Monday 14 March 2016


Chandler Burr, born in Chicago and raised in Washington, began his journalism career in 1987, but it was his book The Emperor of Scent which brought him to the attention of perfume fans around the world. As a result, from August 2006 until the end of 2010, Chandler was perfume critic for the New York Times before leaving to create the Department of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. Now, he said that he wanted his answers to "Stephan's Six" to be "super short", and indeed they are. So, hold on tight because they come thick and fast!

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Not to be cliched, but it would be my grandmother's house in Corpus Christi, Texas. It makes me feel wistful.

What perfume do you remember your mum or dad wearing?
My dad wore something with lime in the name, but I don't remember what. He loved it. My mom wore Quartz by Molyneux. I know because I gave her bottle after bottle. I associate it with being put to bed before they went out to a party.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
I didn't wear perfume in my twenties.

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
Polo Green, the original, when I was seventeen at boarding school. Bought it. Just didn't work.

You can only choose one perfume, what would it be?
Comme des Garçons 2. It's perfect on every single level, and it's a quiet, murmured beauty that I particularly love.

What perfume should I try?
Thierry Mugler's Cologne and Guerlain's Samsara, arguably the two most underrated scents in the world.

Chandler is passionate about the scent, not the visual, and he has said in the past, "if you have to see it, I’m not interested." His exhibition, The Art of Scent 1889-2012, displayed twelve works of “olfactory art” including Jicky by Aimé Guerlain and Olivier Cresp’s Angel, which he held up as works of Romanticism and Surrealism.

His first novel, You Or Someone Like You, is published by Ecco Press and is available from Amazon.

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