The power of scent

Scent is a powerful sense that often gets forgotten about. Have you ever caught a scent that transports you back in time? A smell that as soon as you catch a waft, causes emotions to wash over you as fresh as the first day you felt them?

A wave of nostalgia

For me, when I smell CK’s Be cologne, my tummy fills with butterflies and I feel my cheeks flush as I recall with aching vividness the handsome, dark eyed boy I used to date in high school. Any whiff of talcum powder carries me back to my nanna’s bathroom, her wrinkled hands expertly fluffing me with the delicate powder puff after a shower, the fresh scent lingering late into the night. Coconut oil brings flashbacks of a Euro trip I took a few years back, summer kissed skin, salty curls and cocktails. While any smell of freshly baked bread reminds me of our beach house where mum used to bake bread for us each morning during summer.

It is said that repeated exposure to these scents cause them to lose their effect on us; after a while, we are no longer transported back to a beach in Greece, or to nanna’s old home.

Scientists say that memory and scent are so closely connected because the part of the brain that registers smell, works closely alongside the area of the brain that stores emotional memories. Subconsciously, we connect certain smells with certain feelings, emotions or memories, often without even realising it at the time.

Having said that, it’s no wonder that walking past a stranger in the street makes you collapse in a fit of tears when out of the blue, their after shave reminds you of your cheating ex.

The role of scent in attraction

I know personally, as a dating blogger, scent often comes up when discussing attraction. Whether it’s their natural scent, or their choice of cologne, scent plays such a powerful part in human attraction. Many girls that share their stories with me include scent in their description of a date; he had dark eyes, short cropped hair, he was solidly built and smelt absolutely divine. For some, it can often be the first thing that catches their attention, smelling their date as he approaches.

Some women are even attracted to the natural scents of their partner, their sweat or their hair, these natural aromas that become so distinctly linked to your partner that they subconsciously begin attaching themselves to emotions and memories as previously discussed.

It is these pheromones that can account for that indescribable chemistry two people may feel when they first meet… It seems ‘Married at First Sight’ was onto something when they got the single women to sniff the t-shirts worn by the single males, identifying their preferences and incorporating these results into the match-making process.

Savour the sense of smell

The medical term for the loss of the sense of smell is called Anosmia. Although it can be caused by a nasal condition or by some kinds of brain injuries, some people are born without a sense of smell.

Could you imagine what this would be like? Imagine not being able to smell the warm aroma of freshly baked bread, or the gritty smell of rain hitting the pavement on a hot day. Would you miss not smelling the lotions and creams that many of us put on our skin after a hot shower, the fresh, floral notes leaving us feeling clean and feminine? How boring would life be without the ability to incorporate masculine scents of after shave and cologne to add to the attraction and chemistry between two people.

The sense of smell is one we often take for granted. But this vital sense can alert us of danger, can evoke emotions and help us recall memories, and even assist us in falling in love. The loss of this sense has been recorded to lead to depression, frustration, loss of appetite and even loss of libido. So, having said that, why is it so often that this is the one sense that so often gets forgotten about? Are you leaving the house without your perfume today? I didn’t think so. Me either.

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