Monday 13 August 2018


One half of the formidable duo behind Perfumes: The Guide 2018, Tania Sanchez is a writer and editor now based in Greece. After growing up in California East Bay, Tania moved to London to co-author the first perfume book, Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, with Luca Turin. Now married to the “Emperor of Scent”, and with a style that is arrow-head sharp, I wondered what we would find out about Tania’s own perfume memories during “Stephan’s Six?”

What is the first smell that you can remember?
The smell of my father’s coffee that lingered in the kitchen after he left for work before dawn. He also took his turn in the nearby bathroom first thing in the morning, and there is an unexpected overlap in the smells of coffee and crap. Remembering it all, I recall a pang of longing for the absent father plus a slight edge of horror at the confusion between the two odours.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
Dad wore Old Spice. What a wonderful fragrance was Old Spice! The only memory it evokes is a very detailed rendering of his corner of my parents’ bathroom, where sat the opaque white glass bottle with the ship on it, accompanied by disposable razor, a tube of Score hair gel, and a tube of Colgate.

What was the perfume of your twenties?
In my twenties I had already gone sick in the head over perfume so there was never a point at which I had one Perfume of My Twenties. The one I wore when I got to NYU was Sung, and then I bought Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue. I remember riding a bicycle to a friend’s house who on my arrival asked, “Are you wearing Shalimar?” When I answered yes, she said, “It smells totally different on you,” which reminds me of the scene in A Hard Day’s Night when the initially giddy fan who has accosted John Lennon in a hallway lifts her glasses at him and declares, “You don’t look like him at all.”

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
I tried YSL Paris for the first time on a lunch break. I was unprepared for how huge it was, especially in the top. I had to rush back to the office and found myself on the elevator with an older woman and the frighteningly elegant adult daughter of my boss. The doors opened and the older woman got off. “Thank God,” muttered the boss’s daughter to me as the doors closed, to which I said nothing, being too mortified, and as we exited together two floors later I assume she realised her mistake.

You can only choose one perfume?
L’Heure Bleue. I know Luca has already chosen Mitsouko and surely readers are bored of hearing us predictably go on about Mitsouko? So the other one.

What perfume should I try?
XI L’Heure Perdue by Cartier. This is not only a haunting fragrance in terms of pure smell but it has astonishing technical properties. Spray a single strip, just once, and leave it on the kitchen table for a few minutes. Leave the house, even. Then come back and walk around. When I did this, I smelled it clearly in nearly every room as if the strip were following me. I have heard that it contains not a single natural material, but Mathilde Laurent’s genius is such that it doesn’t come off as harsh, bare, cheap, or any of the other negative qualities you assume will apply to an all-synthetic fragrance. It smells just otherworldly, too weird to be anything as banal as pretty, yet gorgeous.

Perfume: The Guide 2018 is available from Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback, with a hardcover edition scheduled for later in the year, and you can read my review of the book by clicking here. You can also revisit Luca Turin's "Stephan's Six" by clicking on the image below.


  1. Brilliant! I definitely want to try XI L'Heure Perdue now!

    1. Hello Samantha, one of my readers messaged me, “Hilarious article. She sounds a character.” Let me know what you think of Perdue. Best, Stephan