: views from the Hill

Friday, August 22, 2008

How to Smell Like a Used Bookstore

How to Smell Like a Used Bookstore from Dwight Garner's PAPER CUTS blog about books for the NYT.

Review is of Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Garner quotes from a perfume review in the book.

DZING! (L’Artisan Parfumeur) ***** vanilla cardboard

Olivia Giacobetti is here at her imaginative, humorous best, and Dzing! is a masterpiece. Dzing! smells of paper, and you can spend a good while trying to figure out whether it is packing cardboard, kraft wrapping paper, envelopes while you lick the glue, old books, or something else. I have no idea whether this was the objective, but I have few clues as to why it happened. Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good-quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us. L’Artisan Parfumeur is, for reasons unknown, planning to discontinue this marvel, so stock up.

Sounds nice to me.


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