I am slow when it comes to reading perfume books, but I do eventually get around to doing it. :) I've had The Essence of Perfume for quite some time now, but managed to finish reading it only yesterday.
And I am impressed.
Mr. Dove writes in such an easy, natural way, I cannot but think he must be a great speaker (which is something that is hinted at in the book through comments by other people). He is also obviously very knowledgable on the subject (he must be when you consider his life) and brings it alive in front of your eyes.
I admit I am thouroughly jealous at the wonderfully fragrant and interesting life Roja Dove led (and still does). :)
As an Aquarian, I no longer know how many times I read that is a sign that looks to the future (and I do, I'd love to live at a time when space travel is possible and standard) but I also love history and that is for me the best chapter in the book - one where history comes to life straight before your eyes through the descriptions of the decades and perfumes that highlighted the historical aspects of those decades.
At several points I found I had tears in my eyes because of how strongly Mr. Dove weaved his fragrant magic into the words.
The whole book is full of images of perfumes (well, not just perfumes but I paid most attention to those) and by the end of the book, I was thouroughly hooked, not only on trying to find some more vintage perfumes, but also trying to locate some of those incredible bottles that are no longer in production and can be found mostly by having a lot of luck.
I never thought about the empty bottles of perfumes and their beauty. Now I do.
And I need a bottle of that Ombre Rose L'Original badly - I'm pretty sure from the description it smells great, but the bottle it comes in?! I seriously feel the need to have it!
After reading this book, I now have a much better understanding and respect of the finely crafted works of art that perfumes are (or should be) and of the symbolism some of them hold.
I'd say The Essence of Perfume works great as an introductionary encyclopedia for any perfume lover.
But if you are not a perfume lover, once you read it, you can never go back to the life you led before perfume world opened its doors through the words of Roja Dove.