That Smells Good Enough to Eat

The official fragrance grouping for perfumes that smell like food is gourmand. According to the dictionary a Gourmand is a person who is fond of good eating, often indiscriminately and to excess, so it makes sense that gourmand fragrances are all about delicious, edible notes served with reckless abandonment and usually not for the faint-hearted. Some of the top-selling perfumes are in this group: Opium, YSL, Euphoria Gold, Calvin Klein and Angel, Thierry Mugler.

These fragrances tend to smell almost edible usually featuring notes such as vanilla, caramel, honey, chocolate and black coffee. Often sweet, but also savoury and umami.

The first perfumes that many of us wear as teenagers are super- sweet with notes of sugar and fruits, think of the Body Shop’s Vanilla scent. This is related in some ways to hormones as younger women are drawn to these scents.

Perfumes that smell like food-stuffs are not in fact a new idea. Gourmand perfumes are almost a century old and in the last few years are riding a new wave of popularity. The French perfume company Guerlain released Shalimar in 1925 to counteract all the heavier musk and spice scents that were worn and this smelled like baby powder and biscuits.

There is really no shortage of scents in the marketplace, that allow you to smell of your favourite foods, no matter how random these may be. From the subtle scents of citrus or tea to the extremes like cheese.

For meat lovers, the perfume house, I Hate Perfume combines the smell of roast beef, parsley, herbs, black peppers, smoked woods, patchouli, cedar and tobacco absolute. Whilst, in 2008 Burger King launched their meat infused spray, Flame, marketing it as the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat. I am really not too sure about that one, some men may like this though?

Frying bacon has to be one of life’s greatest smells. In 1920, John Fargginay, a Parisian butcher discovered the ability to dramatically elevate his customers mood with a secret recipe blending eleven pure essential oils with the essence of bacon. This was to become a fragrance; it is said that even film stars and heads of state would frequent his shop to procure the magical elixir of Fargginay’s Bacon Cologne. After a huge fire on July the 4th, 1924, the business was lost and so was the formula. Fargginay, Inc. was founded in 2000 (the perfume was launched in 2011) by John Leydon. Who was passionate to uncover and resurrect one of the greatest legends of the early 20th century. The company classically designed a fragrance that used a traditional structure to create an untraditional, artisanal gourmand scent. 

 Other companies have produced food inspired scents, Demeter, have a wide range, one of the most unusual been Lobster featuring subtle hints of sweet meat, the sea and butter. It does sound good enough to eat, but do you want to smell of fish.

The Stilton Cheese Makers Association commissioned an aromatics firm to create Eau de Stilton. It was part of their Stick on the Stilton 2006 campaign, to encourage people to eat more Stilton cheese. The perfume, billed as eminently wearable, blends Yarrow, Angelica seed, Clary Sage and Valerian to recreate the earthy and fruity aroma of Blue Stilton cheese. The smell of strong cheese causes me to feel quite unwell, so I think this one is not for me.

Jean-François Laportes, niche Parisian brand l’Artisan Parfumier is inspired by nature and creates many lovely perfumes. Their best-selling Premier Figurer scent, echoes a fig tree on a summer’s day in Provence with an enveloping freshness with milky woody notes. Poivre Piquant, combines white pepper and the sugary sweetness of milk, honey, and liquorice. which is a spicy yet delicately sensual aroma.

So many artisan companies are producing gourmand perfumes which are very wearable and not in the least gimmicky. As after all not everyone wants to smell of flowers. Many of us are foodies and becoming more aware of using exotic spices in our food, so why not add these stunning aromatic ingredients to our scents!

What an Unusual Fragrance?

Christmas is a key time for the perfume industry, and we are bombarded with advertisements for the big-hitters like Chanel, Dior and Marc Jacobs.  Now you may not be a fan of these recognisable fragrances, but I am sure you can a least see the appeal to others and even buy them as gifts. I sell artisan fragrance for a living, and there are key groups of scent: the most popular scents being the Flower, Citrus or Woods groups, I could go into this in more detail, but I’m sure you get the basic idea, as there are many groups and sub-groups that classify perfumes.

There are many weird and wonderful perfumes, many I haven’t smelt, and in truth, I did think some of them were jokes and not actually real. However, or unfortunately these are actual scents! Sometimes, you like the idea of a perfume that’s different and no-one else has (or would want) and if this is the case, there are several perfumes houses that fulfil that requirement.

Demeter was conceived in 1996, with a unique and ever- expanding perspective on fragrance.  The original mission was to capture the beautiful smells of the garden and nature in wearable form. Made from 100% natural ingredients and fragrance oils derived from natural sources, the Demeter name itself was inspired by the Greek Goddess of Agriculture. The first three fragrances were Dirt, Grass and Tomato and were sold in a few stores in New York. Today, the Demeter Fragrance Library consists of over 300 different fragrances inspired by everyday objects and experiences. One of the things that makes them unique is that all Demeter fragrances are single note fragrances, meaning they are the smallest combination of ingredients that expresses an olfactory idea. The notes are linear, which means they express their olfactory nature immediately and do not change over time, in the way that a blended perfume with several notes does, i.e. top, middle and base notes. Their aim is the following:

We create environments where people can rediscover the wonderful world of scent that is too often overlooked or forgotten in our modern, multi-tasking world. That is because great fragrance, quite simply, makes for a better day.  Ultimately, we want nothing less than to change the way fragrance is used throughout the world. We isolate and highlight the beautiful scents that surround us every day, in wearable formats.

Whether this has been achieved, well, I’m not too sure about that, but certainly their fragrances are different from other perfume houses, I don’t think that Mildew or Earthworm will be out- selling Chanel no 5 this year. Kitten Fur, Crayon, Dregs, Fiery Curry, Funeral Home, Fuzzy Balls, Paint, Puppy’s Breath and Dust, to me were the stand-out scents, in particular as usually you try to cover up these smells, but I am guessing that’s the point been made. They do sell more traditional scents like Jasmine and Rose and the prices are affordable for an artisan product. Go to www. for more details.

In 2019, one of the biggest trends has been Cannabidiol or CBD oil, and the perfume industry has been quick to jump on the cannabis waggon trending on the high-street. With several companies, producing perfumes smelling of Cannabis. Reeking of weed used to be seen as a bad thing. Now high-end beauty influencers are embracing fragrances designed to highlight the aroma of Cannabis. There’s one called Dirty Grass, an earthy scent with 500 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD oil in each bottle and a hefty price tag. Which is from Heretic Parfum’s, Douglas Little, the nose behind Goop’s all-natural fragrances. Luxury cult brand 19-69 make Chronic Eau de Parfum, which is inspired by the 1990s cannabis cultivation in Southern California. An ode to the Woodstock music festival and is best described as smelling of patchouli and fresh bud. Artisan company-Fresh produce, Cannabis Santal Eau de Parfum, which at £46 is one of the more affordable options. Apparently, this captures the raw sensuality of cannabis, and is known for its woodsy, musky properties and this is even sold by John Lewis!

Other scents which have become popular are paper and ink. So, if you’ve ever wanted to fool your friends that you constantly have your head stuck in a book, then this is the perfume for you. Paper Passion by Steidl, is a perfume that smells just like paper and ink. I think this would be a great room fragrance, although, I like this scent, I wouldn’t want to smell of paper and ink, that would remind be of school.

The scent of animals, has influenced perfume makers too. A perfect gift for those equine enthusiasts, Horse, is a scent created by the For Strange Women company and smells of horses, hay and oats. Artisan Parfumier created Dzing!, a perfume that smells like the circus. This fragrance has notes of caramel apples, sweaty artists, elephants and saddle leather.

Etat Libre d’Orange is, according to its website, an ambitious, audacious perfumery, passionate, exuberant and liberated. This is a different kind of perfumery, intelligent with a point of view, that uses irony to hone the names of its scents. Currently they present a collection of more than 30 fragrances. With names like: Fat Electrician, I am Trash and Putain des Palaces (Palace Whore in English) I feel these names are self-explanatory. Their best-selling fragrance is Magnifiques Secretions, a “Raw Sex” fragrance of blood, sweat, spit and semen. Creative and interesting, yes, but I will pass on this myself, I have heard of selling sex, but this is possibly one step to far?

So, the perfume industry has us smelling of cannabis, mould, elephants and secretions, all very adult scents. However, you can also go back to childhood, if you want. The Library of Fragrance has bottled that fresh, just-out-of-the-can, Eau de PLAY-DOH aroma as part of a year-long celebration of the beloved modelling compound’s 50th Birthday. Prices start at £5 and this is currently sold out, So someone is wearing it! for details

When you open a can of PLAY-DOH compound, you are instantly transported back to childhood.

Leigh Anne Cappello, vice president of marketing PLAY-DOH

I hope this has given you a different perspective on scent, I love florals and citrus and I don’t think I want to smell of mouldy socks any time soon, but you never know! Any Thoughts ?

The Art of Smell

I always keep an eye out for any interesting articles or posts about scent and the sense of smell. According to many scientific studies, smells have a greater power to evoke memory than our other senses. We cannot underestimate the importance of the sense of smell. It can take us back to different times, uplift, relax or in some cases tell us something is very wrong or even dangerous. My ex-flat mate had health problems that meant she regularly lost her sense of smell and at the same take also loss her appetite. I mentioned Smeller in a previous blog, but I want to tell you more about this, as I found it very interesting and hopefully you will too.

In 1902, the German-Japanese poet and art critic Sadakichi Hartmann staged A Trip to Japan in Sixteen Minutes, the world’s first ever scent-performance in New York. The idea was to create a work of art that appealed to his audience’s sense of smell and to evoke a journey. He claimed, there had been no apparatus before that could provide an audience with what he called a melody in odours. The performance was, however a disaster. The influx of heavy, floral perfumes was intended to evoke different countries on a journey by sea to the East, but the crowd, with only the visuals of Hartmann and two powdered women in kimonos sliding smell-soaked fabrics in front of a fan, were not impressed and Hartmann was heckled off stage after a few minutes.

Now, fast-forwarding, more than 100 years later, Hartmann would have been astonished to witness the Smeller 2.0 at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius Bau museum. This temporary installation of a machine that pumps smells one after another into a room, was debuted in 2012 and has since been exhibited in different venues.  Wolfgang Georgsdorf, the artist, wants us to think about smell as an artistic experience and invented a machine called the Smeller 2.0. Closely resembling a pipe organ with its tangle of pipes and vents, it is the size of a small coffee shop, like a huge air conditioning unit. Its 64 chambers can each be loaded with a different scent, which can then be played like a musical note by the artist using a midi keyboard and digital-to-analog converters to turn electrical impulses into physical movements in the instrument.

According to other artists in the smell art community, the Smeller does what no one else in the intervening time period has ever managed to do: it pumps a series of defined, distinct smells into the room, one after the next. There are no sounds and no visuals. The scents dissipate just as the next one arrives, every inhalation a new surprise, it could be horse or a strong cheese. Georgsdorf, has spent more than 20 years getting his Smeller in front of an odience, which is what he calls those who experience it. He made the first prototype in 1996, but the idea has been in his head for almost his entire life. His first notable olfactory experiences as a child of four or five.

Georgsdorf researched into the previous attempts at creating a kinetic smell instrument. “What I saw was a series of very entertaining, triumphant failures,” he said. Sadakichi Hartmann’s electric fan was only the beginning of the 20th century’s experiments in olfactory performance. In 1906, before movie theatres even began to use sound, a newsreel of the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, was shown in a theatre in Pennsylvania, with electric fans blowing the scent of the flower through huge cotton pads into the audience. There were several further efforts to pump different scents into theatres to correspond with a movie’s plot. The most famous example of this cinema-olfaction hybrid was Hans Laube’s Smell-O-Vision, which debuted with the film The Scent of Mystery in 1960. In specially-equipped theatres, 30 different odours were dispersed from audience members’ seats when triggered by the reel. Shortly before a similar technology, Aromarama, which used a cinema’s air conditioning system to diffuse odours into a theatre, was introduced. Neither one was successful. The New York Times called Aromarama a stunt and its odour sequences elusive.

More pungent neologisms followed: John Waters film Polyester in 1981 came with a scratch and sniff card entitled Odorama, containing scents like air freshener, skunk and pizza, that corresponded to numbers flashed on screen. Later copied by Nickelodeon under the moniker Aromascope. In 1999, the iSmell, a kind of shark-fin shaped USB drive with an air freshener attached, tried to offer consumers scents triggered by their internet browsers. Despite heavy investment, once more, these were to fail.

Georgsdorf comments that:

People have misunderstood on a physical level, a chemical level, on a perceptive level, and on a psychological level. The comparison with visual and audio performance has caused confusion. We are talking here about a new form of art that does not deal with waves such as light and sound, but with particles, and particles, unlike waves, don’t just cease to exist when a stimulus stops producing them. They linger.

The key question is, how does this relate to Art? Scientists are still figuring out the intricacies of how our brains decipher scents.  However, evidence suggests that the olfactory data is more deeply connected with memories than language, so is much more emotional. This makes scents difficult to talk about. We most often talk about the source of the smell, rather than the smell itself: something might smell like the pages of an old book for example. Scientists and artists have much in common, and perfumers are a mix of both.

He acknowledges that some of the difficulty lies in the artform itself. “We have 4,000 years of music history and we have zero thousand years of Osmodrama history, the vision is a new form of art that had never existed because simply the technology was not there”

For now, Georgsdorf has resisted mass-market ambitions. He seemed particularly irritated by the “wishful thinking” of the failed iSmell. But his work isn’t only about making smells into art. He is currently working on research with the University of Dresden and University Hospital in Berlin to test whether subjects with depression see an improvement in their symptoms after experiencing the distinct series of scents from the Smeller. Preliminary results suggest they do.

It’s not a gimmick, what started as a wacky experiment many years ago has been turned into a successful art installation. In the future it may feature more widely in our life’s. I am very interested to see where this leads, as many of the everyday items we use today would have been unimaginable to our ancestors. Some time in the future we could even have a home version of the Smeller!

Perfume as an Art Form-Escentric Molecules

As you may have realized I do prefer natural things where possible, but at the same time its only fair to keep an open mind to new creative developments. Many Perfumers have struggled with the IFRA (The International Fragrance Association) which has banned many common ingredients in perfumery. Which has brought new challenges to the industry when a material is forbidden or restricted, sometimes for good reasons like health issues. Unfortunately, the most interesting ones are being cut out, so alternatives are having to be found and often this means developing a replacement in a laboratory.

One of the most creative Perfumers around is Gaza Scohen, his company, Escentric Molecules celebrates perfumery as the art of chemistry. It was in London, in 2006, that he launched Escentric Molecules, often described as the ‘anti-fragrance fragrance brand’. He started this as a niche brand never really thinking that this revolutionary fragrance would become so successful. Confounding his expectations to become a huge success.

What is it exactly? An aroma- molecule is something that does not exist in nature. Unknown outside the world of perfumery, (until the launch of Escentric Molecules) Iso E Super was created in a laboratory at IFF in 1973. It had been used in relatively low concentrations in the background of many fragrances for both men and women. Among perfumers, it is prized for its velvety, cocooning effect.

I realised that the common denominator in all the fragrances I liked was that they contained a large dose of it. Iso E Super is highly unusual. You can never get enough of it, it’s like a drug – Geza Schoen

After perfumer Geza Schoen first smelt Iso E Super, he began to experiment, creating fragrances that contained Iso E Super in unheard-of proportions even spraying nothing but the aroma-molecule itself. The molecules hover close to the skin so perfumes bond with the receptors in the olfactory system. The effects were immediate and he decided to create two fragrances which were radically minimalist. The fragrances are presented in binary pairs. Each pair explores one aroma-molecule in two different ways. One fragrance would contain an unprecedented 65% of the molecule. The rest of the formula would consist of ingredients designed to underscore its low-lit mood. This was a brave move; the second fragrance was totally non-conformist. It would contain only the molecule Iso E Super.

“I thought, this one will appeal only to the artists, the freaks, the outsiders.”

From its launch in 2006, Escentric Molecules was a phenomenon hit. Schoen followed the first pair of fragrances, 01, with 02, 03, 04, and in 2020, a fifth pair, Escentric Molecules 05. Each pair focuses on those rare aroma-molecules that have the radiance and depth of character to stand alone. The Escentric and Molecule fragrances in each series are sold separately. These don’t come cheap. But the fragrance smells different on every wearer, so it is cheaper than a bespoke scent.

Throughout his career Schoen has collaborated on conceptual projects such as Paper Passion, a fragrance with Steidl, Wallpaper and Karl Lagerfeld and worked with artists such as Wolfgang Georgsdorf, for whom he made 64 odours for Smeller, an olfactory organ that spectators can play like a piano to make aromascapes. Artist Wolfgang Georgsdorf wants us to think about smell as an artistic experience. (I will feature this in a separate post)

Geza Schoen, appears to be a reserved, modest man. He thinks a woman ‘s mind is sexier than her looks, values the dying art of face to face communication, has a deep-rooted love of natural ingredients and thinks most new “niche” perfumes are silly. I couldn’t agree more. He has brought something very different to an industry over-filled with much of the same. Not everyone wants to smell the same as everyone else. What he is creating is futuristic perfumery. It will be interesting to see if other companies follow his lead and how the coming decades with the rising costs and scarcity of natural ingredients will force more perfume houses into laboratories. As a perfumer he is both an artist and skilled craftsman. It would appear that perfumery is a combination of both skill and intuition. I am curious to see what he does next…..

The Soul of the Rose

I came across a TV documentary on BBC i-player called the Soul of The Rose which aired several years ago and found it a very moving story. One of my favourite scents is Rose Damask in its essential oil form, the high cost means this is a rare treat for me. Roses have been favoured for hundreds of years particularly in India. Rosewater showers are used in weddings and religious ceremonies.

For 400 hundred years in the Indian city of Kannauj, rose flowers have been distilled to make perfume. However due to the popularity of synthetic perfumes many distilleries have closed or are near to closing due to the decline in this industry. Twenty years ago, there were 700 perfume distilleries reducing to less than 100 in 2017. These distilleries produce oil-based perfumes from rose petals through steam-distillation, a traditional way of extracting fragrance in the perfume industry.

A visitor to Kannauj could easily miss the signs of what was once the city’s main industry. But among the cars, lorries and street vendors, occasionally a cart passes by laden with flower baskets and turns through a large gate into the stone-paved alleyways of the old city. Damask roses have to be picked by hand before sunrise and distilled on the same day. This intense but subtle scent requires 4 tonnes of hand-picked roses to make 1kg of rose alter. The rose petals are tipped into large copper pots called dhegs with a small amount of cold water. Under the pot, a fire is made with wood or dung and the water boiled for four to six hours. The hot steam releases the essential oils of the flower, which condenses and flows down bamboo pipes to a receiver pot. The perfumer’s job is a complex one. If the dheg overheats, the resulting scent will be too smoky. Judging how long to heat the dheg is also critical. The skills of a perfumer are many and have often been passed down through generations from father to son.

However, it has become no longer cost-effective as the skill and intensive labour involved has meant that the cost of the finished article is too expensive. Most people don’t understand this or appreciate the value. One reason for the high price is the increasing scarcity of sandalwood. Sandalwood oil can be used as a perfume by itself, but it is traditionally mixed with the rose oil that emerges from the dheg’s bamboo pipe. The deforestation of the sandalwood trees means the wood has become “practically unaffordable. However, this has prompted the Indian government to ban the felling of sandalwood trees. Many companies now use a cheaper paraffin-based product as the base for its attars, but it alters the scent which is less appealing to customers who knew and loved the authentic sandalwood version.

The purest and most expensive rose oil is called Ruh al Gulab, which is an exclusive product for a limited market like the very wealthy. This is made by distilling the rose oil a number of times, increasing the concentration making a very potent oil. Making this requires double the amount of rose petals. Emperor Jahangr, 1569-1627, said of Ruh al Gulab, there is no other scent of equal excellence, it lifts the soul.

Outside India, one of the biggest markets is in the Middle East, where dheg-produced attars have long been highly valued and there are still plenty of customers who can afford to buy them. In 2014, fragrance sales in Saudi Arabia were valued at $1.4bn; an average Saudi consumer was estimated to spend $700 per month on attars alone. Hussah al-Tamimi, a Kuwaiti woman, describes Ruh al Gulab as smelling like you have walked into a garden of roses or that fresh smell you get when you’ve walked past a bouquet of fresh flowers.  In the Gulf region rose attars increase in value the older they are. As a result, they have historically been offered as presents to brides at their wedding, along with incense and gold. In fact, rose oil has traditionally been considered a masculine scent and has only recently begun to be worn by women too. Today, perfume shops have flooded the Souq. Rose attars from Bulgaria and Turkey are highly esteemed, but the Ruh al Gulab from Kannauj is still recognised as something unique. The more difficult it is to obtain it, the more valuable the perfume is seen to be.

One reason rose attars are valued by Muslims, both in India and the Middle East, is that they are made entirely from natural substances that can be applied directly to the body, without the addition of alcohol. In this respect they differ from modern scents that are mixed with solvents and sprayed through an atomiser.

How long Kannauj will be able to continue supplying traditional attars and ruh al gulab, is unclear. Pushpraj Jain, owner of the Pragmati Aroma Distillery says, demand for dheg-based perfumes is next to nothing, today’s generation is only interested in modern perfumes

Ousman a perfumer at Muna Lal and Sons distillery, has no doubt about the superiority of the product he makes he says, the difference between a synthetic perfume and a natural one is like the difference between food cooked in a microwave and food cooked in a wood-fired oven.  And yet he fears the industry is slowly dying. He persuaded his children to take up a different trade.

Visible evidence of a struggling industry is not hard to find in Kannauj. The distilleries still operating often look starved of investment, one still uses a boiler taken from a Victorian-era paddle steamer. The soul of the rose lingers in these places, but how much longer will you be able to smell it? As the market for synthetic perfumes pushes the distilleries towards closure will these exquisite scents may soon be lost forever. I do hope not.

Can Fragrances Have Medicinal and Healing Qualities?

Perfume and scent are seen as a luxury item and part of the beauty world rather than as something which can affect your health. However, many of us are very sensitive to the smells around us and our mood can be affected by the fragrance we use on our bodies and in our homes. Fragrance can be a powerful tool to re-balance the mind and body.

Avincenna, a 10th century physician, writer and philosopher, was the first person to divide the internal senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch.

The interest in using excellent odours is that it fortifies the senses. When the senses are strong, the thoughts are strong. If the senses become weak, the senses are imbalanced and confused” -Avincenna

 I have talked about perfumes making you happy and setting a mood, so can scent also have positive qualities on our health? Certain aromas and scents have been used for centuries in an attempt to calm us down. So, if you’re looking for a way to help you to sooth your worries away and stop feeling overwhelmed, some scents are known to have sedative qualities: Sandalwood, which is sweet and woody and can be worn by men or women, has been used for almost 4,000 years in the ancient civilizations of India, Egypt, Greece and Rome. The Hindus, were the first culture to recognize the properties of sandalwood and used it in incense and scent. Buddhists also burnt sandalwood incense to transform desires and promote human mindfulness. Its aroma is said to calm the mind and alleviate worry by relaxing the central nervous system. Using sandalwood in a fragrance offers the wearer a magical olfactory carpet ride into a far- away, exotic land.

You often feel the most relaxed on holiday, so many of the smells you experienced whilst away if replicated at home can help to trigger a similar sense of calm and a truly relaxing escape.

Other harmonising aromas include ylang-ylang and bergamot, both of which are found to decrease blood pressure, as well as oud, jasmine and rose, which can lower depressive moods. I always find the aroma of rose gives me an instant feeling of well-being and jasmine a sense of confidence. Oud has been used for centuries in spiritual and religious practices to remove negative energy and create harmony.

Sometimes you need to invigorated, Citrus elements like oranges, bergamot, neroli and grapefruit all give an energy boost (an effervescent Vitamin C fix) and also make you smile, in my case they remind me of warm, summer days. The smell of freshly cut grass can have a positive impact on your mental state and give a boost when needed as can green tea, I bring this perfume back from France as I always feel uplifted by the smell. Green, herby scents like basil can give a boast and blend really well with citrus notes. Peppermint can increase alertness at work and a touch of Cedar can revive tiredness.

Plague doctors carried vials with rosemary and lavender to protect them, whilst pomanders, perfumed balls, were carried by woman to ward off the plague and hide the awful stench around them. Smell has always been a component in treating infections as medics often rely on their olfactory abilities to detect ailments as well as cure. In 1869, Joseph Burnett’s Language of Flower handbooks, linked the qualities of flowers to certain health conditions, using this symbolism to sell cologne waters and beauty products.

Your night-time routine can also be enhanced by specific smells. Soft, powdery and musky perfumes soothe and aid sleep. Lavender, chamomile, vanilla, jasmine and patchouli are the most popular scents that are suggested to help you sleep. While some of these are more pungent than others, you can often combine them with other notes that offset the strong scent. Lavender can sometimes invigorate if too much is used rather than relax you. Spraying your pillows, using a body product or a room diffuser are some of the ways to use fragrance in the bedroom. Usually the scents you enjoy most will help encourage peachful memories. Going to your “happy place” is a great stress reducer, which allows you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

So, can perfume have medicinal properties?  Well for centuries, in many countries it has been thought that it does, even Hippocrates in the 5th century, believed in a clinical connection between mind, body and spirit and smell and treated his patients with aromatics like myrrh and cinnamon. What I would say is that scent has the power to relax and uplift, remind you of happy memories and places and transport to a different imaginary world.

So yes, I do think that would aid healing!


Set the Mood with Fragrance

I love fragrance having a selection of scents I wear for different occasions, work, holidays, evenings out and even days off. I would never wear my every-day scent for a special occasion, brides often have a new fragrance to get married in for this reason. Having a daily spritz of perfume is a really good start to my day! Perfume is for wearing all the time in my view.

Do not underestimate the power of fragrance. Scents are often described in the same way as someone’s personality; delicate, bold, soft, confident. In many ways’ fragrance enforces or helps to give the wearer these qualities and more.

Some scents uplift, some promote calm and some raise your confidence level. A scent can help to empower when confidence and reassurance are needed most: a job interview or first date or special occasion. Earthy scents like Oud and Patchouli can be sexy and bold, some like Cedarwood are more subtle. Rose is feminine and calming, dealing with matters of the heart and attracting love. Jasmine is the essential oil of love and seduction and as anti-depressant raises the senses. Herby scents like Vetiver and Rosemary are grounding, giving focus and helping with emotional stress. Neroli enhances confidence and has a feel-good factor, so it is hardly surprising that these notes are used in many popular perfumes. At the start of the 20th century woman’s scents were soft and delicate like Lily of the Valley; it was the suffragettes who wanted a more masculine fragrance and didn’t want to smell of flowers as they wanted to be taken more seriously by men. In 1919, the House of Caron invented Tabac Blond, a woody scent which was to be the first feminist fragrance as well as changing the perfume industry.

As I said in my last post 75% of how you feel is triggered by smell. The sense of smell is processed in the limbic system which is the primary seat of all memories, emotions and gut reactions. Which helps to explain why we react so strongly to scent.

It is a powerful tool to enhance and entice those around you, as well as motivating yourself. A memorable fragrance can be a personal statement. Fashions and trends do affect scents although many of the best perfumes, in my opinion at least, do transcend trends and are ageless in appeal. At the current time there is a shift towards minimal and optimistic fragrances, a need for calm in an uncertain world but also an increased awareness of well-being. Lighter version of popular fragrances like Opium and Chanel no 5 have been introduced. Very few women or men want to wear overpowering heavy scent. Some perfume houses like Tom Ford formulate bold, rich scents but these do not take your breath away, there is subtly with the strength, a bit like someone with great wealth who provokes confidence and power in a silent way.

Some modern fragrances are more like medicinal tinctures, with herbal qualities giving a sense of emotional and physical good health. The surprising popularity of the niche perfume house of Escentic Molecules shows the move away from traditional perfumery. Geza Scohen produces aroma-molecules that do not exist in nature. This is art meeting chemistry, very much about the mood of the wearer as these perfumes bond with receptors in the olfactory system. They smell different on each person.

It could be said at the current time when we are confined to our homes and have to stay 6 feet away from others why bother to use a perfume, well I would say why not for yourself. Is there anyone more important?

perfume 4-COLLAGE

Scent Yourself Happy

I love scents, I don’t think they are for special occasions they are for everyday usage!

Research has shown that smelling citrus for 10 minutes can boost your mood for up to ½ hour. A quick spritz of perfume can transform how you feel for the day. Most days I spray myself with Frangipani and Grapefruit, an artisan perfume from The Bathhouse, which uplifts and energises me for the day ahead. Its quite a summery fragrance but I wear it in winter to remind me of summer days.  Now 75% of how we feel is trigged by smell so can we use scent to feel happier? Well, the perfume industry spends a small fortune on advertising the facts that wearing their perfume will transform your life. Some like Clinique actually call their perfume Happy, there are now Happy Peace and Happy lily of the Beach perfumes, I guess for different types of happiness, these have a mix of Grapefruit, lemon, Jasmine and Bergamot. (All known for their uplifting and anti-depressant qualities) Joe Malone, has a best-selling Lime, Basil and Mandarin scent, which combines Mandarin which is soothing and restful with Lime which is vibrant and uplifting with herby Basil. So perhaps there is something in this theory after all.

Aromachology- is the study of how smell effects behaviours. Scientists tell us that nerve endings in the nose send messages to the brain. When developing a new fragrance, Shiseido used this research for their scent Rising Sun this is a blend of Coconut, citrus and Ylang-Ylang notes carefully chosen to energize. Neom, who use essential oils and aromatherapy in their products have a new range of natural perfumes to make you feel good, using grapefruit, jasmine, rosemary and vetiver to boost your mood and energy.

Fresher citrus, herby and aquatic notes will give emotions of well-being and perfumes with more top notes than base notes are generally more uplifting. (Base notes are usually spicy) Sea air is charged with negative hydrogen ions which balance serotonin, the feel-good hormone which stabilizes moods, and gives a feeling of happiness. I find walking along the seashore and smelling the sea breeze really relaxing, I think that’s one of the things that people look forward to going on holiday for, in absence of actually smelling the sea air an aquatic scent would be a great boost for the moment.

I hope you are going to treat yourself to a scent you can spritz daily, this is very much about self-care rather than a luxury for occasional use. Companies that favour natural ingredients are better for your skin and health than brands that are chemically formulated.

Have fun exploring and hopefully scent yourself happy!

happy 2-COLLAGE

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