Scents of Spring – two fabulous boys and a catty treasure

scent sciences - flowers - blogHere in Great Britain, the seasons are certainly turning, and in the southern parts of our Isles, it would seem that the weather is positively balmy and spring-like. Here in the north, our days are brightened by early flowers, as we await the arrival of warmer weather! In this blog post, I would like to talk about the scents of three spring flowers – what they meant to our ancestors and their important role in contemporary perfumery. We will explore two ‘narcotic’ floral scents – narcissus and hyacinth – whose names are immortalised in Greek mythology. To the ancient Greeks, both symbolised the cycle of life, death and rebirth, or transition and transformation. Our third spring flower is that of the blackcurrant, and in this blog we will appreciate the significance of this trio in the classic fragrance Chamade, composed by Jean Paul Guerlain and launched in 1969.

HyacinthusWe shall begin by looking at the myth of Hyacinthus – a beautiful youth, and lover of Apollo; Zephyrus, god of the West Wind was also a rival for his affections. Apollo taught Hyacinthus many skills such as archery, music, and divination, and throwing the discus. Apollo threw the discus and, trying to impress, Hyacinthus ran to catch it; however the jealous Zephyrus blew the discus off course, and it hit and killed him. Distraught, Apollo transformed his blood into the hyacinth flower, rather than have him descend to Hades. Sometimes it is said that the letters ‘ai, ai’ were traced on the flower, so that Apollo’s cries of grief would always be heard. Some versions of the myth suggest that the iris was the flower that represented his transformation; while other versions suggest that Hyacinthus was taken to the Elysian Fields by the goddesses Aphrodite, Artemis and Athena. His tomb was at the foot of Apollo’s statue at Amylcae, south west of Sparta, and in the Mycenaean era, a cult grew around him. Every summer, in Sparta, the three day festival of Hyacinthia was held; the first day was spent mourning his death, but the following two days celebrated his rebirth.

The hyacinth emerges from a round bulb; it has bright green lance shaped leaves, and spikes of very fragrant, bell-shaped flowers. Linnaeus the taxonomist and botanist called the hyacinth the flower of grief and mourning. However, as the related, but largely unscented, wild bluebell of the British Isles did not appear to have Apollo’s cries of grief written on it, the early botanists named it Hyacinthus non-scripta (Grieve 1992). Despite the fact that it does not have a scent, when in full flower, bluebell woods are very special places to be; they can impart the sense of being at the fringe of another world, and have inspired many faery tales and even fragrances. The hyacinth that is grown for its scented oil is Hyacinthus orientalis.This is sometimes called jacinthe oil, and is cultivated commercially in both Holland and France. The absolute is a dark greenish liquid that has a very powerful, sharp, green, leaf like odour, only pleasant on dilution, and only resembling hyacinth on extreme dilution (Jouhar 1991). At the time of writing, hyacinth absolute is very scarce; however synthetic hyacinth is easily obtained. There is a marked difference in the Continue reading

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May Day

may-pole-daisies-600kbContinuing with the theme of scents in the natural world, it feels right that this should be linked, where possible, with natural seasons and cycles. In our contemporary world, it might seem that our day-to-day lives are less connected with these natural cycles than they were in days gone by, when seasonal celebrations marked the year. May Day, the 1st of May, is just one example. It is a celebration of the coming of summer, and falls exactly six months on from Samhain, now marked as Continue reading

Google Nose: Lights on the sense of SMELL!

Google Nose Scent Sciences Scentsation

Google Nose – Are you ready for it?

Have you tried it yet? You know what I’m talking about, can’t you smell it?? It’s Google Nose! The newest feature launched by Google that allows you to add scent to your Search experience. Amazing, isn’t it?? Such a shame though, as.. it’s just Continue reading

Still smells like Christmas…??

pine tree

pine tree

I’ve just recently ran into an article that explains how Americans love the different scents of Christmas, and particularly the one of Pine Tree. ScentSicles has been working on the development of scented ornaments to make also fake pine trees smell like real trees. How cool is that? This way we can avoid to kill trees and be all earth-friendly (they’re also biodegradable). And still enjoy good smell 🙂 Continue reading

Happy Holidays from Scent Sciences!

ChristmasSmells

What’s that Christmas smell!?

Happy holidays, dear Scent Sciencers! On behalf of the whole team, I wish you very happy days and a great beginning of the new year. Now, no matter whether you spent these past few days with relatives, eating and sleeping or not, it’d be really interesting to see what kind of scents reminds of Christmas the most. So why not Continue reading

A Scented Instrument? Nothing new…!

1922-june-science-and-invention-sm

The “smell organ” as illustrated by Frank R. Paul in the June 1922 issue of Science and Invention

This week I ran into something really, really, really cool. Have you ever thought of an instrument that can play…scents?? I swear when I read this is I was totally shocked! Although there’s no evidence this was ever actually constructed, the idea is Continue reading

Shopping Time: Can You Smell It?

Three-tips-to-make-your-kitchen-cozier-this-winter_16001044_800913322_0_0_14059506_300 kitchen-2-1957-xlg remodeled-kitchen-featuring-natural-cherry-cabinetryDid you know that if you’re abou to buy or rent a house, you’re actually more likely to go for it if when you see it for the first time it smells like apple pie? Has it ever happened to you? According to Martin Lindstrom, author of Brand Sense, the sense of smell influences emotions and mood and can trigger memories of a specific time in our lives. Some scents may evoke happiness, some other sadness, some other energy, tiredness  excitement… Well, it seems unlikely that we’ll ever walk into a room and say, “I smell HMW” or “Ann Summers” or “Disney”, but a brand like “Sony” already has its distinguishing and particular ‘brand scent’. So I’m really wondering how long it’ll take before other brands will adopt this new dimension of branding. For example, what would

grandarcade_heroApple smell like? Disney? Laura Ashley? It’d be fun creating s contest and see who comes up with the most original answer. It is not matter of only big brands though, as many other business should consider integrating the ‘scent dimension’ to their branding – particularly this time of the year, when everyone is rushing to get Christmas gifts and struggling to be original.
What difference would make smelling a specific scent in relation to a brand to drive consumers’ purchase? And from a consumer’s perspective, what scent would be able to convince you to buy a specific item rather than a non-smelly one? Continue reading

Coming to Our Senses: How Scent Can Enrich Our Lives

Social_mediaIf you subscribe to any marketing-related publication or feed, you have probably noticed that 80% or more of the articles center around social media and digital marketing, and I get it, I really do. Social media marketing, mobile and web marketing are the latest completely new form of marketing (never mind that on most social media platforms, people do not want to be bothered by Continue reading

Old Books and their Addictive Smell

smelly_bookHave you ever found yourself in an old-fashion book store, hiding in the corner and looking like a creep who’s trying to do something weird with some book? Well, I have. But honestly, I was not trying to look possessed or anything – I was just Continue reading

Increase Creativity With Scents!

unleash-creativityHey everyone! I would like to say that this will be my final post because my time here as an intern for Scent Sciences has come to an end. It has been an awesome experience and I have learned a lot along the way. I never knew how much information there was about the olfactory system and the various uses of scents and smells. It’s definitely interesting information to want to learn more about!

Enough about that, let’s talk about something cool! How would Continue reading