Smelling Through Sound

By Indi Stilling

Our senses work in harmony with each other to help us form a picture of the world around us. Everything we see, hear, taste, smell and touch gets processed in our brain so we can perceive reality. While we often put the senses into pairs that work together like smell and taste , there are some unlikely pairs that work together like smell and sound. New York based perfume brand D.S and Durga have used these senses to create fragrances that form experiences for the wearer and transport them to another place. So how do these two senses link together? How can they be used to create a unique perfume experience?

Our senses function subconsciously. While do not have to think about the objects around us because our senses do all the work for us, they are vital tools that help us to interpret the world around us.

They may come preprogramed in our brains but, like all tools, we can actually train them. By exercising them we can enhance our perceptions and create revolutionary experiences.

In the culinary world, experts have worked out how to effectively use our senses of smell and taste in order to create a multisensory experience like no other. By using smells to create the perfect atmosphere for a particular dish, it can stimulate the mind of the eater. By tailoring the environment you can evoke memories, associations and ideas while the dish is being consumed, therefore creating positive emotions for the customers. The smells change your perception of the food.

But how does this link to smell and sound?

Well, information that is received by your nose can actually by altered by sounds.

This is where training comes into play to make these senses work together in harmony in even more.

In a research study a group of people underwent music training. A group of participants had to listen to music that made them feel positive for 15 minutes, twice a day over a 3 week period. Just listening to the music once was not enough, it needed to be regular. So, after this training, they ended up temporarily finding bad smells less unpleasant. In order for there to be long term affects, they would have had to completed the training for longer.

This study suggested that by having participants listening to the music, it counteracted the negative emotional states that are caused by unpleasant odours. Therefore, by regularly completing this music training it could help to boost our natural resilience to unpleasant smells.

It is not just that sounds can intertwine with smells to alter them.

Smells are incredibly powerful in themselves and can work magic in our brains. They actually have the power to trigger our memories because the part of our brains that deals with this process is in very close proximity to the part that processes memories. A sniff of a particular scent has the power to trigger someone’s nostalgia and take them back to an old memory.

So how can this phenomenon be used by a fragrance brand?

Well, what makes D.S. and Durga so special is their brand values. They believe that perfume is the keyhole to another realm, it has the power to transport people to another place and time with each sniff. They describe perfume as being ‘armchair travel’, the perfect description for a powerful product.

Each of their perfumes come with a carefully curated playlist.

By combining each of their scents with these sounds, they are giving each customers a trip down memory lane with each use of their fragrances. They want each of their perfumes to be more than just products. They want them to be an experience. Something memorable that will keep people coming back for more.

What makes this idea interesting is that it is not a collective experience. It is all individual. Each perfume and playlist will evoke different feelings and memories for the wearer, therefore creating a unique experience.

The brains behind this operation are husband and wife David and Kavi Moltz. Both of whom come from a creative background which they have been sure to use inject into their brand.

Kavi, who used to work as an architect, now works on building the company’s branding and marketing. She also uses this architectural background in each of their retail residences by combining punk rock and brutalist aesthetics to create their unique branding. Meanwhile musician David handles the fragrance creation and playlist curation, and transforms the scents into experiences.

Music is at the heart of the brand, just as much as smell is. In the way that fragrance has notes, so does music.

Their latest scent Leatherize is a bold and badass one.

Leather has a traditionally distinctive, masculine luxurious smell. However by combining it with the softer heart notes of pale orrid, cypriol and saffron it creates a rich fragrance for everyone. This scent has base notes of vegan castoreum, myrrh and cade which leaves behind on the skin a woody yet sweet smell. These ingredients have been carefully chosen and combined to create this artificial leather scent. Each spray creates the feeling of walking into a leather shop.

These rich and powerful scents combines with softer floral smells creates a perfect fragrance for both men and women.

This perfume is also a unique one because it does not have to be worn on its own. As well as being a fragrance it is also an enhancer, designed to be worn with something else. They encourage people to pair this leather scent atop something more floral in order to create a more feminine scent. Or even pairing it with something stronger like amber, to create an intense intoxicating scent.

Their process of creating new fragrances unites all the senses.

For David it is not just about what he can smell but also about what he can see around the scent. In the creation of each new smell, he creates a moodboard and a playlist so that he can immerse himself in it during the formation of the product. He shares this with the customers in the playlist so that they can have a similar experience.

They have also incorporated sound in the promotion of this new scent as well. By posting flyers around New York with phone numbers on, it gave people the chance to phone up and hear the scent in the form of the playlist.

They have truly created a multisensory experience.

So is the future of perfume about more than just scent?

It would seem that the industry is expanding across the senses and D.S. and Durga are leading the way.

You can shop their new perfume Leatherize here.

If you enjoyed this then check out The Vetiver Allure

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