Cult Perfumes: The World's Most Exclusive Perfumeries

Image of Cult Perfumes: The World's Most Exclusive Perfumeries
Release Date: 
March 26, 2013
Merrell Publishers
Reviewed by: 

“The creation of fragrance is one of the highest art forms . . . the equivalent of painting for sight and music for hearing . . . The art of perfume does indeed involve a love and appreciation of something higher than mere scent in a bottle.”

Cult Perfumes is an extraordinarily engaging treat about an aspect of fashion sensed but not seen.

We fashion folk are an extremely visually stimulated group, but as any of us will tell you, it is the scent that leaves the most lasting impression. The choice of one’s personal scent is even more intimate than the choice of undergarments. As stated in Cult Perfumes: The World's Most Exclusive Perfumeries, one does not want to be the center of attention upon entering the room but be remembered for having been in that room! Scent by dint of its invisibility might be considered the antithesis of fashion, and yet it is scent that conjures and cements the visual memory.

Ms. Williams weaves a tale of history through present times, taking place in fashion capitols of the world: New York City, London, and Paris. We learn the history of perfumes and scent in a brief but thorough telling as the author enlightens us as to why and how the scents were used—other than just the traditional reasons we know about today.

This may seem a bit odd or you might think me a highly “suggestible subject,” but I would swear I could smell the scent of various perfumes while reading the book. Cult Perfumes: The World's Most Exclusive Perfumeries is a volume that quenches the thirst of anyone who has the slightest degree of curiosity about scents, perfumes, and their creators as well for those who crave the knowledge about how to become a two-legged olfactometer. (You might have to look that up; hint: it is what it sounds like)

The subjects in the book range from shops that have specialized in scents since the 16th century to the greatest of 21st century creators of scent. Some of the names will be as familiar as your own but many others are introduced as the author delves into what drove these creators to create.

The presentation of subjects and subject matter in the book is first rate, complete with a glossary and photographs of superb quality. In the end, this is a book for many different readers—and not just the fashion obsessed.

If you have a highly trained olfactory sense, you best rush right out and buy this book and enjoy. For the rest of us, Cult Perfumes: The World's Most Exclusive Perfumeries is a delightfully intriguing story that serves as a source for both reference and enjoyment.