by Jennifer Peace Rhind
This is a lovely and practical book about using the sense of smell in a mood enhancing or even spiritual context. There is practical information about 'educating the nose' and the assertion that this skill is not just for the perfumer.
The book is written by an author who understands the science of scent and is able to explain it in easily digestible language so that the complete beginner can understand the information. It goes into the Japanese art of koh-do; the way of incense, as well as a variant called kumikoh.
The vocabulary of the perfumer is explained in simple terms with the similarity of terms that come from music, even suggesting that some combinations of odours equate with chords. We are told how scents can be associated with other sensory perceptions or memories and the different types of 'notes'.
There is some very interesting information on how odours interact with the brain and the text discusses the effects of certain combinations and the art of learning to discriminate between individual odorants. The importance of olfactory memory is also covered as well as the basics of the perfumer's ingredients.
There is a chapter on sensory exercises and a large, encyclopaedic section with detailed info on each scent within the separate odour families. This would be an excellent reference book for someone who practices the perfumer's art. Creative blending and how three or more scents combined will create a new aroma is clearly explained and in the third part of the book, exercises are suggested for how to study scent in its natural environment, such as walking in the woods.
There are several color plates and a chapter on teaching yourself to differentiate scents through cooking with herbs and spices. The extensive appendices provide more information on terms used throughout the book and on chemistry as well as building 'accords' and a glossary.
There is even a section in the back for suppliers in different countries and a scent index separate from the subject index as well as an author index.
Overall this is a very thorough and well-researched book that is also well presented. I would recommend it to anyone taking up the art of perfumery and it has much for the experienced perfumer as well. Easy 5 out of 5 stars.