Book: Perfumes: The Guide (Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez)

 Book:  Perfumes:  The Guide (Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez)

3.4

25 reviews

48% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.7

Price: $$$

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on 7/28/2015 2:36:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Very Dry, Dark, Warm

Hair: Black, Kinky, Fine

Eyes: Black

Love this book! Their reviews are subjective ofcourse but I still agree with most of them except for Luca's love of Beyond Paradise....

1 of 1 people found this helpful.



Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Normal, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Grey, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Oh how I love this book.....I read and re-read it so many times when I discovered that there were other people In the world who were crazy about perfume! I swear I know it off by heart and some of the reviews are just so dang FUNNY....Luca's reviews of the Angel flankers....'covering an eighteen- wheeler with a purple hankerchief '...to me are immortal literary gems! I adore the subjectivity and the disregard for commercial hype, the droll wit in nearly every review, the writers' personalities and passion shining through. And in getting the gist of Luca's taste, in particular, I made a beeline unsniffed for many things even if he was a bit dismissive...like a very expensive (adored) purchase of Musc Ravegeur, "hippie musk"; well as an old flower child how could I resist??
I live in hope that they will write again!

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Yes I'd buy it again but it must be improved. On the overall I find the book quite interesting and I'm happy I bought it. But it's not quite as complete and pertinent as I thought it'd be. I enjoy reading it and often pick it up. But it's more for the fun than to select perfumes. The advice on page 13 on how to choose a perfume are down to earth and clever. Now, to be called a good guide, it lakes classification details such as the list of notes , whether it's feminine or masculine, a proper effective and smart index, use of semantic and vocubalary for olfactory description (it's too subjective and based on impression for my taste), avoid critics about discontinued perfumes, a little bit more cultural facts (there are already some great anecdotes but I want more of them), more advice to educate people's nose and behavior with fragrance (here again, the one mentioned in the book are all good), etc. Also, they made top ten lists but those can be silly and a total no sense, like when they are rating a perfume 1 star and then put it in one of their top ten list ???? Weird ! The critics are not always well developed and construct, it's often just an impression. Like for a perfume they just justify their ranking by saying it's "unconscionably hideous"...right, but why ? They might as well use onomatopoeias as critics.


A statement I don't agree with is when they say that chemistry doesn't influence the smell of a perfume. Well your acidity does, definitely and strongly, as well as your own smell. You have to go through a diet and alkalize your PH if you want to be able to wear some perfume. And still, it doesn't mean it'll be in total harmony with you, but it'll work on your clothes or hair. It still might give you a headache ++ your smell wont' be one of a kind. Exactly as if you were trying to wear "haute-couture" instead of clothes that bring out you personal features. But I agree that it's not because it doesn't work on my chemistry that's a bad fragrance, it's just not for me. Therefore chemistry matters when you create you own perfume look. Come on, you are not a perfume-hanger! Plus I know for sure that perfumes have an impact on brains and memory and whatever memories is hidden behind a smell, your body might just love it or reject it.


If Robert Parker and his crew can speak about wine and achieve to have a "popular" taste , Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez dont have a "popular" taste, they only have taste. Which is good enough. They know their stuff about perfume, and theyve got interesting opinions and they cultivated their own mind about that subject. They therefore have the legitimacy to advise us. Yes, on the average, I haven't been disappointed with the fragrance I tried following their guidance. Also I wouldnt have known what to try without their preselection. Therefore its a useful guide to start your journey. I downloaded the list on their website and off I went, on tour for perfumery tourism. The funny thing is I found my perfume by chance, as it wasn't even on my short list. I had selected 4 & 5 stars only and this one was rated 3 stars ! The crazy thing is that I wouldn't have tried it just because it was not on my list. But the SA understood nothing when I asked her to try some bottle and she brought all the bottles down and had me smelling them all. She was cute though !


I am not too sure what promotes some of the perfume to be ranked as 5 stars fragrance when other only gets 3 stars. It must definitely be their own inclination. When they say "Allure (Chanel) has become the reference for women to signal their status dispenses them from being pleasant", isn't that an emotional reaction toward a person ? I don't see a perfume critic in here. They are rating it 2 stars, I find that's severe. "Agent Provocateur is for the tarts who don't know Jean Couturier's Coriandre", well, where is the patchouli and the coriander in AP, but, ok then, I am a tart ! They say about Fleur des Comores it's vanilla...on me it's solar tuberose....And sometimes they rate a perfume 5 stars only because they like the drydown. Well, what about the five hours prior the drydown if it smells sh*t and gives you a strong headache ? Haven't we eventually reached Art when the result feels like total harmony ? Sorry, but if top notes and heart notes are not harmonious, I don't care for the drydown.


Anyway. I am also surprised they praise so much Este Lauder and Bvlgari. Bvlgaries are ok, but 3 stars maxi except for the tea line. Este Lauder are not perfumes, they are easy going "sent-bon" (smell-nice). There is no creativity in here, it's a piece of makeup in line with EL makeup, functional and classic.


When reading the critics, we can feel their own personal taste and inclination, which is fine by me, but a real guide would be fully objective. They have great abilities but strong opinions about what a perfume should be. They are like people who want to be very "academical", campaigning to be the next Nobel prize in their own field. I bet you can still find your favorite perfume in those they actually rated 3 stars ! I found mine to be ranked 3 stars and was called a tart by Madame Sanchez, well.... LOL ! The two of them remind me a little of Anna Wintour's Vogue and her crews view on what style should be and what they suppose is coming next. Ok, all these people have a particular ability to have taste that stands above the average. But my body features and my chemistry also wants harmony even tough I am not part of the upper thousand. Despite the pressure such person can put on you, be honest to yourself, if a "masterpiece" gives you a headache or just "looks" as ugly as a stain on your collar... Be brave and reach for one that suits you ! You deserve to smell pleasantly and unique and look good. I rather think a perfume carries you than you are the carrier of the perfume

4 of 5 people found this helpful.


Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This book is useful as a guide - as it says. The reviews are based on the perceptions and opinions of the authors which can be frustrating to some people. Scent is very subjective.

The book has loads of great info on the history of specific scents as well as on perfumes in general. It is also very entertaining. The authors write well and some of their comments will have you in hysterics even if you disagree with their opinion (see reviews for "Clean" fragrances, Nasomatto "Duro" and Le Labo "Ambrette").

Pros: Informative
Helps to find scents that are in the same family of ones that you like.
Very entertaining if you don't take it too seriously.
Both authors know their stuff about fragrances.

Cons: Will not have info on scents introduced after date of publishing.
Reviews are somewhat based on personal and subjective likes/dislikes of authors.

I will always have a definite love of this book and the authors. It(they) saved my life when I was very sick and miserable a couple of years ago and could barely read 2 pages at a time. I go back to it frequently.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.


Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I think the negative reviews on this book come from either people who are upset because they are madly in love with a fragrance that the authors describe as "cat piss" (or worse) or because they were expecting a technical description of fragrances (what category, what ingredients, a bit of history) and this book doesn't do that.
Listen, the reviews are very subjective, but art (and I do consider perfumery to be an art) is always subject to personal preferences - I may love something that you loathe. Yes, I was disappointed to see the authors' less-than-enthusiastic reviews of some of my favorites (and I'll never understand their love of Estee Lauder perfumes) but on the whole, I think they are spot-on.
The great value of this book is educational - I now understand why some of the fragrances I used to love no longer smell the same, because of the evils of reformulation - and I now have a list if perfumes that I am going to try, based on the authors' recommendations. Maybe I won't like their choices, but then again, maybe I will discover the (olfactory) love of my life. That's part of the joy of fragrance, isn't it - trying new perfumes and adding them to your collection.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.


on 4/6/2011 5:37:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I have both versions of this book, I used to take the hardcover (all white cover with blue perfume bottle on the front) out of the library constantly and post it note the hell out of it, then renew it 5 million times. My husband finally bought me a copy because he wanted the library to get their book back! I now have my own hardcover copy and yes it's all dog eared and post it upped! I just got my soft cover newer version (smaller book, more pages, multiple perfume bottles on the cover) in today, I eagerly paged through looking for the one glaring error from the original book to no avail.....Pink Sugar was once again snubbed! WTH.....it's one of the best selling and IMO smelling perfumes out there....why Luca and Tania?!?! All kidding aside, I really do like Pink Sugar and would like to know what Luca and his woman think of it, something tells me they don't think too highly of it. I really think you need to take this book with a grain of salt and a huge sence of humor as Luca and Tania do tend to go after perfumes they find fault with and some of these may be favorites of yours. A bunch of the descriptions of the perfumes are actually very funny, some are short history lessons, some are very brief, some are pages long...all in all these book are curremtly and probably will always be favorites of a fume freak such as myself, I've used my hardcover pretty much daily and have discovered and tested tons of perfumes that I probably never would have tried before discovering these books.

I put a no for would I buy this again and obviously I wouldn't as I already own them but if I ever lost one I would replace it in a heartbeat.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.


Age: 36-43

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This is a wonderfully fun and witty book full of opinions and ideas. The responsibility of interprepating the reviews and ideas is soley on the reader. I appreciate this as another opportunity to learn how people experienced fragrances at a given moment in time... like the awesome opportunities we have by reading and writing reviews on makeupalley! Just like us, the authors have no responsibility to like anything- and, just like us, they have preferences. I think they do a nice entertaining job of conveying ideas about why they label masterpieces as such.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


on 7/23/2010 12:46:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Red, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Green

I love the critical comments in this book. Like being on MUA, it's a great place to gather negative and positive comments about something you are considering to buy. I've used it to short list perfumes to try when I go to the mall. It's a great place to start looking.


Do I agree with everything? Absolutely NOT! But that is how I take the reviews here too, not as gospel, but as a place to start thinking about something.


In the case of perfume, I've been thoroughly enjoying testing and spritzing many scents kind of like wine tasting. Doesn't mean I'll buy everything I like or even like everything I try, but it's a great place to start learning about what perfumes do, and what to sniff for when you are evaluating a scent.


LOVE their star system, although some things that I adore are only 3 or 4 stars.


I don't agree with all what they say, but enough of it, that makes this one of my more useful reference tools.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

Well written and a great resource. I admit, Mr. Turin and Ms. Sanchez and I must have similar tastes in perfume, because they gave many of my favorites 5 stars.

However, agreed or not, I found it written beautifully by credible and believable people.

Loved it. Hope they come out with another addition soon- I'll be first in line to buy.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.


on 1/13/2010 4:33:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Hazel

Oh, for the love of Pete. Some of my fellow reviewers here are completely missing the point. This is a book of criticism. Criticism, whether it comes from Roger Ebert, Robert Parker, or Martin Bernheimer, is by definition subjective. The point is not whether they are "right" or "wrong", but to hear an informed opinion (hopefully one among several) of an expert in the field. But in the end, it is an OPINION, not a papal bull.

So what is my opinion? I love it. Witty writing that yes, can occasionally border on snide (but never actually gets there). Nobody can doubt that Mr Turin and Ms Sanchez are very knowledgeable about their subject. And yes, their tastes are somewhat rarefied. Why shouldn't they be? Would you rather read the opinion of someone who pronounces the latest toilet-spray fruity-floral "awesome, totally, like, my favorite perfume EVAHH"? I do not always agree with them, but I am always entertained and enlightened. For instance, I personally do not care for some of their 5 star picks, but I understand why they are masterpieces, and I appreciate their importance to the art form of perfumery. I bought the book in hardcover, and have now upgraded to the expanded paperback version.

7 of 7 people found this helpful.


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