In Search of Your Signature Scent

Good Reads – Perfumery Books We Recommend

By Amy Derungs

February 1, 2021

Perfumery is a complex, interesting and ever evolving subject. We have gathered here a list of 15 varied books on the topic that you may be interested in. Hope that you enjoy these perfumery books - have a look, some are free! 

open book with roses

1. Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent

By Mandy Aftel, Winner of the 2016 Perfumed Plume Award.
The “Alice Waters of American natural perfume” ( and author of the Art of Flavor celebrates our most potent sense, through five rock stars of the fragrance world. One of the highly recommended reads!

2. Perfume Accords

This perfumery book contains masses of perfume and fragrance accords ideal for the perfumer. Containing Hesperidic facet accords, Aromatic accords, Sensual narcotic accords, Floral accords, Gourmand accords, Green facet accords, Gresh spicy facet accords, Hot spicy facet accords, Moss facet accords, Wood facet accords, Soft balsamic facet accords, and much much more.


3.  Design Your Own Perfume: Learn the Ancient Art of Natural Perfumery

Learn how to make Perfume with
Inspire your imagination as you create your own personal bespoke perfume!

Highly recommended among our list of perfumery books!

By reading this book you may get some ideas on how to make your own perfume from essential oils.


4. The Chemistry of Fragrances

Ever wondered how perfumes are developed? Or why different scents appeal to different people? The Chemistry of Fragrances 2nd Edition offers answers to these questions, providing a fascinating insight into the perfume industry, from the conception of an idea to the finished product. It discusses the technical, artistic and commercial challenges of the perfume industry in an informative and engaging style, with contributions from leading experts in the field.

5. The Best Super Simple Homemade Perfumes

From today on say goodbye to all the chemicals and bad side effects from store-bought perfumes and start making homemade perfumes. You can create long-lasting perfume blends and with few experiments, you might get just the one you like the most.

This is a must-have from our list of recommended books!


6. Handbook of Essential Oils

Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications presents the development, use and marketing of essential oils. Exciting new topics include insecticidal applications, but there is a continued focus on the chemistry, pharmacology and biological activities of essential oils.

7. A Guide to the History of Perfume

This perfumery book contains classic material dating back to the 1900s and before. The content has been carefully selected for its interest and relevance to a modern audience. Carefully selecting the best articles from their collection they have compiled a series of historical and informative publications on the subject of model engineering. Each publication has been professionally curated and includes all details on the original source material.

8. Essence & Alchemy: Natural History of Perfume

For centuries people have taken instinctive pleasure in rubbing scents into their skin, using them to pray, to heal, and to make love and war. Yet in many ways perfumery, with its creative and sensual possibilities, is a lost art. In Essence and Alchemy, Mandy Aftel unearths a forgotten world of natural essences and its profound resonance with body, mind, and spirit.

A highly recommended book to read!


9. Perfume: In Search of Your Signature Scent

A beautifully made scent can encapsulate a particular feeling, transport you to a very specific time in life with clarity, or remind you of a special loved one or friend. And just like wearing your favorite outfit or shoes, your favorite perfume can make you feel invincible. The question is, how do you find such a creation? With the number of new releases steadily increasing, it can be bewildering even attempting to find a perfume you like, let alone love.

This book will guide you in your search for the right perfume - it is an absolute must-have for all who love perfume. Highly recommended!

10. The Diary of a Nose: A Year in the Life of a Parfumeur

The Diary of a Nose

A lovely little perfumery book which is in the form of a diary written by Jean Claude Ellena, the renowned perfumer at Hermes. It gives a peek into the world of a top perfumer living in the hills above Grasse.

One thing to add here is that most industry perfumers do not have a life like Jean Claude who at Hermes is given creative license and not restricted to hundreds of briefs or deadlines so it does paint a rather more romantic picture than is reality for most.

11. The Secret of Chanel No. 5

This is a brilliant idea of the author’s, to do a biography not of a person or an event, but to look at the 20th century through the prism of this one very special perfume. It’s the biography of “Chanel No. 5” and its creators, Coco Chanel and the two brothers, Pierre and Paul Wertheimer, who bought the licence to make it. And the perfumer who actually created it for Coco Chanel.

It’s about Coco Chanel’s rise from an impoverished village existence, it’s a partial history of World War II, it’s a history of perfume and its golden era. It’s a brilliant arc of the 20th century. It’s about how the perfume went from being just something women dabbed behind their ears to a symbol of impossible luxury and glamour.

Catherine Deneuve as the face of “Chanel No. 5” created a mystique around it. It was brilliant to have her as the iconic face of this iconic perfume.

12. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin

Do you have a passion for natural essential oils? Then this is a must-have book.

Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin contains practical descriptions of available materials, their origin, production and processing, appearance, odor and flavor type, evaluation, application and availability with brief notes on their main constituents, replacements and most common adulterants.

This unique treatise is divided into two parts. The first is a clear set of definitions and processing methods that are used to isolate the natural products described in this perfumery book. The second part, which is the meat of this text, is a series of more than 500 monographs on crude and processed perfume and flavor materials of natural origin including both vegetable and animal-based products. Examples of materials contained in this text are items of rare usage such as agarwood oil, flouve isolates and civet products for the perfumer and horseradish oil, lemon petitgrain oil to tagetes oil for the flavorist.

In addition all of the commonly used natural materials can be found in the text. An appendix contains a table on the tonnage of world production over the 1955 1959 period for a number of important raw materials. Also found is a series of 88 groupings listing classification of aromas for the perfumer and warm-woody, balsamic-spicy-notes for the flavorist to carnation-like for the perfumer and fresh peppery and warm for the flavorist.

13. The Essence of Perfume

Highly recommended perfumery book: The Essence of Perfume is the first book by the world's only Professeur de Parfums, and it is as captivating as it is informative.

Beginning with a comprehensive discussion of the sense of smell and the materials of the master perfumer, The Essence of Perfume goes on to celebrate the great classics (from Guerlain's Shalimar and Vol de Nuit, to Chanel's No 5 and Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps), the makers who brought them to life and the designers who gave them shape.

In an age where the methods and motivations of the original perfumers are all but forgotten, Roja Dove unfolds the gripping story of scent with all the passion and devotion of a true artist.

14. The Art and Science of Perfume

A gorgeously photographed, behind-the-scenes look at a secretive multi-billion-dollar-a-year industry, based on the timeless powers of fragrance. 100 color photos are in this perfumery book.

Discover the secrets of perfumery - one of our highly recommended books!

15. The Smell Culture Reader

Smell is fundamental to experience but mired in paradox. Stigmatized as animalistic, it nonetheless feeds a vast fragrance and marketing industry.

Considered ephemeral, scents have survived throughout the ages in a number of religious practices. The Smell Culture Reader provides a much-needed overview of what is arguably the most elusive sense. From hygiene to aromatherapy, the fetid to the fragrant, smells are shown to be much more than just an adornment or a nuisance.

This perfumery book address this engaging sense in redolent detail, The Smell Culture Reader demonstrates how essential smell is to sexuality, social status, personal identity, and cultural tradition.