Roja Dove “The Essence of Perfume”: Review & Giveaway

Book collecting is an obsession, an occupation, a disease, an addiction, a fascination, an absurdity, a fate. It is not a hobby. Those who do it must do it.” Jeanette Winterson

Roja Dove. Source: The Glass Magazine.

Roja Dove. Source: The Glass Magazine.

That quote about books might well apply to perfume, too. For those poor souls like myself who suffer from both forms of madness, there is a new temptation on the horizon: Roja Dove‘s “The Essence of Perfume.” It is a fantastic book with gorgeous photos ranging from exquisite old perfume bottles to vintage posters. Much more important, though, is the fact that it is incredibly informative with sections that would appeal to perfume lovers of all backgrounds and levels of expertise. From the history of perfumery to explanations of all the key raw materials, a detailed breakdown of perfumes by decade, and so, so much more, this is an incredibly useful book to own.

The Essence of Perfume originally debuted in 2008, but a completely updated, re-worked version has just been released in the U.K. and will launch worldwide in early/mid September. I will have a giveaway at the end of this post, giving one of you the chance to get an early copy, but the main purpose of this post is to explore The Essence of Perfume‘s contents in detail. One reason for that is because of my own reaction when first hearing about the book.

"Original presentation for Diorissimo in crystal and gilded bronze, by Baccarat. bottom: Original silk and mirror presentation housing Diorissimo." Text: The Essence of Perfume. Source: Roja Parfums.

“Original presentation for Diorissimo in crystal and gilded bronze, by Baccarat. Original silk and mirror presentation housing Diorissimo.” Text: The Essence of Perfume. Source: Roja Parfums.

In all honesty, I shrugged a little. “The Essence of Perfume” sounded fine and dandy, but nothing in the early press blurb that I read really piqued my interest. Part of the problem is that the last perfume coffee-table book I received as a present left me rather cold. Nice, glossy photos are all well and good, but… eh. Basic stuff on perfumery, or tiny, generic blurbs on some supposedly “cult” niche fragrances like Dipytique are not of great interest to me. And it seemed as though The Essence of Perfume would simply be a glossier, more luxe version of the same. Man cannot live on dessert alone, and the same holds true for photographs of perfume bottles or vintage perfume ads, no matter how nice they may be.

Then, I received a PDF file showing the actual contents of Roja Dove’s book… and everything changed. With every section I read, every photo I saw, I sat up a little higher. By the time I got to a glossary that mentioned synthetics, I was beaming, but the history section had me positively quivering with excitement. Fun factoids and interesting analysis filled this history addict’s heart with bliss. All of it, though, from start to finish was actually useful stuff! It wasn’t yet another book emphasizing appearance over content, or talking for the umpteenth time about Chanel bloody No. 5. This one had looks and brains. And it was a book that I actually did want to tell my readers about.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

So, let’s start at the beginning. A new press release for The Essence of Perfume (hereinafter just The Essence of Perfume, without quotes or italics) states:

The Essence Of Perfume by Roja Dove is the Master Perfumer’s definitive guide, offering a rare glimpse into the knowledge, passion, and creativity of a Master Perfumer. Since it was first launched, The Essence Of Perfume has become the benchmark text for perfumery worldwide, and is an indispensable industry reference for many professional fragrance organisations.

Championing true innovation and artistic flair, award-winning perfumer Roja Dove takes us on his own personal journey of scent, from his transformative childhood memories, to the creation of Roja Parfums; revealing scandals of the fragrance world printed here for the first time. Dove explains why it is essential to look to the past in order to create the future, asking ‘What Next?’ If Dove’s prediction is correct, perfumery is about to change forever.

Due to unprecedented global demand following the sell-out first book, this new edition features additional sections about the inspirations behind Roja Dove’s creations; new methods of extraction; a comprehensive list of the exotic raw materials of perfumery; and never-seen-before fragrance bottles. Highlighting classic male fragrances, this new book is one of the first to celebrate men’s perfumery in its own right.

Personally, I always like to see the content of a book with my own eyes, not just read a press description. Thanks to the assistance (and endless patience) of several people at Black Dog Publishing and Roja Parfums, I can give you glimpses into various different sections. By the end of this point, I think you will agree that The Essence of Perfume and its quality speak for themselves.

So, let’s start at the very beginning with the book’s Table of Contents, and then I’ll take you through the various sections:

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

One of the very useful things about The Essence of Life is Roja Dove’s visually clear explanation of the procedures used to create the foundational building blocks for a fragrance. Here are a few of the straightforward, easy-to-understand graphics that are part of a larger discussion in Chapter 2, “The Methods of Extraction“:

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Whether you are just starting out in perfumery or someone are with greater knowledge, I think you would enjoy Roja Dove’s ingredients glossary with its succinct explanations of all the raw materials. And, he doesn’t just talk about the basics like rose, iris, or jasmine, either. He also covers synthetics as well. Here is a look at some of the pages in Chapter 3:

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Perhaps you’re like me and suffer with small print on websites, so feel free to click on those images to launch them separately onto another page in order to read the text a little more clearly. In the meantime, here are a few blurbs to give you an idea of what the ingredients glossary is like:

Cypriol Essential Oil is obtained from a form of papyrus, Cyperus scariosus, which grows in Bengal, India, and Australia. The oil is obtained from a rhizome, which offers a very low yield of between 0.075 to 0.080 per cent, which is why it is rarely used in perfumery. One of the principal components is a Natural Isolate known as Cyperine. It has a very warm, diffusive, woody, mossy odour which is highly reminiscent of Patchouli with undertones of Vetiver, Saffron, Cedarwood, and Olibanum.

Jasmine is one of the most important of all materials used in perfumery. The one generally grown is known as Jasminum grandiflorum. It is at once rich, sensual, fruity, warm, narcotic, flowery and animalic. The finest and most highly prized Jasmine comes from Grasse. It was first introduced in the mid-sixteenth century and known simply as ‘the flower’. The microclimate there gives Grasse Jasmine a distinctive odour, which sets it apart from any other variant. Sadly, there are very few fields left in cultivation, as the price of land tempts the owners to sell for development, which is safer than relying on nature for an income. When combined with the labour costs required to produce a kilogram of this legendry amber-coloured liquid, it makes production generally untenable. It takes some 1,200 kilograms, or five million blossoms, each picked by hand, to produce a kilo of the Absolute. If you think a best picker can only pick around six kilograms of Jasmine a day, then each kilogram of Absolute requires 200 days of labour. Jasminum sambac offers a less refined oil.

Every type of Jasmine contains a naturally occurring molecule called Indole which is also present in high amounts in all the animal notes. Jasmine from Grasse contains the highest concentration of Indole out of all the Jasmines, which is why any perfumer lucky enough to be able to use it will pay between two and two and a half times the price of gold bullion for the pleasure. Like many flowers, the blossoms must be picked at dawn, as the amount of oil they contain diminishes with each passing moment as the sun rises. [Emphasis to names with bolding added by me.] 



Lavender Essential Oil is highly distinctive, offering a fresh, sweet naturalness to a composition. Although it sounds unlikely, it used to be grown commercially around Croydon, where production was established by the early sixteenth century, and one of the finest in the world used to come from Mitcham. Today, some of the best Lavender comes from a region near Grasse. It should not be confused with inferior Lavandin, which grows freely all over the South of France.

There are four main types of Lavender:
— Lavender augustifolia, which is known as Garden Lavender or True Lavender. It is used in fine perfumery.
— Lavender latifolia, also known as Spike Lavender, has a more campheraceous feel and is not as refined as Lavender augustifolia. It grows profusely across the Mediterranean.
— Lavender intermedia, also known as Lavandin, or Bastard Lavender, is even courser.
— Lavender stoechas, commonly called French Lavender, grows across France, Spain, and Portugal. It is highly diffusive and highly campheraceous with a pronounced
rosemary-like odour. [Emphasis to names added by me.]

The lavender of my nightmares, in XXL! Photo: my own.

The lavender of my nightmares, in XXL size! And, yes, this is the actual “Bastard Lavender” or Lavandin. Photo: my own.

I don’t know about you, but this lavender-phobe had no idea that there was a variety called “Bastard Lavender.” From this point forth, I may refer to all sorts of lavender as a “bastard,” no matter how factually incorrect that may be, simply because I think the name is hilarious. It’s a priceless tidbit that made me even more determined to buy “The Essence of Perfume” when it hits these shores. Bastard Lavender, indeed!

Now, a random look at some of the entries in the synthetics section:

Natural Isolates are obtained by removing one small olfactory element from a natural scented oil. The easiest way to think of it is to think of an egg — if you mix it whole, you can produce an omelette, whereas if you separate, or isolate, the yolk from the white, you can make meringue, or custard. By performing an isolation, the elements offer a totally different effect than the whole. Nature is bounteous; Jasmine alone contains some 900 different component parts, or potential isolates. At present, we are able to isolate around 300 of them. Every now and then, a new isolate is discovered which is so important it can totally change the direction of perfumery creation, which was the case with Dihydrojasmonate, first used by the perfumer Edmond Roudnitska in Dior’s Eau Sauvage. This material smells fresh and citrus-like but, as it comes from Jasmine, is long-lasting and does not have the typical fleeting effect of hesperidic notes — it was every perfumer’s dream. Today, Dihydrojasmonate is included in more compositions than not. [Emphasis to names added by me.]

Civetone is the main Natural Isolate of Civet. Today, it is recreated synthetically and will give warm sensuality, but it needs to be used in very small quantities as it can smell faecal in larger doses.

Coumarin is the main component of Tonka Oil. It is one of the Natural Isolates which heralded the birth of modern perfumery in 1882. It has a warm, almond-like odour which is essential in the creation of Oriental and Fougère harmonies.

The Natural Isolate found in Rose, which gives a long-lasting fruity rose note to a composition. Trademarked by Firmenich.

Isobutyl Quinoline is an important synthetic material which conveys an uncompromising animalic, leathery note.

Methylbenzodioxepinone is the synthetic that gives the olfactory impression of the fresh seashore through its marine/ozone nuances. It is exceptionally intense, overpowering and, in my opinion, insidious; it needs to be handled with care. The ‘sea-breeze’ note with slight floral overtones enabled the proliferation of the Oceanic Accord, albeit that it smells very watermelon-like. Tradenamed by Pfizer as Calone.

Once he’s explained the methodology and ingredients, Roja Dove then proceeds to talk about the perfumer, the birth of modern perfumery, and the great classics. In Chapter 4, he begins by explaining the various types of fragrance families, the nature of perfume pyramids, the different concentrations of perfume, and much more.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Oriental Family. Source: Roja Parfums.

Some key materials in the Oriental family. Source: Roja Parfums.

What I think is useful for beginners (and for those interested in making their own scents) is Roja Dove’s explanation of why perfumes within a particular fragrance family are made the way that they are. Take, for example, his discussion of the Chypre:

As the perfumer’s knowledge of oils develops, they will start to learn the basic harmonies of perfumery. Certain materials blend well together and form the basis of many structures that have been used for more than a century. For example, the dry warm earthiness of Oakmoss blends perfectly with other dry, woody, mossy materials like Vetiver, Cedarwood, and Patchouli. They are so deep and earthy, however, that they usually need something to counter-point them without smelling unbalanced — this is traditionally done through the inclusion of Bergamot.

Slowly, he takes you through the reasons or ways that the perfume’s note pyramid impacts how a fragrance smells. For example:

Generally, fragrances are split into three primary sections that are referred to as a ‘top’, ‘heart’, and ‘base’. It is perhaps easier to understand this division if one imagines the top being split into two parts (the top and the head), the heart remaining as one part, and the base being split into two parts (the base and the deep base). Therefore, fragrance creation is perhaps best understood as being split into five sections altogether (see illustration). It is essential to bear in mind the evaporation curve or timeline running alongside this structure.

When a fragrance is first applied, the initial impression of its odour is affected by the materials of the composition in the top. These are nearly always citrus notes, which happen to be the most universally loved of all materials. They have a very different olfactory feel to the aromatic materials found in the head. Likewise, the oils which make up the base and deep base have marked olfactory fingerprints that separate them and determine both the family and category, as well as the lasting quality of the creation. Each of these ingredients fall into certain groupings which we refer to as the Facets. The Facets can then be combined to create what we refer to as the Families. For example, when a fragrance’s most dominant Facets are the Moss and Wood Facets then the fragrance family will be a Chypré.

Ancient Egyptians wearing perfume cones on the head. Source:

Ancient Egyptians wearing perfume cones on the head. Source:

One of my favorite parts of the book was the historical discussion in Chapter 5. It is entitled “The Birth of Modern Perfumery,” and begins with the ancient Egyptians and the Middle East, before working its way from the Roman invasion of Britain to the Age of Enlightenment. It’s filled with lots of fun factoids that made this history junkie sit up and take notice. For example, did you know that Cleopatra “was probably one of the most avid fragrance worshippers of all time?” Roja Dove writes:

She used so much scent on the sails of her barges it was said that her approach could be detected miles downstream — which begs the question, did men really fall at her feet because of her beauty or were they intoxicated and beguiled by the amount of scent she wore?

Civet. Source:

Civet. Source:

Then, there is the possibility that King Charles I of England may inadvertently have been responsible for the start of civet in perfumery. I had no idea, so I amused myself for a few minutes thinking of alternative history hypotheses about how the stench of a civet-drenched London may have resulted in the monarch’s eventual beheading and the subsequent rule of Oliver Cromwell. No, it didn’t actually happen that way, but it was an amusing thought nonetheless. What Roja Dove tells us actually occurred is this:

Whilst scenting the body was accepted by the wealthy, washing was viewed with scepticism by the masses, a fact that was compounded in 1630 when Charles I introduced an excise duty on soap, making the stench from the unwashed so strong that fashionable gentlemen found that Civet was the only smell which would mask it. Thus, the civet cat became the sign of the perfumer’s shop in Britain.  […][¶]

Civet Paste could be purchased easily in Britain from chemists as early as the seventeenth century, and by the eighteenth century it was the essential must-have for any fashionable gentleman. It is interesting to think that Civet, with its inherent faecal odour, was the scent of choice for the discerning gentleman. It is most likely the only material that was able to mask the rank stench of the pervasive and bestial emanations of London and those who inhabited it.

From the 17th century, Roja Dove slowly works his way to Mouchoir Pour Monsieur in 1904, Tabac Blond, and all the 20th century greats, then proceeds by decade until it reaches Narcisco Rodriguez‘s For Her in 2003. (It ends there, alas.) I have to admit, my attention was fixated on the 1990s page which showed Diana, then Princess of Wales, in that iconic little black dress:

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Many of us are suckers for a pretty bottle or evocative advertising, but I think they really knew how to do it in the old days, as some of these photos from the Great Classics section in Chapter 6 demonstrate:

Rochas Ad. Source: Roja Parfums.

Rochas Ad. Source: Roja Parfums.

L'Origan Ad: Source: Roja Parfums.

L’Origan Ad: Source: Roja Parfums.

Old Jicky bottle. Source: Roja Parfums.

The original bottle for Jicky. Source: Roja Parfums.

In Chapter 7, Roja Dove goes on to talk about the various perfume houses, providing mini-biographies of such key figures as Hubert de Givenchy, Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli, Coty, Guerlain, and everyone else who ever mattered in perfumery. Yet, he doesn’t talk solely about the early 20th century couturiers or the big maisons. He covers everyone: jewellers like the original Bulgari, Cartier, and Chopard; living designers like Calvin Klein, Thierry Mugler, and Ralph Lauren; and beauty houses like Revlon, Prescriptives, and Clinique.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Black Dog Publishing.

Source: Roja Parfums.

Source: Roja Parfums.

The Essence of Perfume isn’t only about the past, but tries to look forward as well. Chapter 10, entitled “What’s Next?” looks at where we were, what has changed in the present, and what may lie ahead.

Roja Dove. Source:

Roja Dove. Source:

One bit which I particularly enjoyed was Roja Dove’s frankness in talking about the effects of marketing, branding, high turn-over, and commercialisation in destroying classic perfumery. I was positively gleeful and cheering as he slams them all — from the “large multi-national conglomerates, including detergent manufacturers” which have dominated the industry, to perfumes that are put out with just as much care as “produce in a supermarket” :

The industry has always been amoebic, and currently is in the midst of a major reinvention. What had always been considered a luxury item, with that certain je ne sais quoi, no longer reflects poise and refinement. It has been cheapened over recent years as the industry was slowly bought up by large multi-national conglomerates, including detergent manufacturers, who saw that it was possible to make a quick buck by creating scents utilising the marketing models that work so well to launch household brands. [¶]

Where once originality and creativity were the driving forces behind each new scent, now it was all about spin and marketing budgets so persuasive they forced classical perfumery to its knees. The financial power of ‘the brand’ was so strong that all that was important was the marketing image — the scent was almost secondary. Where once it was normal for a perfumer to spend a year, or years, on a creation, now they are sometimes, literally, only given weeks, as scents are often stacked up high and sold cheap, more akin to produce in a supermarket. The ingredients used to create these fragrances are inexpensive, relying heavily on synthetic chemical materials rather than beautiful quality naturals which had been the mainstay of fine perfumery creation. The net results are odours which are both monolithic and lacking in any form of subtlety or refinement, or are vapid, lacking in originality or staying-power. [Paragraph break inserted by me to make it visually easier for you.]

All in all, The Essence of Perfume is wonderfully comprehensive, informative, and wide-ranging in focus. I found it thoroughly engrossing to read, though I do admit that I wasn’t quite so interested in the chapter on gorgeous old perfume bottles. For me personally, it felt like an exercise in masochism. Stunning works of art, one after another, after another, but all out of reach forever. It was a little frustrating, and since I’m far more interested in history than in perfume bottles (yes, I know I’m strange), I merely skimmed that section as a result. Another thing is that I would have preferred a much less “nutshell” approach to many of the biographies in Chapter 7 and an update to the decades section post-2003, but I suppose that is my own obsession with details speaking.

Norlimbanol. Source:

Norlimbanol. Source:

I only have one real criticism for the book: the Raw Materials chapter should have covered more aromachemicals. It’s obvious that aldehydes will be discussed, but if you’re going to mention Calone, then why not discuss ISO E Supercrappy? There are so many fragrances with that blasted ingredient, it’s almost impossible to list them all. Surely, ISO E Super is more common and widely used than the uber-expensive Irone? Yes, Eugenol is major, and yes, it is interesting to know about two types of civet synthetics, but what about one of the many “ambers,” like Ambermax? Then there is Norlimbanol which is in at least six, very expensive, famous fragrances that I can think of just off the top of my head. Even more common perhaps: Cashmeran, Safraleine, or one of the many Mysore sandalwood replacements (Ebanol, Javanol, Sandalore, etc.). These are all notes that I’ve encountered repeatedly in the oriental genre. (Just last week, in fact, in the case of Cashmeran and the new Serge Lutens).

Ebanol via Givaudan.

Ebanol via Givaudan.

The list did not need to be exhaustive, but I think The Essence of Perfume should have dug deeper into the subject in order to educate readers about both the extent and the nature of the strong aromachemicals used so frequently today. Some of those ingredients may not be a big part of Roja Parfums (thank God), but the average perfumista starts out with very different fragrances, even in the ostensibly “niche” world. Talking about something like ISO E Super or the more hardcore synthetics would have helped anyone who has ever smelled: a Montale fragrance (Aoud Lime is the olfactory equivalent of Chernobyl); the ridiculously over-priced aromachemical bombs put out by designer houses (YSL‘s Noble Leather, I’m thinking of you in particular); all the celebrity scents (the Olsen twins’ much vaunted, ridiculously hyped Black had me curling my lip at its synthetics); or any number of popular, commercial, mainstream fragrances. Regardless of price, almost everyone who has tried a “sandalwood” fragrance is bound to have encountered Ebanol or its kin at least a few times without knowing. Someone needs to educate people about what they’re actually smelling, and who better than Roja Dove with this book? It seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity not to do so. However, other than that one issue, I thought the coverage in The Essence of Perfume was really stellar.

Sculpture for Caron's Narcisse Noir. Source: Roja Parfums.

Sculpture for Caron’s Narcisse Noir. Source: Roja Parfums.

Some of you may own the original “Essence of Perfume,” so I thought I’d spend a moment talking about how the new edition differs. First, I’ve been told that the book has been completely redesigned and reorganized, while existing chapters have been updated, expanded upon, or revised. Roughly 70 pages of content has been added, so “The Essence of Perfume” has grown from 272 pages to 352 pages. Second, a lot of the illustrations, photos, or graphics have been updated. Third, a lot of new images have been added, many of them exclusive to this book. Some of the other changes include:

  • A new chapter devoted solely to the creation of Roja Parfums.
  • In the “Great Classics” section, I’ve been told that almost every entry has new images, while each decade now has a men’s fragrance section detailing the important masculine scents in that time period.
  • Each fragrance discussed now comes with updated text and photos of the very first, original bottle in which it was sold, as well as the contemporaneous poster of the time. For more significant fragrances, the entire advertising campaign has been included and/or discussed.
  • The Bottle Makers chapter has been fully redesigned and substantially expanded, with exclusive photos of the original bottles.
  • The Bibliography has been expanded, while the Index has been updated.

The Essence of Perfume costs £29.95 and $39.95. It was released last week in the U.K., and should be available at a few different sites. (See the Details section at the very end.) It will launch in the U.S. and probably world-wide in early to mid-September.

Roja Dove. Source:

Roja Dove. I think he’s sniffing Lubin’s L’Océan Bleu, by Baccarat, 1925. I only recognize that bottle as a result of reading his book. Photo source:


Thanks to the generosity of Roja Parfums and Black Dog Publishing, I have a giveaway for one copy of The Essence of Perfume. Before I get to those details, however, I want to thank several people for their assistance with this article. All these photos, details, and descriptions that I’ve been able to share with you are due solely to their efforts. First, I really have to thank Camille at Black Dog Publishing, especially for putting up with my endless requests over the last few weeks for “More! I need MORE!” She has the patience of a saint and helped me out enormously, especially since I couldn’t simply pull things from an Adobe Acrobat PDF and needed everything to be sent in JPEG files for uploading. (I am completely Adobe-incompetent.)

Second, I’d like to thank two gentlemen at Roja Parfums, Messieurs Jack Cassidy and Jack Hewitt. They generously offered their time and their assistance when I was starting to get twitchy about not having enough specifics about the smallest of things. They answered my questions with endless grace. Mr. Hewitt went out of his way to get me JPEGs of any pages I was interested in, and then offered some more! All three have my deepest gratitude for their extensive assistance, and also my deepest apologies for being such a bloody nuisance! (None of you can really imagine just how many questions I’ve submitted to these poor people.)

Lastly, I wanted to thank Roja Dove himself for his generosity, but also to let him know that I really learnt quite a lot from “The Essence of Perfume.” The history part was the best! If I ever meet him, I plan on asking every question imaginable about Cleopatra’s perfume obsession. I also want to know: where he discovered that the expression “keeping at bay” stemmed from the Romans’ introduction of bay leaves into the ancient Britons’ bath and toiletry habits; if the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I, wore anything other than scented Peau d’Espagne leather jerkins gifted by the Earl of Oxford; and if he knows whether Oliver Cromwell abstained from fragrance for puritanical reasons.

So, onto the Giveaway details, rules, and requirements:

  • This giveaway is for the US, Canada, EU, and UK only.
  • The entry period lasts until Midnight on Monday, August 25th my time, which is American CST (Central Standard Times) or GMT-6.
  • Entry Requirement: Leave a comment about what aspect(s) of the book interested you the most, caught your attention, or would be most useful to you. Any one of those, and you’ll be entered. If you wish to leave a comment for Roja Parfums, please feel free to do so. There is only one entry per person, no matter how many comments you leave.
  • The winner will be chosen by, and announced on Tuesday, August 26th or so in a separate post. The winner has 3 days after that to get in touch with me with their address. My email address is: AKafkaesqueLife at gmail dot com. (All one word, and obviously not spelled out like that.) Failure to contact me by August 28th will result in “The Essence of Perfume” being given to the next name on the list.
  • The prize will be sent directly from Roja Parfums in London, so depending on the winner’s location, it may take a little time. Neither Roja Parfums, Roja Dove, Black Dog Publishing, or I are responsible for any customs issues or accidents that may happen in transit.

Good luck, everyone, and may all your days be fragrant.

Cost & Availability: The Essence of Perfume is a hardback book which costs $39.95 or £29.95. It is already out in the U.K., and available at a few different sites. Please be aware that both the British and U.S. Amazon sites only have the old, outdated version of the book for sale at this time. In the U.K.: you can order the updated, new “Essence of Perfume” right now from Black Dog Publishing. It should be up on the Roja Parfums website in a day or so. For now, I’ve provided the link to the Roja Parfums’ All Products page. The new Essence of Perfume will also be available at Harrods, Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie, Selfridges, and Fortnum & Mason. In the U.S. & EU: I think that you, too, can order from directly from Black Dog Publishing, but I don’t think your order will be sent out until Essence of Perfume officially launches in early/mid September. Some of the perfume boutiques that carry Roja Parfums’ fragrances may have the book, but I think your best bet will probably be big bookstores and any Amazon site that may apply to your country. If I find any applicable online links, I will try to remember to update this section. In terms of regions like the Middle East, Asia, or Australia, I’m afraid I have no clue as to availability.

96 thoughts on “Roja Dove “The Essence of Perfume”: Review & Giveaway

  1. The book sounds just fabulous. I would be thrilled to explore all the descriptions for both natural and synthetics provided. Roja is an outstanding mind and master. Wonderful post as always Kafka!

  2. This book sound great! I really love Roja Dove perfumes (my favorites are puredistance M and Fetish) and I am curious what he says about the different aspects of perfumery. Thanks for the post!!!

  3. To be honest its the Amber Oud scent by Mr Dove that swiped me off my feet and made me want to be the person, as luxurious and smooth as the scent itself, well before I hit the momentum of ultimate madness and commit the crime I thought I might just as well give a little study to the crime scene itself, guess its what might make it a perfect crime… Sincerely, Kasia

  4. Omg !!! What an awesome description and giveaway ! I saw some Photos of that book on Rojas website ! Sounds very interesting ! I would love to be entered! Happy Friday Kafka and good luck everyone !

  5. As a beginner, I can honestly say that I am interested in all of it. Very much want to read his take on the great houses and the classics. And everything else, too.

  6. I don’t think I’ll ever own a Roja Dove perfume, but I’d love to have the book. I’m relatively new to the Perfume Passion and still have such a lot to learn, especially about those vaguer concepts like chypre and aldehydes, not to mention aromachemicals! Also, the book is beautiful as well as informative. Thanks to Mr Dove and to you for the offer

  7. Wonderful book and a great joy for the person who wins this beautiful book as a prize. I like viewing perfume bottles and reading about perfumes and reading about perfume ingredients used in perfume making.Reading about the older perfume houses is also something I like to do.Roja perfumes must be lovely fragrances.Thanks for another great giveaway and best of luck to all for a chance at winning this great prize..

  8. I think the whole book will be of great interest! I do love old bottles. Thank you for the draw!

  9. Thank you so much for this post, I am just starting to read perfume books but this one goes right on top of my christmas wishlist (if I don’t win)! And it’s good that Roger Dove didn’t cover more aromachemicals, so you have to write a book called “ISO E supercrappy” one day (soon, please!).
    It’s hard to tell what I am interested in most, all the chapers look interesting. Like you I am very interested in history but since I am still relatively new to perfumery, I would read about the raw materials first and than start at the beginning of the book.
    (Btw, it’s interesting that the chapter on Bottle Makers is the longest – probably due to all the beautiful pictures?).

    • I think one of the things that was most updated and expanded was the chapter on bottles. It’s beautiful, but I wish he had updated some of the other sections to the same extent. I forgot to mention in my review that the one on perfumes by decade ends in 2003 with Narcisco Rodriguez, which is probably where it ended in the old version. It should have been updated to go to the end of the 2000s at the very least. It was not.

      I also suspect that the synthetics section was not updated at all. Calone was a huge thing in the 1990s and early 2000s, but it is hardly as big as ISO E Super now. I would argue that Calone is almost passé as a big element in perfumery in comparison. Had that Synthetics section been updated as well, it would or should surely have included ISO E Super. So, it seems to me that the focus was more on including a men’s section in every decade, updating and expanding the bottles chapter, adding clearer graphics for the techniques/methodology section, and revising the structure/design of the book. I suspect that the mainstay sections, like the ingredients and synthetics section, were probably not tinkered with and so they reflect a more 2000s focus.

      It’s a pity, but those are very, very small things in the overall scheme of things. When taken as a whole, the book is simply spectacular, incredibly useful, and a must-buy, imo.

  10. I love books. I have a zillion in the ‘cloud’ that I have read and will read in the future. I have read many books about perfume and perfume making and enjoy them all. Thanks for the draw.

  11. Thanks for the great review, Kafka. In addition to hearing more about bastard lavender (hereafter, “the Bastard”), I’d enjoy reading about the bottles.

  12. What a great review and giveaway! For me, the section on raw materials would be great – I’d love to try to learn more so I can speak a bit more intelligently about perfume, and having it all laid out there might be helpful. In truth, I have a feeling my eye will be drawn to Chapter 6 because I love vintage perfume and vintage advertising, and I get a weird thrill out of seeing old ad copy and bottles. 🙂 Thanks for the excellent giveaway, I’m crossing my fingers!

  13. Oh. My Gawd. Let me just wipe the drool off off the keyboard. This looks like a Gorgeous tribute to all things perfume. My favorite things in life are food, books, sex, perfume, and my dog. The order changes of course, from day to day by I think this stunning book will cover at least two categories. This book looks like a dream come true!

  14. Thank you for the chance to win this book. As a fellow book & fragrance addict, I’m sure you know how much I’d love to have this!

  15. Would love to read this, particularly the sections on the history of perfume and on raw materials. But mostly I would like to learn more about how a gifted perfumer thinks. Thanks for doing the draw.

  16. What a nice giveaway, Kafka! Thanks for organizing this. I missed getting the original version: glad to see the new and updated one coming out. The chemistry of scent making is what I’d like to learn more about.

  17. K – I have been looking forward to the release of this book. Visually it looks stunning, but my primary interest is in the first couple chapters related to extraction and a perfumers raw materials. Of course, everything looks fantastic. Thanks to you and Roja for this fantastic offer!

  18. What impressed me most about the book was the history of perfumes coupled with the beautiful images of the vintage bottles. My other reason for entering the giveaway is that its my Birthday tomorrow 8/23 and it would make a nice present for myself. Very selfish, I know, but completely honest. Love your blog!

    • Happy Birthday in advance! I hope it’s a spectacular day for you, and the start of a wonderful year.

  19. The whole book looks wonderful, especially all the beautiful images, but the chapter that interests me most is the one on raw materials. I would love to be able to decode the lists of ingredients on the backs of perfume boxes. Thanks so much for this generous offer!

  20. Oooh! I’m all excited! There aren’t enough perfume books on the market! I was saying that just last night as I read a few reviews (for the zillionth time) in Turin and Sanchez’ Guide. So, even if it isn’t totally exhaustive, I’m thrilled to bits. Looks beautiful and I’m glad it does have a good amount of information. Roja Dove’s take on the perfume industry interests me. I’m particularly interested in reading about the advertising campaigns of “significant perfumes” along with everything else. I find marketing very interesting. Thanks to you and Black Dog Publishing for the great giveaway! Oh, and now I know why I’m not keen on any Montales (though I suspected that I already knew the reason)!

  21. Yes, this book sounds like a must-have (and as someone above said, if I don’t win the draw it’s definitely going on my Christmas list).

    The section on aromachemicals interests me the most, especially the way the release of new synthetics drives the market (both mainstream and niche). Also I like to put a name to the things that go wonky on my skin! I got a sample of Hard Leather last week and loved the opening… then discovered that Norlimbanol smells like raw alcohol on me. Oh well; scrubber = wallet-saver, right?

    Thanks for organizing this!

    • As I wrote to Anka earlier, I don’t think the section on synthetics has been updated to reflect a modern reality or market. Calone is something that was huge — HUGE — in the 1990s and early 2000s. I’d argue it’s not so much now, and that ISO E Super has far taken it over, along with more modern, newer aromachemicals.

      With regard to Norlimbanol, I think it’s a super strong, extremely potent aromachemical. It’s also not easy to take for everyone. My mother tried a fragrance of mine with it (Black Oud) and had a terrible allergic reaction, even though she loved the fragrance in question. So, I suppose you were lucky only to get “raw alcohol”??! Poor you, but as you said, money saved!

      • I think maybe one possible reason why he didn’t even include Iso E Super is cause even though it might seem like it’s having a resurgence lately, it’s probably only because people have only recently really become more aware of it online (especially since Molecule 01) it’s kinda become THE molecule to bash it seems – no other molecule is as reviled online. … But in reality it’s consistently been used in compositions (both ‘fume & household detergents) from way back since 1975. It’s not exactly a new molecule (tho’ granted it’s often used cause it’s so excellent a ‘floraliser’, & pretty much works magic with other ingredients.)

        However with Calone it’s a whole ‘nother story, as it was responsible for pretty much kicking off a whole new fragrance genre or ‘family. I imagine he’d think it way more important than IsoE for that reason alone, even if it’s perhaps been slowly falling out of favour compared to the 90’s (thank the heavens !) 🙂

        BUT, I do agree with you that it’s ubiquitous enough to have merited being included … (but then again, where do u stop ??)

        • Oh P.S. Kafka … Have you by any chance sniffed Perles de Lalique ? Would be interested to know how you feel about it, if indeed you have sniffed it ??

          • Ah, that’s a pity. 🙂 The reason I asked is, I’ve noticed that you’ve mentioned before that often a certain synth’ has less of a troublesome effect on you when applied on more rather than the expected less. And seeing as IES is such an odd behaving molecule, (& where the majority of it’s diffusive scent profile is due to it’s smallest trace [5%] impurity element) – it got me wondering if perhaps a really large amount of it in a frag might affect you in an equally possibly surprising/unexpected manner ? (due to the whopping amount in ‘Perles’) – Or if it really is the larger the amount the worst ?

            I was actually rather surprised with PdL, as with such a massive amount of the ‘supercrappy’, (at 80% !?), it was far, faaaar less ‘brutal’ a frag than I expected – (& with rather nice use/blending of IES’s tonalities.) … So it all just got me wondering why u (& so many others) have such a strong reaction to this poor musk ketone above all others, or if it perhaps changed at diff. levels. – (I almost wish I could smell it like u do.)

            Mind you, I suppose I have my own ‘supercrappy’ in Helvetolide, so … . (which to me is HELLvetolide!) 😀

          • First, please accept my apologies for the delayed reply, Julz. It’s been a busy few days here, and it’s a holiday weekend. So, onto your question. The thing with the quantities minimizing the troublesome nature of some aromachemicals seems to come down to this, though this is all a very imprecise guess: I think a larger amount permits the OTHER elements to shine forth in a way that diffuses the synthetics whose primarily difficulty for me is their desiccated nature. Like Trisamber, Norlimbanol, etc.

            With ISO E Super, however, my difficulty is not raspiness or extreme aridity but antiseptic rubbing alcohol aromas which really seem to come out at a higher dose. Somehow, it doesn’t get diffused out the way that the others do. I have no idea why, but then I try to avoid studying or having a lot of contact with a lot of these aromachemicals. Maybe it’s the complement of notes which accompany the aromachemicals? The labdanum ambers, patchouli, tobacco, etc. that often go with Norlimbanol et. al are richer than the vetiver, woody, or floral notes that often seem to be paired with ISO E Super. Who knows? To be honest, aromachemicals simply aren’t something which interests me to the point of studying in close proximity. The intellectual interest is far outweighed by how difficult I find the notes to be in any serious quantity. Anyway, I hope my vague thoughts helps to answer your question a little.

          • Ah, yes thanx Kafka, it did indeed help – makes perfect sense. While I’m not particularly bothered by the note, (even can like it, when nicely used) – I do admit that even to me it can/does smell like ‘antiseptic / r.alcohol’ notes, but only at first, or when used in abundance. But thankfully (for me at least) that always dissipates soon as it develops. However, I only really developed a deeper appreciation for it when I witnessed what it can do to other notes, on playing around blending with it firsthand. It really is quite astonishing what it’s capable of. (Tauer’s ‘photoshop’ analogy is very apt!) It then didn’t surprise me at all why it’s become so popular with perfumers. It really does work magic within a composition. … It was developed as a possible ambergris substitute, and while it’s not ‘spot-on’ scent-wise, it’s certainly one of the closest I’ve witnessed at replicating/achieving some of authentic ambergris’ revered ‘tricks’.

            I speculate – seeing as it’s essentially polycyclic musk akin structurally, could/might it be that perhaps part anosmia to part of it’s scent profile, resulting in only it’s ‘antiseptic’ notes shining through in full force, be the problem ?? … Anywayz, it doesn’t really matter why as you stated – sorry, it’s just I find it fascinating that such a ‘suave’ & kinda innocuous scented molecule really, can illicit such strong & visceral reactions for so many.

            As for my ‘helvetolide’, seeing as u seem to dislike ‘white musk’ just as much as I do, I imagine it’s probably ‘hell-vetolide’ for u as well then, huh !? 😉

  22. I am so excited about this book. I am interested to learn how perfume is developed and made. I am very interested in the design and making of different bottles and packaging. I am always excited to open a bottle of fragrance. I recently ordered a bottle of Nostalgia from DryGoods in New York and just the way that they packaged the bottle they sent was amazing and made me feel as if I was opening a personal gift to myself. Thanks for the fantastic review of the book and thanks to you and Roja for the this offer!

  23. Wow…just wow. I read your post in detail Kafka, then reread parts and went back to drool over those bottles and pictures of flowers and other materials. After thinking it over I have to say equally the origins of perfume and its future. I’d love to hear RD’s take on the future and more details on Cleopatra who is one of the historical figures I’m most intrigued by. Thank you, and thanks Roja Dove for this drawing!

  24. Me want book!

    I expect to never be able to formally study perfume, and so I’m always interested in understandable explanations of how perfumers do what they do, how they build accords and how they create balance between them. I’m also sometimes confused by seemingly divergent explanations of notes and families described by different authorities. While no source is infallibly authoritative, Mr. Dove’s opinions ought to carry a lot of weight. They certainly do with me.

    I’m glad that Mr. Dove takes seriously his responsibilities as Professeur de Parfums, and has created and added to this work. Just another glossy coffee table book would not have been enough, especially from him.

    I agree with you Kafka, that I would like to see an extended discussion of the use of synthetics and their place in common accords. Turin’s olfactory geography explanation was very helpful, and perhaps the best I have seen. Also there was a very interesting interview of Chris Bartlett on Basenotes, where he explained the so-called Grosjman Accord, called out its ingredients and its use in modern perfumery. I’d love to see this kind of information in Mr. Dove’s next edition.

    But in the meantime, Me Want Book!

    • Nice to see you again, Anosmia. Yes, Chris Bartlett is very knowledgeable about synths, and a very nice chap as well. As for the Essence of Perfume section, I suspect it wasn’t updated since its original publishing date and reflects a 2000s’ sensibility. It’s only a small issue in the larger picture, though. This book is definitely worth reading for anyone interested in the fundamentals of perfumery, why things are done as they are, what the raw materials smell like, and much more. Thank GOD, this isn’t just a glossy coffee table book that goes, “Oh, look at the pretty bottles!” No, it has actual substance, in addition to its style. Really very well done. If you don’t win, I hope you order a copy from Amazon when it comes out in the U.S.. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

  25. The part that I love the most are the old antique perfume bottles and the perfume ads of long ago and far away in time and feeling. Just looking at these lovely pictures of the past fill me with nostalgia and an intense longing for times past to fill some void in my glamour-less present moment in our more modern, post 9/11 shaped world.

  26. How generous of you! I’d love to read more about the history and nature of the raw materials. And oh those images…..

  27. The book is very detailed and fascinating! I can’t wait to read it and expand my knowledge! Thank you for the draw!

  28. Dear Kafka,

    You make Roja’s book look so tempting!
    We would love to enter the draw.
    In case Lady Luck is not on our side, we will definitely purchase it later.
    Keeping our fingers crossed,

    Caro & Virginia

  29. First of all, I want to take them time to thank you and of course Roja Dove & Black Dog Publishing for this generous draw. Saying thank you is sadly becoming rare nowadays, so I really wanted to make sure to let you know how grateful I am! So, now to your question: What part of the book am I interested in the most? To be honest: There is not a single thing in this book I am not interested in. From the ingredients, to the different extraction methods, the history of perfumery and the creation of Roja Perfumes, all of it sounds fantastic to me. Why? Well, as someone who loves perfume I take every chance to expand my knowledge about perfumery, and what better way is there to do so than reading a book by the worlds’ sole Professeur de Parfum, Master Perfumer Roja Dove? I just recently discovered his perfume line, and let me tell you: These fragrances are magical and breathtaking! They captured my heart in an instant, never before was I beguiled by Perfumes like this. The quality of the ingredients, as well as the quality of the creations itself are both beyond anything I have smelled before. Oh well, I started raving again, so I will stop it here. Thank you again, and please keep up this wonderful blog!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Manuel. Second, and much more importantly, I really appreciated your comment. You’re right, not a lot of people say Thank You.

      Me, I’m completely irrelevant, but it was incredibly nice of Roja Dove & Black Dog Publishing to offer the book, especially far in advance of its worldwide release. My gratitude lies more in the enormous (really enormous!!) amount of time and assistance that they gave me, answering all my questions, and never saying “No” to any request for more files, photos, details, or information. Believe me, not everyone would want so many photos of their book’s pages to be shown, but they never said No.

      I think comments like yours will make them feel that their efforts were worthwhile. 🙂 Good luck with the drawing. I have your name on my list.

      • Thank you for welcoming me to the blog 🙂 I am just getting started, reading through various of your excellent postings and reviews. It’s fantastic how dedicated you are, so please keep up the wonderful work!

        I love to hear how cooperative and kind the people from Black Dog Publishing were, customer service is something important, and yet, too many companies do not listen to their customers wishes, often they don’t even try to satisfy them. Let’s hope there are more companies like Black Dog Publishing and Roja Parfums out there 🙂

  30. I have the original book which is very well thumbed and I look forward to purchasing (or winning!) an update copy.

    Choosing which subject as a favourite is nigh on impossible as Roja has the art of bring every perfume topic to life making it informative, fascinating and feeding my perfumery obsession. The photographs look stunning, the additional content hugely exciting and I can’t wait to read it from aromatic cover to cover.


  31. Sounds an engaging read your article certainly was and the section on Whats Next should be an interesting topic. Thank you.

  32. The book sounds wonderful. I am interested in everything, but mostly the ingredients and history. Thanks for sharing through your excellent post, and thanks to the publisher for the giveaway!

  33. I’m very interested in the What’s Next Portion. How will perfumery change and change us in the future.

    • It’s an extremely brief section unfortunately. Thought I’d warn you about that.

      I have you on my list. Good luck.

  34. This was an absolutely stellar and detailed review. I too suffer from both types of madness – a love of books and a love of perfume. I would love to read this book and am especially interested in how perfumers actually layer the scents to get the end result they want. Thanks so much for the opportunity to win this!

  35. I admit a love of perfume bottles and would love seeing the bottles in this book. Thanks to you and all concerned for this sneak peek and draw.

  36. Oh, my goodness, thank you for including so much of the book in this post – tantalizing! I’m most interested in the raw ingredients and the birth of modern perfumery. Thanks for the draw.

  37. Wowzer! I am keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed. Thank you for the generous draw. If I don’t win, this may be what I’ll ask for Christmas 🙂

    There are 3 chapters that interest me the most: Great Classics, Methods of Extraction and Synthetics.

    • Just to let you know, the Synthetics isn’t its own separate chapter, but a few pages at the end of the Raw Materials chapter. 🙂

  38. Your description and pictures of the ingredients glossary looks like amazing reading 🙂 Thank you!

  39. This sounds very interesting, and I would love to have a copy of this book, the full print version, even though I mostly buy books in electronic form these days… I am especially looking forward to the Chapter 3/Raw materials section, with its beautiful pictures and these short write-ups. I certainly wish there was more coverage of aromachemicals. I am lucky enough (I think) to be anosmic to ISO E supercrappy, which registers as slightly waxy void to my nose, but I am hypernosmic to several synthetic musks, especially rat musk – Exaltolide? – which lives up to its origin and smells to me, like sewer rats. I think rats are very smart creatures and the pet ones I encountered smelled very nice, so the nostril singing scent of that particular musk makes me think of junkie, feral rats living in sewers, something like the local Washington DC area rats, which are huge and tough.
    Thanks so much for this draw!

    • Your description of the musk and the images that it evoked for you (“junkie, feral rats living in sewers”) pretty much sounds like one of my nightmares come true! I’m hypernosmic to some musks too, but I thank the heavens that I’ve never tried anything which brought such images to life. LOL!

      I have you on my list. Good luck with the drawing.

  40. I love the first version of the book and this new updated version sounds even more incredible. I think the section of the book that would interest me most would be the ones concerning the history of fragrance.

  41. I am just starting my perfume journey and really want this book now. I especially want to read about the individual notes.

  42. Wow,wow this book looks stunning!All the technical aspects,the different raw materials and syntethic ones presented in a logical and easy to understand form,this is what I want to read about.I want yo be able to understand better the structure of a perfume.Thank you for the draw!

  43. I’m fairly new to the world of perfumes and it is overwhelming to say the least. After reading several perfume blogs for a year now I’m finally starting to comment on some sites. I really love how detailed your entries are and The Essence of Perfume sounds amazing. I don’t always understand all the technical terms used in some perfume reviews ( let alone the comparisons to other fragrances I’ve not tried yet), but I might get a much better understanding from this book.
    The synthetics section interests me greatly. I don’t entirely understand aldehydes, but I want to know more about them. My interest is also peaked now by this ISO E Super, but it seems I may have to read more elsewhere for that. I also really liked the diagrams of the extraction processes for scent materials. And lastly, I like that the book gives a general overview of many classics and doesn’t solely focus on what are commonly known as The Greats (aka No 5, Shalimar, etc..). I think I’ve read far too many biased sites that focus too heavily on those and not enough on fragrance history.
    I am now itching to get some samples of Roja Dove perfumes. The ones you’ve reviewed on your site sound wonderful. Granted, I’d have to win the lottery to ever be able to afford a bottle, but I may look into finding how I can at least get some samples of them.

  44. Princess Diana’s black dress and what perfume she would wear. I spend my days obsessing about two things – perfume and dresses. The former is out of my budget and reserved for special purchases. When I saw that picture, I recognized it as a similar dress to the one I am currently thinking of purchasing.

    (Link – )

    Anyhow, I am debating whether or not I could strut that dress (to work) and oblivious to office styles, (decorum and limitations) and what perfume I would wear.

    This book would grace my coffee table.

  45. I’d love to read up more on synthetics and isolates, it’s easy to get info on natural materials, but I find the man-made just as fascinating!

  46. Books, perfume and the history of scent…yes, please!
    Many thanks for a lovely review, and opportunity.

  47. I have been a complete perfume head for the past five years and to win this book would be awesome. I adore reading about perfumes (and sniffing, wearing, collecting and talking about them!)

  48. Dear Kafka,

    thank you for giving us opportunity to win this interesting book.

    As chemist I’m really interested in chapters concerning raw materials and methods of extraction and as history lover in historical overview.

    Thank you.

  49. I love books and I love perfume- I wanted this book for some time now! The history chapter is the one that will enchant me the most, I think.
    Thank you for the interesting post, Kafka!

    • Another history lover, how nice. 🙂 I have you on my list. Good luck with the drawing.

  50. Thank you for this opportunity, Beloved Kafka! I will definitely be adding this book to my library! But you must not fault Roja…EVERY book on perfume should have a warning about Aoud Lime! I was told my sample even rendered the biohazard container I put it in unservicable, and it had to be destroyed before preventing any further damage at the VA. 😉 Thank you so much for your always enjoyable writing!!! Kindest Regards and Many Thanks!

    • Your comment about Aoud Lime made my night! rofl 😀 😀

      You’re on my list, dearest Anastasia. Good luck with the drawing.

  51. It looks like a nice coffee-table type book. I’m wondering though, does the new section on the creation of Roja Parfums credit anyone but Mr Dove himself ? It would be nice if certain individuals at ******** were given their dues.

    • Does that mean that you would like to be entered or not? I shall assume not. As for your question, I did not read that chapter or the credits/acknowledgement section closely enough to be able to answer you.

      • Thanks for your reply and your post. I’ll leave the draw open however, to others.
        Perhaps it’s expecting too much for certain perfumers to be credited for their roles in creating Mr Dove’s fragrances, but who knows ? Guess I’ll have to read the book for myself.

        • I am very aware of the allegations which you are seeking to highlight. However, a book review and my blog are neither the time nor the place for such things. You are free to make such issues as public as you would like on your own forum or elsewhere.

    • Hello L,

      Now I really would like to know which enterprise *********** is.

      It would greatly add to my apprehensions I already have about the brand.

      There’s nothing I detest more than someone taking the credit of an other person’s idea, especially in creative working fields.

      Best regards


      • Dear Petra,

        I respect Kafka’s position here and will refrain from stirring any more. However, if you wish to contact me privately through my own humble blog to discuss the matter, do feel free.

        • Dear L,

          This was what I was actually aiming at, and therefore would be glad to receive a link to your blog.

          Best regards


  52. I will say his take on the other great houses. I have been lucky to meet Roja twice when he worked for Guerlain. Quietly in a corner(after his presentation for Guerlain), he did talk of the other great fragrances and house briefly.

  53. As both a bibliophile and scentophile, this book sounds delightful! Thank you for your detailed post with quotes and images. You had me at the table of contents. Yes, please do enter me in this generous and lovely giveaway!

  54. As someone who is new to/with a new interest in perfumery, this book sounds like a great resource! I think what most caught my eye would be the glossary of ingredients and run-down of ‘great’ perfume houses… The jargon around these subjects is one of the main reasons I’m finding it difficult to serve my interest in scents at the moment.

  55. What a lovely post. The combination of the beautiful pictures and the notes/historical aspects of this book have me very excited to read this. Mr Dove has the ability to provide us with such an interested and interesting point of view, that I think every fragrance fan will want to own this book

  56. You got me with “history”. I have always been a history lover. I think I would enjoy that the most. The syntheticsalso interest me and I want to know more about them. No one in my family has any allergies, but we seem to have allergic reactions to some synthetics – bad headaches, sneezing, and serious tearing. Judging by the perfumes causing this, I suspect possibly too much ISO E Super which none of us can smell.

  57. Oh wow Kaf ‘, you’ve really outdone yourself with this most wonderful of giveaways – how utterly fabulous !! … A little difficult to narrow down which ‘aspects’ will be of most interest, as to me, I think it will pretty much be ALL of it, from cover to cover. But the whole ‘history bits’ I imagine will be a particular highlight. However, contrary to you though, I must admit I will probably also enjoy knowing about the original bottle designs for whichever perfumes, as often there have been various through the ages. I think I will find those pics particularly interesting (as I used to collect bottles, before focus shifted, and I became a full-on ‘fume junky.) … Thanx so much to both you & Roja for the stunning, and most generous, giveaway. – IT ROCKS !! 🙂

  58. For me part of the magic is smelling, and the other part is the amazing world behind it which created the result, and the stories the scents evoke in people. Reading about it gives another important layer of pleasure. Especially such an expertly constructed and detailed and beautiful book.

  59. Hello Kafka,

    Thank you very much again for a thourough and minutely researched review.

    As I am not a Roja super fan, and as I already own some books dealing with the more chemical aspects of scent creation, I would really be in it for the photographs, which
    I think are gorgeous.

    I am also more into the scents themselves as into their containers, but again, pictures of unattainaible old bottles do thrill me.

    The chapter about Roja perfumes I would take with a salt of grain, as some blogger
    somewhere has pointed out the man himself is a snake charmer, but it would be
    highly interesting to find out how he writes about other things than himself.

    By the way, marketplace offers some used copies of the latest edition
    and you can have a virtual look inside the book there as well.

    Best regards


  60. Hi Kafka,

    what would be very useful is the raw materials section. Also the classics to learn about the classics that inspired a lot of new perfumes.

    keep up the good work!

    Best regards,

  61. I would like to read about ingrediants – raw materials as well asynthetics. And the glimpses of the book you gave us are amazing, the book looks really good 🙂

  62. i am an enormous fan of roja dove’s work – even is fragrances that don’t suite me personally are a wonderful study of traditional french perfume. i love roja dove’s passion for fragrances & think the book’s images/content are as beautiful as his fragrances. very eager to read the book! thank you so much for this opportunity!

  63. Thank you for your review. I found your blog about a month ago and really appreciate your in depth review style. I’m most interested in Chapters 2-4 – how the ingredients are extracted, information about the different synthetics and then how those ingredients are used together to create affinities.

  64. Pingback: Roja Dove "The Essence of Perfume" Giveaway Winner - Kafkaesque

  65. Pingback: Holiday Gift Ideas 2014 - Kafkaesque

  66. Pingback: My Scented Memories: From Rive Gauche to Fahrenheit - Kafkaesque

  67. Pingback: Bogue MEM - Kafkaesque

Comments are closed.