Fragrance News This Week in Fragrance: Anosmia, Algorithms and Alluring Deathtraps

This Week in Fragrance: Anosmia, Algorithms and Alluring Deathtraps

10/12/16 08:48:52 (14 comments)

by: Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison


Annette Heist at NPR.com offers a fascinating look at life without a sense of smell:

How food tastes often relies on what we smell. "When you lose your sense of smell, your whole sense of food flavor is distorted and diminished," Cowart says. "You can still taste the basic tastes which are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami or savory. What you're missing are the sort of subtle distinctions, the difference between strawberry and banana; between chocolate and vanilla." And that can make eating a dull experience for anosmics.

If you were to lose your sense of smell, what aromas would you miss the most?

SPhinx

Rachel Strugatz over at the LATimes.com discusses the rise of the affordable, direct to consumer, niche scent:

By eliminating the middle man and going direct to the consumer, these companies can sell their scents at a fraction of the price of the leading players.... The two have decided to steer clear of sampling, instead opting to give potential customers a detailed quiz to determine what scents will best suit them. Jeong and Wong developed a tailored algorithm that they say has 92 percent accuracy and, based on the results, customers will receive a sleek package with both bottles. The 10 fragrances they’ve created — five for work and five for play — hit five key ingredient stories: a dry wood, a sweet wood, aquatic, citrus and fougère.

Essentially, companies are just offering consumers a blind buy experience. Instead of allowing the consumer to choose based on lists of notes that may or may not be helpful, we now see the growing popularity of algorithm-based surveys. How do you feel about this approach to fragrance sales? Are you interested in these new developments? Do you prefer to have a list of notes? Or are you happy to take the blind buy plunge? I mean, after all, with websites like Fragrantica, once a brand has been around long enough you'll be able to read reviews and customer responses.

Hawthorne Fragrances

Econotimes reports that Perry Ellis International continues to grow with plans announced this week to develop and distribute fragrances for the Shelli Segal Laundry brand:

Perry Ellis International (Nasdaq:PERY) announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Sheralven Enterprises Ltd., (“Sheralven”) to design and distribute women’s fragrance, bath and home fragrance products under the Laundry by Shelli Segal® brand throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.  The collection is planned to launch Holiday 2017 in major department stores, cosmetic and fragrance specialty stores as well as ecommerce channels. 

Perry Ellis currently oversees 18 brands including Penguin and Rafaella. Are you familiar with Laundry by Shelli Segal? What might we expect from fragrances by this brand?

Shelli Segal web capture

Phys.org reports that for the first time, scientists have been able to isolate the components that give frankincense its unique aroma:

The two molecules, which give frankincense its "old church" smell have been identified as (+)-trans- and (+)-cis-2- octylcyclopropyl-1-carboxylic acids. Moreover, this is the first time that these compounds have been discovered in nature. In order to irrefutably confirm their characterization established using spectral analysis, the team then synthesized each of these components—which they named "olibanic acids" (from olibanum, another name for frankincense)—and used synthesis to demonstrate they were identical to the natural components. Thanks to this discovery, perfume makers can now produce these molecules artificially in unlimited amounts, and use them in different perfumes.

Are you a fan of frankincense in fragrances? Can you recommend one or two of your favorites in a comment below?

Frankincense

And in a case of real life being stranger than fiction, NewScientist.com offers an interesting article on a plant that mimics the aroma of, well, trapped bees:

The scent of a South African plant mimics the chemicals honeybees release when they’re under attack. Scavenging flies on the lookout for a meal are then tricked into pollinating the plant’s flowers. Many plants attract insect pollinators by exuding substances meant to mimic the sexy smell of potential mates or the alluring aroma of rotting flesh. But we don’t know the details of how most of the deceptive flora hoodwink their visitors, says Stefan Dötterl at the University of Salzburg, Austria....The team’s use of multiple methods provides convincing evidence for how the flowers attract the flies, says Manfred Ayasse at the University of Ulm in Germany. “It’s a new fascinating example of chemical mimicry in plants that try to attract pollinators, and try to cheat them,” Ayasse says.

Huh. When it comes to world of flora, it seems that aroma is truly a life and death situation! 

Honeybee

Have interesting fragrance news for us to share?
Leave a comment in the new Fragrance News thread HERE.

 

Image of the author

 

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison

Managing Editor & Columnist

Dr. Marlen Elliot Harrison’s journalism in the fragrance industry has appeared in international print and online publications such as PlayboyMen’s JournalMen’s Health and the New York Times. Marlen is also a regular contributor to BeautyAlmanac.com and works as a graduate professor, thesis advisor and faculty supervisor for MA programs in TESOL, Education, Writing and Literature. Learn more about Marlen by visiting www.MarlenHarrison.com.

 

 



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rostov14
rostov14

The scent of the autumn would be eternally missed: the damp earth, the wet leaves, the first frost and the bonfire at campsite in the pine forest; as well as the smell of the railway, tarmacadam, resin, rubber, freshly made tyre, petrol station, train station...
Anticipated smell of the new destinations ....Going far away means coming home....so nostalgic.
My favourite frankincense fragrances: NU, YSL , Tendre Kiss, Lalique, L'orpheline, SL, Jonh Galliano, EDP, JG and He Wood Silver Wind Wood, Dsquared2.
Oh..Have I missed something? The smell of my dog in the rain , so comforting, so moving- I'm melting in fact.
Happy smelling!!!

Oct
16
2016
Thomaso7
Thomaso7

lol. I would certainly NOT miss the scent of people, but rather the scent of nature, flowers, springtime, pine trees etc.

Oct
14
2016
Thomaso7
Thomaso7

it's interesting to think, do the plants mimic the smells the insects like? (and how the heck could they do that??) or have the insects selectively chosen, over millions of years, the plants to pollinate based on the relative attractiveness of the scent?

Oct
14
2016
angelfishie
angelfishie

I. Missing aromas

I would miss the scent of people most of all, the warmth of skin and fragrance mingling. Mom in warm golden floral, Dad in spice and resin, my brother in soapy green lavender, my fiance in oakmoss and musk, my grandmother in gardenia and cinnamon and my grandfather in talcum powder.

Some nature aromas, too... The fresh scent wafting in the beach-house in afternoon when the ocean air is slipping in from opening the balcony door and mingling with the fruitiness of shampoo from our after-swim showers, firesmoke in cold weather, and the frozen night air after snowfall, when the ground glitters like diamonds, and it's so quiet you can hear the ice-mist settling on the snow. It's almost a not-scent... but it's there...

Ah - and coffee.

II. Algorithms

I am very much a "perfection seeker" type of person and spend a lot of time trying to distill to the best-fitting things for me... so when it comes to algorithms.... well, when I play, I typically end up with warm florientals, which is generally my favorite zone. But it feels a bit like a sacrifice: the certainty of "like" for the possibility of a new surprise.

So my sadness with them is that they sacrifice the element of nonlinear surprise. Those scent experiences one may never have predicted: how I don't usually love ambers but I do when they're mixed with woods and citrus because they remind me of the old cathedral I went to in childhood. How occasionally an aquatic catches my fancy (I wore Calgon Turquoise Seas body splash for years as a preteen!). How Chopard Casmir should have been right up my alley but because it reminds me of an odd natural scent I encountered once (sparing the details here - they're in my Casmir review if you're curious), I can't happily wear it.

So while I think algorithms are great for figuring out where to start... and I'm fine without a list of notes (I was after all enjoying fragrance long before the joy of Fragrantica)... samples are sacred to me. That experience of applying scent to the skin, of letting it bloom and develop - that's what's most important to me. I am loathe to buy a full-size bottle before I can experience that. I'll find decants or splits if a company isn't offering, but I'm happier to just buy a nice little 1-5 ml tester tube or even just a nicely-decorated rollerball from the company itself.

III. Frankincese

Not long ago, found myself en route to a beach wedding and realized I'd forgotten my beach go-to perfume. I had been so excited about wearing it, and was so sad to have forgotten it, and so I begged my fiance to stop at a shop along the way so I could scavenge for SOMETHING to wear. On one of the lowest shelves, I found a squat little plastic spray bottle - 4 ounces - called Zum Mist Frankincense & Myrrh. Such a knockout for a grocery store find. It's deep, sweet, even a hint salty, and beautiful. It lasted for about 4-6 hours with moderate sillage and it was less than $10!

Oct
14
2016
elderflowers
elderflowers

Full anosmia is a pretty serious thing. Your enjoyment of food is hugely curtailed, and as a fervent lover of curry, wine, and cheese, that would be grim. Like lots of people, I think I'd miss the smell of human skin, and the smell of earth after rain. And old books, fresh paint, petrol, wet dogs, split logs, mint squashed in your palm, the smell of the seaside. Life scents, basically. I believe I'd even miss bad smells, pretty quickly.

My best frankincense is a guilty secret: I've got a secondhand £10 frankincense perfume off Ebay, apparently by The Cotswold Perfumery, which makes solid old-school British fragrances. I believe it may have been someone's private perfume project (Cotswold run crafting courses) since I've never seen it sold commercially, and I bought it on a whim. It's called 'Enchanting', and it's a unisex church-frankincense belter. Anyway, it's outstanding, and I will wear it to pieces this Winter.

Oct
13
2016
LadyPilot
LadyPilot

Aromas I love most: coffee, fresh air after the storm, lilac, lily of the valley, peony, oranges, cake being baked. Even a simple cold may ruin the day if you are not able to smell your favorite aromas!

Oct
13
2016
Marilimorajaspani
Marilimorajaspani

I would miss the smell of flowering Frangipani, Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow and Jasmine... but I have the memories of smell and they are very strong. If I was born without the sense of smell, I would be missing the idea of smell, I would probably not notice the loss.

My favourite Frankincense is, without hesitation, Amouage, Jubilation xxv.

Thanks.

Oct
13
2016
Calvini
Calvini

I don't like the survey approach because personality and taste don't always match, and what the fragrances depict don't always match the descriptions either (my most-anticipated fragrance in a collection never turns out to be my favorite).

Ugh.. I love frankincense, but with this new discovery there's going to be even less people using the raw material... At least there's a proper substitute now I guess :/
*I love V for Men (Clive Christian) and Bois d'Ascese (Naomi Goodsir)

I wonder what dying bees smell like.. probably not very pleasant

Oct
13
2016
Bibi Maizoon
Bibi Maizoon

Anything Amouage is going to have a bit of that divine Omani silver frankincense!

Oct
13
2016
lemonzest
lemonzest

I agree with Sweaterfreak: Pheromone seems to have olibanum even though it's not listed. Calligraphy Rose is a new LOVE; don't think I have worn it enough...waiting for cold weather.

Just realized I don't actually have many fragrances with frankincense. I use Nubian Heritage Frankincense and Myrrh body butter, and it's wonderful, but that doesn't really count. Now I have a new quest!

My brother lost his sense of smell after a serious brain injury. It never returned. He lost a lot of weight (and he was thin to begin with) because nothing tasted right. Never take smell for granted.

Best smell I would miss: puppies. Also dogs, the smell in a pet store, and the heavenly smell of a tack supply shop.

Oct
12
2016
cincobayou
cincobayou

My favorite of My Favorites is Chanel's Coromandel.
It has a lovely frankincense in it along with the patchouli.
Another of My Favorites is Hermes Elixir des Merveilles, which has
some frankincense in it.
Nice article, Dr. MEH!

Oct
12
2016
SuzanneS
SuzanneS

Favorite frankincense: Calligraphy Rose,TF Tuscan Leather, YSL Nu.

"If you were to lose your sense of smell, what aromas would you miss the most?"

The smell of the desert after the rain.

Oct
12
2016
raw umber
raw umber

"If you were to lose your sense of smell, what aromas would you miss the most?"

My favorite aroma of all time is fresh outdoor air. Fresh air can hold many aromas within it, but the sense of vastness and peace that comes from smelling fresh air is more sensual and uplifting than the most beautiful perfume. It is utterly inimitable.

Oct
12
2016
sweaterfreak
sweaterfreak

Favorite frankincense/olibanum fragrance is Pheromone by Marilyn Miglin, although the note is one of many not listed (Miglin states there are 179 "precious" ingredients). Another is Halston Woman Amber, which is divine, as you know, Dr. MEH. :0)

Oct
12
2016

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