Perfume is not a smell. It’s what I call a message in a bottle. A smell has no intent. A perfume is like a chemical poem composed by a human being to impart an idea or sensation or emotion to another human being. The best ones are those where the intent is clear, otherwise it’s just something nondescript that smells vaguely good. So if the intent is intelligent, humorous, surprising, novel, profound, then the critic’s job is to read that intent and put it into words. In a sense, you’re simply translating.
— Luca Turin on perfume and perfume criticism. Read more at Follow your nose: a lesson in perfume-making at The Guardian.