The Psychology of Scent

Fragrance has been used for centuries in meditation, healing, religion, and even retail stores. Smells have a way of digging up memories and experiences in a way that can trigger a range of emotional responses, like nostalgia or longing. 


Most people can detect up to 10,000 distinct scents. Your brain processes smells in a unique way, compared to other sensory experiences like taste and touch. When you smell something, it travels directly to the part of the brain which stores emotion and long term memories. As adult humans, we have 40 million receptor neurons dedicated specifically to storing scents in the emotional suitcase in our brain. This is why certain smells elicit distinct memories of people, places or experiences. 


Use yourself as a case study. Maybe the smell of fried dough brings you back to summer days at the county fair. Maybe the smell of a new book reminds you of the paper mill you grew up next to. Maybe Fireside Embers brings you right back to that long night by the campfire with your best friends. 


Scents also trigger moods and feelings. Some terpenes (organic compounds produced by plants) are strongly associated with certain traits. For example, people tend to associate citrus odors with cleanliness. That’s why so many cleaning products have fragrances that are citrus based. The smell of lavender is known to promote a calming effect, making the perfect addition to your bedtime routine. 


We think this is precisely the reason why, during a global pandemic, we had some of the best sales we’ve ever experienced. And we're not alone, that is true for many companies that create scented products. We make fragrant products which can trigger a variety of memories, experiences, and moods within your home, at a time when we might be feeling lonely, nostalgic, or simply want to make our home a more pleasant place to spend time. 


In the words of perfumer Holladay Saltz, “Memories that are big and sad, {that} are beautiful and joyful, that mean something to us…can be brought back in an instant with one single breath.”


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