Thursday, March 20, 2014

How your brain and words affect your sense of smell

I have recently bought myself a new perfume, which I rapidly became obsessed with. It is just such a lovely feminine scent that is slightly floral, slightly spicy, but with a lot of depth, so it doesn't go straight to your head and give you a headache.

This perfume has notes of jasmine, ylang ylang, patchouli, lavender and rose geranium, all of which are favorites of mine, with  perhaps the exception of patchouli, which to me always seems to be a very spicy, musky scent and not something I lean towards.
Thing is, I bought a bottle for my girlfriend, Tessa, as well, since we often send each other makeup and beauty things, and you can even see what we send each other in videos here, here, here and here.
For the most part, since Tessa and I talk every day and we talk about makeup all the time, I know enough about her likes and dislikes to know what types of perfume scents she likes, so that I can quite safely smell a scent and pick it up for her and know she will like it.

This one was a bit borderline for me, but I thought she might like it cos it had a lot of the notes that she would like.

Then I read the ingredients list and discovered it had patchouli in it.

Tessa hates the smell of patchouli. She thinks it smells like bug spray.

So yesterday, there I was, LOVING this new perfume and totally obsessing over it.

Then I get a message from Tessa after I tell her there's patchouli in the perfume asking me if it smells like bug spray.

I don't know.

It doesn't to me, but then after I sprayed it on this morning, the more I smelled it, the more I "thought" it smelled like bug spray.

Then, I got into work and asked a colleague of mine what he thought of the smell. Yesterday, he thought it was delightful, fresh and feminine. Today, after me asking him if it smelled like bug spray, he was all "yeah ... now that you mention it .... " after several sniffs at my wrist where I had sprayed the perfume.

I kept the perfume on for a few hours, but the more I smelled it, the more it bothered me. Now my wonderful perfume from yesterday, smells to me like those citronella candles you get which you use to burn outside to keep the bugs away from you during an outdoor event.

It does not smell like Raid or Mortein, so NOT that kind of bug spray, but still ...

My brain and the scent associations of words and descriptions has ruined this scent for me. I don't know when I will be able to go back to using this perfume without thinking that is smells like bug spray anymore, and yesterday, I was thinking of getting a few extra bottles to give away as gifts to friends. Not going to do that now!!

I ended up layering a vanilla perfume on top of the "bug spray" perfume, which has softened it a great deal. Plus I love vanilla, so that always a good thing.

Tessa, if you're reading this, I will say to you what you said to me when you opened the birthday gift I sent you: "if you lived close to me, I would drive over to your house and smack you upside the head." :-)

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