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The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
     

The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses

4.3 10
by Chandler Burr
 

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For as long as anyone can remember, a man named Luca Turin has had an uncanny relationship with smells. He has been compared to the hero of Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume, but his story is in fact stranger, because it is true. It concerns how he made use of his powerful gifts to solve one of the last great mysteries of the human body: how our

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The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Forensic213 More than 1 year ago
I picked this book at random from my school's library shelf, and I was very glad I did. It's an intriguing profile not only of Luca Turin, the renegade scientist who became obsessed with scents, but also of the perfume world and the science which surrounds it. It's not any kind of tell-all of the perfum business secrets--a few off-hand mentions of perfume scandals or sordidness are kept name- and context-less--but is an excellent description of the work involved with creating a "new" smell. Luca Turin is, of course, the driving force of the book and its dialogue--much is made of his opinions and actual words. He comes off as an amusing character, a man who has made many breakthroughs, and--quite frankly--a terrible scientist. He has no real concepts of safety regulations, statistical validity, or other scientific virtues. He comes off as a fascinating person that I would not want to work anywhere near me. A great deal of time is also dedicated to explaining the theory of scent--vibrational theory--which Turin had to work so hard to get its foot into the scientific community, and which still struggles for acceptance. These sections can become a little wearying over time, but are very well-written for both the layman's audience and a scientific mind from another speciality. It's a great book for sparking discussion or new ideas; not so much for beach-side reading. On the whole, however, very well-written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hey, I'm no chemistry buff. But in order to understand perfume, you have to understand a little chemistry and Burr makes it so understandable, even I can follow it. I particularly enjoyed Turin's viewpoints on classic and newer perfumes. In fact, I bought Turin's book, The Science of Scent, because this book was so fascinating. Read and enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this read. I heard Chandler Burr on the Diane Rehm show (NPR) and followed up with the book. There is everything...an irascible but irrepressible & likeable central figure, science and fantasy. Personally, I have a great sense of smell so this was very entertaining!
Guest More than 1 year ago
After being pulled into this engrossing story, I, a resentful student of science, found myself gladly wading through pages of chemistry, physics, and biology just to understand Turin's theory. The information is presented with such clarity that even those who have little background in science can understand the process Turin uses to uncover the mystery of smell. The personal joys and struggles Turin encounters puts a human face on not only the mysterious perfume industry but on the science behind it. This book is a wealth of important, fun, and even life-altering fact.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Books about interesting people make good reads and Luca Turin is very interesting. The science is kept simple and the melodrama is not minimized. Well written and thought provoking. Bill Bryson fans will love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love perfume, but reading countless pages of Vogue and Elle does not satisfy. This book throws you into a story that is both captivating and wonderous. It is hard to put down, and you will read it from cover to cover. Luca Turin is a great hero, and he is one of the best characters to be found in a story: eccentric, humourous and determined. A must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although an avid reader, I will admit I knew next to nothing about chemistry, perfume, or smell. I was immediately sucked into this powerful narrative of a fascinating sense and the obsessive, funny, and quirky man who cracked it's code. A must read for anyone who loves great literature.