Scent on my Brain

By Jo Phillips

The scent on my brain is an insight into the power of smells we may well sniff every day without realising their potency. Illustration Angeliki Blessiou Instagram Phots Harry Stonhill Instagram 

Image on right-hand side

Byredo Unnamed EDT with top notes of gin and pink pepper; in the middle find delicious orris root and violet; with the base notes being oakmoss and balsam fir. El Cosmico DS&Durga, the top notes celebrate the desert with scrub pepper alongside pinyon pine in the middle find oak and create, whilst the end notes are a dry sand accord with Khella and shrub wax, Sous Bois by Nancy Meiland, perfume a divine  fougère of a scent starting with Cypress, Scots Pine, Black pepper, Papyrus, Rain accord, Sweet gale whilst the middle is Iris, Bell heather, Red clover, Primula scotica, Hemlock fir, Moss campion, and at its base
Birch tar, Myrrh, Labdanum, Vetiver, Tonka bean possibly her best ever fragrance all deep, dark and in the woods, at front Alex Simone En Terrasse with top notes from Grapefruit to Tangerine whilst the heart is all Patchouli, Cedarwood  and Gurjum with. base of Amarylis Sandalwood, Oud  and Cypriol Nagarmota

It was early and the Cafe was yet to flip its sign to open. Martha, a 42-year old banker, a stranger I meticulously observe every Monday morning unfolds her newspaper and orders the usual, steaming cup of thick black coffee. The barista gives her a familiar glare, places the hot cup on her table and whispers, “let me know when you finish.” She holds the cup and takes it closer to her mouth, takes a deep breath and puts it back down. After doing this for the next 10-minutes, she says, “I am done.”

Martha was diagnosed with high blood sugar a couple of years ago and she stopped drinking coffee ever since. Instead, she orders a cup every day and just inhales the aroma. “I work in IT and I can’t function with coffee. I stopped drinking coffee for 2 years but then I realised smelling coffee gives me the same boost of motivation,” Martha had told the barista. 

As it happens a shy sniff of particular aroma is biologically triggering and can evoke changes more significant than we think.

Many studies have proved that the scents we breathe, go through the blood-body barrier and activate the receptors in the central nervous system. It interacts with our limbic system, which is connected to feelings of fear, motivation, love and many others. In Martha’s case, the aroma of coffee boosts her analytical reasoning as it rejuvenates her limbic system. 

Similarly like coffee, many different smells also are capable of triggering certain reactions in our body. Citrus, is proved to increase alertness and shorten response time. It is also the reason why many brands use it to make morning face washes as it helps people wake up.

People who suffer from low concentration or inability to focus on a single task could utilise the scents of Rosemary or Vetiver, both known to improve concentration and brainpower.

This is why Vetiver essential oils are often a popular choice in aromatherapy as they have been proven effective in insomnia, joint pain, restlessness and muscle pain. 

As the modern era of perfumery began in the 19th century, research studies on perfumes increased rapidly. Scientists understood why coffee makes people analytically smart or burning Rosemary increases focus.

The hippocampus, or the part of the brain that stimulates feelings and reactions became a major focus for those who studied perfumery. As they continued to experiment with different scents, the commercial market turned their discoveries into profit-driving goods. For example, flavours like lemon, ginger and jasmine which are known for reducing stress and anxiety started being infused in tea, a staple hot beverage all over the world.

Despite much debate about the risks of chewing gum, peppermint, a commonly used flavour is proved to significantly enhance accuracy and memory.  

The perfume you wear can be your signature scent, can alleviate your mood on a gloomy morning, we cannot say perfume will have an exact effect on your mood, concentration or even actions but it’s always good to know there is a whole other layer to the scent you choose. If a favourite scent lifts your spirits then spritz away

Below we explore just what the ingredient can do and celebrate it within some beautiful fragrances so enjoy our piece, Scent of my Brian.

From back left: Imperia by Memoize, Eau de Minthé by Diptyque, Oud & Menthe by Cartier

Imperia by Memoize London This elegant fragrance opens at the top with Citrus, lemon, green in the middle you will find aromatic, Fougere, lavender, clary sage, mint and in this base find Amber, leather, woods, musk, moss

Oud & Menthe by Cartier With incense of oud wood and mint leaves, this fragrance brings together emotive notes for the senses from the Middle East.

Eau de Minthé by Diptyque Inspired by a Greek myth, this perfume consists of lively floral notes of geranium in its core and patchouli that draws on the scent of mint.

From left: Replica Coffee Break by Maison Margiela, Café Tuberosa by Atelier Cologne, Soleil Lalique by Lalique

Replica Coffee Break by Maison Margiela With velvety coffee swirls and zesty lemon essence, the tang of red apple along with bursts of lavender and sandalwood this unisex fragrance warms and comforts your scents.

Café Tuberosa by Atelier Cologne The perfume is a mysterious combination of top notes consisting of Bergamot from Calibria, Tangerine from Sicily, cardamom from Guatemala and base notes of coffee expresso accord, Patchouli From Indonesia, Vanilla from Madagascar. An invitation to the unknown.

Soleil Lalique by Lalique Celebrating the sun and the free-spirited women who love it, the new fragrance by Lalique consists of fruit and spices – a radiant halo of feminine notes.

From down left: Savage Jasmine by Sana Jardin, BOHA by Jeroboam, N°5 by Chanel, Omnia Golden Citrine by BVLGARI

Savage Jasmine by Sana Jardin Paying olfactory homage to balmy summer evening, experience the bare – raw and intoxicating Jasmine with just a whisper of musk to anchor it.

BOHA by Jeroboam With top notes of violet leaves and orange blossom along with base notes of sandalwood and oakmoss, this musky fragrance will move you deeply with its floral, yet woody scent.

N°5 by Chanel Composed with May Rose and Jasmine the fragrance features bright citrus top notes and a smooth touch of Vanilla that brings out the very essence of femininity.

Omnia Golden Citrine by BULGARI Paying homage to the world of Luna Park this new limited-edition fragrance brings a fresh sense of excitement to the collection. It is composed of mandarin, ylang-ylang and golden benzoin.  The fragrance will launch in July

From down to left: Replica at the Barber’s by Maison Margiela, Aqua Solis by Le Couvent, 1988 by Floris London

Replica at the Barber’s by Maison Marginal Evoking a sense of freshness this fragrance is a beautiful combination of fresh notes of basil accord and lavender, with warm and leathery base notes of White Musks and Tonka Bean.

Aqua Solis by Le Couvent Made using natural botanical essences blended according to the tradition of French Haute Parfumerie this cent combines Tangerine and Cardamom that creates spicy citrus notes. 

1988 by Floris London With sparkling top notes of bergamot, grapefruit and heart notes of iris and rose this modern unisex fragrance adds a fresh aromatic tone ideal for an entrepreneurial spirit and enterprise.

Lumière Dorée by Miller Harris An intoxicatingly fresh, balancing both sides of neroli, with Head Notes of Bergamot, Petit Grain Bigaradier, Orange Bigarade giving a real zing on opening Whilst the middle is white flowers including Neroli Bigarade Morocco and Sambac Jasmine letting the fragrance settle into soft Cashmere wood, Vetiver, Crisp Amber, and White Musks.

From left: Luna Rossa Carbon by Prada, Sahara Blue Moresque Parfums L’insoumis Ma Force by Lalique

Luna Rossa Carbon by Prada With top notes of bergamot and pepper and heart notes of lavender the fragrance reminds of freshly picked up herbs from the garden.

Sahara Blue by Moresque Perfume  By honoring the colors of the traditional garments of the Berber population, Moresque explores the beauty of the Sahara Desert with citrus lemon and pink pepper to conceal its mysterious musk and oakmoss as its backdrop.

L’insoumis Ma Force by Lalique This fragrance is an elixir from nature, that reconnects a man with his instinct. With fruity scents at the outset and lemony and aromatic notes mingling with the spicy cardamom this is a dynamic, multifaceted sillage. 

From left down: The Tycoon by St Giles, Avant Garden Hemp&Ginger by Clean Beauty, Covent Garden by Jack

The Tycoon by St Giles With an accord of vibrant green galbanum and citrusy lemon, this aroma invites change with its contradictory warming heart: a mix of woody cypriol and nutmeg. 

Avant Garden Hemp&Ginger by Clean Beauty The fragrance has some earthy warm notes of cardamom and saffron with the gentle kick of subtly spiced ginger that provides instant freshness.

Covent Garden by Jack The perfume is a strong combination of citrus, spice and florals which creates a light and refreshing fragrance that lingers on the skin.

From left: White Peacock Lily by D.S. & DURGA, Replica by the Fireplace by Maison Margiela, Eau Duelle by Diptyque

White Peacock Lily by D.S. & DURGA With top notes of nerium oleander, cabreuva and grapefruit along with middle notes of white lily, whipped cream, Egyptian jasmine and violet, this an ideal floral fragrance for men and women.

Replica by the Fireplace by Maison Margiela Notes of grilled chestnuts mingle with the comforting scent of firewood which reminds the user of a quintessential winter morning.

Eau Duelle by Diptyque Combined with notes of pink peppercorn, saffron and cardamom, this oriental, spicy fragrance lasts throughout the day to entice the senses

If you enjoyed this article Scent on my Brain then why not read our story about Neroli the oil from the flower of the bitter orange tree .

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