Scents and Attraction: The Nose Knows

A continuous journey, tied in so closely with memory — scents carry you back in time or take you forward. For thousands of years, we’ve turned to scents to uplift our mood, allow us to dream, make us feel at home or evoke sensorial experiences. Smell and memory are deeply intertwined — triggering a rush of fond emotions, memories and romantic attractions, like the smell of an old love.

Smell of Love 

When it comes to attraction, scent is a crucial element beyond the physical, mental, emotional and intellectual factors of what attracts us to someone. When you’re attracted to someone, you’re more likely to be drawn to how they smell. Our olfactory senses are our most primal senses — alluring and captivating. Often known as the love hormone, we release pheromones (oxytocin), when we’re attracted to someone, causing one to be drawn to someone’s smell. 

The favourable smell of someone we are attracted to is also made up of some of the personal care products they use. When you think of someone, it instantly reminds you of how they smell, the moisturiser or shampoo they use, or the perfume that lingers long after leaving the room. This results in associating positive feelings and memories with that person. The formulation of a perfume of a loved one actually triggers the olfactory senses in our nose and sends a signal to the brain that triggers a positive reaction. It leads us to the recurring question, do our noses actually guide us towards finding a suitable partner? 

Think of how your loved one smelt on your last date together! You’re bound to remember that fragrance — lifting you up on the dreariest of days — and you will continue to associate that scent with them for years to come. 

Let your Nose be your Guide 

How do you identify a scent palette that works for you and your (potential) partner? Some scents are sweet and floral, some corrupt and intense. They shape our identity, help us escape, or emotionally captivate us. 

Smell is personal, intoxicating and transporting. Scents are transportive, taking us elsewhere, evoking memories of places and times. Dewy Rose, for instance, is vivid, refreshing and as romantic as a night in Paris. Vetiver, for men, is woody, smoky, fresh and aromatic — evocative of freshly-cut grass and blended citrus. What interests Rajiv Sheth, Nose, CEO & Creative Director at All Good Scents is how the wearer interprets each of these fragrances.

“After all, each fragrance implies different meanings for different wearers. It all boils down to communicating with your partner about fragrances you love on yourself and them,", adds Rajiv. 

The spatiotemporal power of a scent can conjure memories of the remembered past and set the tone for where you might go and what might be.

So, the next time you spritz on a fragrance, think about what that scent does to you.

There’s always more to smell than meets the nose.