December 8, 2023 | Rome, Italy

The Secret of Scent

By |2018-03-21T18:28:55+01:00February 1st, 2007|Recent Reviews|

By Luca Turin

Faber and Faber, 2006. 193 pages.


r. Turin may be new to those who haven’t read Chandler Burr’s “The Emperor of Scent,” but for the rest of us he’s become something of a symbol of all that is good about the search for scientific knowledge. His ability to explain the unusual with the everyday is unexpected and charming, his descriptions of smells incomparable. He tells a very good story: scientific history, the perfume industry, and his own part in the investigation into smell.

Although this is a more technical book than Burr’s, the explanations are clear and the drawings help, as long as you don’t skip. Perhaps Mr. Turin is trying to explain to all those specialists with little scientific knowledge outside their own fields just how the various sciences combine in the body to make smell possible. My only complaint is that the ending seemed a bit like the tail-end of a Corvette.

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