Do we smell sexy?

An exploration into a wide range of views and scientific findings surrounding the interaction of scent and humans both in the consumer environment and primitively

This year the annual IFRA Fragrance Forum explored a wide range of views and scientific findings surrounding scent from its interaction with those who don’t have a sense of smell, to the ways in which smell and fragrance are used in criminal investigations and marketing.

Duncan Boak

Life without smell affects a person’s well-being immensely, and it’s something that Duncan Boak has had to deal with every day for the last decade. Yet, it is something that the general public do not contemplate as much as the loss of hearing or sight. Boak, founder of anosmia charity Fifth Sense, looked at how the marketing of perfume is intrinsically linked with the sense of smell and emotion. We often hear references to lust, desire and even envy for the marketing of fragrances, said Boak, with these words liberally sprayed around the fragrance halls of department stores. But do people really understand just how critical the sense of smell is to our emotional make-up and psychological wellbeing? The philanthropist wanted to explore why people wear perfume and found that those who wear it aren’t talking about a fragrance that they wear but the sense of a smell. Smell is associated with mood, memories and emotion more than anything else and research shows that memories triggered by smell have more emotional attachment to those of sight. The effect that a smell has on the brain is incredibly intense and is an very quick reaction from initial cognition to emotional attachment to this smell.

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