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Extra resources for A Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Greatest Scents

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But the Angel format, combining masculine and feminine, in nearly all cases still smells like Angel no matter what you use from columns A and B. Don’t fuss with pretenders. Buy the perverse, brilliant original, but wear it only if you know how to tell the joke properly. TS Après l’Ondée (Guerlain) heavenly heliotrope$$$ The advantages of working with a clean sheet of paper are priceless: see the perfection of the first Windsurfer, the first small jet airliner (the SE-210 Caravelle), and in this case (1906) the first serious heliotropin fragrance.

Spend an evening with Black and you will know that its place is with Bandit, Tabac Blond, and Cabochard among the great emancipated fragrances of all time. LT Bois des Iles (Chanel) sandalwood oriental$$$ Anyone who has ever worn real Indian sandalwood oil straight knows that it is a perfume in itself: milky, rosy, ambery, woody, green, marvelous. What Ernest Beaux’s plush Cuir de Russie did for leather, his cozy Bois des Iles did for sandalwood. Though I’ve never worn a sable stole, I insist it must feel like wearing Bois des Iles: a dark, close, velvety warmth, sleepy and collapsingly soft.

Now let women wear it for a decade or two. LT Cristalle (Chanel) citrus chypre $$ Fragrance taxonomist Michael Edwards, whose classification eclipses all others, puts Cristalle among the crisp citruses. This is unquestionably correct, but what makes Cristalle fascinating, like an intermediate life-form that shows evolution midway through morphing from one species to another, is that it also belongs somewhere in the green chypres (fresh mossy wood in Edwards’s scheme). Considered as a citrus, Cristalle is far too solemn.

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