For The Love of Scent


Our sense of smell is the only sense capable of triggering something else beyond a sensation and the reaction to it. It can take you back to that exact moment you fell in love.


The reason why smells trigger emotions and memories is all down to what goes on in our brain. Our sense of smell is the only one of our senses connected to our limbic system, known as the “brain” of our emotions.

Have you ever walked into a bakery and the smell of fresh bread and cakes reminds you of being a kid again, licking the bowl of left over chocolate cake mix?

You may have read the book  The Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, or seen the recent Netflix adaption, where Patrick Suskind (author) explores the wonderful, yet dangerous power that scents can have in setting emotions such as love, hate and attraction. If you haven’t already read or seen either, they are well worth getting into!


A growing number of studies show the important role that body odour plays when choosing a sexual partner, with some thinking it’s linked to genetics.

In French, there’s a slang expression “I can’t smell him/her”. It’s used when you want to express that you can’t stand someone. That exact phrase suggests there is a “social” role that our sense of smell plays in our natural ability to distinguish the people we get on with from the people we don’t.

This is probably why Smell Dating exists (maybe there should be a scratch and sniff on Tindr?) and the concept of incorporating pheromones in fragrances isn’t such a bad idea after all…


“Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearance, emotions or will”. – Patrick Suskind.

Charlotte Tilbury uses this message in one of her fragrances said to « create an emotional pathway to the body’s ENERGY CENTRES, igniting and attracting LOVE, LIGHT, POWER, POSITIVITY and SEX to the wearer ». This statement could be drawn from her own personal experience rather than based on scientific facts… whilst looking for evidence that this fragrance was a sex trap, we found some hilarious reviews (read Lizzie Ostrom’s) abouat a nicely done fragrance that has failed in its aphrodisiac power.

So do fragrances have the same power as pheromones? Well Escentric Molecules and its famous 01 fragrance is one possible option. This fragrance uses the molecule Iso E Super as the main ingredient. It has a round, ambery, mineral and velvety woody smell that is very pleasant indeed but that not many people can clearly smell (so it has an elusive power). It has a comforting smell that people love and has been described it as the smell of sex, or skin.


The simple answer is, it is too soon and science has yet to unlock all the facets of our sense of smell.

In order to trigger emotions and memories, a scent has to resonate more deeply than it just being a nice smell.

This will depend on your past and culture – there are only a handful of smells universally regarded as pleasant such as vanilla – as well as taking into account biological factors such as genetics.

Going back to The Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, it tells the story of a serial killer who becomes irresistible when wearing a fragrance he created by extracting the smell from skin of certain desirable females. Fortunately, the idea remains as fiction but it may not be too far in the future…who knows…