Learning to smell

shape shift nose to the wind
shape shift feeling I’ve been
move swift all senses clean
earth’s gift back to the meaning of life
Metallica – Of Wolf and Man

After I started to use Soaps without synthetical fragrances (see here), I realized that my olfactory senses became much more keen. You wouldn’t believe the difference! While people used to smell more or less of nothing (apart from the odd person here and there that would smell like a french brothel or an unwashed dog). Suddenly most people smell of something, usually underlined with a distinct chemical undertone. I can now tell by a short wiff if a person entering the bus or train is using Perfume, Shampoo, Showergel and whatnot.

After realizing this and thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that we are suffering from a constant olfactory overload. Everywhere is synthetical fragrance: Shampoo, Cleaner, laundry detergent, soaps, facecleaner, Aftershaves, Preshaves, Toiletpaper, Toiletcleaner, Windowcleaner, Carwash, … everywhere and at all times. No wonder that our sense of smell seems underdeveloped, it is constantly blocked and overloaded.

This insight led me and my familie on a path to reduce all these chemical fragrances in our Household. This is a very(!) insightful experience since the more you reduce these, the more youre senses become keener and the more you realise the chemical stench around you. After half a year of conciousely reducing and thus cleaning the sense of smell, I am now able to sm

ell wildboar in the woods from quite far, a sensation I never had before!

Since all of this is fun, I started to read up on Fragrances a bit and came across the following books which might be a fun read for others as well:

Strange smell in the car

Strange smell in the car

Strange smell in the car by Ray Sherwin

This book was fun to read, it tells more or less the story of Ray Sherwin who is running a store fore Aromatics and fragrances. He was probably one of the first to (re-)introduce this kind of store to our modern western civilisation and has quite a lot of storys to tell about it.

Furthermore, he tells us on the nature of all sorts of different kinds of natural fragrances (and aromatics, absolutes, ..) and what you can do with them.

I quite liked this book and I want to recommend it to anyone who wants to learn something about this topic.



The other Book I liked a lot is:

Essence and Alchemy A Natural History of Perfume
by Mandy Aftel.

Here you can learn about the History of Perfume and the Link to Alchemy. This is very well written and easy and nice to read.

Furthermore, this Book will teach you how to smell and how to compose a natural perfume. It also includes a full recepie to a Perfume composed by Mandy Aftel (which is very nice I can tell). This book was such a good read to me, I gave it to my mother for Christmas this year.




~ by Otto on January 14, 2011.

2 Responses to “Learning to smell”

  1. I’m on a similar path. I seldom use deodorants, because in most cases I want others to smell me, to smell what I am and not what perfume-manufacturers want me to believe is good.

    I believe that magic enfolds in ones life, when one gets more and more in his/her own body, its sensations AND at the same time trains willpower (self-discipline) and collects knowledge, well, at least about him- or herself as a human being and as a person.

    Thank you for this article and for your personal noiselessness in a rather loud modern environment, which talks much, but says little.

  2. […] visualisations, object, color and noise concentrations but nothing on your olfactory senses. After learning to smell again I found the whole topic rather interesting and so I was delighted to find the following […]

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