How we smell?

People seem to worry so much about what their noses look like when we should really be rejoicing in their incredible ability to smell, and how much pleasure this underrated sense gives us.

The science bit is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. We do know that when you breathe in through your nose, the air travels over millions of olfactory receptor neurons at the back of the nose. Odor molecules, of which there will be many in every sort of fragrance, stimulate and inhibit these receptors in a variety of ways, setting off signals which travel along the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb, which sits underneath the front of your brain.

Signals from the bulb tell your brain all about the smell and trigger a direct response to it – pleasure, revulsion, hunger, passion…it’s all quite primitive!

"the olefactory membrane is the only place in the human body where the central nervous system comes into direct contact with the outside world" says Isabel Bannerman in her wonderful book, Scent magic

We humans are capable of recognising thousands of different smells, but no two people sense anything the same, or have the same emotional response. We do generally all find lovely smells to be lovely, but with varying degrees of appeal. So where I may be in heaven smelling wisteria that takes me back to my childhood in Greece, for you it may be a sickly sweetness that has completely different connotations. This happens because the thalamus sends smell information to the hippocampus and amygdala, key brain regions involved in learning and memory.

So if you are lucky enough to have the sense of smell, be sure to enjoy it....and Perfino will do our best to make sure you do just that!