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Charles Sell's New Book Just Released

Understanding Fragrance Chemistry

by Charles Sell

Allured Publishing; 2008

Hardcover; 350 pages

ISBN-10: 1-932633-38-3/ ISBN-13: 978-1-932633-38-2

Understanding Fragrance Chemistry concentrates on the aspects of organic chemistry that are of particular importance to the fragrance industry. Topics include:

  • The structure of matter
  • Organic molecules
  • Chemical reactivity
  • Acid/base reactions
  • Oxidation and reduction reactions
  • Perfume structure
  • Chemistry in consumer goods
  • The biological way we detect odors
  • How nature makes fragrant molecules
  • And much more!

Each chapter has review questions which allow readers to check their understanding of the content, and glossaries are provided where appropriate. A chapter on chemical information and a bibliography will help those who want to read more on any of the subjects covered.

Sample Pages

Click here to order your copy today for only $129 ... or purchase the book and its companion workbook and study guide for only $149!

About the Author

Charles Sell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry with honors from The Queen’s University of Belfast in 1970. The following year, he was awarded a master’s degree in organic chemistry from the same for research into the anticancer drug podophyllotoxin. In 1974, he received a doctorate from the Australian National University in Canberra, for research with the late professor Arthur Birch (of Birch Reduction fame) into the synthesis of two Australian diterpenes, one of which is a food trail pheromone for an indigenous species of termite. 

Through a European Fellowship of The Royal Society, Sell spent a year with professor Albert Eschenmoser at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, Switzerland, working on the synthesis of the antibiotic rifamycin, followed by a year at the University of Warwick with professor Bernard Golding, developing an understanding of the mechanism of action of vitamin B12. 

In 1976, Sell joined Proprietary Perfumes Ltd. (later to become PPF, then Quest International, and now Givaudan). There, his work covered all aspects of synthetic organic chemistry as applied to the fragrance industry, from discovery of novel materials through process R&D, to improvement of established chemical manufacturing processes. 

Additionally, in 1983–1984, Sell served as a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during which time he worked on the development of novel synthetic methodology with the late professor George Büchi. 

Sell has published a large number of original research papers, patents and reviews, and is editor and co-author of The Chemistry of Fragrance, the second edition of which has just been published by the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). A second book, A Fragrant Introduction to Terpenoid Chemistry, was published in October 2003 by the RSC. Recent publications also include a review for Angewandte Chemie on the unpredictability of odor, a chapter on terpenoids for the new edition of the Kirk-Othmer Encyclopaedia of Chemical Technology, and a chapter of olfaction for the Wiley Encyclopedia of Chemical Biology. A paper titled, “Odorantreceptor interactions and odour percept; a chemical perspective,” is forthcoming in Chemistry and Biodiversity.


This book is written both for the novice and the perfumer alike, as it takes you on a journey from a simplified introduction to organic chemistry through separation techniques and analytical methodologies to the structure of perfume creation. It addresses the myriad of reactive ingredients that exist in consumer based products and it shows how the creative perfumer can formulate a fragrance to ensure long-term stability. This makes it a unique book that should find a place on the shelf of everybody who has an interest in perfumes.

-Brian M. Lawrence, PhD

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