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Perfume seduces, and it is so much a part of dressing to please that it's often taken for granted. It will be difficult, though, to think of scent in such an uncomplicated fashion after reading this tantalizing mix of history, contemporary events, and autobiography. The author opens her narrative with Bertrand Duchaufour, head of L'Artisan Parfumeur, an organization that creates many of today's celebrated and favorite odors. He agreed to whip up a scent capturing the essence of her years-ago fling in Seville. Interspersed with Duchaufour's trials in arriving at the right scent are personal tales of the author's divorce from Tomcat; her liaisons with Monsieur; her upbringing in Montreal, complete with allergies and Catholic private schooling; and her intense desire to be a Parisian. Integrated in her elegant yet dense prose are definitions (such as perfume is but an aesthetic, cultural, and emotional elaboration of the raw materials provided by nature); acknowledgments of the great figures and great moments in the industry (for instance, the 1982 Dior launch of Poison); and a hint of the science and art that go into the making of a perfume.--Jacobs, Barbara Copyright 2010 Booklist
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When a Parisian perfume designer, Bertrand Duchaufour, invited blogger Beaulieu to his lab, one of her memories launched their collaboration on an actual fragrance. Their process provides focus for an intoxicating book that interweaves both perfume's and the author's personal histories. While Duchaufour teaches Beaulieu, she draws upon a perfume fascination founded in her suburban Montreal upbringing and gradually developed via her childhood style-muse neighbor, school and university friendships, travel to France and Spain, and her lifelong relationship history. Beaulieu makes brilliant use of such diverse subtopics as prerevolutionary France, 20th-century fragrance icons, their products, and later-generation fragrances, changing gender ideas and their connection to perfumes, the relationship between perfumes and fragrances in other products, and the contemporary mania for celebrity scents. Agent, Homa Rastegar, A.P. Watt. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Beaulieu (Gas Bijoux), the Quebecoise daughter of perfume-hating parents, recounts her collaboration with Bertrand Duchaufour, one of France's premier perfumers, on an experimental scent that was to encapsulate a memory of Seville-orange blossoms, incense, and lust-in effect translating memory into perfume. She also traces the history of perfume and its philosophical implications. Beaulieu suggests that perfume making relies on precise chemical combinations, but that it is ultimately an art. Indeed, she proves her point by layering this book with a discussion of scents-citrus, tobacco, almond, hay, manure-that, taken together, constitute what is both messy and beautiful about memory and about life. VERDICT With its evocative language and thought-provoking perspective, this book will likely appeal to a wide audience, including readers of literature, history, travel-writing, and biography.-Talea Anderson, Ellensburg, WA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.