The Perfect Scent

  • by Chandler Burr
  • Narrated by Mel Foster
  • 12 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances. Now, writing with wit and elegance, he juxtaposes the stories of the perfumes - one created by a Frenchman in Paris for an exclusive luxury-goods house, the other made in New York by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Coty, Inc., a giant international corporation.We follow Coty's mating of star power to the marketing of perfume, watching Sex and the City's Parker heading a hugely expensive campaign to launch a scent into the overcrowded celebrity market. Will she match the success of Jennifer Lopez? Does she have the international fan base to drive worldwide sales?In Paris at the elegant Hermès, we see Jean Claude Ellena, his company's new head perfumer, given a challenge: he must create a scent to resuscitate Hermès' perfume business and challenge le monster of the industry, best-selling Chanel No. 5. Will his pilgrimage to a garden on the Nile supply the inspiration he needs? The answer lies in Burr's informative and mesmerizing portrait of some of the extraordinary personalities who envision, design, create, and launch the perfumes that drive their billion-dollar industry.

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What the Critics Say

"Exhilarating....An unusually grounded depiction of a business built largely on artifice." (Kirkus Reviews)
"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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Awful narration

Mel Foster's narration is awful due to his complete ignorance of the French language and his laughable pronunciation of common French words, let alone French poetry or fragrance terms. Too bad because the book itself is excellent.
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- Thierry

Great book, awful audiobook

I was pleased to see that I was not alone in appreciating Chandler Burr's outstanding book, which has me looking forward to being alone in my car, while deploring its narration. But indeed, the gargling sound that represents the narrator's attempts to render French text are grating beyond belief. They are included to capture the nuance for those of us who speak the language, but it was completely unintelligible, and I found myself just tuning out as much as possible and waiting for the English translation!
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- Wayne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-08-2008
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio