Chandler Burr

  • Journalist, The New York Times

As perfume critic for The New York Times, Chandler Burr reviews the latest scents, speaks on the global stage and leads interactive classes explaining perfume to the average person. Beyond his responsibilities at the Times, Chandler writes on... More

As perfume critic for The New York Times, Chandler Burr reviews the latest scents, speaks on the global stage and leads interactive classes explaining perfume to the average person. Beyond his responsibilities at the Times, Chandler writes on politics, business, travel, food and sexual orientation. His latest book is The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York. He has served as contributing editor for U.S. News and World Report and has written two other books. His stage play, Exquisite, was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, and his first novel, You or Someone Like You, will be released by Ecco Press in summer 2009. Of the style he brings to perfume writing, Chandler states, “I'm a science journalist … and I depart from a sort of relentlessly clinical, empirical approach upward toward the aesthetics of perfume.”

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Chandler Burr's Presentations

PopTech 2008 October 2008

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The Perfect Pairing of Taste and Scent: Chandler Burr is the perfume critic for The New York Times, and the author, most recently, of the book The Perfect Scent. If you didn’t know this, it would be pretty easy to mistake him for a scientist. He... More

The Perfect Pairing of Taste and Scent: Chandler Burr is the perfume critic for The New York Times, and the author, most recently, of the book The Perfect Scent. If you didn’t know this, it would be pretty easy to mistake him for a scientist. He ably throws around terms from organic chemistry — the language of aldehydes, esters, and carbon dioxide distillation. Burr also possesses a keen nose, with the seeming ability to identify any perfume, no matter how obscure. In his very funny and informative talk today, he had the audience smell a number of different scents in rapid succession. He then offered a story about each one — from an analysis of the different grades of patchouli, to a detailed explanation of orris butter, to the tale of some of Chanel’s most storied scents. Some might think of scent as a mere frivolous luxury, but perfume is a lens for looking at culture and commerce. “Every bottle of perfume contains the world,” Burr said to the audience. “It contains every country you can imagine, farmers, smugglers, botanists, chemists, artists…bad economic policy, good economic policy, climate change…if you lost your hearing and your vision, you would still be connected to the world through the art of perfume.”

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