Denyse Beaulieu: The Perfume Lover

Hi Snifffters,

I have recently finished Denyse Beaulieu’s book “The Perfume Lover”. Denyse has been a long time blogger on Grain de Musc and a perfume afficianado, teaching “Understanding Fragrance” courses in London, living and working in Paris. She is a bit of a hero and writes many of her blog posts in English and French.

Unfortunately I am a bit under the weather today and my nose has gone on strike for smelling because it’s already full.

So instead of talking about perfume, I thought perhaps that I would tell you a tiny smidge about Denyse’s book. I found it a delightful and entrancing page turner, teaching me a lot of history, some of the perfume making process, and a whole bunch of side related trivia that you have to be on the inside track to know. Like a perfumed version of a rag trade novel. Behind this font of knowledge though is the story of how a perfume came to be from a vivid recollection of youthful dalliance Denyse had enjoyed in Spain, some of her loves through time and the scented thread holding all together.

Many of you don’t read novels, I know. This is such an easy read that few of you will find it in any way challenging. You may learn some new vocabulary though, which will stand you in much better stead next time you are faced with a pushy salesgirl or the incredible gamut of fragrances available currently. It will also give you some hints of great perfumers and the companies they have created for, who to look out for and what they put into the juice. All knowledge is power, right. For you ladies your buys will look more savvy and for the gentlemen the same holds true. Imagine being able to surprise a loved one with something they’ll cherish or brag about your own splendid choice of fragrance.

Buy The Perfume Lover (after the jump) from Book Depository in hardcover for around $21 delivered to your door. It is also a sensational gift. I was going to write this about a fortnight before Mother’s Day because it is a perfect book for gifting. Beautifully bound, writing not too small, light and entertaining while still informative.

It has inspired me to go and find a couple of the mentioned perfumes too.
Is there a book I need to read about perfume that you adore, please leave it’s title and author in the comments.
Much reading pleasure to you,

Portia xxx

8 thoughts on “Denyse Beaulieu: The Perfume Lover

  1. I am very much the reader personally, books are my first and biggest passion.

    Books about fragrance and olfaction I have really enjoyed are the two by Chandler Burr: Perfect Scent and The Emperor of Scent, the novels Perfume: A Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind and Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, the memoir Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way by Molly Birnbaum and the classic A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman; which isn’t about perfume, per se, but fascinating if you’re a science geek like me.

    I’d looking forward to Alyssa Harad’s Coming to My Senses and Denyse’s book, and I’ll love to read Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy.


    • Awesome Dionne,
      Books, and my dog, were my friends through some lean years. I will look up the ones of these I don’t have. Currently reading Chandler Burr’s You Or Someone Like You. Interesting, enriching and confronting look at some of the Jewish questions. Quite a departure.
      Portia xx


  2. Dionne’s list is wonderful. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is one of those books that you can’t stop thinking about, even years later.

    I’d also recommend A Scented Palace by Elisabeth de Feydeau if you are interested in 18th century France and Marie Antoinette.

    I will search out the Chandler Burr book you are currently reading,.


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