Beauty

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…

Friday - - Editor’s Letter - by Frankie Rozwad­owska

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…

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