Feature:

This year’s most beautiful gift book

Perfume Opium

If you’re looking for a gorgeous gift for the beauty junkie in your life, then look no further. Lizzie Ostrom (aka Odette Toilette) has selected 100 of the 20th Century’s most interesting and intriguing perfumes for her book, Perfume: A Century of Scents. There’s one for every year of the century, and her essays on each have a fascinating story to tell. Both witty and wonderful, this is the ideal book to dip in and out of for inspiration – and Dior would surely say ‘J’Adore’ its beautiful packaging (see what we did there?)

But don’t just take our word for it – here are some of Perfume‘s fabulous reviews:

‘Beautifully written and illustrated with a sumptuous cover, this would make a perfect gift’ Stylist

Perfume is a marvellous and illuminating romp… It is a wonderful, well-informed read and I loved it’ India Knight, Spectator 

‘Unlike the bulk of books written about perfume  – and I’ve read a lot  – it’s delightfully unstuffy and unpretentious (she describes Tabac, one of my personal favourites,  as being “the string vest of aftershaves” for example), making it as good a read for people with just a passing interest in fragrance as it is for perfumistas or  those who write about fragrance for a living. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read and a fantastic gift for Christmas too. Recommended.’ Grooming Guru

‘The difference between A Century of Scents and other perfume books I’ve bought over the years is that this one focuses as much, if not more, on the social history as it does the juice in the bottle. There is a scent from every year, not just classics – some are now history, but all with a story to tell…

Previous perfume books I’ve read have tended to be either over reverential towards the scent, or deliberately snarky about those not destined to be classics. Ostrom doesn’t really do either; she’s maybe extra enthusiastic about favourites (quite natural) but because of the focus on social history there’s more to talk about, more room for humour, and just a lot of enthusiasm for what is a fascinating subject. I love this book’  Desperate Reader

‘One of the most gorgeous covers this Christmas is Lizzie Ostrom’s Perfume: A Century of Scents, which selects ten scents for each decade of the twentieth century, delivering 100 fragrant stories.  This light-hearted read is the perfect non-fiction stocking filler for perfume aficionados and beauty lovers. And even if you don’t know your Chanel No.5 from your J’Adore, this book is simply too pretty to ignore.’ Culturefly’s Christmas gift selection

‘Lizzie Ostrom’s entertaining romp through a century of perfumes, ten per decade from 1900 to 1999… This book is as delectable an artefact as the product it describes…the perfect accompaniment to a bottle of J’Adore in your stocking’ Suzi Feay, Independent

‘A really enjoyable, fun book… a great stocking filler’ BBC Radio 2 Fact Not Fiction Book Club, The Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman

‘More social history than beauty book… the witty insights and fun, chatty style make this a lush treat or a gorgeous gift’ Alexandra Heminsley, The Debrief

‘I’ve read plenty of fashion history books charting the evolution of apparel over the twentieth century but never a narrative of perfume. This beautiful book chooses ten fragrances that captured the zeitgeist of each decade. We travel to the belle époque Paris and her court perfumers, to the 1980s corporate power perfumes, to the sugar-scented and celebrity perfumes of today. Smell, the most neglected of senses is also the one most closely linked to memory and emotion. Reading this lovely book certainly left me nostalgic. There were chapters on my first school-girl perfume, Body Shop’s White Musk, to the more daring scent of my university days, Opium.

Perfume expert, Lizzie Ostrom, aka Odette Toilette, looks at perfume within its cultural context, drawing on advertising, anthropology, psychology and even philosophy while remaining witty and warm. As a reader, you get a sense of pure passion for her subject’ Fashion Bookworm

Which of Lizzie’s selections is ‘wonderfully in your face with its bling, as though Liberace has come straight off the table from his latest facelift in a sequinned operating gown, ready to play his white piano even as the anaesthetic wears off’? Find out here

Perfume Packshots

Follow Lizzie @OdetteToilette and find out about her amazing olfactory events at www.odettetoilette.com

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Windmill is the online home of literary publishers Windmill Books, William Heinemann and Hutchinson. Part of Penguin Random House UK.