Recalling Our Most Precious Memories With Scent
Recalling Our Most Precious Memories With Scent
No matter how confident you might be in your ability to recall memories, the average human goes through far too many life-changing experiences to truly remember them all. But scent has emerged as a proven and scientifically-backed way to activate certain memory centers in your brain, so you can access those hard-to-reach mental souvenirs.
Just like our appreciation for food or art, our preference for scent is imbued with our very personal and unique experiences. So an important question you should be asking yourself when choosing your next fragrance is, “What type of memories or visceral emotions am I hoping to relive?”
How are scent and memory connected?
The smells surrounding us first enter our noses to then be processed by the olfactory bulb - a structure in our forebrain that’s heavily involved with the sense of smell. Olfactory information collected by the structure is then sent through direct connections to other areas of the brain that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory.
Although this explanation, admittedly, simplifies how complex and fascinating this process really is, essentially, this why - and how - our sense of smell is so deeply linked to our memories. In a way, both scent and emotion are ‘saved’ in our brains through the same, interconnected neural process, which is why scents have the potential to impart such transformative effects on our bodies.
How can you incorporate scent into your life?
The exciting thing about scenting and diffusing is that there’s no one right way to go about it. The scents you gravitate to - and the ones that uplift your mood and put you in a productive and delightful mental state - are a product of your very personal preferences and particular needs.
In a previous blog post, we shared some key tips for how you can get started on deciding what scent is best for you - and the best application of that scent, based on your intentions. Take a moment to consider how advanced your interaction with scent already is. Scents are readily available to us in our perfumes, colognes, soap, and even our cleaning products, and lotions and body oils. It’s clear that incorporating beloved fragrances into your life is simpler than you think.
But there’s another easy way to further welcome scent into your life, one that is perhaps slightly more subtle and discreet: with diffusers. Choose your favourite aroma oil, load up your diffuser, and let it reinvigorate your home with your fragrance of choice for hours at a time. Elevating moments of your day through the power of beautiful fragrances doesn’t need to be difficult. We love the Aromini BT - a great nebulizing diffuser option for medium-sized spaces, like your living room, bedroom, or home office.
What scents trigger a memory?
Scents are extremely personal, so it should come as no surprise that different scents will trigger different feelings or emotions, for different people. We asked AromaTech Founder, Dimtri, and Fragrance Editor, Ryan, to share with us the scents that stir up some of their fondest memories.
Tea culture is huge in Russia, which is why black tea tends to drum up feelings of nostalgia and memories of my upbringing. A long-standing ritual that dates back to the mid-1500s, tea culture comes with a very rich and varied history. Today, everyone drinks it. I guess you could say it’s the de facto beverage, regardless if it’s -50°C or +40°C outside, it can be served sweet, and hot or cold. Sometimes I’ll mix black currant fruit into my tea with a dash of honey - or just have the fruit, as is, for a snack. It’s the perfect composition of sweet and tangy, with subtle dry and earthy notes.
Another favourite fragrance of mine is champagne, which isn’t necessarily exclusive to Russia, but for me, really reminds me of the opulent elements of the culture. It’s a staple at celebrations, whether it’s a national holiday, the birth of a child, or a celebration of a new car purchase - you can be sure there’ll be champagne flowing.
Whether you’re looking to unlock lived memories of luxurious times in Russia, or simply craving a sample of it through scent, you might like our Moscow aroma oil. For me, the fragrance notes of champagne, Russian black tea, incense, birch leather, and even amber, evoke such visceral emotions of the culture. For something that’s still bold, but slightly less complex, you might also like our Noir aroma oil - a beautiful composition of deep cedarwood, fresh bergamot, fig, black tea and bay leaves.
Ryan, Fragrance Editor
At her home, my grandmother had huge, thriving lilac bushes that cradled her kitchen window. Every spring and summer, the soft breeze would usher the scent of fresh lilacs into the kitchen where I spent much of my time playing as a young boy. For me, thinking back to that time reminds me of being carefree, and completely wide-eyed and fascinated by the ways of the world.
To this day, the slightest hint of lilac transports me back to those days - back to my grandmother’s kitchen where I’d sit at the table, watch her cook and go about her daily chores. I’ve become so in tune with my body and its reaction to this particular fragrance that if I ever want to calm myself down, feel like I’m at home and relaxed, I know what to do and what I need to reach for.
If you’re grasping at fond memories of fresh-cut blooms, budding gardens, or blossom-lined streets, our Tokyo aroma oil might be for you. With key notes of cherry blossom, hinoki wood, green tea, and yuzu citrus, it’ll bring you back to lively summer days. Or perhaps you’d like our Pure Sunshine aroma oil, composed of juicy raspberry, sweet pea, and jasmine bloom notes, that’ll leave your space feeling refreshed and clean.
By now, it should be clear just how intensely associated your memories are with different fragrances. Think of all the moments when you’ve experienced true joy, or perhaps peace and relaxation, and reflect on why those moments had such profound impacts on you. The next time you find yourself overcome with a rush of emotions or memories - whether good or bad - take a beat and a deep breath in. Ask yourself, “Could scent have something to do with it?”