Considering the fact that olfactory* sensibilities are not only the most ancient and also the most powerful senses but the sense of smell is also more often than not, overlooked and underrated. The human nose can distinguish between not just hundreds or thousands, but in fact about a trillion distinct scents.
Phenomenal, isn’t it? And, no, this is not an abstract estimate but based on an extensive study conducted by researchers at the Rockefeller University. I was astonished too, and a little proud about being able to create smells which can cater to not just one or two, but these trillions of senses which make up the human olfactory experience.
Mastering the Art of Perfumery includes being able to not only understand but also manipulate these smells to provide the customer with an unforgettable experience which they can carry with them. In the process of honing this skill is when I came across a myth, which I would like to address.
“smell coffee beans before sniffing another scent, as it resets the olfactory senses or your nose in between smelling multiple fragrances”.
I am absolutely sure we have all heard of this myth, and many of us have been offered coffee beans in a small bowl to smell while we were testing perfume fragrances. The myth states that the smell of coffee helps clear out the olfactory palate and prevents us from experiencing olfactive fatigue (i.e. when your sense of smell is compromised due to overexposure). Surprisingly, this is one of the most common myths in the field of perfumery and has no scientific backing to support it.
The truth, you ask? Science explains that from a biological standpoint, our nose has an infinite limit for smelling and detecting fragrances. In fact, Psychologist Alexis Grosofsky, from Beloit college in Wisconsin, U.S.A, states that our olfactive glands (glands sensitive to smells) can differentiate between trillions of fragrances through a function called “Sensory Adaptation”.
Your olfactory glands can normalise any smell to which they are exposed, within a certain timeframe. This is why you may notice a difference in how your room smells when you are living there, as opposed to how it smells when you return to an unused room after a week-long vacation.
Due to sensory adaptation, your olfactive glands get used to the perfume or fragrance you might be wearing. This is why people can compliment you on your fragrance while you can hardly smell any of it yourself. Sensory adaptation also helps us recognise new fragrances through differentiation.
So what else could one smell instead of coffee beans?
To avoid the dilemma between two different scents, or to avoid olfactive fatigue, you can simply smell each fragrance according to its family – classifications such as “fruity”, “floral”, or “citrus”. For example, sniff the fougere** fragrances first and then switch to fruity perfumes; or try citrus fragrances first and then move on to the gourmand***. This way, you can have an enhanced sense of smell and, also, your nose will thank you.
Out of all, though, the best object to sniff during your fragrant escapades is one with no fragrance at all. I mean, try smelling your own skin, or the sleeves on your shirt, or the crook of your elbow. Inhale and exhale heavily, and then continue smelling fragrances. This will help neutralise your senses and you will be able to see the results instantly. This way, you can continue smelling 50 to 70 different fragrances at a stretch.
As we all know, nothing is more memorable than a good smell and I wish everyone would recognize the power of the sense of smell. Good fragrances tie the strongest to our memory, and if you are looking to mark a lasting impression, check out our best exclusive perfume collection for both men and women at www.mocemsa.com. Feel real, smell the surreal!
* Olfactory- Relating to the sense of smell.
**Fougere- Is an olfactive family meaning fern in French, when a fragrance has these particular notes of fresh, floral, herbaceous and woody then it is denoted as a fougere fragrance. Fougere is made with blending lavender, oakmoss, sandalwood, bergamot, geranium.
***Gourmand- Fragrances having edible notes. Eg caramel, chocolate, candy floss, coffee, almonds, toffee, bubblegum and almost always have a generous helping of vanilla. In general gourmand fragrances are warm and most wearable in cooler seasons.