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Taking command of the English language as none other—with a breathtaking vocabulary and singular style of constant play and dead seriousness—A.S. Reisfield in The Perfume of Life has created a radically new kind of nature writing. Seeing the natural world from the least expected angle—that of ephemeral scent—he builds a case for the fathomless complexity, glory, and vulnerability of life on Earth. Polemic, science, story, and language here join in a compelling manifesto.

  —Suzanne Noguere, author of Whirling Round the Sun

The Perfume of Life is like a musical fugue, weaving various voices together with brilliant effect. The central theme is that the story of Life is best related in the language of molecules, organic messaging metabolites that travel in our environments presently and through all history—perfume. The writing is by turns disturbing and funny, lively and highly technical, an almost impossible combination. Part saga, part diatribe, part poem, part invocation, we can see why this experimental work has been considered an entirely new form of nature writing. It is not a stretch to say that it is unlike any other work of published literature.

  —Lokkal Magazine, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A.S. Reisfield, in The Perfume of Life, has poured his love for the natural world and especially its fragrances and living emanations into something that has never been done before. He has created a literary work of art that sings the praise of essential oils and all aromatic extracts, turning the jargon of chemistry and the language of biology into poetry and prose. The Perfume of Life offers a lyrical opening into the universe of terpenoids and secondary metabolites that flows through the reader like a fragrant dream.


The Perfume of Life, by A.S. Reisfield, is a three-volume novel and study guide for everyone who cherishes essential oils and aromatherapy.

 —Kurt Schnaubelt, the founder and scientific director of Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, and author of Advanced Aromatherapy, Medical Aromatherapy, The Chemistry of Essential Oils, The Biology of Essential Oils, and The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils.

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