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The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York [Kindle Edition]

Chandler Burr
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"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions . . . entices you to marvel all the more at the power of fragrance."--The Dallas Morning News

"The Perfect Scent has drama, unforgettable characters, history, and location."--Los Angeles Times

"An inside, Hollywoodesque account."--The New York Times Book Review

"Burr winds his way deep into the secretive, dark, high-stakes world of perfumery, where following the scent can be hazardous to your career. . . . He smells the story in each bottle."--Associated Press

"Passionate and captivating."--The Toronto Star

"An appealing writer and an acute observer, [who] tells his two stories well."--The Wall Street Journal

"Filled with fascinating revelations about an industry built on illusions."--The Kansas City Star


From the New York Times perfume critic, a stylish, fascinating, unprecedented insider's view of an industry and its charismatic characters
No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances. Now, writing with wit and elegance, he juxtaposes the stories of the perfumes--one created by a Frenchman in Paris for an exclusive luxury-goods house, the other made in New York by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Coty, Inc., a giant international corporation. We follow Coty's mating of star power to the marketing of perfume, watching Sex and the City's Parker heading a hugely expensive campaign to launch a scent into the overcrowded celebrity market. Will she match the success of Jennifer Lopez? Does she have the international fan base to drive worldwide sales?
In Paris at the elegant Hermès, we see Jean Claude Ellena, his company's new head perfumer, given a challenge: he must create a scent to resuscitate Hermès's perfume business and challenge le monstre of the industry, bestselling Chanel No. 5. Will his pilgrimage to a garden on the Nile supply the inspiration he needs? The answer lies in Burr's informative and mesmerizing portrait of some of the extraordinary personalities who envision, design, create, and launch the perfumes that drive their billion-dollar industry.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 1432 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 340 Seiten
  • Verlag: Henry Holt and Co.; Auflage: 1 Reprint (1. April 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000V78V44
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #252.094 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Sex: In the City oder lieber am Nil? 18. Mai 2008
Von C. Kadel
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Gute Tageszeitungen beschäftigen Kunstkritiker, Theaterkritiker, Literaturkritiker, Filmkritker, Restaurantkritiker, Weinkritiker, Architektur... - und die New York Times einen Parfumkritiker: Chandler Burr, Autor dieses hochinteressanten Buches.

Burr begleitet zwei Parfums von der Konzeption bis zur Markteinführung und bietet faszinierende Einblicke in die Mechanismen der Parfumindustrie und deren Akteure: Marketingspezialisten, Finanziers, Designer, Public Relations- und Werbe-Spezialisten und vor allem die Künstler, Parfumeure, Komponisten der Düfte. In seiner flüssig zu lesenden Reportage schildert Burr die Entwicklung zweier aktueller Parfums: "Un jardin sur le Nil" von Hermes und "Lovely" von Coty.

Hermes einer der ganz wenigen Parfumhersteller, die einen eigenen Parfumeur beschäftigen, selbstverständlich einen Star der Branche - wobei unverständlicherweise, weil völlig anders als bei allen anderen Kunstformen, die Parfumeure außer wenigen Eingeweihten dem Publikum völlig unbekannt sind. Hermes entscheidet, zum Jahresmotto "Flüsse" ein passendes Parfum herauszubringen, und fliegt seinen Starparfumeur Jean Claude Ellena an den Nil, um ihn zu inspirieren. Und als das Parfum samt Verpackung und Werbematerialien dann fertig ist, werden Fachjournalisten aus aller Welt auf den Nil zum Launch des Parfums eingeladen. Ob sich die kettenrauchende spanische Journalistin, die zwischen zwei Zügen schnell mal am Parfum schnupperte, darüber gefreut hat, dass Burr sie in seinem Buch verewigte?

"Lovely" ist ein Celebrity-Parfum, welches den Erfolg von Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex in the City) vermarktet.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful - six stars! 23. September 2010
Yes, there are journalists for perfums. Extremely well written. I hit the next perfume stores in no time. Can highly recommend this book. I had no idea that there are so many words out there to describe a smell. Chandler is a great observer and shares his intimated thoughts with the reader. Read it!!
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.9 von 5 Sternen  45 Rezensionen
52 von 53 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen As Addictive as a Great Perfume 24. Februar 2008
Von Bec - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
First I read "Emperor of Scent", but this is totally different from 'Burr's prior work on the world of fragrance. This one is an easy quick read (I finished it in a single day), but also addictive - you bounce back and forth from Paris and Jean-Claude Ellena's story of Hermes' "Jardin sur le Nil" and New York, where Burr see first-hand how Coty works with Sarah Jessica Parker to create "Lovely". Francophiles will delight in the liberal use of French phrasing and direct quotes (always translated), which gives a wonderful sense of place to the Paris/Grasse side of the story. The New York story is a mini biography of SJP herself - who turns out to be an incredibly likeable and compelling woman with a great sense of self.

I was also intrigued at the idea that fragrances were all unisex until the early 20th century - prior to then, men and women wore what they liked, rather than what was 'marketed' to them. And finally, finally! I understand why the majority of American fragrances smell the same to me - because they ARE the same (common ingredients in standard proportions)... and also why French perfumes are so vastly different.... and most interestingly, perhaps, is a wonderful and insightful discussion of "naturals" vs. "synthetics" in fragrance, which has forever altered my perspective on what is a 'quality' ingredient.

The only reason I gave the book for stars instead of five is honestly because the very end of the book felt rushed - felt incomplete. Given that it started life as an article in the New Yorker, I'm not surprised... articles and books have different requirements for endings. But I was very sorry to see the creative process that brought Parker's latest fragrance, Covet, to market in 2007 given only a paragraph in the end (though the origins are clearly visible throughout the early creative process and then meetings where IFF is trying to discern Parker's scent preferences. It would have been a nice coda to the original story, or perhaps to weave the Covet story throughout.

I bought the book on the strength of Burr's earlier work, and those who used it (as I did) as a virtual shopping list of fragrances to try will find this book an even better resource. And for the record, Jardin sur le Nil is one of my favorite fragrances, along with Jardin Mediterran and the newly-released Kelly Caleche. I am not a big fan of Lovely - but Parker's personal favorite scents are some of my own, and I also wear Covet on a regular basis... and now I will look forward to her next release, which I hope will have that 'dirty' feel she's been wanting to put out there from the beginning...
14 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Not a perfect book, but a good read 9. Juni 2009
Von Andrea Dickson - Veröffentlicht auf
I'm of two minds with Chandler Burr. He seems to have unprecedented access to perfume industry insiders, and the kind of personality, perseverance, and patience that it takes to deal with difficult types that seem to permeate the entire field. He can get information out of scientists in chem labs, celebrities, artists, and high-powered executives, so he must be adept at asking the right questions and tolerating ridiculous egos.

He fills this book with so many interesting tidbits about perfume and scent that I have frequently quoted from it when trying to make a point about fragrance to a friend or colleague. I love the bits of science that are injected into this book, the overviews of molecules and their uses in many industries. The information is so fun (and for me, mind-boggling), that I have read the book several times.

That said, his writing style drives me just about batty. I get so tired of his sentences structure, his fragments that are meant to drive home a point, that I have to stop reading every few pages and put the book down. As other reviewers have noted, he is slightly obsessed with describing exactly how each and every individual is dressed (always to the nines, no matter what); on one hand, this can get a bit grating, but on the other, it does help the reader visualize and mentally sort all of the players in these stories. If you speak French, you may be thrilled with the French sentences that are inserted every other paragraph or so. If you do not speak French, you might still find these delightful, as they are helpfully translated. If you are a grumpy person like me, you might wonder if Burr isn't showing off just a wee bit.

If you are interested in fragrance, this book is a must-read. Don't let the fact that Burr has some rather startling pronouncements about smells terrify you - he might be wrong.
18 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Mysteries unraveled 15. Februar 2008
Von Vermeer fan - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
If you are intimidated by whippet-thin, well coiffed, stylish clerks at the cosmetics counters or simply wish to learn more about an industry that sells dreams, Mr. Burr peels back some of the layers of marketing and spin put out by the perfume industry. Over the course of about a year, he follows the NY-based production of a contemporary fragrance issued under Sarah Jessica Parker's name and the Paris-based building of a "scent image" for the ultra protective Hermes house. He discusses the pros and cons of natural vs. synthetic ingredients, schools you in how fragrances are designed and described and sheds light into the reclusive, spotlight-shunning world of the trained perfumers who build the fragrances that fuel the industry. A bit of gossip, some dish on his disdain for any of the Hugo Boss products, a reveal on that final marketing push to capture the eye and nose of the media and public. A quick read, funny and a good introduction that makes you want to run the gauntlet of fragrance-spitzing women at the local Nordstroms, Sephora or Macy's to see what he speaks of.
16 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Makes you wish for a scratch and sniff edition! 15. Februar 2008
Von Elaine Walsh - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I came to this as a fan of Chandler Burr's fragrance reviews already, some of which I've clipped out not because I wanted to try the fragrance, but because the language is both so gorgeous and precise at the same time. So I came to this book with a great deal of anticipation and was not disappointed. It reads like a novel, with great characters and plot, and the world of perfume making is so exotic and unlike anything I can ever imagine that there is something intriguing and interesting on every page. Fun to read, full of great facts (okay, you can use them to impress your friends, I'll admit that) and if you love perfume...or just stories of those who are passionate about what they's a terrific read.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen The first half of the book is great, then it gets too much ego... 23. Februar 2011
Von Ulalume Jones - Veröffentlicht auf
I enjoyed reading the first 100 page of this. I don't buy expensive perfume but instead indulge in niche perfume companies. So it is interesting to me to see how higher end perfume houses work. I never knew that most luxury brands didn't make their own perfumes in house. Hermes does and that is what half this book is about. Many companies don't have much or any hand in the creative process, the same with celebs that slap their name on perfume to make some money. This is what the other half of the book is about. I enjoyed knowing Sarah Jessica Parker's real taste in perfume (vetiver, sweat, masculine notes, resin) very in tune with my tastes and then saddened that Lovely and her other perfumes ended up fresh, floral, light creations that really aren't her taste, but they sell. I found out perfume houses don't make perfume for skin anymore, they put it on paper and sniff. I also learned about the science of perfumery.

Then the second part deviates into gossip about how crappy drugstore perfumes are, what people are wearing (and how good or bad it is), how Americans and the French men have no taste in perfume and how natural perfumes aren't as good as synthetics (he never goes into how toxic some synthetic molecules can be). It is like his voice changed from being a journalist to being the end all, be all judge of perfumes and fashion. All the catty stuff could have been cut out to make a tighter, more serious study.

The twist of The Perfect Scent is that since the market, especially in the US, is geared to the same boring clean scents, the wonderful perfumes created in France that are truly unique are locked away, like jewels in a crown only the perfumers sniff. But this is not their fault. It is more the industry's fault to not accept a bigger variety. So perfect scents are locked up like fair maidens in a tower, seen by very few knights.
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