flash scents

Powerhouse fragrance and flavor fabricator, IFF has released a new Speed Smelling collection. The minimalist white box contains a collection of freestyle fragrance-making where professional scent artists have total creative liberty but only 7 minutes to spin a scent.

speed smelling

Available at Lucky Scent.

In this collection, perfumers take inspiration from music, pop culture, photography, fairy tales, and jewelry:

Nicolas Beaulieu: With this fragrance, Nicolas wanted to share his memories of a trip to Tamil Nadu in South India. The spices that suffuse the land, jasmine, monsoon coffee..a scented image of the region’s fragrant specialties.

Domitille Bertier: Inspired from her trip to Rio this year, Domitille’s fragrance celebrates the bountiful greenery of the Tropics, evoking the breathtaking verticality of trees, the delicacy of certain tropical flowers and the telluric, nurturing power of the soil that feeds this vegetal extravagance.

Alexis Dadier: With her mastery over appearances, Conchita Wurst inspired Alexis’ creation with her half-pirate, half-siren persona, resulting in a joyful fragrance that opens up with creamy Viennese hot chocolate and shifts to vegetal notes softened with a feminine cocktail of blackberries, and floral rose and iris notes.

Loc Dong: As an ode to his grandfather’s herbal dispensary in Vietnam, Loc was inspired by natural Cinnamon essence to build a fragrance with this note as its fiery base, building on it with the synthetics ambroxan, cashmeran, and Iso E Super.

Anne Flipo: An olfactory focus on the pistil of the flower, in the manner of a bumblebee that sips the stamen’s honeyed nectar and fly off to pollinize the bush. The scent evokes the stamen’s honeyed nectar and pollen, built upon broom flower, beeswax, orange blossom, and rum.

Nelly Hachem-Ruiz: Inspired by the budoir: Peachskin, suede, silk, velvet… all the textures that are a call to pleasure. Floral and fruity notes flirt witih tobacco, incense and animalic leather tones.

Jean-Christophe Hérault: Built like a floral kaleidoscope, Jean-Christophe offers a bold, sensitive interpretation of mimosa, rendering the many facets and colors of the flower.

Juliette Karagueuzoglou: Showcasing the geranium leaf by emphasizing its freshness, the fragrance is a geranium sherbet, a frozen delight of floral and aromatic notes reflecting the intrinsic duality of the ingredient.

Aliénor Massenet: Inspired by a luminous, many-faceted golden sculpture by Olafur Eliasson entitled The New Planet, Alienor’s composition has grapefruit, rhubarb, ginger, pink pepper, sage and juniper. A yellow, stimulating aura of a scent.

Sophie Labbé: Imagining a garden in space, suspended among the stars, Sophie conjured up a cosmic garden that smells of honey, a cloud of ozonic musks, aromatic herbs, carrot and vetiver roots, as well as rose and jasmine flowers.

Dominique Ropion: A fragrance inspired by the rose of Taif, composed from entirely different materials, and not a drop of rose of Taif. An amplified leathery rose whose composition includes coriander, cardamom, pink pepper, and blackcurrant bud, as well as ambergris.

famous last smells

morgue fridge
J.F. Kennedy
Lady Diana
Muammar Gaddafi
Whitney Houston …
What do they have in common? They died weird deaths. Thanks to a group of Dutch researchers, now you can experience them.

The Museum of the Image recently had an unusual installation – Famous Deaths. The exhibit recreates the final moments of a few celebrities whose deaths are equally famous. The exciting, though macabre, exhibit is part of the inter-European SENSE OF SMELL project coordinated by the Communication and Multimedia department at the Dutch university Avans in Breda.

The exhibit invites guests to enter a steel case like the refrigerated compartments for corpses at a morgue. Inside the case distinctive smells and sounds that evoke the precise place and circumstances of each famous death.

Check out this trailer that was made to launch the project:

does America get perfume?

In a recent article in The Guardian, Sady Doyle ponders how and why Americans engage more conservatively with perfume and perfumery as art. It’s a fascinating discussion, and one that merits more attention and investigation. Doyle seems a bit hasty in proclaiming Americans anti-perfume. “The scents we do like tend to smell weird to everyone else.” Perhaps. However, the same is true for virtually every culture compared to any other culture.


Having taught at colleges across the US  since 2000, I noticed some strong scent trends. Many of my students 2000-2012 flooded the quad and classroom with artificial food-based scents reminiscent of candy.

While there are certainly generational cultural trends there’s not much evidence to support the argument that we are uniquely scent averse or perverse. Doyle states that Americans are ‘far behind’ but in what regard? Where and how far do we have to go? Is this a cultural problem or a marketing one? The fact that Chris Brosius has had success in innovative scent retail experience, not to mention Lucky Scent’s Scent Bar, Aedes de Venustas and more popping up each year, seems to suggest that we are evolving our olfactory palate. We Americans may not have the historical appreciation or sophisticated habits of Europeans or Middle Easterners, but we are far from a nation of scentphobes – even if we are germophobes. Given that flavor is roughly 90% olfaction, we have an established desire for strong scents and tastes. We are, after all, the nation that created Doritos and Sierra Nevada IPA.

smell the one you love


Forget about Tinder’s flashcard approach to dating. Images are now old school. An underground trend of scent-based dating is making its way around the globe. The latest pheromone parties have reignited interest in tapping into our animal side for better mating. Next up, Los Angeles-based Institute of Art and Olfaction is hosting a Valentine’s for singles of all sexual and gender orientation. Host Bettina Hubby brings an artistic spin to scent dating at the IAO event. Hubby will combine the art and scent preferences of participants in an experiment on how a scent persona might help them select dates or mates.

Thursday February 12th 7-10p
3023 W 6th St, LA CA
SIGN UP HERE to participate

where the air is sweet


Harvard University professor David Edwards continues to up the ante on multi-sensorial immersive experiences. His O-Phone made smelly waves earlier this year as the first olfactory messaging system available on smartphones. His work at Le Laboratoire – Paris design think tank – has landed in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. This US sister lab has everything to delight modern gastronomes, designers and scientists alike. The most exciting feature is the stunning Le Whaf at Le Laboratoire’s dining lab, Café ArtScience.

11324_whaf_bruno_cogez4Photo by Bruno Cogez

Designed by Marc Bretillot, Le Whaf is a bulbous glass vaporizer which liberates flavor and aroma from their solid material form. It’s various air concotions enhance dishes and drinks as well as offering a calorie-free after-dinner mint.

young americans


When Bowie sang about American youth in 1975, he probably didn’t realize that their carefree ignorance extended to their sense of smell. According to a recent study by a Dutch researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University, olfactory knowledge varies significantly from culture to culture and generation to generation. Read this lovely New York Times article by TM Luhrmann. For some of the team’s publications check out Prof. Majid’s site and Prof. Levinson’s site.

Of the global study groups, Americans had great difficulty identifying common smells like cinnamon or turpentine. Younger people across the globe also had a more limited smell vocabulary than their elder compatriots. The good news is that training your nose is possible. Memory games can help individuals build their personal scent database. Simply smelling more things and paying attention to odors in general will help. Get ideas here on OlfactiveInstitute.com.

a natural history of smell

During the next few weekends, kids and adults in New York can delight in the hands-on exhibits on the evolution of human olfaction at the The Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins in the American Museum of Natural History.

The creators of the new scent app oPhone are promoting their new scent messaging technology through a series of demos and activities throughout July, including a chance to interact with their brand-new iphone app.

Entrance is free with museum admission
Saturdays and Sundays
July 12–13, July 19–20, July 26–27
Noon–5 pm
The Sackler Educational Laboratory for Comparative Genomics and Human Origins

smell the scene

4DX is the next level in cinema – 3D + technology that brings viewers more into movie scenes than ever before. We checked out Transformers: Age of Extinction last week at Regal Cinemas in Los Angeles. It’s the first US theater to feature the new cinema technology already very popular in Asia with theaters across Europe, and in Israel and Brazil.

When you walk in, the theater looks normal until you sit down. It’s even more important to get there early so you and your friends can sit in the same row. Seats resemble a roller coaster ride with drink holders and a small illuminated sign that reads, ‘water on.’ I started to get excited.

As far as the senses, touch is the most aggressively stimulated. The seats have the ability to whip and rotate, vibrate and punch, which enhances the chase and fight scenes. It’s something in between a roller coaster and a turbo-charged massage chair. Fog, rain, and puffs of air intensify fear of bullets whizzing and other creepy crawly things on screen.

The weak spot of the 4DX experience is the olfactory stimulation. What didn’t help was the excessive odor of Cool Water Cool_Water (1)on the guy sitting next to me.

Still, there were two distinct and strong aromas: explosion scent – a mixture of melted metal, gasoline, and smoke; dusty plains – an excellent replica of dry dirt road. Perhaps the movie itself didn’t inspire much in the minds of the olfactive creative team.

All in all, this technology made an otherwise terrible movie a fun, exciting experience. Next up in 4DX is a movie called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in theaters July 9. I think we can already imagine the funk of our furry neighboring species.


Transformers: Age of Extinction costs $27 and is playing now at LA Live Regal Cinemas 1000 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

framing emotions

Photo courtesy of Fürcho GmbH

Here’s a delightful video on a recent immersive exhibit on shifting visual and olfactory perception. “Emotions” was at the Mianki Gallery in Berlin and featured Jakob Kupfer’s beautifully blurry plays on light and Christophe Laudamiel‘s scent squares. If only the video had smell-o-vision cards or atomizers, or the splashy new Ophone duo to go with it.

EMOTIONS (subtitled) from mianki. Gallery on Vimeo.