Monday, June 11, 2012


“A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.” ~ Jeffrey Stepakoff

Strange things have stayed with me from my freshman Human Biology 101 class. One of them being a little trivia fact that our sense of smell is the quickest adapting sense of all five. In my opinion, it's also the most powerful memory-evoking sense we have ... and an underrated one in that way.

So, while we can enter a room or pick up a fleeting scent while walking past someone and moments later, be "used" to it to the point we don't notice ... it is also as though that scent is forever embedded in the deepest archives of our minds until the day it is extracted, pulling — sometimes violently — the memory tethered to the forefront of our thoughts.

I have always loved this phenomena, though it has its unnerving, hard to swallow moments, too ... especially if a particular memory hits so hard and fast that brings along with it heartache. Yet, even then, it is painfully beautiful.

My favorite moment is when a scent flutters past me, caught for only a second, and suddenly I'm fiercely transported back to my childhood or teenage years or to a look shared, an intensely intimate moment so vivid, it seizes my breath. Even better in some ways are the times when I've walked into a room or past a fragrance wafting in the outside air, maybe someone's perfume or cologne, maybe the scent of a particular soap, dryer sheets on a crisp night walk, detergent or an ambiguous antiquated smell I can't quite place. And it pulls at me like metal to a magnet, yet I'm hazy as to its origin.

Perhaps it's a distant memory frayed at the edges by time and the breath of life. Maybe it's something long forgotten or repressed. Maybe it's the memory of being hugged by someone, my face buried in his neck, breathing him in. Maybe it's my grandmother's lotioned hands, my mother's clothes, my dad's peppermint soap.

Whatever the case, feeling that sense of deja vu is something I live for. And the power of scent has a way of igniting it like no other.



  1. I completely agree Cassandra. Scent is definitely the most memory-inducing of the senses. It's amazing how a subtle scent can bring forth so many deeply imbedded memories.

  2. Agreed. It can assail the rest of the senses and be arresting at times, but in a wonderfully intoxicating way.