A Beginner's Guide, Chapter One: Fragrance, Emotion & Memories
Welcome to our first Beginner's Guide to Fragrance. Over the coming months, together we will explore the meaning and impact of fragrance on our lives, from the emotion it evokes to understanding notes and fragrance families.
We hope that you enjoy this journey with us and that it enhances your everyday experience of the smells that surround you, as well as the wonderful world of perfume.
To begin, we take a look at the definition of fragrance, our sense of smell, and what connects this to memories and emotions.
What is Fragrance?
The dictionary definition of fragrance is a substance, extract, or preparation for diffusing or imparting an attractive smell, especially a fluid containing fragrant natural oils extracted from flowers, woods or similar synthetic oils.
To me, it is so much more than this. I define a fragrance as any aroma that stirs a physical reaction and emotional connection. This could be anything from a dewy forest at dawn or turf fire embers, to the most exquisite perfume.
Our Sense of Smell
Our sense of smell is one that we take for granted most of the time, often oblivious until we notice a scent that repels or allures. And yet this sense has such an intense impact on the others, enticing us to touch, taste or stare.
For so many of us, our first scent memories are linked to a beloved grandparent, who perhaps baked, made jam, or gardened. And often we are unaware of the connection until reunited with that specific smell or component.
What connects our sense of smell to memories and emotions?
Neither a whim or a romantic notion, the link between scent, memory and emotion is scientifically proven.
Odours are processed by the olfactory bulb which begins inside the nose and connects to the limbic system in the brain. The limbic system controls two parts of the brain – the hypothalamus and cerebral cortex which connects us to our emotions and memories. The olfactory nerve is short, which is why our sense of smell can affect us so quickly. Hence an intrinsically close relationship between smell, emotion and memory.
One particular smell gave me access to memories that I had buried very deeply. It was the starting point of a journey of restoration. This heavenly scent is what I sought to reproduce in STORIES N⁰. 01.
Do certain scents trigger specific thoughts or emotions in you? Take a moment to think of how many smells you've encountered since you woke up this morning. Our sense of smell is one that we can tune into and hone so that we become more aware of the scents that surround us... a good thing, most of the time!
I hope this first chapter in our Beginner's Guide has been rewarding - and perhaps opened your mind to experiencing fragrance in new ways.