Perfumes have a lot to say about the time they were created in. As artefacts, they can tell us about a historical and social context, about the people who made them and those who wore them. Through the pages of this original book, Lizzie Ostrom, also known as Odette Toilette, takes us on a very pleasant tour of the 20th century: ten decades unfold through the prism of 100 perfumes. Some are legendary, others most of us have never even heard of some epitomize luxury, others are supermarket hallmarks. Yet each has a tale to tell.
Not quite an olfactory read – most compositions are merely evoked – this book brilliantly demonstrates that perfumes are so much more than what’s in the bottle. Whether you read it cover to cover or flutter around from Aromatics Elixir to Vol de Nuit, Jovan’s Musk Oil or Cool Water, it remains as well written and richly documented as it is fun and entertaining.
Perfume – a Century of Scents, Lizzie Ostrom, Pegasus Books Editions, December 2016, 384 pages, $26.95
This review has been published in Nez, the olfactory magazine – #03 – The Sex of Scent. This issue is available on www.nez-editions.us for North America and on the Auparfum Shop for other countries.