The Power of Scent + Memory


Post by BlondesWunder


BOOM! Suddenly a little something hits you. Whether it’s getting into the elevator and you know exactly who was in it last, or your mother`s favourite perfume sneaking through from the master bedroom. Maybe it’s a person in a store or on the street that just smells incredible, but you, for heaven`s sake cannot identify the fragrance they are wearing!!! It can remind you of a past moment or maybe a certain trip. Or just something you can freaking not remember. In the hope of smelling it again you frantically suck as much air in as possible, making yourself look like a total idiot. Following the person around the place with your nostrils nearly shut from sucking in so much air all at once to catch the smell. Hoping nobody around notices the forceful smelling noises you are making. Just picture that. I can’t help it. It just happens. Hahaha. I know I do it! And I sure as hell hope that you know what I am talking about, because I do not want to be the only one doing this.

The Power of Scent + Memory

Anyways, sometimes I smell something around me. Being like my mother, it makes me wanna burst out into tears. Why? Hell, I don’t know why. And that, Perfume Junkies is the power of smell. It can set off emotions and feelings you didn’t even know existed. I know the way I shut my eyes and smell something. It takes me exactly to a place in my mind and memory.

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Today, I walked past a magazine store. The smell of paper crept up my nose. It reminded me of an airport, summer holidays, and vacation. Just that split second made my day nice. To know that after all my exams are finished and I am done with this chapter of my life, I am planning on traveling around the world smelling all those magazine stores. 🙂

For me, the most satisfying “smelly experience” is when an overdressed lady is walking towards me, and I just know what she is going to smell like. Mostly I am right. As you know my Mum and I have played this game for years.

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I feel that we should use our nose maybe even more than our eyes or ears sometimes. For me, watching a movie or looking at pictures can not do what a smell does to me. I hardly remember what my Nana looked like, BUT I still can exactly pinpoint, when I smell something, if she smelled like that or not. That’s happened when I sniffed Lutens Fille de Berlin, and it made me cry. Weird huh?! (I had the priviledge of knowing her for 7 years of my life before she passed away.)

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Scientists say that you choose your partner partly because of their smell. We ain’t all blessed with our armpits smelling like Chanel, Serge, or Vero!!!!! Thank heavens we’ve got perfume. So my dolls I say, perfume, high-heels, push-ups and more perfume!

Isn’t it amazing how a movie begins to take place in your head when you smell? Just for that split second you have a daydream.

Well, for me, That is the power of smell. And it´s incredible. How ’bout you?? What are your day to day or memory smells?

BW xoxoxoxoxox

17 thoughts on “The Power of Scent + Memory

  1. You inspire me BlondesWunder,
    I have so many excellent scent memories. My favourite of them all is my Mum and her friends wearing Shalimar. Sometimes the whole room would be filled with food, laughter, bickering, tea/coffee, stories and Shalimar.
    Portia xx


    • thank you soo much for letting me share this on your page 🙂
      mothers just have that smell don’t they? yoxox


      • Mothers, and all other close family, are jam packed with scent memory. They are the lurking memories that jump out at you unawares.
        Portia xx


  2. Fantastic writing!

    You’re spot on too. Smell goes straight to our limbic system which is associated with both emotion and memory. So no wonder you tried Fille de Berlin for the first time, thought of your Grandmother and burst into tears. Not weird at all, it makes total sense.

    Rive Gauche and that distinctive blue and silver cannister reminds me of my mother. I’d like to get a vintage bottle of that one day.


  3. You hit the nail on the head with your article. Scent memories can creep up in my dreams as well as during my day to day life. Some are beautiful and some are bittersweet… xo


  4. Scent memories are so strong. I think that’s why I buy scented souvenirs on trips, whether its perfume or lotions. A whiff of a certain scent can take me right back to that time much better than a picture can.


    • I like to get something smelly from trips that I go on as well. Even if it is only stealing the shower gel from the hotel. 😉 xxx


  5. Hi BW – hey, this is a really fun article, thanks for sharing! It’s difficult to explain to other people that *kick* of emotion a scent memory has, it is such a personal thing and can be sooo unexpected… So, you’re chatting with the right crowd here! 🙂

    My scent memories? Gosh…. So many, and building it up every day. Isn’t it funny that we often go back to mother, grand mother associations. Violet is one of those for me. I love it, when I find a good one I can’t get enough of it and breathe deeply! Another one is cooking smells, like a roast beef or lamb, simple but comforting and reminds me of many wonderful meals past filled with laughter and love.

    Thanks for these reminders – makes me happy!

    Tina xx


  6. wonderful article!!

    tara is exactly right with the limbic system… and guess what junkies? unlike averting your eyes or plugging your ears: you have very little control over you sense of smell. it’s happening before you become aware of it. cool, huh?!

    thanks BW & APJ!


    • I have to look up limbic system. 🙂 Maybe it´s the same in German? And yeah – it´s really cool. Nice to see you. BW xxx


  7. I think you’re right, BW – that emotional jolt we get when the scent memory pops up is what keeps us addicted. 🙂

    THe first time I smelled Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea I was visited by the ghost of my first serious boyfriend (the difficult one. don’t ask.), and spent the whole day, because TA lasts a long time, flipping around from lust to guilt. It smelled exactly like him – wonderful. I’ve made memories with it on my own now, so that I don’t automatically think of him now, but BOY did that first sniff throw me.

    And I love catching whiffs of Chanel No. 5 on someone else – it’s a good, comforting feeling to smell my mother when I don’t expect her.


    • yes It’s really weird how a smell can do that 🙂
      there’s something really magical about it taking you to another place 🙂 thanks for reading xoxox


  8. I really enjoyed this post. As usual, I find I do things backwards: for me, scents don’t usually evoke images, but images often conjure up scents. If I’m really engrossed in a movie or tv show, I sometimes notice phantom scents suggested by the settings.

    And it is wonderful that a perfume could so strongly evoke the memory of a grandmother you lost so early. Neither of my grandmothers wore perfume regularly, but when I look at old photos, I can remember the smells I associated with them: pie crust and cinnamon and apples for one, cigarette smoke and swimming-pool chlorine for the other. (The first would make a more appealing perfume, I think.)


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