Anyone who’s ever owned a dog (or been owned by one) knows that scent is paramount to how canines experience the world. But for Cat Warren, a science journalism professor at North Carolina State University, this observation became something of an obsession. She interviewed countless cognitive psychologists, medical examiners, epidemiologists, and forensic anthropologists, plus dog breeders, trainers, and handlers, to learn more about the subject, and wrote two books on her findings—What the Dog Knows: Scent, Science, and the Amazing Ways Dogs Perceive the World, followed by an edition that translates her research for younger readers, newly out in paperback—that detail the remarkable, often life-saving power of a hound’s snout.
“We humans are highly practical and slightly lazy, and use dogs for scent-detection work because they co-evolved with us,” says Warren, nothing that man’s best friend has many millions more olfactory receptor cells, and a significantly bigger part of the brain devoted to smelling, than humans. “And a dog can smell in stereo,” she continues. “Each nostril can operate independently, which helps trained scent-detection dogs locate the source of the smell much more quickly—whether it’s the smell of whale scat floating on the water a mile away, or the faint odor of a buried land mine.” It’s no wonder canines frequently become heroes, like the German Shepherd police dog, Trakr, who located the last 9/11 survivor in the rubble of the World Trade Center, or the pooches that find drowning victims more than 200 feet under the sea. “Dogs can help make the invisible visible,” Warren says. “We need to watch them closely, know they can help translate the complex language of scent for us, and feel gratitude that they are so willing to work with us sometimes clueless humans.”
When the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH tapped creative director Jonathan Anderson to helm Loewe in 2013, it charBotanical Rainbow, released in March, that includes myriad botanically inspired perfumes, bottled in a kaleidoscope of colors.
If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the aroma of freshly ground coffee upon walking into a café, or the particular bouqueDr. Michael Bull, one of the leading air quality and odor experts in the United Kingdom, has dedicated more than three decades of his ca What led you to choose a career in assessing odors and their relationship to architecture?
“Scent and architecture both take people on sensory journeys,” says architect Héctor Esrawe. “More and more, I believe iXinú (pronounced “she-new”), a perfumery he co-founded in 2016 with architect Ignacio Cadena and his wife, Verónica Peña. Thnose in Otomi, an indigenous Mexican language, and has since developed five unisex scents with Mexican perfumer Rodrigo Flor
Among the many olfactory ways to de-stress—sniffing a bundle of lavender, lighting a scented candle, taking a breath of Functional Fragrance with notes that soothe the mind, such as green cardamom, cilantro, and violet. Ninety-six percent of users the company
Years ago, while flipping through an old family photo album, photographer Maya Njie homed in on an invisible aspect of tsmells,” she says. She began experimenting with raw ingredients to make fragrances that capture a given image’s scene: The celfragrance line in 2016. These days, Njie mixes and bottles her gender-neutral scents by hand in her London studio. She’s also eager toevents page soon).
For Shizuko Yoshikuni and Manuel Kuschnig, the Japanese-Austrian couple behind the Berlin-based olfactory design studio Aoiro, scent is essential to the success of any environment, adding an important experiential quality that goes beyond sight felt, not simply smelled.
Driving requires keeping your eyes on the road, navigating a primarily visual adventure—but the right accessory can makeAiround car diffuser from Italy’s storied furniture maker Poltrona Frau and the Milan-based fragrance brand Acqua di Parma. Encased in Poltr
In the early 20th century, locals from Yame, a small city in Fukuoka Prefecture on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, duhis own.
“Smell can transport you out of wherever you are,” says Cathleen Cardinali, who left her job in the luxury fashion indusThin Wild Mercury with her partner, musician Anthony Polcino, in 2017. Place-based storytelling lies at the heart of its four scents, whi
As the medical director of the Smell and Taste Disorders Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, Dr. Evan R. Reiter has been especially busy in the era of Covid-19. He’s currently tracking around 2,000 virus patients as they recuperate
Tumultuous times often lead to creative new measures. For Ben Gorham, founder of the luxury brand Byredo, the drama of 2Mixed Emotions, a new unisex fragrance made to evoke the bewilderment of a roller-coaster year. A spritz of it starts out with the str
If you’ve ever wondered about the mysterious process of perfume-making, you’ll delight in watching Nose: The Most Secret Job in the World, now streaming on Apple TV, following last year’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. In the hour-long documentary, nez, or nose—perfume industry parlance for an expert perfumer-creator with a finely attuned sense of smell—and his sensoria
In the 15 years since the French high fashion house Hermès released its Terre d’Hermès men’s fragrance, the scent has coH24 perfume, marked by a lively yet delicate bouquet, based on Nichanian’s ready-to-wear collections. But how, exactly, doe
In a year so necessarily and intensely domestic, it’s especially easy to appreciate the beauty and singularity of somethki-oke, wooden buckets traditionally used in Japanese onsen that have found alternative uses throughout the world, such as stoLes Atelier Courbet.) A seventh-generation master woodworker and artist, the elder Nakagawa, Kiyotsugu, and his son, Shuji, have collaborat
After catching a virus on an airplane nine years ago, Chrissi Kelly lost her sense of smell. To cope, she began smell trAbScent, a British nonprofit she founded in 2018 that’s overseen by an advisory board of leading doctors and scholars.
If absence makes the heart grow fonder, what does it do to the nose? Tokyo-based floral artist Makoto Azuma, who has sent his outrageous bouquets down the Dries Van Noten runway, up into outer space, and under the sea, addresse
The mysteries surrounding our olfactory systems have been the focus of Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center since it opened, in 1968, more than 20 years before the discovery of the odorant receptors that we use to perceive scencreating and administering smell tests as soon as olfactory impairment emerged as a primary symptom for the novel coronavirus. We recently asked Dr. Dalton ho
The name Bernard may conjure different connotations for different folks—say, Senator Sanders, your favorite breed of mouBernard is the name of his fragrance brand, which recently debuted with a collection of hand-poured candles. “This is a scent mMeli, the Greek word for honey, is warm and sweet, with base notes of orris root and leather; Eira takes inspiration from Sc
Sweaty running clothes. The litter box. That odd funk emanating from the back of the fridge. Unpleasant scents can transMoso Natural, a line of odor-eliminating linen bags filled with an unexpected ingredient: bamboo. The California-based brand is name
Catherine Haley Epstein, author of Nose Dive: A Book For The Curious Seeking Potential Through Their Noses, is an artist and curator who specializes in scent and the ways our brains register it. Last year, with olfactory histoOdorbet, an ever-growing online database of terms they collect from various sources to describe smells. It also includes invent Why should we describe smells in nuanced, specific ways?
From its over-reliance on packaging to its use of harmful chemicals, the beauty industry is long overdue for a rethink o
Made on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, fragrances by Di Ser appeal to more than the nose alone. Perfumer Yasuyuki Shinohara founded the company, in 1999, as two interconnected ent
The poster child for the gray-skyed Pacific Northwest, Portland is perhaps America’s most book-loving city. Reading is a
“I don’t consider myself a perfumer,” says Julian Bedel, a former musician who taught himself how to make wearable scentFueguia 1833 in 2010. “I don’t know anything about perfume. My work is more of an artistic creation, and how I create the formulas i
Dr. Kate McLean, who spearheads the graphic design program at Canterbury Christ Church University in the United Kingdom,“smellscapes”: colorful diagrams made of dots and wavy, concentric rings that detail where an odor occurs in a specific place, and ho
Covering everything from a detective story by Edgar Allan Poe to the role that scent plays in racism, the new book The Smell of Risk: Olfactory Aesthetics and Atmospheric Disparities (NYU Press) investigates how, over the past 200 years, writers, artists, and activists have used smell in their work to
In the last decade, the rise of modest, product-focused scent brands has debunked the notion that the fragrance industryFanny Bal, who based her creation on the aromatic sap from the lentisc tree that grows on the Greek island of Chios, and senior sDomitille Michalon-Bertier, who designed her fragrance around the Inhotim Museum, an outdoor art center located in a Brazilian forest. Perfumer Delphine Lebeau recently learned about the Japanese pastry mochi, and used a trio of musks to embody the treat’s soft, mellow profile. The resulting 11 fragrances were unveiled at a viavailable for purchase in the U.S. on the website Luckyscent—providing a nose around what makes these master craftspeople tick.
Headquartered in Grenoble, a city in southeastern France, the six-year-old start-up Aryballe has a singular, if not entirely un-straightforward, goal: to capture, analyze, and digitally document smells. This work
Scent has the power to transport us instantly to another time or place. Consequently, the evocatively perfumed objects fHomesick enable wistful souls to travel to a cherished holiday, family tradition, or any state in the continental U.S., as well New York City, pumpkin picking, and more abstract experiences, such as a ski trip or a book club), then translates their feedback into an authentic, recognizable fragrance. More than a momentary escape, the scents suRoad Trip candle by day, and Beach Cottage by night.
Your nose knows best. So says Harold McGee, a leading expert on the science of food and cooking, and author of the new bNose Dive: A Field Guide To The World’s Smells. Developed over the course of a decade, the blockbuster attempts to unpack the science of scent by looking in great dep
According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, the neurologist and psychiatrist who founded Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Rehe told the medical journal Alternative & Complementary Therapies. “More than a hundred years ago Freud said that, in order for society to remain civilized, it was necessary to repress oIn a study conducted by Hirsch’s foundation, 40 percent of participants—who were each connected to a plethysmograph, a device that measures blood flow caused by se
Six decades ago, researchers at 3M and the NCR Corporation were looking for a more effective way of trapping ink inside functioned with scented oils that, when scratched, burst open, emitting their distinctive smells. The technique has since been used on stickers, stamps, and perfume-peddling magazine inserts. John Waters incorporated it into his 1981 film Polyester, when he distributed large cards that featured ten circular patches, laced with scents such as skunk and old shoes, forwine and whiskey, helps readers understand flavor through the scents of its aromatic pages, while co-authors Seth Matlins and Eve EpsteiThe Scratch and Sniff Book of Weed. Other titles employ the strategy in more subtle ways. Scent in Context, a deep dive into the work of Belgian olfactory artist Peter De Cupere, disperses hidden scratch-and-sniff odors among a journal from the California publisher Knock Knock that pairs scented stickers with writing prompts—a clever way to stimulate users’ emotions, creativity, and memory.
Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, founder of Wild Bloom Floral in Seattle, and the head judge of Netflix’s The Big Flower Fight—essentially, the fantastical floral equivalent of The Great British Baking Show—knows the power of an impactful blossom. Here, he tells us why a fabulous arrangement activates all the senses, and is
Olivia Jezler, founder of the scent and design consultancy Future of Smell, which collaborates with the likes of Byredo, Dior, and the World Economic Forum, intimately understands the psychology
“Smells can be a gateway to our history, helping us understand the sensory worlds of the past,” scent scholar Cecilia BeUniversity of College London’s Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Bembibre’s focus is rooted in the belief that smells are a crucial, if intangible, part of our cultural heritage—and hSmell of Heritage, a project that delves into the invisible layers often overlooked in historical accounts, archiving aromas that range f
Olfactory memories hold transporting qualities—a sensual power that’s oh-so welcome, as international travel remains on City Exclusives, an ever-expanding collection from cult fragrance company Le Labo, capitalizes upon our nostalgic, wanderlust desires w
“Perfume has a wonderful ability to immerse people directly inside of a world,” says David Moltz, the self-taught perfum To be parked on various blocks throughout New York City, with on-the-fly location updates posted to the brand’s social mD.S. & Durga Fume Truck will soon hit the streets. In a city known for its not-so-glamorous sidewalk odors, this is one experiment we’re eager
Smell is a highly individualized sense: The same odor or olfactory stimulus can trigger common, though not identical, reA recent study published in the science journal Nature suggests that our diverse experiences with scent have to do with how they are encoded in the brain. “All of us share a told The Harvard Gazette. “You and I both think lemon and lime smell similar and agree that they smell different from pizza, but until now, we d
Our sense of smell can cast mysteriously large impressions onto our memories—and it’s all by nature’s design. The olfactAccording to Harvard biology professor Venkatesh Murthy, olfactory signals even color other senses, notably taste. Molecules from food “make their way back retro-nasally to yo
“Our sense of smell is entirely shaped by cultural phenomena arising as a result of specific historical processes,” RobeSmells: A Cultural History of Odors in Early Modern Times (Polity). The French historian and professor—who has previously written books on subjects including the devil, violence
The saying “like a fine wine” is often used to describe something that improves with age. But, as any sommelier will telterroir, and how the wine has been stored and fermented—much of which sommeliers are trained to discern largely by scent, beforsaid on a recent episode of At a Distance, it all comes down to personal preference. “I think wine sometimes gets interlaced into geekdom, which is cool,” he told
Early August marks the start of planting season for celery. Picked in fall and early winter, it makes for a sweet and crcleansing benefits, or an easy snack on its own—though the scent of celery, curiously, is always much stronger than its taste. As a scent,
What does our sense of smell have to do with philosophy? In her new book, Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind (Harvard University Press), cognitive scientist and sense historian Ann-Sophie Barwich delves into the perceptual dimen
What do gun powder, seared steak, raspberries, and rum have in common? Hint: It’s not what’s for dinner. According to th
Short of a vaccine, masks and social distancing measures are here to stay, for the foreseeable future, anyway—and your nmicrobiological auras” were once normally exposed to, in actively out-and-about, pre-pandemic times. Our bodies, hosts to a community of micr
Holiday weekend or not, summertime means grilling time. A waft of burning hickory or charcoal from a smoky barbecue grilonce explained to The Independent, “Most of the flavor of smoke is smell.” Because scent is processed through the limbic system, the sensation also persi
With the summer season come longer days, more time spent outdoors under the sun—and, unfortunately, all of the attendant the arrival of murder hornets to fear, of course (as if this year hadn’t offered enough unwelcome surprises), and store-bought repellants are often l
Rose expert Peter Kukielski, the author of Roses Without Chemicals: 150 Disease-Free Varieties That Will Change the Way You Grow Roses and former curator of the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden, tells us about the rose-bloom
April showers bring May flowers, as the age-old saying goes—and with both comes the scent of freshly dampened soil that New Atlas, geosmin is produced by certain bacteria from the genus Streptomyces as a way to attract a specific arthropod, called a springtail, which helps spread its spores. Researchers suggest that ta hand soap and a hand-sanitizer spray (the candle option, sadly, is sold out, at least for the moment), offers a close-to-the-real-thing alternative in a bot
Breu resin, a shiny, white sap extracted from the almécega tree found in the Amazon rain forests, as well as from various reBreuzinho is used to enhance focus and attain peace of mind, and is scientifically shown to have various medicinal properties as breu incense from the Brooklyn-based company Incausa, in stick form, coated in resin and sprinkled with chips of palo santo; as well as in its more natural, raw form, as a hunk of solid oleoresin from Costa Brazil, fashion designer Francisco Costa’s beauty brand, which pairs it with a ceramic tray. To enjoy the ar
Smell is among the earliest senses that babies develop—long before they learn to walk, talk, or even focus their eyes toSmithsonian Magazine, this is a “carefully concocted perfume of biological manipulation, evolved to trigger maternal bonding.” Hospitals eve
Katherine Carothers, owner of the Brooklyn-based floral design studio Entriken, shares her favorite scent, tips on where to source and gift flowers in the time of Covid-19, and how to create your ow
As most of us remain stuck indoors, the spring days passing us by, inching toward summer and conjuring attendant escapisClaus Porto’s handsomely wrapped and scented soaps and let your mind wander to Portugal. Or head over to Positano by way of a bottlEau d’Italie shower gel. Famously stocked at the spectacular, immaculate Le Sirenuse hotel, it captures the salty-citrus musk of Italy’s Amalfithis beautiful green Scändic farmer soap made with stone-ground grits and geranium, patchouli, and lemongrass essential oils, meanwhile, has us imagining an endKorean Kiln Sauna Soap. Made with pine, activated charcoal, and red clay, it transports us directly to a long, relaxing day on South Korea’s J
We’re entering week five of self-quarantine in many cities around the U.S., and cabin fever is setting in for many of us4evermints, developed by a team of doctors and scientists who tout it as the strongest and longest-lasting breath mints on the marWilhelmina Peppermints, named after the Dutch princess whose profile is stamped on each round tablet, like a little gulden coin. For a much-needed chill pill during stressful times, there are also a host of CBD-infused mints to refresh both your mouth and mind. You also can’t go wrong with a mint-flavored toothpaste. Try our favorite, Marvis’s Classic Strong Mint (and, for good measure, add on its Strong Mint mouthwash concentrate).
Everyone has a natural essence—we have our pheromones to thank for that—and scientists even consider our personal odors as unique as our fingerprints. Rather than mask yours with an off-the-shelf scent, certain speciality perfumeries offer the option of buying completeLondon-based Floris, you can book in-person scent consultations with their team of experts for the ultimate bespoke experience. Afterwards,
Refined sugar is often called out as a “silent killer,” increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke, not to mention aCosmopolitan magazine editor-in-chief Michele Promaulayko tells us. “Food scientists often engineer products to have just the right amount of sweetness to make you crave more anSugar Free 3, which comes with an Openfit app, Promaulayko outlines a three-week plan to “reset your body and cravings,” offering recipes, videos, and tips to elimin
A species of cypress native to central Japan, hinoki is prized for its deeply fragrant scent, and its soft-wood timber is used to build a range of buildings and interiors—fHinoki is not only a material, it is a spiritual and aesthetic concept,” says Italian expat Iacopo Torini of Kobe-based Bartok Design, a top exporter of the wood. “Hinoki grows straight. Its color is light and its fragrance is fresh but delicate.” Despite its ubiquity in modern times, he aHinoki symbolizes purity and sincerity, therefore it is the preferred choice for buildings dedicated to the gods, as in the sh
Scent has become a gargantuan global business, valued to the tune of $31.4 billion as of 2018, and predicted to grow furThe Essence—Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance (Gestalten) offers a fascinating look at the industry, covering the history, origins, and methods used to produce fragr
Natural perfume-maker Mandy Aftel was hiking through old ghost towns in California’s Gold Rush country when she found un
Gardener, rose expert and the author of several books on roses, Stephen Scanniello has had a hand in creating some of thPeggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden and the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford, Connecticut. Here, he shares a bit of the long and colorful history of roses.
The earliest recorded uses of incense in Japan date back to 595 A.D., around the same time Buddhism arrived to the countthe multi-colored Horin assortment packs that are nearly as compact as a matchbox, and as visually pleasing as a fresh set of pastels. It’s the small details thmon-koh, a multisensory and ceremonial appreciation that translates to “listening to incense.”
Finding a signature scent can be a challenge—especially when shopping online. After all, perfumes not only go directly oNose, a Parisian fragrance boutique, offers customers an online “olfactory diagnosis” to help them navigate its large librar
Roses are red, violets are blue, this trite nursery rhyme is familiar to you (see what I did there?). But anecdotally, iThe Scentual Garden: Exploring the World of Botanical Fragrance (Harry N. Abrams), author Ken Druse makes the case for having it the other way around, with fascinating texts that explo
We associate summer with the smell of salt and sand, and autumn with cinnamon and campfires—but what about winter? The pfeel more than we smell. Molecules in the air slow down in colder temperatures, while, as researchers have found, our olfactory receptors also retract a bit more into our noses, possibly as a natura
The scent of patchouli may be redolent of head shops and college dorm rooms, canonized as the pothead’s perennial choice
There’s no need to cry over spilled milk—especially when it brings with it a whiff of opportunity. German-Canadian perfuthe ubiquitous Little Trees pine-scented car freshener in 1952, after meeting a milk truck driver from upstate New York who complained of the smell of spills throughout the d
Common household soaps and detergents claiming to have the scent of “mountain air” or “fresh pine” might seem a far-fluna collection of oils and tonics that are directly and scientifically sampled at the source. Launched this year, with more to come in 2020, the special
After more than 15 years working on the branding and consulting side of the fashion and beauty world, collaborating withMaison d’Etto, and with a splash: Her debut collection, available online and through The Future Perfect, includes five gender-neutral scents—tested on hundreds of users representing a spectrum of races, skin types, and gendfeel. This was about tapping into that and keeping myself as pure and as reactionary as I could be, without getting too into
Olfactory landscapes, living matter, and time are just a few of the elements known to factor into the highly experientiaBiography, a trio of perfumes launching next week at Dover Street Market.
The renowned floral designer Lewis Miller, creator of the Insta-popular #FlowerFlash (in which he installs exquisite, over-the-top bouquets in public spaces throughout New York City) and author of the book Styling Nature, tells us why the spontaneous act of spreading beauty gives him the “ultimate dopamine rush.”
Lonneke Gordijn, co-founder of the Amsterdam-based Studio Drift, tells us about her favorite scent, Neandertal. A “beastly” olfactory creation by artist Kentaro Yamada, it surprised our editor’s nose when Gordijn was wearing it at a recent opening at New York’s Pace Gallery.
A new traveling exhibition gives visitors a whiff of global travel—just not the scents you’re wont to remember. “Pollution Pods,” a collaboration between artist Michael Pinsky, the innovation lab IFF, and a coterie of perfumers, simulates the condit