spot light 🙂 March 11, 2015 at 12:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: And so you end up a Chanel No 5 fan. 🙂 March 12, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Dear Irem,

    regarding your question I read on forum that in 2014 Chanel scents have been reformulated. I tried Coco, because I wanted to buy the EDT that I love in its formulation sold in the last years but it’s like a watered down version of the previous one. There was a lot of complaint on about it, some members claimed to have written to Chanel and received a confirmation about recent reformulation. According to others, all scents have become lighter in general, if the iconic no. 5 suits you know, good for you! 🙂 March 10, 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for mentioning this, Nora. So it seems to have been altered. March 10, 2015 at 5:50pm Reply

    • irem: Dear Nora, thank you for your comment. Even though I am not complaining about the reformulation of No.5 it is sad to hear that they have watered down your beloved Coco. March 11, 2015 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

    I’ll never forget the joy of obtaining my first copy of Michael Edwards’ book back in about 1991 – almost 25 years ago now! It was a watershed in my fragrance education and appreciation history. At that time the book was known as the “Fragrance Manual” and was a very slim soft-cover booklet with laminated pages and no photographs. On several occasions I saw a copy being used by a sales assistant in my local David Jones department store in Brisbane, and I decided that I simply had to obtain a copy of my own. The sales assistant was kind enough to provide me with the publication details.

    My younger brother, who was living in Sydney at the time, did me the favour of telephoning Michael Edwards to enquire about the book. Mr Edwards was apparently “gracious and other-worldly” and explained how a copy could be purchased.

    A week or two later I received my precious copy in the mail, and that evening, as I sat in bed poring over it by lamplight until the early hours, I was in perfume heaven. Thus far in my life (before the age of the Internet) there had been a fragrance information drought, and suddenly it was raining perfumed data droplets and I was soaking it all up. I couldn’t get enough!

    It was fascinating to see how the fragrances with which I was already familiar had been categorized by an expert, and to read the names of so many more. It was also gratifying to me, as a budding perfume lover, to see that scents that I found similar had indeed been classed together, e.g. Paris and Australis Neon (an Australian Paris clone of the time), Fleur de Fleurs and Clair de Jour, and Oscar and Vanderbilt. I excitedly made lists of all of the perfumes in each category that I wanted to sample.

    That small booklet certainly morphed into a wonderful, illustrated hardcover volume over the years. It is now so expensive, though, that I don’t buy every new edition. My last copy was the 2010 edition, so perhaps I’ll splurge on the new one this year!

    In August of last year, I read in a print interview that Michael Edwards was still working on the American counterpart to his magnificent 1998 book, “Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances” (which he said he plans to re-release, with extra perfumes added, in 2016). In the interview he said that he had completed 95% of his interviews with the great American perfumers, although he did not as yet have a release date for the book. I had been wondering what had become of the book about American fragrances that he had said he was writing! I had been waiting for it for years, so I was excited to hear that it was in the pipeline. March 10, 2015 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Ariadne: Tourmaline, what a great reminiscence! March 10, 2015 at 2:13pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Ariadne,

        Thank you, I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it! March 11, 2015 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a great story! You have a treasure on your hands, and imagine, this current edition is the 31st one. I’ve seen it growing over the past 10 years, and even that has been something.

      I believe that he’s working on the new Legends now. March 10, 2015 at 5:52pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

        Many thanks.

        Looking back, I’m glad that I had the audacity to track down a book which, at that time, was only being marketed to the retail industry. (Twenty years later I bought my 2010 edition from Dymocks bookstore in Brisbane.)

        I do indeed have a treasure on my hands; in fact, I have several! Over the years I bought nine of Michael Edwards’ fragrance manuals. At the risk of boring you to death, here are some of the facts and figures about each one.

        – 1991 (called “The Fragrance Manual – 1991 Pacific Edition”, a bit smaller than A4 size, 18 pages, stapled, landscape layout, both men’s and women’s fragrances included in the one manual for the first time, Oriental Chypre category added)

        – 1992 (now A4 size, 18 pages)

        – 1993 (22 pages)

        – 1995 (22 pages)

        – 1997 (26 pages, over 1250 fragrances, separate listings added for Aquatic Notes and Fruity Notes in each family, House Index added)

        – 1999 (now called “The Fragrance Adviser”, bigger, 54 pages, spiral-bound, landscape layout, the first bilingual edition – English/French, over 1900 fragrances)

        – 2000 (now called “Fragrances of the World”, the first hardback copy, large, 126 pages, portrait layout, sumptuous photographs added)

        – 2001 (134 pages, 2695 fragrances from 436 houses)

        – 2010 (217 pages, over 7000 fragrances)

        When I browse through that first manual, in particular, I become quite nostalgic. Reading the names of the fragrances brings back memories of walking to the pharmacy over the road from work during my lunch break each day in order to try (and sometimes buy) the perfumes listed. Those were the halcyon days of my perfume journey, before the number of fragrance launches began increasing exponentially (with celebrity fragrances pushing out old favourites) and before new regulations began forcing changes even to the fragrances themselves.

        On a positive note, I find that the best part of owning those early fragrance guides is that they offer “snapshots” of each year in perfume, listing both the classic and contemporary fragrances that were available at the time. Even on the Internet today, that sort of “time capsule” information is hard to find, so it is precious. March 11, 2015 at 2:00pm Reply

        • Victoria: Wow! You’re a walking encyclopedia. This is just an incredible level of detail. It’s certainly not boring. I kind of wish they released a simpler, less flashy book, but perhaps, it doesn’t make much economic sense. March 12, 2015 at 1:18pm Reply

          • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

            Rest assured that I checked my fragrance guides in order to provide that information; I don’t bother memorizing such details!

            Like you, I wish that they released a simpler, smaller, less expensive book. As you can see from my list, between 2001 and 2010 I didn’t buy a new edition, and it has now been five years since I bought one. Had the books been less expensive, then I wouldn’t have waited for so long.

            My favourite editions are my five laminated, paperback copies dating from 1991 onwards. Being small, they are easier to use than the large, heavy, hardback editions (and of course they were much less expensive). When I want to check the classification of a fragrance that I know is older, I usually look it up in one of these small copies (although sometimes it pays to check my most recent edition as well, because occasionally Mr Edwards changes his classification of a fragrance, as he did with Y).

            I should add that although I’m aware that Michael Edwards’ classification system is not used by everyone, and that it is mainly designed to assist retailers, it helps me enormously. I discovered it at the age of 29, when I had already been a serious perfume lover for over ten years (and had been developing a “fragrance wardrobe” for five years), and it both simplified and illuminated the world of perfumes. I have now used the system for almost 25 years, e.g. for my list of the fragrances that I own (now around 280) and for any fragrance that I read about or sample. Knowing where a scent fits within the framework that I know so well is important to me; it increases my understanding and appreciation of perfumery.

            I think that you are right; printing a smaller book might not seem like an economical idea. But then again, with the growing number of perfumistas out there, copies might fly off the shelves! Perhaps Mr Edwards could release a small one, along with his usual larger version, as an experiment. He could distribute it through bookstores and online stores in addition to his usual channels, and see how it sells. He might be pleasantly surprised. (A girl can dream…)

            Well I think that I have raved on enough about Michael Edwards’ fragrance guides and books, so I will TRY to stop with this comment. Clearly, Mr Edwards’ work has had a major impact on my life! March 14, 2015 at 9:42am Reply

            • Victoria: See, even if you told me you memorized it by heart, I wouldn’t have been surprised. 🙂 So many smart, funny and passionate people around here. I feel very fortunate, because I learn a lot from you all.

              I really would love a short, digest version, without anything fancy or even photos. Something you can stick in the purse and take with you to the store. I know much of it can be downloaded in a special database, but really, nobody has improved over the book. Some technologies are perfect as they are. March 16, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

    • Anka: Wonderful, I could really immerse myself into your story, Tourmaline! And yes, I can’t imagine how life as a perfumista was like before the internet since half of the fun is reading fragrance blogs. March 11, 2015 at 3:58am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Anka,

        Thank you for your kind words. As I only obtained Internet access in 2012, at the 50, I have mainly relied on my own nose, Michael Edwards’ fragrance manuals, and various books to educate myself about perfume over the years.

        The Internet can indeed be a wonderland, and the Bois de Jasmin website is a prime example. But nothing will ever compare to that magical evening when the world of fragrance families opened up to me by lamplight! March 11, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: By the way, the book looks fascinating but a tad pricey for me. March 10, 2015 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, they’re for the department stores and perfume industry professionals, and Edwards self-publishes them. They are definitely expensive, but if one does research, this is probably a worthwhile investment. For most perfume lovers, this may not be the case. March 10, 2015 at 5:53pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: I just like to see the beautiful bottles but the price is too steep. I’ll stick to my Quintessential Perfume book. March 10, 2015 at 2:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: In the past, the Fragrance Foundation had a nice Directory, but it’s been a couple of years since they’ve gotten rid of it. Too bad. March 10, 2015 at 5:56pm Reply

  • Agata: A few days ago a book of mine appeared on Amazon. I invite you to read it. It was translated to English. March 11, 2015 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, and congratulations on publishing “Secrets of Perfumes.” March 12, 2015 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Rebeca: Excellent publication. I will try to acquire a copy as soon as possible. Sorry for my English , I’m Spanish . regards June 2, 2015 at 12:36pm Reply

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