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In Search of 'The Perfect Scent'

Bottles of Hermes' Un Jardin sur le Nil (left) and Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely perfumes, the subject of Burr's book.
David Gilkey, NPR /
Bottles of Hermes' Un Jardin sur le Nil (left) and Sarah Jessica Parker's Lovely perfumes, the subject of Burr's book.

When Chandler Burr, scent critic for The New York Times Style Magazine, doesn't like a perfume he doesn't mince words.

Here's an acid appraisal: "A cologne most appropriately worn by electrical appliances."

Or, "This is a scent for a woman who has no taste and absolutely no interest in having any."

Burr is enraptured by the two perfumes that he writes about in his new book The Perfect Scent.

He spent a year inside the perfume industry in New York and Paris following the developments of two scents: one by actress Sarah Jessica Parker; the other by French perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena designed to capture the essence of a garden on the Nile.

Burr discusses the book with Melissa Block.

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