Luca Turin is undoubtedly one of the most influential fragrance reviewers right now. A biophysicist by training, he has spent the more than two decades writing about fragrance and doing serious research in the field of smell (read about his Vibration Theory of Olfaction in The Emperor of Scent by Chandler Burr).
Currently, among other things, Luca Turin writes a column for Style Arabia where he reviews various fragrances that come his way. True to his style, he is brutally honest, bold and hugely entertaining.
Here are some of my favourite parts from the latest edition of his column Message in a Bottle, dated March 7, 2016.
On Aqua Alegoria Pera Granita by Guerlain
This Pera Granita is the sort of thing a 15-year old would wear to school, or an old-timer like myself would wear on a balcony overlooking the sea after a day at the beach: friendly, fizzy, fleeting, and altogether as inconsequential and cheerful as a fruit cocktail with an umbrella stuck in it.
On Immortelle Tribal by L’Atelier de Givenchy
Note: in this review Luca explains that sotolone is a synthetic molecule (the finest achievement of evolution as he calls it), which smell like curry. It is rarely used in fragrances because of its bold and shocking character.
Very few things are more powerful than sotolone. Spill a spoonful of the stuff in a fragrance lab and the company may have to relocate.
On La Vie est Belle EDP Intense by Lancome
Sixty-four unmemorable fragrances later (Poême was an exception, being memorably vile) we now reach La Vie est Belle, the fragrance equivalent of those female faces obtained by averaging hundreds of pretty mugshots until all distinctive features are gone. … Is she beautiful? Only in the sense of not being ugly.
On Ambre Eternel by Guerlain
…the dry, gray topnote that rises before you like a tall, ghostly apparition coming up through a stage trapdoor.
Read the full reviews of these fragrances at Style Arabia: Message in a Bottle: Luca Turing Reviews Guerlain, L’Atelier de Givenchy, and More.