continuing education

ImagePhoto courtesy of Odette Toilette

Noses in the Big Smoke are lucky to have Odette Toilette, the founder of a thriving olfactory event scene in London. Her scratch + sniff nights provide rich olfactive adventure and education.

Californians can take a more institutional yet no less exciting approach to olfactive training at one of perfumer and wine consultant Alexandre Schmitt‘s seminars as he travels wine country across the state.

As the latest smell research shows, participating in scent events like these trains your brain and nose to smell a wider range and greater nuances in smells.

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the medium is the massage

smell taste touch sing

Read a wonderful article on the brief history of olfactory stimulation in marketing. From Smell-o-Vision smell-o-vision Photo by Santa Clara County Library 

to smellizing to the latest scent-emitting ophone app,

Image Photo by Vapor Communications

it covers a few milestones in scent technology. Although this is in no way exhaustive of olfactive technology in the 20th and 21st century, if you’re curious about the next level of immersive sensory marketing and media, this is a must read.

the scent of rock

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John Waters would be proud: Twangy 60s-inspired rockers The Black Lips are taking a cue from his unforgettable film Polyester by layering the aesthetic experience of visual art with smells. Predictable olfactory accompaniments include garbage, weed appear in a line-up with some more ambitious scents like cedar wood, squid ink, semen, and ‘moon.’ The band say that their latest shows will be enhanced by a scent diffusion machine, a device they commissioned from some French friends. So far, one concert-goer has reported no special odors beyond that of those from your average rock venue. Perhaps they should seek out venues in a more sterile environment with little to no ambient smell. A science lab? Keep your nostrils open when they blow into your town.

Polyester trailer and scent cards for sale on Ebay.

we smell a lot

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The internet is abuzz with news from a recent study at Rockefeller University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute claiming a breakthrough in our understanding of human olfaction. Despite long-held beliefs that human ability to smell is poor by comparison to our sense of sight and the olfactory ability of other mammals, Dr. Andreas Keller and his team now have compelling evidence that we can smell a great deal if we pay attention, up to the trillions of distinct odors. Time to start training our brains to work harder on all that enters our mouth and nostrils!

For more information on similar work defending the human sense of smell and taste, check out John Prescott’s Taste Matters, Gordon Shepherd’s Neurogastronomy, and Hervé This’ Molecular Gastronomy.

seducing visitors through their noses

The English city of York may have taken a cue from its sister city, New York, in an innovative tourist strategy. New York city recently inspired a scratch and sniff children’s book on the Big Apple, New York, Phew York. It hardly seems a coincidence that now the York tourism board is turning to a scented guide designed to lure visitors

neon sunshowers

Newcomer to the world of niche fragrance, Dana El Masri is lighting up with her mutlisensory creations. Her line Jazmin Saraï translates music into olfactory compositions. Each fragrance invites you to smell the music that inspired it.

Imagine a scent that captures the beauty and spunk of of MIA. Jazmin SaraïNeon Graffiti (2004) shimmies and slides along the nostrils in time with Sunshowers. It pops top notes of electric citrus and mango, moving slowly through an herbaceous, tropical green before eliding into a soft beach bonfire made up of cedar incense. Where the opening notes are effortlessly youthful, the dry down has the gentle woodsiness of Miller et Bertaux‘s bobo chic fragrance, A Quiet Morning. Once you get your hands on this bright scent, perfect for summertime, you’ll want to blast MIA on repeat.

marketing the drool factor

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Olfactory imagination is a powerful tool for advertising flavor. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research on smellizing, a term for selling by stimulating smell imagination, has intriguing findings for the food and beverage industry. Professor Morrin and her team found that participants who looked at both images and descriptions of appealing food showed a significant increase in salivation. When the image or the description stood alone, their biological desire was not as strong. Experiments in artificial smell diffusion has been a part of marketing for a while, but the simple strategy of combing visual and verbal stimuli has been strangely underutilized, Morrin says.