New Perfume Book Review~ “Perfume – Finding Your Signature Scent” by Neil Chapman

129F924E-FDD5-4922-B3F8-9E14685EB44DPhoto By Robert H©️2019


Neil Chapman’s “Perfume-In Search of Your Signature Scent” ~ New Perfume Guide

Neil Chapman’s brand new perfume guide hit the USA stands on April 2nd, and it should be considered required reading for anyone with a passion for fragrance.

Many of my perfume friends tend to congregate at the intersection of books & perfume.There are many things that sustain me personally throughout life, and fine perfume and books are in the top five. It seems that many perfumistas feel the same way; I cannot even begin to count the number of times I’ve been recommended and conversely recommended a new read amidst a fragrance conversation. So for me, a book about perfume, especially a book that is so thoroughly and beautifully composed is a no-brainer addition for my overstuffed book shelves.

Author Neil Chapman is the British Japan-based perfume blogger/English teacher and full time Tokyo flaneur behind the eminently readable “The Black Narcissus” blog now in its ninth year. Neil is a Jasmine Award (fragrance journalism) winner, Cambridge educated Italian and French literatus.

Presented in a hardbound edition; Chapman’s “Perfume-In Search Of Your Signature Scent” is a thing of beauty. Gilt-edged and fronted with an luminous gold and silver Art Deco embossed cover, this 280 page tome is flat-out delightful reading from start to finish.


Neil Chapman photo from authors collection

This is not a “I hate it/I love it” kind of guide; there are no stars or ratings but rather a collection of perfumes both vintage and contemporary that every perfume-lover should consider seeking out. It is rarely snarky but very funny none the less, to wit this short, succinct, and to the point description of Demeter’s Privet perfume….”For nude sunbathers and Peeping Toms.” Fragrances are demarcated by emotional style rather than traditional classification. So instead of headings like “Floral, Oriental, Chypre, Fougere etc…” we get “Flowers, Classics, Eros, Gourmand, Meditative, Anti-Perfume & Futuristic etc…” Most of my favorites are included, many with truly beautiful descriptions (Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue is an “orchestrally effusive, crepuscular, pressed-powder masterpiece with a Parisian plumed gauziness…”) And since fragrance is entirely subjective, and what Chapman may adore you might find mundane, fear not, Chapman’s musings and reviews are spot-on and you’d be hard-pressed to find better recommendations.

Perfume-In Search Of Your Signature Scent” is really not so much about finding a scent to call your own, but rather a joyous romp through perfumes, historical and contemporary, presented in a well-researched and witty style. It is singular, comprehensive, and I suspect that I and many others will be referring to it for years to come.

Available worldwide from April 2nd 2019 at fine booksellers and online sources. Kindle edition to follow. Thanks so much to Hardie Grant Publishers for the advance reading copy. The opinions are my own.
On Instagram: @fragrantwanderer #theblacknarcissus @neilcraigchapman @HardieGrantbooks @hardiegrantUK

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