The perfect perfume


Rejoice! A subject for which age is totally irrelevant- perfume. In fact we think that age may be a real benefit when deciding on how to smell, as only when you are seasoned with experience can you pull off some of the truly grand heavyweight aromas such as Geurlain’s Jicky or Jean Patou’s Joy. But buying perfume can be a nightmare of nose overload and department store beauty room hell, so when we discovered Perfumes the Guide, from Luca Turin and Tanya Sanchez, we knew we were saved.


The book divides into two, firstly there’s a few essays on the history of perfume and how to pick the right smell, and the second half is a list of all the important perfumes on the market and a witty (often wickedly funny) assessment of their worth and a star rating (a bit like films). The descriptions are so wonderful that before long you’ll want to sample these smells for yourself. Be warned, it’s an addictive habit.


The really fascinating comment from Mr Turin is that you can change your smell to suit your requirements; sexy, serious, mousy or intelligent. We’re so stuck in a rut with our perfume habits, often sticking to the same one and not shifting for years just because we found one we liked, but why not have a whole portfolio of smells?


Here at the Womens Room we’re working our way through the five star list and so far LOVE L’Heure Bleue (for a 'red hot riding hood with a hungry wolf at the door'), Après L’ Ondée, one of the twenty greatest perfumes of all time' from Guerlain, and Black ('Buzzing with brains') by Bulgari.

We get a strongly emotional reaction to smell because unlike every other sense, smell goes straight passed the cerebral cortex part of the ‘rational’ brain and into the limbic system which is the keeper of memory and emotion. Hence the often overwhelming rush of nostalgia from a wiff of our mother’s perfume or old boyfriend’s after shave.


WE SAY- curate your own collection of smells, sticking to just one is boring and if Mr Turin is right, think what effects we could be achieving with a carefully judged selection. The perfume blog  Now Smell This  (look under books) has an PDF download from Perfumes the Guide to download if you want read a before you buy.

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