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May 12, 2008

Now smell this

Ah, Luca Turin. One of my heroes on the sensory front. Place him in the smell category. He and Tania Sanchez have teamed up on a new book Perfumes: The Guide. Which I did not get for Mother's Day. DAG. But enough about me. Back to Luca. Scientist, collector of scents, his theory of olfaction (based on vibration versus shape) is fascinating. The book ranks 1,000 perfumes (1 to 5 stars -- 5 being the most extraordinary according to his well-versed nose) and includes witty, sometimes snooty--never snotty, and often hilarious comments about each.

Here - take a whiff:

*** KenzoAmour (Kenzo)

classic floriental • $$ • availability: limited

What saves KenzoAmour from falling into the sticky caramel death trap that gums up other vanillas is that its loyalties lie not with cakes and cookies but with something more low-key: rice pudding. While this may make Amour seem fit only for the toothless, its soothing, softly powdery vanilla-woods sweetness stays from dinner until breakfast. Isn’t it nice to know Amour lasts? TS

Now, I believe we've only scratched and sniffed the surface of understanding and embracing the power of scent. Proust was way ahead of the game--tea and madelines anyone? The "Got Milk" marketers tried chocolate-chip cookie Magniscent strips in San Francisco bus shelters. Speaking of milk -- remember that Dead Milkmen song "these are a few of my many smells. Won't you come and smell me. Won't you share my stench?"  Hmmm...maybe they were onto something too. The Sheraton chain has it's own signature scent --- Welcoming Warmth...ahhhh, love that fig note. Branding guru, Martin Lindstrom, wrote that "75% of our day-to-day emotions are influenced by what we smell."  And most of us have been exposed to some form of sensory branding over the course of our daily activities without even realizing it. Pretty heady stuff indeed.

Take some time to come to your senses. Breath in and smell the roses, that first cup of coffee, eraser dust, or the top of your baby's head. What memories and feelings come to mind? 

Enjoy the moment and smell ya later!


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