MUSINGS ON A FRAGRANT WORLD
2021 . 03 . 19 |
As the days on the calendar pointed to Spring, I couldn’t help but realize we had hit the one-year mark of living under a pandemic, a moment when life as we knew it changed immediately and drastically. The experience has pushed us to re-examine our lives, our values, our relationships, and hopefully, it has also literally made us stop to smell the roses….and made us appreciate things we had taken for granted – like our sense of smell. International Fragrance Day arrives on March 21st, and rather than see it as a day to drive sales, I think it should be something much bigger than that. This is a day on which we should celebrate our fantastic ability to smell! (And even more so after so many people lost their sense of smell and taste due to COVID-19.) Let’s think about scent in our life.
For the past year I’ve been taking a long, daily walk in my neighborhood, and every day I appreciate that I can smell things. There is cut grass in the park, the smell of burnt rubber from a car that accelerated too fast, the sweet aroma of crepes being made at a takeaway stand, and even the odor of people smoking cannabis down by the river. While out the other day I started thinking about smells that are important to me in one way or another: my favorites, the ones I dislike and the ones I truly miss.
Aside from any of the numerous fragrances on my vanity, I really like the tannic notes of a just-opened bottle of red wine. There’s the semi-sweet odor of pipe tobacco and the glorious perfume of garden roses in full bloom, both of which trigger memories of my grandparents. I even like the smell of gasoline, indicative of travel, and fresh ground coffee means a cup is coming my way. These are common odors from daily life which bring pleasure, comfort and sometimes even heighten anticipation of moments to come. As for scents I truly dislike, the cat litter box could make me keel over but cigar smoke is probably my least favorite.
What are the smells I truly miss? How about stale, recycled air in an airplane, or the nastiness of sweaty bodies in the gym? What about the fake-buttery smell of commercially processed popcorn in movie theaters, or the stench of spilled beer in a crowded bar, and the spicy aroma of Moroccan cuisine wafting up from the (temporarily closed) restaurant on my corner. Am I channeling Marcel Proust with my olfactive memories from a life put on hold?
Turning to happy thoughts, I ask myself, what does the sunset smell like? What about happiness? How could I describe the scent of a moonlit night? Does friendship have a smell? While pondering these questions, I asked colleagues around the globe to tell me how fragrance enhances their life. Let their words resonate as we celebrate our fragrant world today and every day.
Clayton Ilolahia, Communication and Evaluation, Fragrances of the World, a former New Zealander now living in Australia
Eduardo Garcia de Alba Barroso, Founder, MyScentJourney, Mexico
Dana Sandu, High-tech advisor | data collector | perfume anthropologist | Romanian-born, now based in California, USA
Luc Solomon, Entrepreneur & Bespoke Fragrance Creator, The Elemental Fragrance Company, USA
Ermano Pico, Fragrance Consultant, Italy
Olufemi Olusola, Founder, Seinde Signature, Nigeria
Chi Tang, Consultant, Singapore
Sarah Baker, Founder Sarah Baker Perfumers, former American living in the UK
And closing words from our Founder:
"With the pandemic we have perhaps rediscovered the communicative and evocative power of perfume, beyond its ability to hide us behind a curtain, but by becoming once again our most trusted friend that reveals something about us that we recognize and that lets us be understood even better by others.
We may also be grateful to perfumery because it has fueled our dreams, our desires to escape, it excites us. I thank Karen and our esteemed colleagues for these beautiful words with which we turn with great confidence to a bright future made of greater awareness and sincerity. "
Silvio Levi, Founder & Director, Essencional, and Founder, Esxence, Italy