Fragrance can be a mystifying beast. With all the celebrity endorsements, eye-catching bottles, elaborate marketing campaigns, and expansive ingredients lists, it’s often hard to sort out the winners from the stinkers. Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez set out to do just that with their new book, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (Penguin; 2009). A leading scholar in the field of olfactory science (and the subject of Chandler Burr’s tomeThe Emperor of Scent), Turin brings his renowned expertise to the table, where it mingles with Sanchez’s witty prose for a delightful read—and an excellent resource for all future trips to the fragrance counter. Aside from providing an introduction to perfume criticism and an education in what separates feminine and masculine scents, the authors cover a brief history of perfume and also provide a thorough “frequently asked questions” section. Ever wondered about the differences between an EDT, an EDP, and a Parfum? They’ve got the answer. But the brilliance of the book is in the nearly 1,800 reviews. Turin calls Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely a “charming floral” that “makes you want to buy furry toys” and describes Paris Hilton’s namesake scent as “competent but depressing,” while Sanchez depicts Guerlain’s Champs-Elysées as “a sharp and shallow floral to go with Lucite-heeled shoes and a ditzy high-pitched laugh.” Like I said, it’s a delightful read.