Scent is a powerful thing. The fragrance of apple pie can take you right back to your grandparents’ house on a Sunday, while the aroma of freshly ground coffee can have you bounding out of bed, ready to embrace the day.
But what is it about scent that affects us on such an emotional level? Perfumer Roja Dove says it’s all down to hormones.
“Scent fundamentally alters how we feel. Smell is not processed in the nose, it’s processed in the most primitive part of the brain. When we smell any odor, the synapses in the brain are stimulated, altering the hormone balance in our body.”
Below, nine influencers share their emotional connection to scent:
In fact, our sense of smell is more powerful, and more closely interlinked with our emotional response, than any other.
When we see, touch, hear or taste something, that information is sent to a small structure in the brain called the thalamus, where it’s processed before it travels to parts of the brain associated with memory and emotion.
However, smells bypass the thalamus and are sent directly to these parts of the brain, producing a much more intense psychological reaction.
If you’re considering giving your perfume collection an update, here’s how to hit the right note:
If you’re feeling passionate
Romance on the cards? Opt for a floral scent. The association of roses and love is based on more than just a chick flick cliché: phenylethylamine, the chemical that gives the flower its signature scent, slows down the breakdown of beta-endorphins, which block the sensation of pain. Ever heard someone liken being in love to a feeling of walking on air? You can thank the roses for that.
Why not try Louis Vuitton’s Attrape-rêves, which layers peonies and patchouli with fresh notes of lychee?
Or if girly florals aren’t your thing, fragrances containing warm and comforting notes of cacao or leather feel sexy and seductive. Louis Vuitton’s Dans La Peau (literally, ‘in the skin’) is intense and alluring, while Turbulences mirrors the intoxicating uncertainty of love – making it the perfect date perfume.
If you’re feeling energized
For an emotional boost, Emmanuelle Moeglin, founder of Experiential Perfume Club, advises looking out for citrusy and aromatic top notes, which will leave you feeling invigorated. ‘These are ingredients that are very fresh and immediate to the nose… a sensory ‘wake-up’ effect,’ says Moeglin.
Dove agrees: “Citrus notes have been used for centuries to revive, uplift, inject life, and boost vitality. Think about the effect of someone peeling an orange in a stuffy train carriage – it instantly recharges the stale, stagnant air.”
Opt for a refreshing scent with mandarin or lemon, both of which are known for their clarifying properties and will help to boost your productivity like Le Jour Se Lève. Or if you prefer something more earthy, look for a perfume with notes of cedar or spicy pepper like Louis Vuitton’s Rose de Vents or Apogée.
If you’re feeling indulgent
If you’ve been running at 100 miles per hour, wind down with warm base notes such as oriental amber. For something slightly more androgynous, indulgently deep scents like sandalwood, used traditionally in aromatherapy to induce a calm and meditative state, will help you to relax with just a single spritz.
If you favor a more classic perfume, try fresh, vanilla-based fragrances like Contre Moi. The perfect fragrance for those days you feel like curling up under a blanket, the heat of your skin amplifies this perfume’s subtle muskiness, with Tahitensis vanilla sourced by Louis Vuitton’s Master Perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, who spent months travelling the five continents in search of the best raw materials for his fragrances.
Plus, vanilla has been found to be the most universally enjoyed scent, ensuring you’re a calming energy wherever you go.
Found the perfect perfume to suit your mood? Shop the Les Parfums collection from Louis Vuitton below:
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