There is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t explore scent to the fullest; let’s explore scent in a new way here, rather than the familiar, and more about mood, or how you can use scent to enhance it
Our sense of smell, one of our five senses, is actually one we know very little about but not only that, it’s not a sense we learn much about either, sadly.
OK let me clarify: we understand the basics of smell; we breathe in, let’s say for simplicity, a cup of fresh coffee. It sends out tiny molecules that enter our nose and go into our olfactory system. Once inside our nose, these tiny molecules land on a tissue covered in mucus that lines the nasal cavity, which contains millions of olfactory receptors that bind with specific odour molecules. Think of it as a set of building bricks that slot together when one shape meets its corresponding receptor, a nice little plug that slots perfectly snugly together.
So for our cup of coffee an odour molecule floating up into your nose, will find and bind to an olfactory receptor that’s specifically designed to identify the smell, (or shape) of coffee. Once the binding process has happened electrical impulses are sent to the brain, where the odours are interpreted and so in this case interpreted as coffee.
This ‘action’ is located in the part of the brain which is often associated with memory and emotions, hence the reason why smell provides such strong memories and emotions in us all. It’s a guttural reaction, not something we can intellectually dissect. It’s a raw emotive response. So that is a very simplified explanation of what we know factually about how our sense of smell works (there is SO much more research and information but this is neither the time nor the place).
But what do I mean when I say we don’t really learn about our sense of smell? Ok, so once we have built up a set of memories associated with specific smells we don’t really take it any further. We don’t explore smell in, say the same way we explore say, taste. For example, the more we explore food the more our tastes become refined. Think of the first time you engaged with something bitter like an olive. It may have seemed rather an odd sensation, maybe disagreeable but the more you are exposed to these ‘bitter’ tastes the more you are able to engage and enjoy the sensation and taste.
The same with music, maybe the first time you hear discordant music it seems odd, difficult, a bunch of sounds, rather than a pretty and logical melody. But more exposure to varied types of music that play, for example, on the radio at work, the more you are exposed to more subtle yet sublime sounds, which of course, opens up your experiences.
All of the above are pretty everyday experiences. But when are we encouraged to go about sniffing things? Sulfur or resin? Tarmac, leaves, or moss? The rain and the sun? We are not: and that is a point worth thinking about.
We play safe with a smell, we get caught up in our comfort zone, why spray yourself with tobacco and jasmine if you know you love rosy vanilla smells? You have your signature fragrance; you feel emotionally connected with it. It’s safe and comforting and it’s known to you.
But what if we throw the idea of that on its head. Let’s think about teaching ourselves that just like pushing the boundaries with what we eat and what we listen to do the same with our sense of smell.
We expose ourselves, we open ourselves up to more than just a familiar comforting perfume, we go past our ‘signature’ bottle of scent. We allow ourselves a whole wardrobe of emotive fragrances. We allow ourselves to fully indulge in that connection of emotion and memory to smell, we allow new memories, new connections, and new emotional scent experiences.
We learn to lavish in smell, we joyously engage in the idea that for any mood I can wear any fragrance that pleases me, that comforts me, that makes me want to dance, that holds me when I feel melancholic, that lifts me when I feel worn out or gives me a sense of power when I walk into a room. Let’s stop saving that signature scent for special occasions.
How amazing would that be?
Why not have a look at our shoot above and start your own indulgent journey towards living, loving, and owning your very own bottle of perfume to suit each and any mood. And if you have already started then why not have a look to see what else may just be an essential mood enhancer you never thought of before? Allow yourself to truly sink in, indulge, and heighten your experience.
After all, scent, if nothing else is the simplest way to feel something and you don’t have to work at it …It’s magic that happens when your nose engages with the whiff of pure joy!
A lovely melancholic mood
There are times we feel sad, where we miss the people we have loved; it’s not the depth of despair that we initially feel at loss but the feeling once we come to terms with the loss. There is that wonderful melancholic nostalgia we can actually almost revel in; we can indulge in it, feel safe, but add a significant scent to it and dive into the feeling wrapped in the warmth of the smell. Maybe for you, it is the classic rose fragrance, worn from daughter to mother to grandmother, always an arrow straight in the heart. Or maybe it’s floral with a hint of spice that is almost an ethereal whiff of days gone by.
Get up, get going
When we have days where we need a kick, a lift, and a little bit of help to muster a real spring in our step, the go for fragrance must be citrus. Interestingly, we have been sold citrus scents as ‘Clean” ever since citrus smells arrived in our home cleaning products. Washing up and toilet cleaners no longer smell of bleach and chemicals, they smell of fresh lemons, limes, and mandarins. As much as we have been sold citrus as clean, it is actually more of a buzzy, fizzy vital scent; an ‘alive’ smell. Also think green fragrances think pine needles, basil, cedar leaf which all lift our spirits, refresh us and are great at giving a real get-up-and-go feeling, making us feel alive and ready to go!
Working, concentrating and creative thinking
Rosemary has actually been proven to heighten our powers of concentration, so what about burning a candle with rosemary when trying to write the novel you always knew you had in you, or what about a fragrance with coffee in it? If coffee isn’t about being alert then what is? Spray, sniff, burn, smell (divide clauses with dash let your mind come alive and let that novel pour from your fingers onto the keyboard as if you were playing the perfect rendition of Beethoven Piano Concerto No 5).
A walk on a winter’s day in the wood or by the sea.
Another indulgent need is a walk in the fresh air, whether after a heavy Christmas meal or before a long winter holiday spent within the slightly too claustrophobic confines of a relative’s home. Want to be free in your mind even if you are not? Then why not spritz a wood or sea fragrance and capture the ‘emotions of being outdoor’ or even wear it and go out and double up the experience. Marine notes, woody moss, notes think mulch and moss, think dark green and brown. Set your mind free.
The powerful person: for work, or power meetings
We have all experienced those meetings we have to attend when we know, not only do we have to be on ‘top form’ but we need the very air around us to exude power, confidence, and trust. What better way to enhance this than a shot of fragrance that just says power, something sophisticated, alluring, sensual yet strong. Chypre, chypre, chypre. Although a very traditional style of fragrance it is still one of the most sophisticated. Unlike many a popular modern fragrance that has a very quick say fruity initial hit that says love me, love me (like a cheap tart) and bores you half an hour later, a chypre seduces. It doesn’t need to lift its skirt to show off its wares. It’s Katherine Hepburn, it’s Marlene Dietrich, it’s beyond chic. Good chypre intrigue, it unfurls, eludes glamour, style, and confident sexuality leaves a trail, silage, and whiff of you once you have left the room…
Getting into bed by yourself, for yourself
One of the most wonderful moments of the day is the end of the day, maybe you like a hot shower before bed or a soak in the bath before climbing into the clean sheets of a freshly made bed. Maybe you are a naturally good sleeper, or maybe not, but you indulge yourself in your favourite night-time treat (no not that smoky peaty whiskey) but a musky skin effect scent or white cotton? Jasmine or you could go down the lavender root or what about cedarwood, which is a very grounding scent. This is about indulgence for the self (this is not about your lover). Spray on somewhere easy for you to sniff and spend a few moments alone with a wonderful fragrance and you are absolutely going to fall asleep with one big ol’ smile on your face.
Now is the time, never have there been more honestly wonderful perfumes available in the marketplace. This is the time to ‘dress yourself’ in a fragrance for you; one that is another facet of you today, now, something to please yourself with. That final facet that completes your daily outfit.