Where there’s smoke there’s scent
LET’S TALK ABOUT PERFUME
Today we all know most probably know what a perfume is: that decadent drop of fragrance that makes you smell divine, but what is it really and what does it actually represent?
The word perfume comes from the Latin per fumus which means “through smoke.” The first scents were really plumes of smoke from burned odorous materials. Did you know we still use smoke even today? Think about burning sage and frankincense to create fumes that can fill the air, some use this method to disperse negative energy or to meditate.
But perfume is so much more than a smell: Perfume is communication. It tells others how you are feeling. And much like music, in the way it evokes emotions. It makes you sense something, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. It is often used to help us reminisce about someone from the past, or an event, or place. Nostalgia and scent have a lot in common.
Think about how you choose a perfume. It all comes down to your personality and the image that you want to portray.
Isn’t that why we hear someone say, “Oh that perfume is just not me!” Or, “Wow, this is perfect for me!”
Perfume is a part of your identity it increases your footprint on the world. Of the eight billion people on this planet, we're such a tiny little speck and perfume has the capability to increase your footprint on the world.
The perfect perfume tells the world who you are as a person. Perhaps a perfume even betrays some hidden part of your personality!
How many other ways do you portray yourself to the world? Think about it, your clothes, shoes, handbags, car, house, career, jewellery: individually or the combination of these, tells others who you are. Perfume is a part of that image, like an enchanted, invisible accessory.
Perfume can be used to influence how you WANT TO FEEL on a particular day. Imagine you want to go into the office feeling powerful because of an important meeting. Being the only woman in the room, you want to feel invincible. Do you choose that girly-powdery-flowery perfume? Hell no. You’re going to wear something that's got some impact, something that’s going to make you feel commanding.
That is the significance of scent.
"A PERFUME IS ALWAYS A MEDICINE" - Chinese proverb
For me, personally, when I choose a perfume, I also consider whom I will be spending time with. For example, if it’s with my husband for date night, I always wear J’Adore, that scent makes me feel sexy and I know it will really allow the steam and sizzle to continue, even after our fajitas!
But if I am going out with the girls for a pre-weekend drink, I will wear Chanel No.5, the fizzy scent makes me feel flirty and fabulous without any sexual undertones.
During the day I wear my own Drama Queen, mostly because I am working and want to have that ‘feel-good’ factor that its therapeutic properties promise me…
Who you are, where you are, how you want to feel, what your objective is… all of these factors will play a major role in which scent you decide to spritz.
So, what is an aroma? Why do some objects have a smell and others do not? Let’s try an experiment. Pick up something on your desk: a piece of paper, even a tin can or a water bottle or an artificial flower. Does it have a smell? Don’t be shy, smell it!
If it does not smell, it is because it does not have volatile molecules, those tiny molecules which are so light they can evaporate into your olfactory system. (Scientists say that a molecular weight of 300 or less is considered light enough to evaporate off the object and then work its way into your olfactory system so that you can actually smell it.) Some things have no smell, like gold. Its molecular weight is much higher than, for example, a rose petal.
LESSON DU JOUR: Perfume is much more formidable and important than just a great smell. It reflects how you feel and portrays your inner personality to the world in an invisible, inconspicuous way.
*Melanie Jane's recommended books about the science of perfume and olfaction:
This blog is an extract from my full online Perfumery Course which you can find here: https://courses.bymelaniejane.com/cou... On the site you can view more FREE lessons!
You can watch Lesson 1 in Module 1 for FREE below or you can view it on YouTube here