Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Patrick Giles
Perfumer Daniel Patrick Giles’ Reading List is Infused With Inspiration
The Canadian-born founder of Perfumehead loves non-fiction, from glam memoirs to empowering books / BY Shinan Govani / November 21st, 2023
A scent master who is also a book lover? Daniel Patrick Giles, the Canadian behind the new Los Angeles-based company, Perfumehead, clearly has a nose for both. The former senior executive at Holt Renfrew is the auteur of seven, hand-crafted luxury perfumes – the latest obsession for fragrance lovers – that Forbes magazine recently called “olfactory love letters to Los Angeles.”
The aromas captured in super-chic bottles are inspired by the Chateau Marmont, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and Justin-and-Britney-era denim, as well as poet E.E. Cummings and writer Gore Vidal. Given that each fragrance is ”a curation of intimate scenes, scents and stories,” as Giles likes to say, we wanted to find out what else is on his radar, reading-wise, these days. He gladly filled us in!
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
The Creative Act: A Way of Being by [American record producer] Rick Rubin. Creativity has been the cornerstone of my career. Everything I do is creative, but I don’t think I really understood what creativity was really about. I love how Rick Rubin thinks, and links creativity to the world. Being creative isn’t a job, it’s a state of being, and what it means to be an artist. We all are creative beings. He opened me up to looking at creativity through a different lens.
What book can’t you wait to dive into?
I’m dying to read My Name is Barbra, the autobiography of Barbra Streisand. I’m a massive fan. She is an icon, legend and trailblazer who has been performing for more than six decades. The Way We Were is one of my favorite movies, and let’s not forget that she dated Prime Minister Pierre Eliott Trudeau.
What’s your favorite book of all time?
Not only is The Year of Magical Thinking my favorite book of all time, but Joan Didion is also my favorite author. The Year of Magical Thinking is a book about death and grief, and how, in one moment, everything changes. I loved the realness and rawness of the book. Joan Didion carries you into the darkest moments of her despair, and the reader experiences her grief in real time. It’s so beautifully written and heartbreaking. Ultimately, the book is about love.
What book completely changed your perspective?
The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. I had just finished a seven-year stint at a very stressful job. I was burnt out and lost. I decided to move to Kaui for a month to find myself. I remember being at an airport bookstore and this book leapt out at me. I just picked it up. The Untethered Soul taught me to live in the present. To experience a deeper level of joy and contentment. I always refer to this book when I feel like I’m getting a little off track.
If you could have dinner with any authors, living or dead, who would it be?
Joan Didion and Virginia Woolf.