The Essence: Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance, by gestalten
We must begin by declaring an interest, in that our Senior Writer, Suzy Nightingale, was asked by the publishers to write all of the Fragrance Families pieces for this book. That doesn’t prevent us gasping in delight at the rest of this book, however (and there’s a lot of it – 288 pages in full color, making this a coffee-table book to admire and dip in to many times). Delving into ‘the history, culture, and science that have shaped the multi-billion dollar perfume industry into what it is today,’ The Essence has at its core a curiousity to discover why ‘fragrance has captivated us as humans for centuries.’ Not simply another book of historical facts and well-worn stories, this is a tome for those who want to go beyond the surface and explore the people behind the perfume industry, from the inevitable picking of lavender in the fields of Provence and the laboratories, to lesser-told stories of incense producers in India and innovative, indie perfumers like Mandy Aftel and Lyn Harris (Perfumer H). Written by a number of distinguished fragrance writers from around the world, you are invited to ‘Meet the trailblazers shaping the future of perfumery as we explore the vital role that technology and scented products will play in the 21st century.’ And when history is invoked, it’s done so in fascinating ways. One of our favourite sections was a double-page timeline tracing significant political and cultural events and showing the iconic fragrances that were launched against this backdrop. For novices, scholars, noses – anyone interested in fragrance, this is a book that manages to be both beautiful and brainy.
Publisher: gestalten ISBN: 978-3-89955-255-3