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The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose ~ perfume book review

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M. J. Rose, cover

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose brands itself as “a novel of suspense.” After reading it, I’d like to propose another genre for it: modern gothic. The novel features an old French chateau, complicated family relationships, dungeons, murderous intrigue, and spontaneous past life regression. Open the book and you practically hear the thunder rumbling in the distance.

The Collector of Dying Breaths follows two interwoven storylines. The first story is told through a letter from René le Florentin, Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. René learned his trade at a monastery, where he was apprenticed to a monk who was working on a formula for immortality, which required as an ingredient a person’s last living breath. His story is interspersed with Jacqueline L’Etoile’s present-day story, told in the third person. Jac comes from a long line of perfumers…

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Rare Perfumes ~ perfume book review

Rare Perfumes, book cover

Rare Perfumes (the French version is called Parfums Rares) is a celebration of niche perfumery, in a coffee table format with large illustrations and plenty of white space (see images below). It was commissioned by the Osmothèque, the museum and scent archive in Versailles, and sponsored by The Fragrance Foundation France, InterParfums, Robert Piguet and Parfums de Nicolaï, among others. It was written by two fragrance journalists, Sabine Chabbert and Laurence Férat, and features a preface by Patricia de Nicolaï.

If you’re looking for a critical, in-depth analysis of how niche perfumes fit into — or don’t fit into — the larger fragrance market, or how niche influences mainstream or vice versa, look elsewhere (and tell me where you find it). This is not that, nor is it a niche version of something like Michael Edwards’ Perfume Legends: French feminine fragrances, with its focus on perfume development and the interplay between brands, perfumers, marketers and designers. Other than in passing, you will learn relatively little about individual fragrances or how they differ from from their mainstream counterparts…

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The bold, the sexy and the downright odd smells

Barbara Herman, author of Scent & Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume, talks to NPR's All Things Considered about vintage fragrances:

Blogger Barbara Herman has spent the better part of the past six years taking a deep nosedive into the world of vintage fragrances. Her quest? To find the bold, the sexy and the downright odd smells that have defined women over the decades.

The segment is a little over 5 minutes long.

Fragrances of the World 2014 by Michael Edwards ~ new perfume book

Fragrances of the World 2014 by Michael Edwards

Michael Edwards has released the latest version of his “fragrance bible”, Fragrances of the World 2014. The reference book celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The 2014 edition lists over 8,000 fragrances grouped by fragrance family, and includes over 1,200 new releases. The book is used by numerous retailers to help customers find fragrances they might like based on the scent(s) they already know and enjoy…

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