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Article: Connecting Fragrance, Memory and Emotion

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Connecting Fragrance, Memory and Emotion

When someone smells a fragrance for the first time, I encourage them to focus on how it makes them feel - and any emotions or memories it evokes - before considering the ingredients. This is so significant to me, it's the very reason my products are numbered rather than named.

At a time of year when we celebrate the special women in our lives - from mothers and grandmothers to daughters and friends - let's take a moment to reflect on how scent impacts our most meaningful emotions and memories.

Of our five senses there is none so intricately linked to emotion as our sense of smell. Perfume can support our wellbeing in so many ways, forging connections with our memories and empowering us to engage with our emotions. 

Sensory Science

I believe that every one of us can tap into our senses and experience the powerful, scientifically proven,  relationship between scent, memories and emotion.

Smell is the only one of our senses that travels directly to the brain's emotional and memory centres - the amygdala and hippocampus. The olfactory nerve is short, which is why smells can affect us so quickly.

Have you ever smelt something that stopped you in your tracks - and brought you straight back to a distant moment in your life?

When you smell something connected to an important past event, you'll first have an emotional response, which might be followed by a memory. Sometimes, details of the memory won't ever resurface - so you could feel emotions connected to the past without being able to put a finger on exactly what triggered them.

(This is also why the art of listening to our gut instinct is so important - even when seemingly illogical, it's usually correct.)

Memory and Emotion

Our response to smell is deeply rooted in psychology. It is individual to us, like a road map of our significant relationships and experiences based on smells we were exposed to at those times. When you smell a certain person, place or object, the memory centre in your brain is activated to absorb the emotions and experiences you associate with them.

The Healing Power of Fragrance

While creating my own bespoke perfume in Grasse on the French Riviera, I realised the power of fragrance to heal, release forgotten memories and transcend personal tragedy.

"I was enveloped with a wonderful feeling of peace and hope, appearing in olfactory form. After all those years, I’d been given back my precious memories – and through the process of creating fragrances, discovered that I did have a good childhood."

Read more about how I was transported through smell in My Story.

Your Scented Story

While my Eau de Parfums tell stories that are specific to me, they will speak to you in an entirely unique way. They may tether you to past moments, hold your attention in the present or evoke unexpected future emotions.

Memories of people you have not thought of may come rushing back. When interacting with my fragrances I ask that you pay attention to these feelings as they may enlighten your story in new ways.

Celebrating Women

Fragrance can mark a new chapter in your relationships in a beautiful way. This Mother's Day I'll be celebrating some of the wonderful women who surround me with the gift of perfume, scented candles and body care.  

Whichever connections you honour this month, I hope they are enhanced by fragrance, the oldest and most powerful of our senses.

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