Spring is now in the air, and so is National Fragrance Day. This day is observed each year on March 21st.
Have you ever been transported back in time simply by catching the scent of a loved one’s perfume? Or perhaps it was the smell of baby powder on a newborn that sent you reeling back to the days when your child was an infant. Maybe it was a combination of ginger and molasses, and suddenly you were in your grandmother’s kitchen.
- We associate summer with the smell of freshly cut grass, thunderstorms with the smell of the damp air, and the acrid scent of sulfur when lightning has struck.
- We often connect memories of the winter holidays with warm spiced pies and cookies.
- Your Nose Doesn’t Know: Apparently, your nose gets used to your signature fragrance, and you can only smell it when it’s first applied or when you consciously pay attention to it. Lesson: do not over-spritz for the sake of those around you.
- Eau de Cigarette: In 1921, Molinard released a fragrance called Habanita that was intended to scent cigarettes. You placed the satchels in your cigarette case, or applied it directly to your cigarette in liquid form for a “delicious, lasting aroma.” And you thought e-cigarettes were fancy!
- Jasmine—Or So You Thought: Many jasmine notes in some fragrances are actually produced by using a synthetic material named Indole, which is derived from—wait for it—coal tar. When used in a low concentration, it has a sweet, flowery smell.
- For The Bacon Lover: In case you wanted another way to enjoy your favorite breakfast food, you can now wear it. Bacōn by Fargginay ($36) was started in 1920 by a Parisian butcher who realized he could dramatically lift his customers’ mood with a blend of 11 essential oils plus the essence of bacon.
- Expensive taste: The most expensive perfume in the world is Clive Christian’s Imperial Majesty, priced at $215,000 for 16.9 ounces. It’s served in a Baccarat crystal bottle with an 18-carat gold collar and a five-carat diamond.
- Humble beginnings: Chanel No. 5 ($98)—one of the best-selling perfumes of all time and the only one Marilyn Monroe famously said she wears to bed—had a surprising start. Coco Chanel came from humble beginnings—her mother was a laundry woman—so the smell of soap and freshly scrubbed skin was something that stayed with her years after. Chanel No. 5 was the first perfume she selected from the ten samples perfumer Ernest Beaux presented, and the first perfume to be made with aldehydes, a synthesized component of an organic compound that just so happens to smell like—you guessed it—soap.
- Rubbing your wrists is a no-no. If you have the habit of rubbing your wrists against each other after spraying a scent, nix the habit immediately. Typically, perfumes are a complex combination of top notes, heart notes, and base notes. The top notes are more delicate and fade quickly, while the base notes are long-lasting. The friction caused by rubbing your wrists increases the interaction of the fragrance with your skin’s natural oils, which can end up distorting the scent.
- Men’s fragrances aren’t just for men. One-third of men’s fragrances sold are worn by women. Surprisingly, there’s little inherently masculine or feminine about a particular scent, it’s all how it’s presented.
- Flower power: Floral scents make women feel most feminine and attractive.
- Flower superpower: Men find women wearing floral fragrances the most attractive and prefer it as a first-date scent.
- Women are into strong characters and strong fragrances: 65 percent of the female survey respondents prefer males that wear strong, classic cedar-dominated fragrances.
- Humans can detect at least one trillion different smells: Although the exact number is yet to be determined, scientists revealed in a 2014 journal that humans can identify at least one trillion different smells. It is thought that the actual number may be significantly higher than this, however, thanks to the 10 million smell receptors in everybody’s nose.
- Women have a stronger sense of smell than men: The battle of the sexes rages on, but one category has a clear winner: tests have found that women have a more developed sense of smell than men, and are capable of identifying a greater number of different odors. This is thanks to women’s orbital prefrontal region of the brain, which is more developed than their male counterparts.
- Dogs have nearly 50% more scent cells than humans: Moving away from the human race for a moment, our canine friends put even the best human nose to shame. With just shy of 44% more scent cells than humans, dogs have a far more developed sense of smell than we do – capable of discerning more subtleties in odor and picking up scents from a greater distance.
- There are seven main smells: Like the five different tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), some scientists believe there are seven different main smells – musky, putrid, pungent, camphoraceous (similar to mothballs), ethereal, floral and minty. It is thought that all scents are a mixture of these seven basic ingredients.
- The world’s first recorded chemist was a person named Tapputi, a perfume maker who was mentioned on a stone tablet from the 2nd millennium BCE in Mesopotamia.
- The oldest perfumery was discovered on the island of Cyprus and dates back to the Bronze Age. In fact, this perfumery covered an estimated surface area of over 4,000m² meaning that perfume manufacturing there was on an industrial scale.
- In the Book of Exodus, the Bible also describes a certain sacred perfume consisting of liquid myrrh, fragrant cinnamon, fragrant cane, and cassia.
- Perfume isn’t great for your hair. We’re all guilty of spritzing a little extra on our hair to reassure ourselves that others (even ourselves) can really smell it. However, we’ve been doing a lot more harm than good. Many perfumes contain alcohol, which can cause dryness if applied frequently.
- Everyone Smells Slightly Different. Our own smell is personal to us, and completely unique. How we smell is predetermined, and comes from the same genes which determine our body’s tissue type.
- Scents can alter the mood you’re in. Research has shown that a quick spritz can lift your spirits. Feeling overwhelmed? Apply a fragrance that contains lavender to promote relaxation. Coffee didn’t wake you up this morning? A citrus-infused scent will awaken your senses.
- It’s Possible to Smell Feelings. Amazingly, our sense of smell is so developed it has been discovered that we can smell fear, disgust, happiness, and even sexual arousal on other people.
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