Perfumes: the Guide, by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez

It's nice to see people who know a lot about something, and have a flair for telling you about it. Latest example to cross my path: nearly fifteen hundred fragrances reviewed in the definitive book by husband and wife team Luca Turin (scholar in olfactory science) and Tania Sanchez (perfume collector / expert). The reviews are fun to read, even if you don't know about perfumes—a nice balance between being informative, poetic, and critical without being overly coy, precious, or snarky. Here are four excerpts from one randomly selected page to wet your atomizer:

"Silly name, silly price. Armani Privé does a cologne, probably the biggest waste of money this side of Le Labo's Fleur d'Oranger."

"If you love Eau de Guerlain but want to pay more while getting a harsher, lower-quality fragrance, this one is for you."

"Wan leafy green. For the fun of putting on perfume without the fun of smelling it."

"Eau de Noho had a chance to be good with its interesting violet mimosa, like the ghost of Après l'Ondée looking for a witness in a green wilderness. Then a stonking violet leaf arrives to turn everything watery and harsh. Much too close to dishwashing detergent. This needed work."

Reading a few pages made me feel unsophisticated but cheerful. Next time I'm at the mall I'm going to check out some samples, maybe even visit a specialty store.