Neil Chapman: Perfume

Hi there Posse! It’s not every day your mate releases a book about perfume. Last week it happened for me. Neil Chapman, longtime blogger under the guise of The Black Narcissus, has written a book about perfume and the finding of your signature scent, or scents. Anyone who reads TBN will already be acquainted with his spectacular prose and far flung knowledge realms, his posts can be utterly mind blowing and thought provoking and sometimes even just plain weird assed shit. He is a grand devotee of art and literature, lives in Japan and cruises the second hand perfume emporiums there grabbing the rarest vintage gems for peanuts. He is my perfumed spirit animal and I aspire to be more like him (without the book obviously).

Perfume by Neil Chapman

In Search Of Your Signature Scent

Neil thoughtfully sent me a Press Copy which took eternity to get to Australia. It was the day before the big London Launch Party that it finally arrived. I tore it open and immediately stated to read. GAWD! It’s so damn enjoyable. He drops the names of so many fragrances I know and love. Also things I’ve never heard of, by houses that are brand new to me. Well. you can imagine how excited that gets me. Furiously hitting Fragrantica to find out more, obvs. Even that makes it more fun. Like he’s leading me on a journey of discovery too.

Neil sets the scene, gives us some info. He then launches us into a catalogue of fragrance styles and some of his favourites in each category. Now I must warn you that lists are not exhaustive, it’s a taste of Neil’s taste. So you’re not allowed to get all huffy that your personal favourite isn’t mentioned, OK? We are merely flotsam in Neil Chapman’s fragrant thought stream and must go where he takes us. It’s actually a really fun way to do it. Like sitting at his house and you mention a fragrance style. He goes and gets his best of list for each style and you sit together and try them over a few drinks.

I’m not sure where you’ll be getting your copy from but look it up online and I reckon you will be able to order one.

It’s a fun window into fragrance by one of us, most enjoyable.

Portia xx



Portia also writes for Australian Perfume Junkies




  1. SO EXCITED you got the book and like it! Thanks so much for putting this up x

    And yes – there was no way it could possibly have been exhaustive, with the publishing parameters (I would have liked five years to research it and for it to have been ten times longer!). In the end it was meant to be more of a tantalizing immersion in perfume for the newbie or a drug for the more acquainted – something to just dip into while sitting on the toilet.

    • Welcome Neil,
      Holding something crafted and created by a mate is always special.
      Congratulations. You’ve done a lovely job.
      Portia xx

  2. Seven years ago Neil promised me a signed copy of his first book…..I am still waiting. ?
    Glad to hear that it is such a wonderful read, Portia, and that the book made its way to you.

    • OMG! I hope you get one Brigitte.
      It’s worth buying and getting on a plane to Japan and making him sign it. At gunpoint if necessary.
      Portia x

  3. I just received my copy on Tuesday and already love the introduction! Can’t wait to really get into it. I have enjoyed Neil’s blog for years.

    • YAY MMKinPA,
      Those intros were spectacular. Really set the scene for what’s to come.
      Portia xx

  4. I love Neil’s blog. His writing is so passionate.A joy to read XX

    • Oh yes Matty,
      Visceral writing, sometimes it sends me a bit bonkers and I have to take a moment to readjust to real life.
      Portia xx

  5. Got my copy yesterday (with the remains of my Christmas book voucher) at Waterstones Belfast. Looking forward to reading it.

    • Woo Hoo! Lovely thing to buy with your Chrissy Voucher. Now you will have something lovely to remember that Xmas by whenever you pick it up.
      Portia xx

    • We had a Waterstones in Chicago for a few years. I miss it. I miss all of those lovely bookshops. Dang. xoxoA

  6. My book arrived Tuesday! Super excited to immerse myself in it this weekend. I pre-ordered from Amazon as soon as I heard about it. The book itself is gorgeous. I will so enjoy reading and learning about the fragrances Neil includes and will be thrilled to go on this perfume journey led by him.

  7. I pre-ordered from Amazon UK and it was estimated to arrive April 8th but I got it yesterday, squee!! It is gorgeous. I love his blog. Looking forward to diving in tonight.

    • SQUEEE!! Indeed TaraC,
      Love early shopping arrivals. I hope you love the book too.
      Portia xx

  8. The book sounds marvelous! However, I don’t want to be flotsam – but if I’m jetsam, that means Neil is in distress – so, okay, I’ll be flotsam. Just call me Flotsie for short (and yes, I’m having a mo’ here 😉 xoxoxo

    • HA! Musette, you FOOL!
      How I love you.
      That will have me smiling all morning, Flotsie.
      Portia xx

  9. I got my copy on Wednesday, and it’s been sitting on my bedside table ever since then! It is so, so good, and now I need to go back and read the introduction, per MMK! I just dove into the middle of it. Rose section first, of course.

  10. How cool is this?!! Need to get my hands on a copy ASAP!!

  11. This sounds like something I just have to have! I really like the cover design, too. Luckily Amazon UK can be trusted to send the books quickly, since it is not likely to be found locally in Oslo.

  12. And…this book actually made it to two of our chains of bookstores in Norway! So not even necessary to use Amazon this time. How perfect is that?

    • WOW! That is amazing. I’m so glad it’s getting a super wide release. Good on Neil, he’s earned it,
      Portia xx

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