Perfume : The Art and Science of Scent by Cathy Newman, Robb Kendrick (Photographer)
Newman's investigation of perfume and the perfume industry began as an article for National Geographic, but as she delved deeper into the topic, she found herself writing a book. There are many, many books published each year that should never have been promoted beyond magazine articles. Fortunately, this is not one of them. Whether Newman is describing the science of extracting scent from the natural world, the technology of manufacturing perfume, the business of producing it, or the craft of selling it, she never fails to capture the reader's imagination, both with the indelible detail (a concentrate made from French jasmine sells for $12,000 a pound) and the fascinating historical aside (the fragrance industry in England was launched in 1573, when the earl of Oxford gave Queen Elizabeth I a pair of scented gloves). Perhaps most memorable is the chapter in which Newman describes her participation in a journey to the Costa Rican rain forest in search of new scents. A terrific mix of popular science and culture.
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