Luca Turin's perfume reviews @perfumes_ilove

Archive for August 2016


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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Our Lady of Fluid Dynamics

Went out to lunch today in quiet Chalandri, walked past a remarkable church that clearly ran out of cash halfway through construction, all naked concrete with reinforcing steel poking through. The steel bars are bent flat against the facade every which way and resemble the streamers that indicate airflow on experimental aircraft. It should by rights have statues of Cayley, Prandtl and Zhukovsky inside, each holding a model aircraft, eyes turned […]

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Cult of Scent

One of the things I find hardest to do in my lab work (apart from keeping my mouth shut) is changing only one thing at a time when trying to perfect an experiment. If you make several changes, you’re not quite sure which made things better and you have to backtrack. The same applies to exceptional meals. If you go to a great restaurant and you order a dish you never […]

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Walter Netsch

The sublime Cadet Chapel of the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, designed by SOM architect Walter Netsch (1920-2008). In this superb photo against a dramatic sky, the building seems to be a fulfilment of Gothic, a metaphor of uplift: sursum corda, fly with the Angels if at all possible, but in the meantime try to keep formation with Blue ones* when racing through the Rockies’ endless thin air. All airplane museums give […]

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Valentyn Sylvestrov

Not perfumes, but music.Valentyn Vasylyovych Sylvestrov‘s 5th symphony  (1982) and his Postludium for piano and orchestra (1984) are two of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard. Best for headphones, btw, unless you own a pair of Soundlab U-1s.     pic credit: Seattle Times (detail)

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Jolie Laide

Jolie laide is a reputedly untranslatable French expression that means ugly-pretty. It and its old-fashioned sister tag beauté de singe denote the fact that Frenchmen used to find it inexplicable that a woman might exert compelling charm while not being obviously pretty. JL sent me seven samples of oils in lovely tiny roller bottles. They are all named after Nouvelle Vague movies, and merely reading the labels brought back delightful memories of the golden age of French cinema. These are botanicals, […]

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White Goods

I once occupied a lab next to a US oceanographer colleague, a praeternaturally handsome and fit man in his sixties who was an insane wine buff and thought nothing of having $300 of reds (2 bottles) on the table to wash down a salade niçoise. His wife hated booze, so we had to lend a hand, no hardship at all. He was of the opinion that, contrary to popular wisdom, one could in fact […]

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