Smell for the most part aggravates the lymbic system and the right side of our brain, where Episodic connections are received. Our right hemisphere is associated with memory of events, times, places and emotions. It looks at wholes not at parts of certain things. It's subjective, uses feeling and it's creative.
We use our left hemisphere of our brain to recognize and rationalize things Here are the Semantic connections received. We use it for meaning, analyzing, understanding, knowledge and language. It sub-divides and reconnect things. It looks at parts and it's objective. It uses logic.
Of course it's not as simple as this, there are grey areas in this field, but it's a rough explanation of how our right and left side of the brain works.
These two parts of our brains communicate with each other. Our right hemisphere send information to our left hemisphere, where the received information will be 'labeled', 'packaged' and analyzed. If we mostly use our right hemisphere if we smell something, then it's logical that it's hard to describe in words what it is, we need our left hemisphere to help us with it.
For example, if we are in traffic. Our right side of the brain tells us that an object which is going fast, that it is coming close to us. It doesn't tell us what exactly is coming close to us, but it's something that is going fast. Our left side of the brain however, recognize the object and tells us that it's a car and explains to us that we have to be careful. The same with scent, our right side of the brain 'looks' at things as a whole. So it will provide us with rough information such as; it smells floral, earthy, fruity. The left side of our brain will look at it as in parts such as; it smells like jasmine or it smells like peach.
A perfumer needs to recognize scents and needs to train his or her brain to do so. Using words to give a name to a certain scent is very useful. If something is named, it will be more recognizable. If people have to distinguish different nuances of colors for example, it will help if they know the names of the colors, to concentrate more on these colors, to distinguish them from the other colors. If they are confronted with these color nuances and their names a couple of times, their recognition of these nuances are getting better and better over time. The same with scents. It helps the brain to receive more than one 'code', in this case smell. The trick is to give your memory more than one way of remembering. You can do this by using more than one sense, (touch, sight, hearing, taste and smell).
Perfumers do not only have to recognize the scent of one single component, they sometimes need to recognize this single component in a blend as well. Some perfumers can, if they smell a perfume, recognize many of the components of this fragrance. A trick to recognize some of the components is called 'smelling in patterns'. Let me first give another example to explain it a bit more:
Most people can only remember 7 numbers in a random order, for example the numbers:
It's getting more difficult to remember 14 numbers in a random order like:
But if we would group the numbers in meaningful groups like important dates of events like:
12.6.1941 (bombing on Pearl Harbor) or
7.21.1969 (the first landing on the moon)
We remember the numbers a lot easier. The same with recognizing components in fragrances. If the perfumer can group some single components and recognize these groups, it will be much easier to recognize the different components. The perfumer can group these components if he or she knows how certain combinations of single components do smell. For example, if the perfumer recognize a Fougere note (perfume family) in the fragrance, he or she knows that the Fougere has to have Amyl Salicylate, Coumarin, Lavender and Oakmoss. Once this group of components is recognized, the perfumer can put this group 'aside' in his mind, and smell around this group.
It's said that the right side of the brain is dominant with creative people, here is a test to find how creative you are.
I found something incredible at YouTube. Some people see the girl turn clockwise and some see her turn counter-clockwise, some people even don't see her turn but see her swing from left to right. I had to try it a couple of times before I could 'make' the girl turn every way around and let her swing from left to right. They say that if you see the girl turn counter-clockwise you use more of your left brain(analytical) and if you see her turn clockwise you use more of your right brain(creative). The first time I watched the video, I saw the girl turn counter-clockwise and at the end of the video I saw her turn clockwise. Strange that I see her turn counter-clockwise what means that I use more of my left side of the brain, while I always am creative. I should have seen her turn clockwise, but I didn't. I wonder if it's because I watched it as an analytical experience and forced my left brain to give attention. I don't know how much this test proofs. Which direction do you see the girl move? If you like to know how to let her move all kinds of directions I will let you know.