Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. These senses help us understand and navigate everything around us.
Researchers say humans have 400 smelling receptors and can identify over one-trillion scents. A smell stimulates the olfactory cells in your nose, which sends a message to your brain to help identify that scent and your response to it.
Your olfactory scent can tell you whether there’s freshly baked bread or a newly mowed lawn nearby, without you even seeing it. Some smells create excitement, other evoke a craving, and a few make you turn and run.
Scent goes beyond just identifying your immediate surroundings. It also serves as a form of memory and a message to you and others.
Science historian Diane Ackerman best explained it when she wrote, “A smell can be overwhelmingly nostalgic because it triggers powerful images and emotions before we have time to edit them… When we give perfume to someone, we give them liquid memory. Kipling was right: “Smells are surer than sights and sounds to make your heart-strings crack.”
Much like how scents can excite or repulse you, the way you smell can encourage those reactions in others. Desire is formed by engaging all the senses, and smell is a key factor.
Scent has been a key element of desire for centuries. It is believed that Cleopatra used cardamom, cinnamon and basil to seduce Mark Antony and Julius Caesar. She would even bathe in a mixture of milk and saffron for its aphrodisiac qualities.
Research shows that people tend to be attracted to certain scents over others. Every person is different and the scent you are drawn to is shaped by a number of external factors. However, there are key aphrodisiac smells said to be particularly potent to humans.
Women are attracted to scents like vanilla, lime, leather, musk and peppermint. Men are drawn to spicier scents like sandalwood, pumpkin pie, citrus, lavender, cinnamon and musk.
Fragrances smell completely different on everyone. How fragrances mingle with your skin can change based on a number of factors, like your skin’s pH, your hair colour, your hormones and even your diet.
With this is mind, it’s important to remember there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to perfume. Much like a watch or a pair of funky socks, the fragrance you choose is an accessory, an extension of your personality and the image you want to present to the world. Your fragrance can speak volumes to and for you, so take the time to find your perfect perfume and spray away.