Scent might be invisible, but it is still tangible. We touch it through our noses: tiny particles and molecules that have an incredible power, for their size, capable of being precisely identified or realized by the mind.
Scents trigger memories and the scents that you use now will create the memories of your future self!
Scents are connected to all of the good things & good times! Fresh, new books at the start of the school year! The pine scent of visiting the Christmas tree farm to pick the best tree! Imagine the smell of Candy Floss (Cotton Candy), the burning sugar… where does it take you? Imagine the scent of freshly washed and dried bed sheets… where does that take you?
Often even obscure scents can take us back in time. The smell of fresh paint and silver polish might remind someone of Christmas time, because that’s the time of year when the house got decorated in anticipation of visiting loved ones to the home during the holidays.
The smell of petrol can take someone back to summers because mowing the lawn was their job, and the smell of the petrol mower might be a stronger trigger than even the scent of the newly cut grass.
Sometimes we get the yearning for the smell of a certain special person or time and place. Often the smell can be replicated for example by re-discovering the perfumed products or soap your grandmother used, so long as they are still the same quality and are still available. Essential oils can be used in the same way: Lavender and Neroli often take people back to their grandmother’s house or an older aunt’s perfume. Lemongrass often takes people back to that holiday they had in Thailand! Certain oils, strongly associated with seasons, such as the spiced ingredient of those Pumpkin Spice lattes, the Pine scents of Christmas trees and the dried oranges of Christmas decorations can instantly bring a smile to our faces.
I’m all about scent – I’m working with them all day, every day. Thinking about them, appreciating them, designing new combinations, and perfecting the ones I’ve created but not yet released. Appraising my environment. What can I smell? Do I like it? Why do I like it? Would I want to use it in a candle? Is it possible to do naturally? Do I dislike it? Why do I dislike it?
How often do you think about scent and your own sense of smell? Do it now! Close your eyes, inhale deeply. Exhale. Do it again! What can you smell? Where are you? Does it smell good or bad? Can you improve the scent? Would a nice scent make it better? Would you want to remember or revisit this place when you are no longer there? Does the scent there change hour to hour, day to day, season to season?
Can you scent a season?
I think so!
Nature does a great job with her fallen leaves, giving us that distinctively sweet, earthy smell of Autumn. But we people have created a commonly recognised scent for Autumn too, it’s ‘Pumpkin Spice’. It’s made with Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove and Ginger. Sometimes it can be very, very sweet when used to flavour a coffee or in a badly made candle, but when done right, it is the smell of a cosy, comforting cocoon that pairs well with woolly jumpers, hats, scarves, boots, mud, and darker evenings with fires burning in the neighbourhood. I created a similar blend of Cinnamon, Clove, Cardamon & Ginger, inspired by our friends at Lily’s Tea’s Chai Spice blend. It’s called Masala Chai and it is beautifully natural, strong, rich, spicy & warm.
People visiting us at craft fairs who pick up and smell our Masala Chai candles, know instantly it’s the familiar smell of Pumpkin Spice, and they can’t wait to pass it to their mum, sister, partner or friend standing next to them to smell, saying something like: “oooh, you’ll love this, it smells like your beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte!”.
I keep the Masala Chai Candles available all year long, as part of the Emma’s So Naturals core collection, because it’s too nice to put away until Autumn/ Winter and in Ireland our typical Winter weather can last long, well into Spring. I also have the Pomander Festive Fragrance available now, it’s got Sweet Orange, Cinnamon & Clove oils inside, inspired by the fragrant Oranges we used to pierce with cloves & hang up by a ribbon tied with cinnamon to decorate the house at Christmas time.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this sensory exploration, that you’ve given your own sense of smell some more attention. That you’ll consider the scent memories you already have and that you’ll set about creating some more! Perhaps one of my original, all-natural pure essential oil fragrances will have something to do with one of your treasured scent memories!