Longing to escape the heat and humidity of the summer? Allow yourself to be transported around the world with just the sniff of a scent…
Scents to take you around the world.
Smell is our most powerful sense, 10,000 times more sensitive than the others, and allows us to conjure up memories in moments. Ever walked past a stranger in the street and found yourself captured in a vivid moment from your past, thanks to a cloud of perfume or waft of fresh laundry? Maybe the scent of sugary Earl Grey tea instantly transports you to lessons with your old maths tutor. A whiff of suncream and you’re carefree and cavorting on holiday once again – so lucid and powerful.
And it’s not just your imagination. the smell processing area of the brain, the olfactory bulb, is part of the limbic system and interacts with the areas responsible for storing memories and controlling our emotions.
“Scent is our first response to encroaching stimuli, whether that’s sniffing sour milk before we drink it or smelling a fire before we see it, often making us anxious,” says Roja Dove, fragrance specialist and worldrenowned nose. “It’s the same with soothing scents. They have a cocooning effect that relaxes us. Scent isn’t just an accessory or a device to mask odour, it’s a brain-altering cocktail of ingredients.”
Smells can stimulate emotional responses, impact your mood and even evoke memories from events or places that we haven’t thought about in years. “Fragrance can be soothing, relaxing, invigorating,” says Debbie Wild, global lifestyle director at Jo Malone London. “Fragrance goes straight to the limbic system and immediately affects your mood. It’s very personal and emotional because certain scents will evoke memories and trigger emotional responses that are unique to each individual.”
It’s little surprise that when concocting a fragrance, creators are inspired by special destinations they have visited.
“Journeys, wherever they lead, leave to everybody fragrant memories. Perfumers, more that anyone else, breathe, smell and taste on their travels. They are surprised, captivated or delighted by odours,” says an expert at L’Artisan Parfumeur, adding, “The odours of flowers, plants or trees, gardens or landscapes, the odours of spices or markets – so many emotions from which they will draw inspiration for their next creations.”
As poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling said: “The first condition to understanding a foreign country is to smell it”. So the next best thing to going on holiday? Surround yourself with smells that invoke memories of far-flung places. Forget the flight and the jet lag and embark on our olfactory adventure – taking you around the world in 11 scents…