Why Luca Turin stopped his quarterly updates to The Guide?


It is always a pleasure to speak with Luca, of course I did not ask him directly why he and Tania had stopped but rather I expressed how much I missed his reviews.

He told me that I could not imagine how boring and deluding it was to smell 2000 perfumes a year, 1500 of which were totally inept.

I imagine he would love to write epic reviews about great fragrances, about perfumes that would inspire to him new parables and analogies, that would make him imagine new words and concepts, that would allow him use his great culture to describe the subtle and strange harmonies of scents. Instead of that he became tired of always having to find new “vacheries” (nastinesses) for products of fine perfumery barely worthy of being shampoo fragrances.

“At least shampoo producers do not pretend to make fine perfumery, this is making a joke of the customers” he said.

“There is a new perfume called Scarlet, it is so ugly that I prefer to have tooth ache rather than smelling it”

“The perfumers have to deliver always cheaper perfumes at always shorter notice, such as 2 weeks, they have no idea at all”

“The industry cannot go ahead like this, something will happen.”

For those who love to read Luca and wonder why he stopped writing about perfumes, the answer is very simple, he has lost interest in the perfumes that are produced nowadays. Life being short, perfumes being just perfumes and love being greater, I think he found a better outlet to concretize his creative genius and to live intensely the moment.

Olfactory theories, Luca Turin speaks…

Two different olfactory theories. Do we smell the shapes or the vibrations of molecules?
Explained in a brilliant humoristic way by Luca Turin himself.

New essences from Australia

New essential oils are just arriving to me from Australia, Eco Sandalwood and Fire Tree.

Australian Sandalwood is precious to me as a substitute to Mysore Sandalwood. Not only a minor quantity is enough to have the top and heart note of Sandalwood in a fragrance, but it costs also a lot less than the Mysore.
It does not have the clean and very special drydown of the Mysore, but this is not very important because the delicate smell of the Mysore sandalwood dry down would be lost in most of the fragrances a perfumer can make, except if he were to use synthetic Santalol in heavy dose.
Australian Sandalwood is farmed, just like the Mysore, it’s availability is anyway limited but one may always buy a few hundred kilos if need be, while this would be very difficult with the Mysore. This is definitly an advantage for a natural perfumer who wants to be ready for big opportunities.
Australian Sandalwood contains more Farnesol than the Mysore, and this molecule can be allergenic, but this problem could appear only if it is used pure on his own.
The Eco Sandalwood does not come from cultivations but is obtained from dead branches of wild trees that are collected by the bushmen.
This Sandalwood essence has a more powerful and longer lasting fragrance, with a Sandalwood note even clearer than the conventional one.
The essence of Sandalwood, like those of many aromatic trees, becomes better with age. Apparently, the essence trapped in the old dead branches has done just that. We can consider then the Australian Eco Sandalwood as the vintage Australian Sandalwood

The Fire tree (Xanthorrhoea preissil) is an aromatic wood so loaded with essential oil that the bushmen use it as matches to light their fires. I have seen the same being done in Afghanistan, where fires are lighted with the oily perfumed Himalayan cedar wood. It burns with a black smoke as if it was soaked in gasoil.

The Fire tree has been defined by Luca Turin as “the most interesting smell of the last years”. It has a very sweet and strong fruity head smell, like apricot and myrtle. This notes goes on unchanged in the heart of the fragrance and it settles down after a day in a delicate and persistent woody fruity bottom smell.
It is indeed an interesting odor and it encounters a nearly universal positive appreciation. I am curious to present it to present it to the students at the next course, just to see how unprejudiced persons work with it.


By: Andrew
Hello AbdesSalaam Attar,
I found your blog a few weeks ago now and have been reading your articles, they are very informative! I was wondering if I could ask of your help? I am a 21 year old university student studying music in Australia. I have always been interested in cologne and perfume, and about 8 months ago I started going out with my current girlfriend Jennifer, whom I have had feelings for for years. She loves cologne, and as a gesture of my affection for her, I have started trying to make her her own unique scent. I have been researching for about 2 months now, and buying some essential oils here and there. I am starting to develop something that is..well…its ok, but I want to create something trully amazing…and something that will suit her. I understand you run a business from this so please dont think I am trying to obtain your knowledge for free or anything, more just if you can offer any words of advice at all? With no real knowledge of perfumery at all other than titbits of information on each essential oil that I can glean from the internet, it really is rather difficult. To make matters worse, Im keeping it a suprise, so I cant really ask her what oils she likes, other than trying to accidentally have them on me and see if she reacts positively to them (Im still amazed she believed the smell of clary sage was from me cooking eariler that day when I tried to judge if she would like it!)
This email is a bit disjointed sorry, Im actually in a bit of a rush to go into uni, I thought I shoudl send this now though or I will keep procrastinating and never get around to it. Thankyou for any advice you can offer at all 🙂

Andrew Galloway

By: AbdesSalaam Attar

Ciao Andrew,
you can get some recipes of traditional colognes from the book of Dussauce: