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

A Thoughtful Book

Chandler Burr deviates from his past books and approaches perfume differently in "The Perfect Scent." The New York Times perfume critic teaches the reader so much about scent, human nature, the perfume business and other interesting things that the book is hard to put down (or turn off as we listeners might say). This book is a glamorous travel travelogue through the industry and the development of scents.

The most interesting story Burr follows is the development of a scent by Sarah Jessicah Parker. The detail, sensitivity to people and circumstances, and story telling ability are just great.

Though Adam Gollner's "The Fruit Hunters" was different in approach, it makes an interesting companion listen to "The Perfect Scent." Where Burr informs about scent, Gollner approaches fruit and those who search the world for it.

The book is well written and read. If you are unfamiliar with the fragrance industry and are looking for something that will inform as well as entertain - this volume just might be for you. Burr kept my ear lobes in his hands for hours!
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- Roy

Couldn't Finish It

I was attracted to this book because I have always loved perfume and fragrances and once thought of becoming a professional in the field. I had hoped that this book would allow me to vicariously enjoy the profession by learning more about the creation of a new scent.

While this book accomplishes some of these goals, it is important to know what you are getting into before trying to listen to this book. This is certainly a "behind the scenes look" at the profession, but the narrative is about the business of creating a new perfume and the personalities that drive that process - rather than celebrating fragrances, why people are so driven to use fragrances, and how fragrances have been used throughout history by people around the world.
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- Dr.

Book Details

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