Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 'Beer' Books for Christmas, #9: Emperor of Scent

Emperor of Scent

The 9th Book for Christmas

The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses
Chandler Burr
Random House, USA: 2003
ISBN: 0-37550797-3

After the six or so basic tastes —salty, sweet, sour, bitter, savory, and fat— the sense of smell is essential to flavor. It might be the most important contributor, but science is still not quite sure of how it works.

The Emperor of Scent is the fascinating tale of Dr. Luca Turin, a biophysicist at the University College of London, who set out to prove that aroma is detected by the vibrations of molecules. It's a theory that has been soundly rejected by peer review ... with no theory offered to fully replace it.

New York Times writer (and perfume critic!) Chandler Burr writes about Turin's work for (and against) the perfume industry, but the general principles of this still infant science of smell apply as well to good fermentables. If you can't smell it, you can't taste it.


This is one in a a series of 12 recommendations for beer-themed books —one per day, until the Winter Solstice, 21 December.

This is not a Top 12 list. It's my list of 12 books, personal delights. On Christmas Day: put your feet up, pour yourself a good beer, and read a good book. Better yet: give a friend the gift of a beer and a book.

12 'Beer' Books For Christmas: the full list here.

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