Perfume and Books

small pic

About two months ago, I’ve read a post on perfume blog where the lady described how she perceived perfume lovers.  “Bookish” was one of the attributes she used to describe some of the commonalities between perfume lovers and perfumistas. I agreed with her, because I have also noticed the fact that a lot of perfume bloggers have the love for books in common.  As in every situation, we cannot generalise. That made me think about finding out if the same goes for book lovers. I, for once will tell you I have a love for fragrances, scents and other fragrant pleasures. I find pleasure in anything that smells good: perfume, the smell of books, the scent of freshly picked roses, good food, the smell of earth just after rain and scented candles.  The latter I love using when I read, my favourite being jasmine.  I love burning jasmine scented candles –  makes me feel comfortable and calm, just the atmosphere I want around me when I read.

When reading The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, there was a quote that sparked my scent loving interest: “I stepped into the bookshop and breathed in that perfume of paper and magic that strangely no one had ever thought of bottling.”

The same with, when I read Sparkles, my guilty pleasure book: “Chanel N°19, the unmistakable scent of money”.  A book I absolutely loved reading, and although it may look like a teeny bopper novel it really isn’t. It one of the funniest fiction I have read and it plays off in France and Russia. The story is about betrayal, most of all.

 book and white perfume bottle

Buying scents has stopped being only about smelling nice for me. It’s become research, “the story behind”, what the creator hoped to achieve with creating this particular scent and assess if they got it right (on me, at least). I also must note that I don’t particularly waste my time with celebrity scents, I have a love for ones that were created in the 1920’s, they have history and character. That particular era is fascinating to me, the same way as I find the literature of that time fascinating – in the classics and historical fiction.  I used to write about them too, see below for an excerpt of my review of Bois des Iles, a 1926 classic from Chanel, a winter favourite.

“Although woody fragrances are predominantly perceived as masculine, Bois des Iles is a beautiful feminine woody fragrance that smells luxurious and enveloping. The woody notes are softened by a sweet floral bouquet that lends the fragrance its feminine air, while at the same time the soft vanilla, amber and sandalwood dry down gives the fragrance its warmth. I find this fragrance a comfort scent – it makes me feel elegant, calm and warm. The facets of this fragrance are stunning – the woody notes, the floral heart and even the crisp citrus opening. Wearing this fragrance is redolent of strolling into a beautifully sunlit autumn forest…”

I have decided to read more books about scents and fragrances, including perfumes. One of my favourite movies include the film adaptation of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Not a lot of people have seen the movie, as it was never an overly commercial release. I have for some reason not read the book yet, but I want too. The story is about a boy Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who had a profound gift for the sense of smell and learns the art of making perfume from a well-known perfumer in Paris.  He later becomes obsessed with smell, in such a way that he started creating perfumed oils from any objects he could think of. Until one day when he decides to create the ultimate perfume – the scent of a woman.  How does he do that? He uses women! Do you know how perfume oils are created? If so, that’s what he did with the women! Terrifying and absolutely cringe-worthy, but the movie was great and apparently the book too.

perfume - story of a murderer

Speaking of the “scent of a woman”, another book I would love to read is The Secret of Chanel N°5. One of my absolutely favourite scents and one with a lot of history behind it. Coco Chanel’s quest to create the perfect scent for a woman, the book is about Coco Chanel’s life and about the history of the scent itself. This is on my list of non-fiction I would like to read. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction and this (amongst others) are now on my list to read. Apart from Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, I am also considering reading Scent of Darkness – a fiction about the mythology of perfume.

So, do you also love fragrances and scent?

And will you perhaps also consider reading fiction (or non-fiction) that focuses on scents and fragrant pleasures?

Image sources: here, here and here