ptg 1994 cover.png

Currently available in paperback, via Amazon.

"This book was written in what was, for me, a time of darkness. But it didn’t feel in the least dark when I wrote it, and still doesn’t. Literary critics and biographers, faced with works stacked on one side of their table and a timeline of events on the other side, often try to fit one to the other and end up like kids pushing together rail arcs of different curvature to make an electric train track, ending up with a spot that punctually derails things. 

In reality, work is often a refuge from events, not a mirror. " —Luca Turin, from the Foreword

The Original Guide

In 1992, fired from his CNRS job and told to leave France after blowing the whistle on a major scientific fraud, Luca Turin found himself between research jobs, living in his mother's Paris apartment, with time on his hands. It was then that he decided to do as his friends had suggested and write a book about perfume. 

The resulting slim volume, Parfums le guide, captured for the first time, in a way no book on the subject had ever done, the pleasures of great perfume and the disappointments of bad. It connected these olfactory creations to the wider culture: fashion, design, music, literature, history. And it did so in a highly idiosyncratic, vivid, memorable prose.

The publication of this book led to Turin's entry to the fragrance industry, where his observations led him to the vibration theory of olfaction and the biological mechanism he proposed to explain it. Yet while the book was quoted thoroughly in Chandler Burr's The Emperor of Scent, sparking intense interest in Turin's perfume writing as well as his scientific theory, the original guide has remained out of print for 25 years, untranslated until now.

This bilingual French-English edition includes both the original text and the first authorized English translation, by Tania Sanchez, as well as a highly personal new foreword by Luca Turin.

Buy the book:


Amazon UK