You may know Alyssa Harad from her contributions to Perfume-Smellin' Things and Now Smell This. This summer Alyssa is releasing her perfume memoir titled Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure and An Unlikely Bride. Alyssa's book tells how she fell in love with perfume through reading blogs and how her passion led her on an exciting journey. You can read her last essay for NST here. Meanwhile, I wish Alyssa luck as she continues her fragrant journey and look forward to her own blog going live on alyssaharad.com.
At thirty-six—earnest, bookish, terminally shopping averse—Alyssa Harad thinks she knows herself. Then one day she stumbles on a perfume review blog and, surprised by her seduction by such a girly extravagance, she reads in secret. But one trip to the mall and several dozen perfume samples later, she is happily obsessed with the seductive underworld of scent and the brilliant, quirky people she meets there. If only she could put off planning her wedding a little longer.
Thus begins a life-changing journey that takes Harad from a private perfume laboratory in Austin, Texas, to the glamorous fragrance showrooms of New York City and a homecoming in Boise, Idaho, with the women who watched her grow up. With warmth and humor, Harad traces the way her unexpected passion helps her open new frontiers and reclaim traditions she had rejected. Full of lush description, this intimate memoir celebrates the many ways there are to come to our senses.
Lovers of perfume themed books can anticipate another offering this year. Jan Moran is better known for her Fabulous Fragrances series, but in May the California based fragrance expert will publish her first novel titled Scent of Triumph. As Moran shares, "Scent of Triumph was inspired by my love of perfume and its creative process. It was based in part on research I did in creating Scentsa, the touch screen fragrance finder now in all Sephora stores, and in creating my own perfumes. But I also drew upon my own family history and my mother's memories of World War II. I imagined a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love."
When I learned via the publisher Wiley-vch about a new book on fragrance science authored by the prominent chemists Günther Ohloff, Wilhelm Pickenhagen and Philip Kraft, I immediately placed a pre-order. Ohloff's articles have been my favorite perfume geek reading since I first started Bois de Jasmin and I already knew of Philip Kraft's work through his revealing Perfumer & Flavorist article on Chanel No 5, so I impatiently anticipated my book to arrive. For the past couple of weeks, I have been spending my free moments with Scent and Chemistry: The Molecular World of Odors, learning about aroma-materials and their role in some of the most renowned fragrances on the market.
“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,” wrote Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges. Ever since I moved out of my parents’ house, I decided that I will make my own version of an earthly paradise by investing efforts into my library. For years I have lived in apartments where the only pieces of furniture were the overspilling bookshelves. These days we have added a table and a bed to our Spartan living arrangements. An interior designer friend once drew up a plan that would maximize the use of space in our apartment. Her sketch was full of light, cream colored cushions and purple window dressings. She suggested that I move half of my books to storage. Her sketch is languishing behind one of the bookshelves. The books are still with me.
What are your favorite books (do not have to be perfume related)?
Nikki, one of the commenters here, suggested that I run a thread on favorite books, whether perfume related or not. Since I love books and spend most of my free time reading, I gladly agreed. Of course, when I began to think of my own favorites, I realized that I could write a whole essay on this topic. In the end, I limited myself to only a few favorite selections, the books that I have re-read several times and look forward to revisiting again and again.
anything Agatha Christie anything by Gogol Bulgakov's Master and Margarita Sébastien Japrisot mystery novels Tolstoy's War and Peace Bunin's Life of Arseniev
And anything by Elizabeth David, whose food writing I love.
My favorite book on perfume is Michael Edwards' Perfume Legends, which is unrivaled for its depth of information.