15 Best Books About Perfume

Perfume evaluation books are an aromatic pleasure to indulge in. They can give you a great deal of useful information to help you make an informed opinion when buying new or lost fragrances. 

Many people read perfume reviews online and think that is the absolute word on whether a scent is going to be worth their money or not. But these books might tell you otherwise.

When it comes to reading books about perfume, you can’t just choose from any old title. The best perfume books are written by expert authors. 

So while there are thousands of non-fiction titles on Amazon, We have pulled together a list of fifteen of our favourite books that we’d recommend to anyone new to the fragrance industry to nose dive into.

1. Perfume: The Alchemy Of Scent by Jean Claude Ellena

Perfume: The Alchemy Of Scent by Jean Claude Ellena

This book is a fascinating read for those interested in Perfumery. Ellena is one of the world’s greatest perfumers, with clients including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari, and Hermès. He has also created fragrances for Chanel and Givenchy. 

In Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent, Ellena takes readers on a journey through his career and the history of perfume production and consumption. He explores ingredients and their properties, offering insight into how they affect the scent of a perfume. 

To make the perfume attractive and sought by both men and women worldwide, he also explains his original method for producing fragrances from the very beginning, which involves manipulating our sensory memory.

2. Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume Book by Barbara Herman

The idea behind Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume by Barbara Herman is to take the reader on a journey through history and explore how fragrance has been used as a subversive agent. 

Perfume is one of the most mysterious and magical products in the world. Yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. Scent and Subversion is a captivating exploration into the history of perfume, told through more than 300 vintage ads and interviews with top perfumers, scent enthusiasts, artists, and visionaries.

This book will take you on a journey through time to discover what it was like to be a woman during each decade of the last century. You’ll learn about how each decade’s fashion trends influenced perfume production and advertising and how women were perceived by society at large. 

3. Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez

There is a lot of misinformation about perfume. It’s not just the smell, it’s how you smell. However, the authors’ irreverent approach makes this book an engaging read for anyone interested in fragrance or smelling things. It is not just another boring reference book; it is a celebration of scent as well as its history, science and psychology.

Together, they examine more than 1200 perfumes in Perfumes: The Guide, differentiating the sublime from the admirable from the egregiously bad. The evaluations in Perfumes give readers an indispensable resource for choosing fragrances and offer a distinctive reading experience because of their funny, sarcastic, and enlightening style.

4. Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances by Michael Edwards

Perfume Legends is an intriguing collection that traces the origins of the most famous and iconic perfumes in history. This beautiful and fascinating collection was exquisitely crafted and traced the origins and development of the most well-known French feminine fragrances.

This lovely book describes how these perfumes were created, produced, and promoted, from classics like Chanel No. 5 to Mugler’s “Angel,” and why some are now regarded as masterpieces.

5. The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell by Luca Turin

In this book, author Luca Turin tells us that he has spent his life studying the chemistry of scent, and he has developed theories about why specific molecules smell good or bad. His research led him to believe that certain molecules have a shape that allows them to fit into receptors in the nose, sending signals to our brains that translate into a particular scent.

Turin also found that even though we all have different noses, we all recognize some scents with similar patterns in our brains. This is why he believes perfumes can be made to appeal to everyone—they just need to use the right chemicals that will fit into everyone’s receptors.

6.The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession by Chandler Burr

The Emperor of Scent A True Story of Perfume and Obsession by Chandler Burr

The Emperor of Scent tells the tale of Luca Turin, a researcher who has advanced a novel hypothesis on the functioning of scent. Turin thinks that nasal sensors can detect vibrations like those in the eyes and ears. Turin’s claims are bold and can potentially revolutionize modern Perfumery. 

The Emperor of Scent is a fascinating tale of chance, greed, and the account of how the scientific world responded to Turin’s idea. Burr is conscious that writings like these should be more objective, offering contrasting points of view to help the reader grasp his subject.

7. Essence and Alchemy Book by Mandy Aftel

For anybody with a curiosity of fragrance, the secrets of olfaction, or notably the relationship between psychology and aroma, Aftel’s book is a treat. The book discusses the process of choosing base notes, heart notes, and head notes to create unique odors and perfumes, and it also serves as a practical guide to creating personalized scents for a range of needs.

Her work blends the sense of a perfumer with the knowledge of a historian and the devotion of an admirer. She has participated in panels for the fragrance business as an expert on natural essences and unique fragrances, and she has exhibited and taught natural Perfumery around the country.

8. Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy After

Mandy Aftel is recognized as a pioneer in the field of natural fragrances. She has advocated for the transformational power of scent for over two decades, obtaining the finest aromatic components from all over the world and producing handmade perfumes.

Fragrant offers a fascinating introduction to the history, natural history, and philosophy of scent in addition to imparting the fundamentals of scent literacy and offering recipes for simple-to-make fragrances and useful, edible, and drinkable concoctions that show the creative potential of working with and savoring aroma.

9. Cult Perfumes: The World’s Most Exclusive Perfumeries Book by Tessa Williams

Cult Perfumes is the first book to examine the most prestigious boutique perfumeries creating some of the most alluring aromas in existence. Tessa Willlams highlights more than 25 perfumeries and brands, from the Dominican fathers who founded Santa Maria Novella pharmacy in Florence in 1221 to the traditional Floris English firm, to the new personal line developed by renowned scent specialist Roja Dove. 

With a brief illustrated introduction to the history of perfume-making and profiles on historic fragrances and the so-called “noses” that keep the firms in touch with the season’s hottest aromas.

10. Perfume: In Search of Your Signature Scent by Neil A. Chapman

This book is an incredible delight to go through whether you are a scent freak or not. To help you choose a perfume you not only like, but love and treasure as “your” characteristic aroma, fragrances of every kind, Neil have presented “note by note” in clearly defined categories. 

With more than 700 smells, including antique fragrances, department store classics, rarities, and specialized boutique fragrances, this book is a real gateway into the exquisite world of perfume. Yet, the author somehow succeeds in making even this fragrance novice understand the fundamentals of how perfume affects memory, the skin, and ideas.

11. The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur by Jean Claude Ellena

Jean describes himself as a writer utilizing “olfactory colors” and asserts that producing a smell is similar to creating a piece of art. He also discusses how all five senses are utilized when creating a perfume. This book’s levity and clarity offer us a thorough understanding of his life as a parfumeur. 

The character of Ellena comes to life in the book as a complicated and unsettling mash-up of the typical French sophisticate and a decrepit relic of a bygone period. However, his artistic qualifications are flawless. 

12. The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro 

The profound influence of memory and aroma, as well as the complicated and passionate relationship between muse and artist, are explored in The Perfume Collector. The story Grace discovers spans decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London. Moreover, it is the tale of a remarkable woman who served as an inspiration to one of Paris’s best perfumers. 

These perfumes, however, are unique since they give not only a lovely scent but also unique aromas associated with certain experiences. You may nearly drown in the narrative’s beauty because of how heavily it is infused with the interconnected perfume concept. It is a well-told story that is highly engaging.

13. The Scent Keeper: A Novel by Erica Bauermeister

The Scent Keeper A Novel by Erica Bauermeister

Her father brought up Emmeline in isolation from the rest of civilization on a lonely island. He is, to put it politely, fascinated with smells. He has a device that produces various fragrances, and he has a ton of them kept in their home. 

Emmeline’s sense of something other being out there grows as she ages, but because of her upbringing, she is utterly unprepared when certain events force her into the actual world. The secret keeper is a book about the sense of smell and how it can take us to different places, jog our memories, and serve as a reminder of significant occasions in our lives.

14. What The Nose Knows by Avery Gilbert

We are fascinated by the sense of smell in all of its manifestations, including how it may trigger memories, alter our moods, and affect our actions. But as it is the least understood sense, misconceptions about it are common. 

The author of this book debunks these urban myths by tracing their historical development to learn what is (and is not) known about human sense of smell. He highlights fallacious reasoning and provides a diverse bibliography to back up his claims. These tales are told funnily by an individual who has lived through it all.

15. Coming to My Senses: A Story of Perfume, Pleasure, and an Unlikely Bride by Alyssa Harad 

When all of her carefully thought-out ambitions have failed, Alyssa Harad comes onto a site that reviews perfume. But, of course, she doesn’t use perfume as other women do. She reads, though, and it seems like a magic trick that she can use words to describe a scent that is evaporating in the air. In the evaluations, perfume is associated with a location, a person, or a historical event. 

She needs a fresh narrative, and perfume provides it. So Harad travels down the mysterious smell trail, unraveling and deepening her concept of gender, femininity, pleasure, and identity along the way, from a secret museum of rare essences in Austin, Texas, to the opulent fragrance boutiques of Manhattan, and eventually to a homecoming in Boise, Idaho. 

Bonus: Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Tom Robbins is a very famous American novelist. Jitterbug perfume is one of his most famous works, which was published in 1984. Jitterbug Perfume starts in the ancient Bohemian woodlands. It is also a saga. This story’s hero is a janitor searching for a lost bottle. 

The bottle has a goat-horned god’s picture stamped on it and is blue. It is also really ancient. There are just a few drops left in the bottle, so if the liquid within really contains the secret essence of the cosmos as some people seem to believe, it had best be discovered quickly. It is definitely an interesting read for especially if you are a beginner to the perfume industry.


It can appear to budding perfumers that there is an overwhelming amount of information in the perfume world. Still, these books are recommended for their balanced coverage of the history of perfume and its commercial development. They detail the ingredients used in preparing a perfect perfume through to the practices used today and how people are using scents to create their identities through perfumes. 

In the end, there are many great books on perfume. You need to know where to look (and in this article, we’ve tried to help you find them). To help you narrow down your options, we recommend reading a few online reviews or ratings of the different titles, checking out online testimonials from current readers, and asking yourself what kind of information you’re looking for in a book on perfume. 

For everyone else, we hope that this article has been helpful. We have done our best to bring this information together in one place—we hope you think it was worth it!


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