From the Publisher
From the New York Times perfume critic, a stylish, fascinating, unprecedented insidera (TM)s view of an industry and its charismatic characters.
The Washington Post - Dana Thomas
…the perfume industry isn't terribly sexy, and the marketing executives know it. In the end, no matter how many entertaining vignettes Burr sticks in, the core of the process is a bunch of executives who spend their days sitting in conference rooms sniffing strips of white paper doused with scent and scrunching their noses, usually with displeasure. To find these people even mildly interesting, you really have to love perfume. Burr does, and it's his passion, not the business itself, that keeps your attention.
Caroline Geck - Library Journal
This business history details the creation and market launches of two distinct perfumes while simultaneously unraveling the mysterious workings of professional perfumers. The carefully crafted story excites the olfactory imagination as well as interest in product creation and branding; for anyone reading it, perfume will never be the same. New York Timesperfume critic Burr (Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses) skillfully interweaves accounts of two new perfumes: Lovely, from actress Sarah Jessica Parker and conglomerate Coty, and Un Jardin sur le Nil, a collaboration between elite atelier Hermès and its new in-house perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena. Because fragrances are a multibillion-dollar industry and often serve as lucrative fashion brand extensions, this book belongs in the libraries of luxury-goods professionals as well as academic business libraries and public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ10/1/07.]
The New York Times perfume critic-yes, you read that right-follows the creation of two industry-defining perfumes. While Burr (The Emperor of Scent, 2003, etc.) approaches his beat with healthy skepticism, he's also capable of flowery language, describing a perfume as smelling "like early evening on an island where it is always summer." It's this mixture of hard-nosed business writing and flights of olfactory fancy that makes the text improbably exhilarating. Split between the twin capitals of fashion, and therefore of the perfume industry, Burr's account tracks the development of two new scents, each a high-stakes crapshoot. The New York fragrance was celebrity-driven. To create Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, the actress spent an impressive amount of time with beauty-product manufacturer Coty's corporate perfumers trying to create with a scent that would not only capture her essence (don't laugh: they actually seem to have done it) but would survive in an increasingly volatile $31-billion market. Un Jardin sur le Nil, the more traditionally designed Parisian fragrance, was revolutionary in its own way. Seeking a higher profile in the lucrative perfume market, Hermes hired Jean-Claude Ellena, one of the professional "ghosts" who actually make the scents sold under designers' names, to be its first-ever in-house perfumer. The astoundingly complex struggle to define and refine Nil, first reported by Burr in a 2005 New Yorker article, centered on an ephemeral conceit of green mangoes on the Nile. Lovely comes across here as a far more personal scent, though that might be a subjective judgment-the author seems a little star-struck by SJP. Nonetheless, Burr sharply evokes the intoxicating, ofteninfuriating mix of precise science and artistic vision necessary to create a perfume, aided by his impressively calibrated BS detector and ability to unearth the industry's many dirty little secrets. An unusually grounded depiction of a business built largely on artifice.
"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." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review
Format: Audio CD
Published: April 2008
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 13.7 x 16.3 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Type: Unabridged