Personally, I love perfume. But even if you don’t, walk into any perfume boutique—from Nordstrom to Ulta—and you’ll realize that fragrance is a fascinating thing.
First, where else do high-end designer brands rub shoulders with trendy tween scents or everyday brands? But dig a little deeper. There are thousands of scents created every year, and while some perfumes are iconic, lasting decade after decade, history is littered with other “lost” scents that were popular for a fleeting time and are now discontinued.
So what makes some scents more special than others? These books, websites, and a podcast will help you discover the answer.
On Your Kindle
The Perfect Scent, by Chandler Burr
Chandler Burr, the former perfume columnist for The New York Times, began his career as science journalist. By chance, he stumbled onto scent with his book, The Emperor of Scent, about the still-controversial science of smell. His second perfume-themed book is a look inside the fragrance industry—a field, he shows, that mixes traditional practices with modernity, art, and commerce. Following the development of two perfumes, television star Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely and the first perfume from Hermes’ new in-house perfumer, Jean-Claude Ellena, Burr reveals all the facets of perfume creation.
On Your Smartphone
This website, well-known to perfume fans, is a great place to go if you’re interested in learning more about fragrance or are overwhelmed by the choices at your perfume counter. It covers recent releases and perfume news, has gorgeously written reviews, and is part of a lively community of enthusiasts. Think of it as the Zagat Guide—for your nose.
On a Podcast
Katie Puckrik is hilarious. A writer and perfume fanatic, she operates her own website with video reviews of scents in a wide range of prices and types. Her perfume reviews are a must-read for their tongue-in-cheek humor and quirky commentary on perfume trends. She’s the funny companion you want on that perfume-testing jaunt—she’ll tell you if something stinks!
You probably know the name Chanel no. 5. Marilyn Monroe said she loved it, and younger stars as diverse as Nicole Kidman, Audrey Tautou, and Brad Pitt have been recent “faces” of the perfume in multimillion-dollar ad campaigns. But what makes Chanel no. 5 so famous? Is it Coco Chanel’s gift for marketing? Or is something special about this sparkling floral? Discover the answer with Tilar Mazzeo’s fun history of the world’s most popular scent.