Chandler Burr (born December 30, 1963) is an American journalist and author. Trained in international economics and Japanese political economy and language, he has a Masters from Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Burr began his journalism career in 1987 as a stringer in The Christian Science Monitor 's Southeast Asia bureau. Somewhat by chance Burr became known for his science writing, first on sexual orientation, then on smell, which led to his current position, The New York Times 's perfume critic.
Burr's first book, A Separate Creation (1996), based on a 1993 cover story he wrote for The Atlantic, investigated sexual orientation research. Published by Hyperion, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company, the book prompted a call by Southern Baptists to boycott Disney films and theme parks Chandler Burr. Some Christians were offended by the book's title (it comes from a Charles Darwin quote stating that the evolutionary evidence shows human beings are not the result of a separate act of divine creation but an animal species like all others) and by its contents, which argue that homosexuality is inborn and innate. Burr compared the clinical profiles of two traits, sexual orientation and handedness, claiming that the best analogy for homosexuality is left-handedness. Homosexuality and left-handedness (book excerpt from A Separate Creation)
Burr's The Emperor of Scent (2003) was a book-length account of the French-Italian scientist Luca Turin's creation, through clues ranging from biophysical data to Chanel perfumes, of a theory about the functioning of the sense of smell. As a result of the book, The New Yorker proposed that Burr describe the creation of a perfume. Burr's March 2005 New Yorker article recounted Jean-Claude Ellena's year-long creation, in Paris and Grasse, of Hermès' Un Jardin sur le Nil. His most recent book, The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry, pairs that story with a year observing Sarah Jessica Parker's creation, in New York City and under the licensing aegis of the perfume corporation Coty, of her perfume Lovely. The book was published in February 2008.
In August 2006 Burr became the perfume critic of The New York Times. His column, Scent Notes, appears in T, The New York Times' style magazine. In it Burr rates perfumes on a five-star system. Stefano Tonchi, style editor of The New York Times Sunday Magazine and T, was quoted: "The Times will be the first to cover the fragrance industry and perfume in the way it does movies, books, and theater." Burr also conducts a series of perfume dinners, collaborating with the Executive Chefs of the Rosewood Hotels and Resorts' properties around the world, in which he leads guests through perfumery raw materials and fragrances and a multi-course meal.Small Luxury Hotels | Rosewood Hotels & Resorts - Contact | Worldwide Luxury Resorts
Born in Chicago and raised in Washington, D.C., Burr was a Contributing Editor to U.S. News and World Report and has also written for The Atlantic on epidemiology and public health. He writes narrative fiction and screenplays and has had one play produced. He lives in New York City.
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