Luca Turin's Masterpieces Fragrance Sample Pack, 6 x 1ml

Luca Turin's Masterpieces Fragrance Sample Pack, 6 x 1ml

Luca Turin's Masterpieces Fragrance Sample Pack, 6 x 1ml

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Luca Turin is a highly-regarded fragrance critic, who leans on his background in biophysics and a deep aesthetic sensibility to form his reviews. These reviews have been published variously - most famously in his tome Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (2008) and the updated Perfumes: The Guide 2018, both co-authored with his wife, Tania Sanchez. Turin is a critic in the truest form and sense of the term ‘critique’, holding perfume to account and praising rhapsodically as much as he criticises wittily and with great bite. A positive review from Turin amounts to a deep acknowledgement of a scent’s technical and aesthetic merits, informed by the historical and molecular context in which it exists. For many, he is the yardstick for effective and passionate perfume writing and evaluation. In this sample pack, we’ve amassed a handful of scents well regarded by Luca Turin, which have earned a perfect 5-star rating and/or have made it on his ‘best of’ lists. His tastes are but one standard amongst many possible, and we believe it is fascinating exploring another’s tastes.

L’Air du Desert Marocain from Tauer receives the highest praise, earning 5-stars and was even the scent of choice for Turin’s wedding. He’s quick to shift into the superlative, and “cannot think of a fragrance that elicits more immediate delight in all who smell it”. Praised for its lucidity and its radiance, “one hale breath of Desert’s vast spaces clears the head of all the world’s nonsense”. A woody-amber accord in the base, made up primarily of patchouli, labdanum, cedar, and ambergris tethers the infinite reach of soaring aromatic material, including coriander seed, cumin, and petitgrain.

Equally decorated with 5-stars is Au Coeur du Desert, the extract version of L’Air. Turin comments that Au Coeur “jettisons the amber [while retaining] the sublime, abstract woods and spices accord of the original, and is now even more compelling and radiant while drier and dustier”. We agree, and marvel at the lashings of aged patchouli, like a lacquer over the surface of a familiar scene. Indeed, here we reach the heart of the desert, and up close, new facets reveal themselves.

1740 from Histoires de Parfums revived Turin’s heart: “I felt something give way when I smelled 1740: the shimmering classical accord of leather, immortelle, spice, rich pipe tobacco, and a sort of lived-in buttery warmth is simply irresistible. And why resist?”. Not only did this scent earn 5-stars, but it also made the list for the best leathers. We believe it - 1740 is coarse and mysterious, unflinching and hedonistic. It boldly dares to do what many leathers shy away from.

Bogue Profumo is praised overall for its originality, modernity, and quality. The highly innovative and grand lavender-jasmine unfurlings of MEM has earned it a perfect 5-stars, as well as places in Turin’s top animalic and retro lists. A “tremendous achievement”, Turin turns to a musical metaphor - it is a huge orchestra, replete with harps, horns, strings, winds, and percussion - every instrument contributing to a total sound. Bogue’s perfumer Antonio Gardoni liberates aroma in the way Wagner liberates sound, exploding them without losing their form. Turin lauds MEM’s “balance, texture, and sheer symphonic opulence[.] Mem is in a very rarefied league”. MAAI, on the other hand is a tremendous chypre - a huge one, in fact, and was bestowed 4-stars, also making the animalic and retro lists. Turin “cannot overstate the joy that smelling something like this provides” - like “sitting in the front row at the Vienna Philharmonic after listening to two months’ worth of ringtones”, we couldn’t have put it better. Its chypre frame holds the mightiest floral bouquet possible, then furthered with aldehydes, eucalyptus, musks, oakmoss … the list is long.

Lampblack by Bruno Fazzolari (FZOTIC) pulls at Turin’s heartstrings, who bestowed the scent 4-stars and high praise. One of his top smoky scents, this is a vetiver and cypriol scent that is comfortable in the shadows. This represents the high point of the ‘indie’ perfume wave, dressing smoke in an elegant form - it is ascendent yet earthly, with a pleasant sheen that lends the perfume a stylish touch. It is inspired by hypnotic black ink, reminding us that it is a natural material made from vegetal and mineral ingredients.

Extracts From:
Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez 2009), Penguin Books.
Perfumes: The Guide 2018 (Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, 2018).

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