To say that smell can ring a bell not only rhymes but is also true. Scent and autobiographical memory formation are forever intertwined. A summer garden, lush tropical glade, seaside breeze, steaming apple pie and a cozy fireplace all evoke recall of past and often happier times. Modern behavioral studies have indicated that aromas are more provocative than images when it comes to creating the sensation of being transported back into another time and place.
The Formation of Negative Mental Associations
Negative life moments can also be recalled via our sense of smell. Aromas associated with traumatic life events can generate violent negative reactions. A decade ago, two researchers named Vermetten and Bremner conducted a series of three clinical case studies involving individuals diagnosed with PTSD. Results indicated that one patient in particular became extremely agitated over the smell of diesel, so much so that he deliberately avoided situations in which he might be driving behind trucks. The smell sent him back decades to the battlefront of the Vietnam War, a burning vehicle, billows of smoke, harrowing escape and crippling guilt over his fellow soldiers who died in the fire.
How Is Our Sense of Smell Different From The Other Five?
The answer to this question lies in the anatomy of our brains. It is the olfactory bulb, which begins inside the nose and runs along the base of the brain that first processes smells. This bulb is directly connected to the amygdala and the hippocampus, two sections of the brain that are involved in emotion and the formation of memory. Visual, auditory and tactile data do not traverse these two areas, and that is why smell more than any other sense is so successful at triggering emotional responses tied to memory.
Scent Sales and Statistics
North America is the largest global market for fragrance products of all types. In 2015, the leading woman’s fragrance brand in the United States was Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, generating USD $23.2 million. By the year 2022, the global fragrance market is estimated to garner about USD $51 billion. The expected increase is due to a rise in the use of perfumes in the personal toilette of both men and women as well as a growing awareness of the therapeutic value of scents in influencing emotional and psychological well being. Increases are also the result of the growing popularity of luxury and niche brands and the upsurge of both consumers and more often companies, preferring to customize their own signature scents.
Which Scents Work Best for Which Products?
Connecting a favored and recognizable scent to a product or place and forming a pleasant neural association with it is the ultimate goal of all scent manufacturers. This is no easy task and requires great skill, as certain scents work better with certain products and particular places. There is also the fact that any fragrance must co-exist with the user’s own natural body scent and no manufacturer can predict what choices the consumer will make. A shampoo for example, should not have an aroma that clashes with a body mist created by the same company. The end goal must always be a pleasant scent.
Scent marketing is a very subtle art form that is more complex than it may appear. Every individual is different and can have a wide range of emotional responses to scents that are identical in chemical composition. For example, within the personal care products category, floral, fruity, fresh, fantasy and clean are the most popular and frequently used scents, with floral being the most favored among soaps. For shampoos, generally speaking, lavender, carrot seed and rosemary work well for all hair types. Manufacturers must remember that the key word for success when it comes to adopting a successful scent for a cosmetic or personal care product is flexibility.
Personal Fragrance Is An Accessory
Think of fragrances as accessories, which accentuate the season, occasion or mood of the moment. Basic considerations suggest a few that are necessary; one for work, one for every day; one for winter; one for summer and ultimately a signature fragrance.
Scents and Specific Occasions
Never underestimate the power of a particular scent to permanently imprint any event or location onto the mind’s fragrant eye. Home scents are often chosen according to a particular holiday or season. This explains the popularity of pumpkin and apple in autumn and peppermint during winter and Christmas time. For special events, such as weddings, it is common practice to pair a particular fragrance for both the bride and the groom with the wedding’s specific location. Floral is perfect for an outdoor celebration, luxurious for an elegant ballroom and fresh for a beach wedding.
For Formal Dinners and Black-Tie Events
For these occasions, select scents from the oriental category as they are heavier, last longer and linger in the air. Perfume for dressy occasions should blend to create an aura that will be as memorable as the selected attire. For any elegant winter evening event, a combination of musk and wood top notes with citrus undertones blends to create a sophisticated complement to clothing and accessories. For summer gatherings, scents of leather and crisp fruit offer an exotic balance.
Scents worn at work should always be light, stylish and understated. For those working in close quarters with others, subtle scents with crisp fruit or light floral notes are preferred. Many nearby may be allergic to fragrances and the biggest culprits are some of the sweetest smelling. They include: lavender, rose, and fresh scents.
For A Girls’ Night Out And A First date
Something flirty and exciting is called for here to evoke a sense of confidence for that first impression. Getting noticed can get a big boost with rich scents with woody, musky, spicy and floral blends. For a first time meeting, select a scent that complements but does not overpower the situation. Subtlety is the key to creating immediate positive vibes. Scents that can help this along include: crisp and classic grapefruit and floral scents, which will evoke a playful and spontaneous aura, or oriental notes of amber and orchid, which softly lend a romantic air to the evening.
Grocery shopping, banking and other household errands require energy, comfortable shoes and a zesty citrus scent. These include notes of Mandarin orange, grapefruit, island flowers, peach blossom and wild rose.
The alluring aromas of a holiday party are always memorable and are among the brightest aspects of the winter season. Savory food, a crackling fire, fresh apple pie infused with cinnamon, simmering cider and woodsy pine scents are the stuff of memories. Make sure your selected scent will complement and not clash with the rich bouquet of scents just mentioned. Touches of citrus, particularly lemon, floral and vanilla, with nuances of caramel and chocolate are certain to create the perfect lingering notes.
Master Perfumer, Alpha Aromatics
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we have been in business for more than seven decades. Specialties include synthetic, natural and organic fragrances designed to accommodate the scent marketing needs of every industry under the sun and improve their bottom line. Our perfume masters are among the most gifted in the industry and their customized work extends across the globe. The idea behind the success of any scent is to smell like the essence of you or your business, whoever that is and whatever that may be.
Our fragrances are the most advanced on the market today thanks to innovative and sustainable technologies. Success derives from a revered understanding of the mystical power of scent on the human psyche. Each fragrance is a unique amalgam painstakingly developed note by note that is employed by some of the most respected company brands in the market place. Even if you already have a company scent that you would like to upgrade with a new, natural organic or synthetic aroma, Alpha can create original compositions for products, product lines, fine fragrances and a vast array of other scent-related products.
Some Popular Alpha Fragrances
Lasting memories are formed when a fragrance indelibly imprints an association with a past place, event or time period. These scents have been selected because of the instant associations even their titles have to seasons, climes or far away, exotic locations.
Pumpkin Apple Butter
This scent evokes autumns past replete with a fragrant landscape of orange gourds, red and gold falling leaves, apple pie and cinnamon wafting through a warm kitchen and the dark rich smell of smoke in a wood burning stove warding off the chill in the air. Other flavorings too suggest the season, such as robust nutmeg, romantic vanilla and the spicy sweet smell of pumpkin. These aromas coalesce in this one scent to recall permanent, powerful childhood associations with autumn, home, hearth and family.
Although the association with a sleigh ride may not be that potent to those who are urban dwellers, for those whose childhoods were spent near wooded areas and farms, sleigh rides were a part of the winter experience and forever intermingled with the fresh clean smell of snow, horses and woody pine. Memories of childhood trips “over the mountain and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” all embrace the joy and sparkle of the winter holiday season.
Birds of Paradise
Conjuring images of warm tropical nights and turquoise lagoons, birds of paradise is a fragrance that begins with citrus top notes of lemon, orange and the strong bouquet of tuberose. Middle notes include the heavy sensual scent of gardenias and honeysuckle, culminating in base notes of creamy sugary magnolia leaves and sweet jasmine. This fragrance is a magic carpet ride to splendid realms and far away places.
Grains of sand sifting through an hourglass can measure time, but memories are elusive and often lay hidden beneath the stress and pressures of everyday life. Let us provide a lasting memory for you with a fragrance like no other on earth.
Final thoughts on fragrance: The appeal of perfume is that it is at once ephemeral and empowering… Mary Gateskill