This is like the BEST National Geographic book ever! I learned so much about perfume like why Coco Chanel's Number 5 is so expensive... because French jasmine sells for $12,000 a pound. There is only one French Jasmine field left and if that field gets industrialized or turned into a parking lot, the scent of French Jasmine will disappear from the face of the earth forever.Roses are so delicate and must be picked in the early morning They must be picked in early morning when their scent is most powerful, before the sun has opened their petals. They must be distilled within 12 hours in a copper vat by passing hot steam over them. It takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose oil making rose one of the most costly essential oils and literally worth more than its weight in gold.The most intriguing and memorable chapter is the one in which we follow the author on a journey to the Costa Rican rain forest in search of new scents. I learned that the scent of an ant when smashed smells like spicy mint. They have a machine called a headspace which captures the fragrance molecules which can be recreated synthetically in a lab. This scent of crushed ant shows up in Michael Jordan's cologne!lisa_emily
This book grew out of a National Geographic article, and it read like an an extended one. It has breezy, informative style, the chapters are good size chunks which allow you to inhale an aspect of the perfume business and history. it covers alot of ground from Coco Chanel 5 to the flowers fields of Grasse, to the fashion industry-business hoopla of it all. Beautiful huge photos accompany the writing.