What's That I Smell?
Why is it that some people love a candle's fragrance and others recoil from the same smell? Here's a little insight:
Of the five senses the in the olfactory system, scent is the only one that passes through the limbic system before it reaches the processing center of the brain. The limbic system is, in general, home to motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. Smell is the most emotionally evocative of all of our senses. It goes back to a time in our evolution when smell was much more important than it is now. In general, humans can identify approximately 16 different emotions through pheromones given off via apocrine in sweat.
The power of smell is so intense some scents can be distinguishable even after 30 years. A scent may be connected to a particularly emotional time or place. For example, many people associate the smell of pine needles with winter. When one smells pine, they may even feel a chill - even something as familiar as a perfume. My nana wore Wind Song powder. (Do you remember that one?) That scent takes me right back to 40 years ago, Nana hugging me tight. It stirs up powerful memories - and in this case, it brings happiness, warmth, and love. Contrastingly, the smell of stale beer and cigarettes brings me back to Tiger Town Tavern in the 90s. We promise not to make a candle out of the latter.
To simplify the answer: it's based on experience and familiarity - that's why many cultures have their own unique scent. Let's say someone is traveling from the US to another country. As a visitor steps off the airplane, they immediately they notice a different scent in the air - the smell of a different culture. It may be a number of different fragrances derived from the local diet, living conditions, local flora and fauna, etc. The next time the visitor smells this particular fragrances, it could quite possibly evoke the emotions of that visit.
We've discovered that scent is very personal. When you find something you love, close your eyes and try to think of what that smell makes you think and feel. What was the time and place that you first encountered that scent? Hold onto that fragrance - in that exact moment, those memories belong to only you.
Or, when it's a bad memory, light a Colonial Candle and cover that crap up!
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