Chandler Burr
Author, Speaker, and New York Times Scent Critic

Chandler Burr is The New York Times’ perfume critic. His book, The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris & New York, tells two parallel stories, the first about a year Burr spent for The New Yorker magazine in Paris behind the scenes at Hermès watching legendary perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena create the Hermès scent “Un Jardin sur le Nil”; and the second about a year (beginning with an article for The New York Times) inside Coty with Sarah Jessica Parker as she directed the making of her perfume “Lovely.”


His first novel, You Or Someone Like You, was published 2009. Burr is also author of the books The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume, Obsession, and the Last Mystery of the Senses and A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation, based on his Atlantic cover story, “Homosexuality and Biology.”


He speaks around the world on scent and perfume and hosts interactive masterclasses in gourmand scents; this series explains perfume for the lay person and shows fragrance’s structure and artistry, with food-based scent raw materials (absolutes of cinnamon, clove, pepper) and gourmand perfumes like “Angel” (which uses the scent of cotton candy) and “Shalimar” (the scent of vanilla) reflected in a 7-course gourmet meal.


Beginning his journalism career as a stringer at the Christian Science Monitor’s Southeast Asia bureau in Manila, Burr then earned a Masters in International Economics & Japan studies from the Paul H. Nitze School/Johns Hopkins. He has also studied international relations at l’Institut d’études politiques in Paris and Chinese history at Min Zu Xue Yuen (Central Institute of Foreign Nationalities) in Beijing.


Burr has written on business for Fast Company and Fortune, politics for the New York Times Magazine, on travel and food for Gourmet, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Departures, and religion and science for US News & World Report, where he was a Contributing Editor. His first stage play, “Exquisite,” was nominated in 1992 for the Helen Hayes award for Outstanding New Play.

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The Perfect ScentA Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York

No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances. Now, writing with wit and elegance, he juxtaposes the stories of the perfumes -- one created by a Frenchman in Paris for an exclusive luxury-goods house, the other made in New York by actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Coty, Inc., a giant international corporation.

A Master Class in Scent Chandler's enthralling, riveting class hosted over a fabulous dinner at both corporate and private functions and in coordination with restaurants and hotels across the globe. These highly interactive events are one of a kind: Chandler pairs the raw elements of les parfums gourmands, the great culinary perfumes, with fabulous culinary creations. They are in fact two parallel dinners--the first created by Chandler, The New York Times perfume critic, as an invisible, olfactory meal to be consumed by the nose: essences and absolutes of black pepper, saffron, wine, cinnamon, mango--a host of elements that the great perfumers of the world use to create their scents. The second is the physical meal, paired with each olfactory course, created by Chandler in coordination with the chef. Macmillan Speakers is pleased to coordinate all details surrounding Chandler's Master Class with our clients.
A History of Perfume Chandler, the world's preeminent expert on perfume, presents a wonderful, interactive course on the history of perfume, offering pairings with great works of art and music, and offering perfume as an art form on par with the other great artistic traditions.
The Perfect Scent Chandler discusses his inside look at the perfume industry, based on his critically acclaimed book, The Perfect Scent. Chandler has access and insight into the industry unmatched by perhaps any person on earth.

Check out some of Chandler Burr’s scent reviews for T, The NY Times Style Magazine.

Listen to Chandler Burr discuss his process on NPR.

Read interviews with Chandler Burr on and Fragrantica.

Learn more about Chandler Burr and follow him on Twitter.