Signs, Portents and Scented Transitions

Imbolc Festival

Anyone who has read my posts will probably have realised that my love of scent is inextricably linked with the natural world, landscapes and seasons. I also find that we can glean valuable glimpses about how our early ancestors related to their world through the world of myths, legends and folklore. But also, because natural scents are unchanging, they are our only remaining tangible link with our predecessors. This is the time of year when we begin to emerge from winter; it is a time of seasonal transition, and so a time of observation. The ancient Celts and Gaels – like so many other cultures – would look for signs and portents.

In Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, the last throes of winter and the first signs of spring were marked by the festival of Imbolc, which coincided with the emergence of snowdrops. This festival, and others such as the Welsh Gŵil Fair y Canhwyllau, celebrated the beginning of spring – held on the 1st February, falling exactly between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Apart from the snowdrop, Imbolc was also very much associated with Continue reading

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The ancestry, symbolism and scent of the rose

the delicate rose

Staying loosely with a seasonal scent theme, I had been planning to blog about the fragrances of summer flowers, but a strange string of coincidences over the last couple of days has prompted me to focus on just one – the rose – and all because of my family ancestry! Here is how it came about… Correspondence with a new colleague in the aromatherapy world mentioned, by chance, a family connection with geology at the University of Edinburgh. I too have a connection there – my great great grandfather (on my paternal grandfather’s side) was Alexander Rose, who was the ‘founding father’ of the Edinburgh Geological Society. I was fortunate enough to have inherited an old book about him and his grandson Robert Traill Rose (an artist) from my father, who had done some research of his own about this side of the family. I have just spent a rather emotional time pondering genealogy, re-reading this old book – and thinking about its author, Mary Stoddart Tweedie Rose, also an artist and the wife of Robert. I am left wondering if many of my own passions and interests are, in some way, her legacy… Anyway, with this rather tenuous link, let’s explore another aspect of the ‘Roses’, not my ancestry, but their ancestry, symbolism and scent.

Roses have captivated mankind for thousands of years. A quick look reveals just how Continue reading

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

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

Jasmine as strong as valiums?

96I was doing some research on the scent of jasmine and I came upon some very interesting information which may amuse you. A laboratory test on mice has found 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

On the Beach

Pacific Ocean

Over the last few months, we have been exploring the types of odours that are found in the natural world; and the environments where we like to meditate, seek peace and wellbeing, or simply feel good. Many of us like to be close to the sea. The sea shore can deliver some unique sensations, depending on the landscape, weather, tides and waters. An intimate, crescent shaped, sandy beach on a tropical island in the Indian Ocean might evoke Continue reading

Scent Marketing in the Workplace

If you stop and try to think how your workplace smells like, can you identify a specific odor? Or can you at least remember how you feel when you think about it? I personally find it really easy to recreate in my mind the scents I smell every day, and with them also specific moods and attitudes I associate to those specific environments. For example, the smell of my house makes me feel relaxed and cosy, the smell of buses makes me feel anxious (because I’m usually in a rush), the smell of my office makes me feel productive and the smell of my university hall makes me feel concentrated.

Now, ‘because scent marketing is so effective at increasing sales in a retail setting, we might lose sight of the fact that Continue reading

Scent for Rehabilitation: Powerful Sense to Cure Traumatic Stress Disorders

The University of Birmingham in the UK and the University of Central Florida in the US have been doing extensive research in the field, but who else out there is working on similar projects?

This week my attention was brought to the topic of virtual reality simulations aimed to military rehabilitation and cure for Continue reading

Scent of a Winner?

Last week I wrote about cinnamon, this week I would like to turn to peppermint. Now I know that it is a little early to be thinking about peppermint as it does bring on memories about the winter holidays and yet another one of my favorite Starbucks creations the Peppermint Mocha (which I’m also super excited for this season). This blog post is about the athletic performance that peppermint can enhance.

Many athletes turn to supplements and sport drinks to enhance their performance, as well as banned pills, but new research might suggest that another performance enhancer might be right under their noses. Continue reading