Luca Turin's perfume reviews @perfumes_ilove


Green Water (Jacques Fath) ****

While at Esxence, I walked past the Jacques Fath stand without stopping when,  out of the corner of my eye, I saw the name Green Water which I remembered from years ago as a complete joke. I was wrong: this was not the dismal earlier reissue, but an entirely different new thing done for Fath by independent perfumer Cécile Zarokian, together with three other fragrances. Her name seemed to be […]

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Giovanni Sammarco

At Esxence I met Giovanni Sammarco, a Swiss perfumer. He sent me samples of four of his fragrances. They are of such unusual quality that I feel I would be remiss not mentioning them all. 1- Vitrum, a beautiful, quiet vetiver with a touch of rose, one of the best of its kind that I can remember. I am minded to wear this one every day. 2- Bond-T, a huge and […]

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The Lost Perfume

I’ve been carrying around, through 12 house moves in thirty years, an empty bottle of Shaïna packed in bubble wrap. I just unpacked it for the 13th time yesterday. It was not always empty. I bought it full from the legendary Mme Ricou, in Menton, circa 1986. But it leaked badly, lost all its contents despite Parafilm and deposited the dry residue on the porcelain bottle and the bubble wrap. The formula […]

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Anubis (Papillon Perfumery)****

As an audiophile of long standing and limited means, I am struck by similarities between loudspeakers and perfumes, especially in the manner of their choosing. Most people who don’t much care about sound (including many professional musicians who tend to listen to the playing, not the recording) buy little desktop or bookshelf speakers that adequately carry the spectrum but turn muddled and shouty when pushed hard. If they ever actually pick them by sound, they […]

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Choyita (Perfumera Curandera)****

My perfumer friend Dominique Dubrana, whose judgment I trust, recently suggested I smell the all-natural, all-organic creations of Perfumera Curandera (perfumer-healer in the feminine) which he likes very much. I received four of them out of a total lineup of 10. The one that stood out for me is Choyita (named after a cactus flower) which apparently contains Madagascar vanilla. Up top it smells powerfully of guaiacol, a parent molecule of vanillin with […]

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A colleague of mine in the Marine Station in Villefranche sur Mer, who knew a colossal amount about both plants and plankton, once gave me a precious piece of advice: if you want to fake botanical knowledge, just point to a tree and call it a false something (we had a false camphor tree in the magnificent Station garden). That way you look learned while leaving some leeway in your diagnosis. I […]

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I’m still a novice at this WordPress thing, so I haven’t quite figured out how to post an about page (and please don’t tell me how to, it will happen spontaneously one day). But 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 (forgot to put that on the deuced business cards I had printed) […]

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Music and Perfume

No one, I think, is more convinced than I am that olfaction, like hearing and color vision, is a spectral sense. I have spent the last twenty years proposing and developing the very idea that the nose is a vibrational spectroscope  (for a 12-minute version please see my TED lecture). Does this mean that the three senses map onto one another in an obvious way? Not really. Yesterday I mentioned that […]

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