Luca Turin's perfume reviews @perfumes_ilove

1929 Maury


Tasted it last night, fresh as paint, came out of the bottle adjusting its cuffs and saying “what kept you?” I expected something syrupy, prune-like and with no acidity, and got quite the opposite. I swear some odd chemistry had happened over 87 years because it put me in a euphoric frame of mind I don’t normally associate with heavy sweet wines. Money well spent, unlike —ahem— some other things I can […]

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The price of fame


Bertrand Duchaufour is one of the very best perfumers around, has become a sort of informal king of niche, and indeed helped define the sector with his work for Artisan Parfumeur, Neela Vermeire and Aedes among others. I was curious to see how many fragrances he had composed to date. The answer, from Michael Edwards’ database, is 140. His equally influential former colleague Mark Buxton did 144. Plotted by year, […]

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Enough already


I was in el expensivo Zurich recently and a journalist asked me what I thought was a reasonable price for a perfume. Mindful of the old days, when I could buy two years’ supply of Brut (complete with nitro musks) for what would today be $30, and mentally adjusting for inflation, I replied that the price of a dinner for two with a decent bottle of wine in a decent restaurant was […]

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I was at FutureFest in London, gave a talk and managed through sheer stupidity and incompetence to miss Brian Eno’s talk later the same day. Then I found out the had shown this slide of his favorite books! Amazing! In ancient days after such a triumph someone would have been there to whisper “you are mortal” in my ear. I had heard through the grapevine that Eno kept a copy of our guide […]

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Perfumery’s Chevy Volt

Finally had a chance to catch up with mainstream perfumery at the Globus Department store in Zurich. To fortify myself I first went to the newly renovated food floor and staggered around the wine section in amazement at the treasures all around me. I found a very reasonably priced Maury from the year 1929 to celebrate my mother’s 87th next week. But it was the perfumery floor that brought the biggest […]

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A Sense for Scents


The Academy of Perfumery and Aromatics kindly sent me their A Sense for Scents Edu-Kit, containing 20 Whispis and some instructions. Whispis are neat little devices that provide a metered puff of perfumed air and also lock safely. They are apparently good for a few hundred puffs. The kit does not feature aromachemicals, but accords, like apple, wood, rose and more abstractly glacier, feathers and fur and fresh air. It comes with instructions […]

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Antonio Gardoni

August brought samples which turned out to be mostly a string of duds, and I was losing heart and readjusting my expectations downwards, both ultimately bad ideas. Then came a parcel from perfumer Antonio Gardoni, and my spirits lifted even while unpacking, because the wrapping paper smelled great, I assume from having absorbed ambient smells in his workshop. I had occasion to review Gardoni’s spectacular Maai two years ago, when I […]

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If you’re a niche perfumery and you’d like to send me samples, please contact me on and I’ll give you my address and phone number. The deal is: I will only mention your perfumes if I like them, so the worst thing that can happen is nothing.

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Profumo’s personal perfumes


Dominique Dubrana sent me two bespoke perfumes he did for clients and found especially satisfying. He is a French-born self-taught perfumer working in Italy, and spends a lot of his time in the South Sahara building water pumps for local villagers. I have been fond of his work for years, not least because he embodies the fact that the most important thing for an artist to have is talent. You can learn […]

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