Who Knew Scent Could Be So Subjective?
A few days ago, Meredith, our registered clinical therapist and certified herbalist, was in her lab working on some new blends and had us gals sniffing samples and ranking our favorites.
When she waved one under my nose, that sparkle of excitement in her eyes dimmed as I made a face and turned my head away.
“What’s wrong?! This one is my favorite!”
“Oy, it smells like cat tinkle to me,” I had responded meekly. I felt bad for bursting her bubble, but she looked more curious than upset.
“Really? Huh.” then she smelled it again, quirked her lips in confusion and shrugged. “I don’t smell that at all. I love this one. It just goes to show how important smell is in individual care when using aromatherapy.”
It left me wondering, how can something smell so different from one person to the other? After all, chocolate just smells like chocolate to me. Roses… well they smell like roses! But what if the way my brain interrupted smells wasn’t the same for everyone?
Turns out, that wasn’t far from the truth.
Your nose has a direct link to the brain through your olfactory receptor. So when you take in a deep breath of freshly baked bread, and suddenly you are transported to your 10 year old self kneading bread with your belated grandmother, and your chest tightens and your eyes prick with tears - that’s because neurons are triggering memories and emotions in your brain.
So what might make your stomach growl and your mouth water, may affect someone completely differently depending on how the smell travels to different parts of their brain.
While on my search to understand the science of smell a bit better, I stumbled across this gem. Check it out to better understand the power of scent, then comment below what smells usually smell different to you than others, or trigger powerful memories - good or bad.