International Fragrance Day
Did you know that 21st March is international fragrance day? When we think of fragrance, we may automatically think of perfume, but International Fragrance Day is about fragrance in a much wider context than just making you smell nice (though, of course, that is important).
Fragrance has the power to trigger emotional responses, conjure up deep memories that may have been long-forgotten, or even help us to heal. And the power of scent is not something that has only been recognised recently either: the oldest perfumery was discovered in Cyprus and is thought to date back to the bronze age and there is even a description of a sacred perfume in the Book of Exodus, consisting of liquid myrrh, cinnamon, fragrant cane, and cassia.
You may have a number of scents that you love but wouldn’t necessarily want to wear. These scents are usually memory or experience related and may be emotive of happy family times, places you have travelled to, significant life events, loved ones, or just a period in your life that you have a particular connection to. In fact, many entries in the top 20 smells in the UK couldn’t be further from perfume: they include freshly baked bread at number 1, the seaside at number 6, a real Christmas tree at number 11, and a log fire at number 15. Of course, it also includes more traditional, perfume-related fragrances such as lavender, roses, lemon, and cinnamon.
Sometimes, you may not even consciously realise that you love a particular smell, or it may not be something you would necessarily think of as a pleasant scent until you catch a whiff and it takes you back to another time, such as the smell of pipe smoke that makes you think of your grandad, talcum powder that’s typically grandma, or even engine oil that makes you think of your dad tinkering with a car. You wouldn’t dab them behind your ear, but they are precious scents nonetheless due to the associations they have.
How important is the sense of smell?
Scent may be a sense that people are recognising the true value of more than ever now. A significant characteristic of covid-19 is the loss of smell and taste and for those unfortunate enough to have had it, many have long term loss or change in these important senses with some reporting an ongoing burning smell or other not-so-pleasant smells. This is a condition known as parosmia and some have reported things like wine tasting like gasoline, all meat smelling rotten, and even the smell of mint becoming intolerable (so much so that they’ve had to find alternatively tasting toothpastes).
Smell affects our sense of taste. When we eat, odour travels to the olfactory receptors in our brain and forms part of the sensation of flavour. If you can’t smell, or your sense of smell is altered, you can’t taste food in the same way. Things that can affect your sense of smell, as well as covid, include head colds, the side effects of medication, smoking, or nose injuries. Many people who give up smoking report an improvement in their sense of taste after a while and this is connected to improvements in their ability to smell.
Smell can also warn us of danger, such as smelling burning, chemicals, or gas. We all know, don’t we, that the eggy smell that natural gas has is added to alert us to potentially life-threatening leaks.
Fragrance can actually be used to boost wellbeing. It has the ability to stimulate or relax us, help us sleep, boost focus, and reduce stress. We may think of aromatherapy as being a fairly modern development, but it can be dated back at least 6000 years as ancient civilisations used aromatic plants for healing.
Scentsy and fragrance
Scentsy’s fragrances are much more than ‘perfume for rooms’! The range of scents we use is huge and we work really hard to use fragrance to bring forth associations with places, life events, people, seasons, and happy times. Fragrances like By the Sea, Clothesline, Island Hopping Newborn Nursery, Bonfire Beach, and Succulent Sunshine, plus many more, are all designed to transport you to another time or place.
Remember then, when you pop those cubes into your warmer and the aroma starts to circulate the space that it’s doing so much more than making the room smell nice; it’s lifting your spirits, singing to your emotions, and generally boosting your wellbeing! Just one of the reasons I love Scentsy so much.