Saturday, November 25, 2006

Smell




Yesterday I was in a perfumery shop and had a real nice conversation with the lady of the shop. I asked her if I could smell some of the new fragrances and we start to talk about fragrances in general.

I told her that I think Chanel no5 is nice and that it was really new and special in the time it was made but that it's not one of my favorite. She said she was a real fan of Chanel no5 and that when she wears it people always say to her that she smells so nice. I told her that Chanel no19 is my favorite and that I like Coco Chanel as well.

O, she said, before I liked Coco Chanel as well until I went to a funeral of a good friend of mine, she said that the daughter of her friend was wearing Coco Chanel and since then the smell of this perfume reminds her of this sad day and that she can't wear it without being really sad.

That reminded me of a perfume I can't wear or smell without being sad, it's Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana I weared this perfume when our dog Jacko died. Since then I don't wear it anymore, I can recognize this perfume without any doubt when someone wears it. I still miss my warm and dear friend.

This is our dear friend Jacko who died two years ago

We started to talk about how difficult it seems to translate smell in words, I found out that when I ask someone to describe a perfume they look at me like I asked something really strange, they say something like that it's nice or that it's sweet or that it's fresh but they find it difficult to tell more about it.

A couple of days ago I visited my brother, my friend was there as well, my sister in law and I started to talk about a perfume. She used words like, it has a high tone or this perfume smells round etc. My friend raised her eyebrows and asked where the hell we were talking about. She said it was like we were talking a different language. We explained to her what we were talking about and after the explanation she understood a bit more of this special language.

I told the lady of the shop about this and she affirmed this, she told me she did a wine tasting course once and that it was difficult to describe the taste or smell. There are some kind of words used to describe some aromas, but she told me that some descriptions were not her descriptions, everyone has their own scent memories or referents, so the description by someone else could be from a whole different scent experience than yours.

We also made the connection to music, we both like music it seemed. Music can touch you in the same way a fragrance can, but somehow it's easier to describe music then to describe a fragrance. We can even find out what kind of notes the music is made of, try that with a perfume....Maybe we have to learn how to describe what we smell it's an important part of our live, strange that we have a difficulty to find the words for such an important thing.

2 comments:

chaya ruchama said...

I love Jacko...
He looks like a noble boy.
I still miss my deceased pets as if they were people [which they were, in my eyes].

It's true, we have a language all our own regarding fragrance, some of which is cribbed from the wine vocabulary.
It's no surprise that vineyards are spilling over into the perfume- creating category, is it ?

The amygdala, and the limbic system of the brain, are so entwined with our scent memories- so primal and powerful.

I love the reference to music, or any of the other arts.

As always, I so enjoy your thoughts and ideas, as well as your candor.
You are quite special...

Dikke kus !

Jenny said...

Hi Chaya, I do miss Jacko a lot, he was quite special, pets can behave like people they certainly have their own character, and I loved the character of Jacko, he was so sweet.
Yes scent and what scent can do to us is really powerful, we don't analyze scent like we analyze color or music in our brain, it's just there and we react instantly with all of our emotions.
Well I learned another new word from you "candor" it's something like talking open, right?
Dikke kus terug!