Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses we possess. The merest hint of something familiar can trigger a special memory or transport us to a wonderful moment in our lives long forgotten.
While it may be our most evocative sense, our sense of smell is often overlooked because we rely so much on what we see and what we hear, that we very rarely think about what we smell. But actually when you smell something it brings back a memory much quicker than any of your other senses can. It’s immediate. This is because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, which is really closely associated with memory.
This is why a perfumer doesn’t simply combine smells and ingredients in a pleasing way. He’s telling stories, using scent to evoke scenes and feelings by creating something people feel a connection to, a connection that’s often quite hard to articulate. Which why, choosing a perfume is very personal. When we pick a scent, we often subconsciously choose one that triggers certain memories and emotions deep within us.
A signature scent is a way of leaving your mark wherever you go. Having a “signature scent” doesn’t mean you have to have one created specially for you. It just means that you have a favourite fragrance that you always wear, so much so that it comes to represent you and people associate it’s scent with you.
When spraying a fragrance, bear in mind that heat is what activates the perfume. The pulse points on your body are the best spots to apply a scent, due to the warmth of your blood. These points are located behind your ear, at the bottom of your throat, on your wrist, inside your elbow, and behind your knee.
When sniffing a fragrance blotter, holding it steady under your nose and breathing in is not the right way to do it. Instead, move the strip of fragranced paper back and forth under both nostrils, because at any given time, a person might be relying on one nostril more than the other. Each nostril will have a different airflow, and if you’re favouring one, you may be missing some of the important nuances of a fragrance. Also, be mindful to only test six fragrances each time.
Don’t overload your senses. If you find a scent that speaks to you, spray it on your skin and see how it dries down and if you still love it after several hours of wear.
Scents can make us happy, sad and even dredge up memories long forgotten. A certain smell can remind you of a loved one that you lost, or an ex-lover you still have tender feelings for. Its because of the power of smell that beauty companies, shopping malls and even supermarkets use it to trigger our emotions to increase sales.
So the next time you are out, be aware of your surroundings and the smells around you and the emotions that they arouse.