John Oehler’s Fragrant Reading List by + Perfume Thriller Book Giveaway

John Oehler is fhe author of Aphrodesia, the perfume thriller.

Aphrodesiabook review
John Oehler – author interview

Book Giveaway
We have three Kindle copies of John’s book to giveaway. To be in the draw, leave a comment below or like Aphrodesia on Facebook.

If you do not have a comment about the reading list you could name a character or perfume ingredient in the novel.

The winners will be announced here 7 days later after the random draw.

Fragrant Reading List

John Oehler bookshelf perfume books

Roman jugs and Egyptian ushabti at upper left and small Carchi pot (~800
B.C.) containing pieces of raw frankincense John bought in Somalia.
The pair of wrestlers is carved from meerschaum, also from Somalia

From John: I have a lot of the “standard” books on smell and fragrances and probably a hundred articles on subjects ranging from quirky fragrances to archaeological discoveries, from forensics to smells and flavor, from interviews with perfumers to the smell of death. These are some of my favorite references.

John Oehler bookshelf perfume books
The best article I know of on the subject of scent and smell is “The Intimate Sense of Smell,” National Geographic, v. 170, n. 3 (September, 1986).

The blog Glass Petal Smoke has this to say about the article.

Discovering a great article on olfaction that doesn’t make you feel like a science dweeb is a rarity. That’s why the September 1986 edition of National Geographic is a must-have for anyone remotely interested in the sense of smell. For a fragrance lover, it is the equivalent of finding a hardcover copy of William Kauffman’s Perfume in excellent condition.
– Michelle Kydd
– Glass Petal Smoke

The National Geographic article contained a smell survey, and so many people responded that “scientists are still using the data.”

Smell Survey

Copyright: Associated Press / Reading Eagle – see link above for the full article

The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York (Chandler Burr)
If I could recommend only one book, it would be this one. I have the hardcover, but it seems no longer to be available. The link above is for the paperback.

The Perfect Scent Chandler Burr

H&R Perfume Vol 1-4
The H&R Book of Perfume (Julia Müller, et al)
I have the original 4-volume set (in slipcases). I bought it in London in 1985. These were the first perfume books I ever purchased, and they are what turned me on to the world of perfumes. Before them, I was merely a casual sniffer.

H&R Perfume Vol 1-4

John Oehler bookshelf perfume books
Perfume Legends: French Feminine Fragrances (Michael Edwards)
This is a beautifully illustrated guide to the great French classics. Unfortunately, it has become very expensive.

John Oehler bookshelf perfume books oil of anointing Exodus

The dark bottles on the left contain samples of the Oil of Anointment (from Exodus) and its various ingredients as described on page 62 in Chapter 8 of Aphrodesia. The white box contains a collection of essences John bought at ISIPCA.

Once Upon A Time … Perfume (Annick Le Guérer)
This book was, I believe, commissioned by the Osmothèque. I bought the English language version at ISIPCA, and Jean Kerléo signed it for me. It describes twelve perfumes, with each description accompanied by a smell pad. As such, it is a truly fragrant book.
I have not seen it available online, but you can read Cheryl’s review at Now Smell This.

Once Upon A Time … Perfume (Annick Le Guérer)

Collectors item
Perfume – hardcover (William Kauffman)

Perfume hardcover rare collectors item william Kauffman

John Oehler bookshelf perfume books

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What books are on your reading list?

25 responses to “John Oehler’s Fragrant Reading List by + Perfume Thriller Book Giveaway

  1. I loved the photos of his library! I also appreciated the names of books that he thinks are significant or of value. I was amused to peer at a few of his library books and see that we have some of the same books. For example, Daniel Silva’s espionage thriller, the annotated Sherlock Holmes, and “The Dawn of Civilization.” And I have a similar book to his “Karst in China.” LOL.

    No need to enter me in the drawing, cheri. I don’t have a Kindle and I’m not planning on getting one ever if I can help it. I’m currently sitting in a room with wall-to-wall bookcases. Well over 1,000 in this room alone, with several thousand more throughout the rest of the house. I like my books on paper. None of this Kindle business for me! Bah Humbug to modernity! 😉

    • Love to see a photo Kafka. Are they inbuilt? A home library of that magnitude is a luxury.
      I have seen a lot of karst on the Andaman Sea but there is nothing like Halong Bay – like drifting through a painting.

      • Not inbuilt, no. And please don’t imagine anything like the fantastic library in Downton Abbey! 😉

        Halong Bay sounds lovely. “Drifting through a painting” — how romantic. I saw karst in Southern China (around the Guilin area) and they were lovely. At times, they seemed to go on forever! xoxox

      • We seem to have reached our limit below with the nestled comments so I’ll reply to you here.

        Another Wilbur Smith fan??!! My word. I’m stunned. No-one I know in real life, outside of my family, has heard of him or has ever mentioned him. And then, now, two in one day?! I have Taita in Warlock right behind me, along side River God, Birds of Prey, A Time to Die, When the Lion Feeds, Power of the Sword and many more. I’ve assigned a vast portion of my books to exile in cartons in the garage, but I keep as many of my Wilbur Smith as I can close by. 🙂 Does he really go deep-sea fishing? Somehow, I can see that. I had no idea he had a place in NZ but, then, who could possibly resist its beauty if one had the money to have a getaway place? One day, one day, I will visit your lovely land — even though I know the long flight there may kill me. *grin*

    • Kafka, I’m intrigued that you would have the Annotated Sherlock Holmes (I used to be a member of the Baker Street Irregulars), the Dawn of Civilization (which is ancient but still wonderful), and Karst in China (which I received as a gift during one of my business trips to China). That amount of overlap in comparatively obscure books suggests we probably share a lot of interests.

      Like you, I do not own a Kindle. I prefer physical books and have at least a thousand. If you feel like reading Aphrodesia, it’s available as a paperback from Amazon worldwide and can be ordered through almost any bookstore. BTW, I also don’t have a cellphone. My wife (who works at NASA and believes analogue is dead) says I’m a dinosaur.

      • Dear Mr. Oehler,
        Thank you for the kindness of a reply. I don’t have the exact Karst book which you own, but another similar to it on the same subject. I was in China in 2008 from the North to the South (the Guilin, Yangshoa and the Li area), so I saw a number of them. I bought some photographic books there on Karst. 🙂

        As for The Dawn of Civilization, history is my first love. I had wanted to get my PhD in the subject, eons ago, but ended up becoming a lawyer instead. But I once spent a lot of time studying everything from the classics to Mesopotamia, Ghenghis Khan, China and Japan. My main focus, though, was modern, interwar European history.

        I have to admit, I was more amused by the inclusion of Daniel Silva than anything else. And in an otherwise so impressively serious collection. 🙂 I have a few of his — Mark of the Assassin — next to some Joseph Finder and Vince Flynn. For some odd reasons, they’re in the same overall bookshelf with books on the CIA, NSA, Frida Kahlo and Hirohito. But that’s the joy of books, isn’t it?

        I definitely plan on getting your book in concrete paper form! Jordan’s description of it a little while ago piqued my interest, so I promise you, it’s been on my list of things to order for a while. As for your wife working at NASA, would it be the Houston Johnson division? If so, we may be neighbors of some sort. All the very best and thank you for taking the time to respond. I just wish I had more photos of your books. I love nosing around someone’s collection. LOL.

        • Kafka, I write thrillers so I read thrillers. I like most of Silva’s books and admire his skill as an author. Ditto Michael Crichton, before he got political and the earlier works of Nelson DeMille, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Wilbur Smith, Ken Follett… Follett’s The pillars of the Earth (not a thriller) is one of my all-time favorites. In terms of history, medieval Europe interests me most, after ancient Egyptian. My next book, Papyrus, centers on the late 18th Dynasty (the time of Tutankhamun). I also read books on the history of foods and dining, religion, architecture, magic, language, and a variety of other subjects.

          My own PhD is in geology (as is my wife’s). We spent most of our working lives in international exploration for Conoco. We’ve lived in a variety of places around the world and have worked in dozens of countries. I draw on those experiences in my writing.

          Yes, my wife now works at the Johnson Space Center. She’s also a member of the science team that operates and analyzes data from the Curiosity rover on Mars. In fact, she spent three months at the Jet Propulsion Lab in California immediately after Curiosity landed. We live on the west side of Houston.

          Like you, we have also traveled in China. The last time was in 2010. We traveled with a small group of people led by a woman who, among other things, was the keeper of pandas at the National Zoo in Washington. The woman had close connections with members of the panda breeding program in China, and we went specifically so my wife could pet pandas. I have to admit, I enjoyed it as much as she did. You can see a photo of this and read more about my writing at:
          There’s also a contact link there if you want to keep in touch. It’s always a treat to find someone with similar interests.

          • Wilbur Smith? WILBUR bloody Smith??!?! Excuse me now while I go write to you immediately! You may be the one person that I’ve met in over 2 decades who has mentioned the name of one of my favorite modern novelists! I loved both his Courtney series and his other one (whose name eludes me right now). I too love Nelson deMille’s earlier works and Ken Follett. In fact, as a teenager, I used to be able to quote parts of the Eye of the Needle. LOL. Other favorites: William Diehl, David Morrell, Jeffrey Archer, Thomas Gifford, old Greg Iles, and perhaps my all-time favorite, Frederick Forsythe.

            More similarities: I also live in Houston. And I took a few courses in Egyptology at Brown which, at one point, was said to have the only serious department on that academic area in the Western hemisphere. I have a book by John Wilson on the culture of ancient Egypt and Leonard Cottrell’s book on the Lost Pharaohs right behind me as I type. Unlike you, however, I far preferred ancient China and Japan to the Egyptians. I think trying to learn to read hieroglyphics may have partially traumatized me. 😉

            I think I saw some of your photos from China that Jordan posted but I will look for the one of your wife with the pandas. I quite envy her for the experience.

            I really will write to you. We are clearly kindred spirits. I have to say, I’m quite thrilled. Wilbur bloody Smith!!! I’m grinning like a loon!

            • Wilbur’s Taita was the character I liked best in the Egyptian series. He has a property in New Zealand where he goes to write I think. Deep sea fishing off the NZ coast is one of his non- writing activities.

            • Jordan, please pardon us for getting off the subject of fragrances, but I have to say I had a love-hate relationship with Wilbur Smith’s Egyptian series (River God, etc.). I loved the stories but hated the fact that there were many parallels between those stories and the version of Papyrus I was writing at that time. I’ve since made major changes to Papyrus (not because of Smith, but because Papyrus was way too long, and I changed the protagonist from the guy to the girl). P.S. there’s no longer any hate, just admiration for what a fine writer he is.

              I was unaware that he had a property in NZ and was a deep sea fisherman. Last I heard, he lived near Cape Town, on the Kogelberg Peninsula, and spent eleven months a year writing and the twelfth month blue-water sailing around the southern African coast.

              Kafka, it does indeed appear that we share MANY interests. But I hate to clog up Jordan’s website with our pursuit of them. I’ll write to you via regular email and give other perfumistas some space here for their thoughts.

              Jordan, if you’d like to stay involved in future “conversations” between Kafka and myself, I’m happy to include you in our emails. Kafka, is that all right with you?

  2. Like Kafka I do not own a kindle…between myself and three children we have well over 500 books! i just love the scent/feel of a real book in my hands! Right now I am working my way through the 44 Scotland Series by Alexander McCall Smith…but with all the wonderful authors you have introduced me to I will be seeking out their books at some future date!

  3. Yes well I started reading via Kindle on my phone because I coudn’t wait for the hard copy of The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu to arrive on my shores. 54 books later I am currently reading one of your favourites by the same perfumer who made a fragrance for Leonard Cohen.

  4. Kafka and John – no worries from me on the comments. It was all on topic – John’s reading list. A segue is fine too. Great to connect some kindred spririts – we all met in cyberspace. I have also emailed you both should you wish to go into further detail.

    • And may I add my “two scents”? I LOVED this dialogue between Kafka and John! Nowadays we are so disconnected from each other in so many ways it is lovely to see two kindred spirits find each other….and nonetheless living so close by!

      • Dear Brie,
        I’m glad our very off-topic discussion of other authors and subjects wasn’t a nuisance. And, yes, Mr. Oehler and I are definitely kindred spirits. In fact, amusingly enough, I’m bloody sure that I’ve actually MET him years ago (though briefly) at the dog park with our respective furry ones. It’s such a small world! Meeting up in this way again, and properly this time, is all thanks to Jordan and his lovely blog. 🙂

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