Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Play with Scents

Top note: the fragrance first released when the perfume achieves initial contact with the skin of the wearer, predominating in the olfactory sense for approximately 15 minutes. White often these first notes of fragrance remind the wearer of a certain day of childhood, the smell of a camomile lawn or a spice cake or a sunny day. 
                                                 - from The Beautiful American by Jeanne Makin

Charles J. Wysocki, behavioral scientist at the Monelle Chemical Senses Center, says the nose can identify ten thousand scents. This means the nose knows more than the tongue which only tastes: sour, bitter, savory, and sweet. 

Expert sentologists have a brain map of odors yet limited vocabulary to describe them or make associations.Wine experts go creative in their descriptions of the "notes" when scenting and tasting fine wine. They describe a scent/taste of braised saddle leather, salted butter, blanced almonds, fig paste, even hoisin sauce. 

Writers have power over their individual chemistry. Those who enjoy a glass of wine can create connections beyond: red tastes red and white tastes white. With our linguistic sensitivities we heighten our ability to move into questioning what really describes: tangy, flowery, and fresh.
Consider connections you can discover describing tastes, scents and textures. Begin with a favorite beverage. How far out can you extend your observations? 

Malty with a hint of . . . . Doughnuty texture with the essence of wet brick. . . . Sea pebbles and burning rubber . . . . You do not have to taste each item. 

Bring in ways you connect scents with memories. Think back to a day in childhood.  Does one aroma return you to a relationship?  Connect a scent with a surprise.

You do not have to make sense, just make up scents.  Play to enrich your writing.

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