Sense of Smell

Posted by andrew sanderson on

How is your sense of smell? Have you ever had a customer say they can’t smell a product made with your fragrance oil? They might not actually be able to smell it and its not down to your product being faulty. 

We often do blind sample testing of new fragrance oils with our customers. We send out wax melts for them to warm and describe in their own words. We use existing customers because they are used to the type of fragrances we prefer. We like complex, multi-layered fragrances  which often contain small amount of natural oils. These can take a little while on a warmer to release all their full fragrance notes. You don’t always get many fragrance notes on cold sniff but once warmed they come alive. Usually we can predict the feedback we will receive. We know what customers personal preferences are and what notes they may have a dislike of. We know they will give good constructive feedback even though the fragrance may not be to their personal taste. The last set of tests were quite remarkable. There were some fragrances some testers couldn’t smell at all whereas their partners or other customers found them quite strong. The way the fragrances were described varied significantly from tester to tester. Usually we can tell that people are describing the same fragrance but using different words to paint the same picture. This time people described fragrances quite differently to each other. This led us to carrying out a bit of research on the sense of smell in humans. 

Anosmia is a total loss of sense of smell, hyposmia is a reduced ability to smell. Some people are born with a sense of smell disorder but it can be caused by various health issues either on a temporary or a permanent basis, one of which is COVID. Sometimes smells which are pleasant to most can be unpleasant to some. There are several areas in our brain involved in interpreting a smell. A fragrance can trigger a memory or create a new memory. Fragrance affects our mood and sense of wellbeing. 

After doing this reading up on the sense of smell it has made us more aware of how our sense of smell and the way we interpret fragrances can differ from one person to another. If you come across a customer who says they can’t smell a fragrance it might be worth having a chat to them, they may genuinely be unable to detect the smell. 

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