Byline: KATE SULLIVAN
For her recent book, The Secret of Chanel No. 5: The Intimate History of the World's Most Famous Perfume (HarperCollins), Tilar J. Mazzeo visited the rose farms of Grasse, France, and dug through recently declassified World War II files in London. What she uncovered was a history as complex as the scent's formula.
Is it true that Coco Chanel paid $10,000 for an ancient fragrance recipe that belonged to the Medicis? She did pay for a manuscript, but there's almost certainly no connection between it and the recipe for No. 5. The perfumer she ultimately hired had worked for the Romanovs. She wanted that cachet. She was …