Top of Mind
On Scents and Memories
By Crown Affair
Scents have the power to transport you back to a certain time or moment. Our sense of smell is closely linked to the part of the brain that processes emotions and memories, so aromas play a part in how we recall events. We may not pay much attention to it in our day-to-day lives, but when we do take notice, the wave of nostalgia is overpowering. Next time you think back on a fond memory, try to recall what scents were present that day. It isn’t necessarily a singular moment in time either—a scent can remind you of an entire person or place.
Let’s say your mom’s favorite flowers are roses. Whenever you shower, your rose scented body wash might prompt you to think of her and give her a call. Or, your family may have rented out a beach house every summer, and anytime you’re near the coast, the salty ocean air brings back childhood memories of splashing in the water with your siblings. Your best friend’s house became your second home growing up—and you bought a candle because the scent somehow incorporated the exact mix of the ones inside those walls. And, perhaps the most obvious, someone special to you wears a certain perfume or cologne religiously, so you’re unable to inhale any of those notes without their face appearing in your mind. All the memories you’ve made together come along with it.
Scents are powerful—and so are perfumes. A carefully crafted blend of top and base notes do more for you than make you smell good. They can define what you mean to someone, or spark a core memory for anyone who inhales the aroma around you. So, as you spritz yourself with your favorite scent before running out the door for work, take a second to think about the greater impact it has, and what it might remind you of later on.
René Magritte, 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵 (1962)