Günther Ohloff, Wilhelm Pickenhagen and Philip Kraft
2011  350pp  £65.00 (PB)
ISBN 9783906390666 

This book is a completely revised and extended edition of Ohloff’s standard work Scent and fragrances the fascination of odors and their chemical perspectives and provides a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the chemistry of odours and perfumes.

It begins with an introduction to the history of odours and the molecular basis of olfaction, including structure–odour relationships. The main part of the book consists of a series of chapters dealing with odours from the various classes of terpene and terpenoid molecules of plant origin, together with a chapter on odours of animal origin.

The isolation and identification of individual odour molecules from natural sources, and their chemical synthesis in the laboratory, are both discussed in detail. Each chapter has boxes outlining the commercial perfumes that contain the odours under discussion; in this way the reader can, using the perfume index at the back, explore the components of their favourite perfume.

This book would be ideal for perfume/odour chemists or any chemist with an interest in natural products. However, the marketing statement that the book would be of value to the interested layman is, I think, an exaggeration. With hundreds of chemical structures littering the pages and much detail, including stereochemical aspects, on the importance of structure–activity relationships in odour molecules, the non-chemist would be quickly out of his depth.

A layman interested in perfumes, with chemistry explained in a simpler way, should try one of the following books, all reviewed in past issues of Chemistry World:

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