A blooming magnolia tree, decked out in its distinctive, cup-shaped flowers, is one of the most welcome and fragrant signs of spring in New York City. In my part of Brooklyn, I have a mental map of where to find magnolias—there are a surprising number of them—and for the few weeks they’re in bloom, I take my dog on longer walks than usual, passing by as many as possible to savor both their blowsy beauty and resplendent scent. Clean, sweet, and creamy, the smell of magnolias seems to carry within it the promise of warmer months ahead.
Long prized around the world for both its blossoms and scent, the magnolia is set apart from other flowering plants by its age. Because these plants evolved before the emergence of flying pollinators like bees, their flowers took a distinctive form to encourage pollination by beetles. Botanists have theorized this is the reason for the large size and relative hardiness of the magnolia flower. To date, more than 200 species have been classified, from magnolia grandiflora, a potent and enduring symbol of the American South, to the shrublike star magnolia native to Japan. Across cultures and time periods, these plants have been celebrated as beautiful flowers and potent symbols of purity, nobility, and perseverance.
Magnolia Infinita, a new fragrance from Italy’s Acqua di Parma, aims to extend that celebration into wearable form. The latest addition to the house’s “Signatures of the Sun” line, this all-natural perfume seeks to marry the heady floral scent of the magnolia with notes of citrus, resulting in a bright, sun-kissed composition. Though the combination of citrus and magnolia may appear random, it’s actually grounded in chemistry. Magnolia blooms contain a high concentration of linalool, an aroma chemical that is also found in citrus fruits like orange, lemon, and grapefruit. Blended together to create Magnolia Infinita, the resulting composition lifts the familiar scent of magnolia into a brighter register.
The heart of the perfume is an elegant and refined floral bouquet, which introduces jasmine, rose, and a touch of ylang-ylang to support the magnolia. After several hours, an intimate drydown begins, which sees a faint touch of creamy white florals resting on a soft bed of patchouli and white musk. To me, this phase of the scent’s development is striking for its subtlety. It recalls clean laundry that’s been sun-dried next to a magnolia tree in full bloom.
As someone who loves the scent of magnolias in springtime, both for how they smell and what that smell represents, I’d resigned myself to only getting to experience that scent for the brief window of blooming each year. But to my great pleasure, Magnolia Infinita is such a powerful expression of this beloved flower that I have found myself, even at the tail end of summer, staring down the arrival of autumn, full of the buoyancy and promise of spring. I can already tell this scent will be a treasured tool in my arsenal of weapons against the winter blues. One spray and spring doesn’t seem that far away.
It’s late August, and I’m walking on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan. It’s one of those summer evenings that’s cooler thAlex Tatarsky, and as I head east from the subway, I pass through the dense, networked scents of the edge of Chinatown: the briny tanthe famous bialy shop. Approaching Abrons Art Center, where Tatarsky is doing pick-up rehearsals for an out-of-town run of their show Dirt Trip, this close-packed olfactory landscape opens up into something with more space: a faint vegetal whiff from a small vaca
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Walk into any bowling alley, and you’ll quickly find yourself caught in an olfactory battleground. Whiffs of floor polisStorm Products.
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In a world in which fitful sleep is all too common—more than a third of American adults don’t get enough rest—any serenity-inducing bedtime ritual is worth giving a go. But if listening to white-noise machines and banishing your science proves that the ingredients typically used in the sprays produce measurable effects that help facilitate relaxation: Lavender
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The Italian writer and thinker Umberto Eco, when explaining how he came up with the title of his beloved novel The Name of the Rose, wrote that he chose it “because the rose is a symbolic figure so rich in meanings that by now it has hardly any meanin
It’s been two years, three months, five days and a few hours since I last set foot in a five-star Paris hotel room (but Papier d’Arménie. After tearing off a thumb-length strip, I fold it up like an accordion, place it on a ceramic dish along the paper’s t
In 1994, when I was a child, Mattel released Tropical Splash Ken, a blond-haired and blue-eyed hunk in board shorts and
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Olfaction is our swiftest sense. Unlike new information detected by the eyes and ears, which is absorbed by the thalamus
Ginger is beloved by many for its peppery scent, clean taste, and wide-ranging health benefits. Lesser known is its couszingiber zerumbet), a tropical plant with reddish, pine cone–like forms that contain a fragrant gel that’s more likely to show up in a sh
With all the time that so many of us have been spending at home over the past two years, it’s no wonder that our interio
Kimchi’s layered aroma first entered Lauryn Chun’s nostrils during her childhood in Korea, where her family regularly atWine & Spirits Magazine and immersing herself in European wines, Chun began to connect the complex scents of wine to those of kimchi, both a re
Royalty rarely inspires ambivalence. Therefore, durian—a large, greenish-brown food that’s commonly referred to as the “
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While many businesses, in the midst of the climate crisis, scramble to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the New Yospoke with us about in 2019). Recently, the company ventured into the fragrance realm with Air Eau de Parfum, a unisex, limited-edition concotion pulled quite literally out of thin air.
Perhaps each of us has a Proustian trigger: a sensation that suddenly uncovers a memory buried in time, and by meeting o
In 2017, Carolina Prioglio and Adrien de Bontin took over management of a farm in Burgundy that’s nestled in the rollingMaison/Made, which they launched in 2019. It’s one of the first beauty brands to achieve Biodynamic certification, an accolade awar
Around the 1500s, tanners settled in Grasse, a sun-soaked hillside town above the French Riviera, to produce leather. Th
A solitary island nation marooned between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, Iceland is known for its extraordinary naturalÚtilykt, released earlier this fall.
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In 2015, former cheesemonger and self-proclaimed cheese evangelist Erika Kubick founded Cheese Sex Death, a blog and online resource for all things related to the fermented dairy product that has been revered for thousands oPlate magazine. What started as a Google search turned into a deep dive into the domain of pressed curds and milk, and Kubick
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This London Studio Draws on Smell-O-Vision as a Tool for Promoting Social and Environmental Advocacy
In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, movie-watching is taken to the next level: Viewers sit in seats outfitted with special knobs that, when grasped, transThe Feelies, founded in 2015, which produces and presents stories in immersive, multisensory environments.
From scented candles to aerosol sprays, the home fragrance market is filled with sweet-smelling devices that have found
The olfactory experience of truffles can stick with you. One intoxicating whiff might ignite an insatiable fascination wTruffle Hound: On the Trail of the World’s Most Seductive Scent, with Dreamers, Schemers, and Some Extraordinary Dogs (Bloomsbury), out next week, he investigates why these strong-smelling nuggets appeal to the many noses they might encou
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As the overpopulated, multibillion-dollar fragrance industry introduces hundreds of scents every year, choosing one that4160 Tuesdays, and Samantha Scriven, who runs a blog called iscentyouaday, lend their encyclopedic knowledge of aromatic liquids to their upcoming book, The Perfume Companion: The Definitive Guide to Choosing Your Next Scent (Frances Lincoln), out next week on Kindle and in hardcover on November 9. Fluent in the science behind the olfactory sy
Michael Hingson was in his office at the data-protection agency Quantum on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower One when hethud of the first airplane hitting the building, 15 floors above. Hingson, who has been blind since birth due to an eye diso
“Most of my memories are strongly shaped by smells,” says Mackenzie Reilly, who became captivated by the fragrance worldInternational Flavors & Fragrances, Reilly routinely thinks about aromas in terms of a specific field of creative expression—architecture—as she builds a
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Chances are, you’ve smelled perfumer Yann Vasnier’s work without even knowing it. The French fragrance virtuoso, who has
Tasked with transitioning electric vehicles from niche to the norm, automotive designers are confronted with a singular vroom of an engine accelerating—which details will drivers long for if left out in future models?
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Olfactive expert Dawn Goldworm believes that just as children begin to learn colors, they should also be educated on sceThe Smell of a Rainbow (Dial Books), a scented board book, out this summer, that teaches children how to talk about smell using color. Connecting all her res
The Nihon Shoki, one of the oldest written records of Japanese history, traces the origins of incense in the nation to a single log of Ha Ko, a brand that offers delicate, leaf-shaped incense made from Japanese washi paper.
The two-year-old experimental radio website Poolsuite deftly mixes AOL-era computer graphics with disco-driven beats, channeling the cool optimism of the 1980s. Now, just inVacation, a new line of sun-care products and a corresponding perfume.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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
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“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.
Anyone who’s ever owned a dog (or been owned by one) knows that scent is paramount to how canines experience the world. Cat Warren, a science journalism professor at North Carolina State University, this observation became something of an obsession. 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 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
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