When Denyse tells a famous perfumer of a sensual night spent in Seville under an orange tree in full blossom, wrapped in the arms of a beautiful young man, the story stirs his imagination and together they create a scent that captures the essence of that night. The Perfume Lover is an unprecedented account of the creative process that goes into composing a fragrance, and a uniquely candid insider’s view into the world and history of fragrance. Your world will never smell the same.
Have you heard of Denyse Beaulieu? She’s the fragrance (and erotica) writer behind my fave perfume blog, Grain De Musc. She has a knack for describing scents that brings them to life, like you have the bottles right in front of you.
When Denyse told famous perfumer Bertrand Duchafour the story of a magical night she spent with a man, under an orange tree in Seville during Holy Week, he was inspired to capture the smells, images and emotions of those short few hours in a fragrance.
The result is Séville à L’aube by L’Artisan Parfumeur. It’s so divine, I made it my signature scent.
In the book, Beaulieu documents the creative process behind Séville à L’aube and her journey from muse to creative partner. It was really interesting to follow the creation of this scent and discover how it was born and evolved as they added and took out the different notes until it became the wonderful fragrance that they first envisioned. The bantering, chatting and even flirty relationship Denyse has with Bertrand was a pleasure to discover, too.
Throughout the book you can find random but fascinating tidbits about perfume and its history. If you wanna know more about iconic scents and why they have changed or been discontinued, the importance of fragrance throughout history and how perfumery evolved into the multi-million dollar industry it is today, you’ll find the answers here. I have to say that, as a lover of both perfume (and beauty in general) and history, this was my favourite part of the book and I really learned a lot from it.
But that’s not all. The book is also partly autobiographical as Beaulieu shares anecdotes and events of her life that are linked to scents. I have mixed feelings about this part of the book. Beaulieu has lead a very interesting life and I really enjoyed reading about how her love for perfume started and evolved, but at times I felt some parts were just too personal. There are hints to the author’s sexual life that, although are never explicit or distasteful, are, sometimes, unnecessary.
Of course perfume and sex have always been linked. Beaulieu’s relationship with fragrance is a sensual one, and I did enjoy the eroticism when it was relevant to the story.
Overall, it is a wonderful and engrossing read that I recommend to all perfume lovers.
Price & Availability
£14.99 at Amazon.co.uk
What is your fave book about perfume? Let me know in the comments below.