• Saturday, February 24, 2024

The Perfume Project: Journeys through Indian fragrance

By Divrina Dhingra
on Nov 29, 2023
The Perfume Project: Journeys through Indian fragrance

COMBINING LABORATORY SCIENCE WITH HISTORY AND STORYTELLING, AND TRAVEL WITH INSIGHTS INTO THE PERFUME INDUSTRY, THIS IS A COMPELLING, UNUSUAL BOOK ABOUT THAT MOST ENTRANCING OF THINGS—PERFUME.
'They are very particular in their personal cleanliness and allow no remissions in this matter. Every time they perform the functions of nature, they wash their bodies and use perfumes of sandalwood or turmeric …’
For as far back as it is possible to investigate such a thing, it appears that Indians have concerned themselves with making their environs, and themselves, smell good. The sensualist dandies and master perfumers of yesteryear have led to a sophisticated culture of fragrance aesthetics—not entirely surprising in a land that’s home to 18,500 varieties of aromatic plants. From the voluptuous allure of the rose to the musky tang of oud, the woody notes of sandalwood to the heady smell of jasmine and the lingering aroma of vetiver, fragrances unlock something at the very heart of India.
In this vivid narrative that blends the science of aromatics with travel writing, history and insights into India’s contemporary perfume trade, Divrina Dhingra investigates the idea of scent as a powerful trigger for memories and emotions, as well as a mode of self-expression and identity. In her telling, aromatic ingredients are not a mere indulgence, but instead, the backbone of the country’s struggling perfume industry and as a source of livelihood for many. A compelling, unusual narrative by a writer schooled in the art of perfumery.

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