Making Sense of Scents (A lesson on fragrance)

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How long have you been sporting your fragrance? Would you say you have a signature scent?

Much like the clothes we choose, our perfume/cologne is another form of expression that can set us apart from the pack. Sense of smell is the most memorable sense of all the senses. It’s amazing how one sniff of something can bring you back to any point of time in your life.

Recently, I was in a store and passed by the men’s cologne section. As I was picking up bottles and taking a whiff, I realized what read Polo, Drakkar and Obsession was actually registering Tom, Dick and Harry in my brain.

It’s amazing to me how a scent can hold memories. It made me smile because sometimes I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, yet the smell of cologne brought me back to being 16 years old in an instant.

This got me thinking about the scents we choose. What draws us to our favorite scents?

Most people find one they like and stick with it. My grandmother has been wearing Chanel No. 5 since Coco Chanel herself put it on the market. This, to me, is without a doubt her signature scent.

I love the idea of having a signature scent, yet the thought of committing to 95 years of the same perfume seems a bit predictable or even boring. I believe your scent can and should evolve in time, like your style.

What is it about a scent that draws us in? What turns us on or off about different smells? Did you know that men are predominantly visual,while women are overwhelmingly guided by scent? Sense of smell is actually 150,000 times stronger than vision.

Sometimes a person will pass by or be in close proximity and the smell of their cologne seems intoxicating, while some colognes or perfumes seem like air pollution or a punch in the face. Nothing is worse than being in a movie theater or an elevator with someone doused in an awful smelling scent.

When you apply fragrance, it mixes with your skin’s chemistry. Things like sweat, environment, pheromones and diet are what make your chosen fragrance unique to you. I suggest spraying your Cologne or perfume once and quickly walking through the mist. It spreads easily, evenly distributes and doesn’t overpower. Let people wonder what you smell like up close by giving them a faint preview. Nobody wants to smell you a mile away. Plus, keep in mind, not everyone likes the scent you choose as much as you.

So, are we sugar and spice and everything nice?

Actually it’s not that far off. Most fragrances are made up of raw materials of natural or synthetic nature. Mood altering scents, like lavender, are often used for relaxation. Food scents have been known to trigger the feelings of comfort and home.

Fragrances are elixirs made from extracts, alcohols and oils. Perfumes and colognes consist of top notes and base notes.Top notes are delicate and fade, while base notes linger and are more long lasting. When I think of top notes I imagine floral, fruity or citrus. Examples of base notes would be musk, smoke, moss and leather.

Whatever your aroma footprint may be, I hope it reflects your personal style, is memorable and leaves a lovely impression.

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