This is an attempt to communicate how I perceive fragrance. I started wearing perfume because I wanted to smell good! Not very original but it is a good start. In the process I realized that fragrances have the ability to create emotional ambiances. Like a good tune that manages to carry you along its path the moment you hear it. And what is even more engaging, is that sometimes a perfume I smell for the very first time drags from corners of my subconscious emotions and sceneries almost forgotten.
It is not always evident how subjective our perception of smell is but take a moment to think about how we perceive and how we describe taste. Salty, sweet, sour, bitter. That’s it! Four qualities that correspond to the four receptors in our tongue that trigger the nerve reaction which corresponds to how something tastes (scientists have found two more receptors, for protein and fat but these have not been registered to the conscious of the human mind yet). But when it comes to describing a scent we have to resort to breaking it down to its components, the notes, and list them in an attempt to communicate to others how we perceive it. And the reason for that is simply because this is how we smell: we can only smell molecules for which we already have olfactory receptors. Each molecule stimulates its receptor and sends a signal to the brain that there are roses around or that the food has been burned. Now imagine what a tough job this is for the brain to identify thousands of different smells. And how hard it is for the brain to find the words to express all these smells that tickle the olfactory nerves and puzzle the brain. And to make things even harder, smell is the sense that reacts faster than any else and is most closely related to feelings and memory. Before we even have the chance to find the words to communicate what we smell the memories and feelings jump in the forefront to blur the image.
In this blog I try to focus on images and feelings to describe my experiences with scents. Snapshots of the unconscious surfacing through fragrance.