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Heaven scent

An extraordinary new book shows that behind the marketing cliches, perfume can still be an art of pure beauty

By Michael Bywater   November 2008

Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (Profile, £20)

Fragrance, writes Luca Turin in this bigoted, snarling, monomaniacal, subjective, triumphalist and quite magnificent book, “is a form of portable intelligence.” Nobody could have put it better. Whether he means intelligence as in what the government would like to gather on all of us, or intelligence as in IQ, he doesn’t make clear. Nor does it matter. Fragrance is both a picture of how we would like to appear—and of how we believe we really are. The accuracy of our self-assessment is a mark of our intelligence; the celery-legged…

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