You’ve probably noticed scent has an uncanny ability to conjure long lost memories. But how closely is a scent related to visuals. Can you really smell a colour?
Yes. Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon where stimulation of one of the senses stimulates an additional sense: for example, smelling a colour or tasting a sound.
In fact, experts say if you pay attention, smells can effectively be felt, seen, tasted and even heard. Research shows higher pitch sounds are related to more volatile molecules, which make up ingredients like citrus fruit, whereas lower pitch sounds are relative to heavier molecules, as seen in wood and musk.
So a scent like Miller Harris’ tangy Tangerine Vert wouldn’t sound dissimilar to the high notes of a solo by Sia, while the rich musky Rose en Noir would be more like Nancy Sinatra crooning These Boots Are Made for Walking in a smoky concert hall.
By the same theory, scents can be strongly associated with colours in your mind’s eye. For example, Cassis en Feuille is a scent that reflects nature left to it’s own devices, procuring a pastel blue linked to the coolly seductive scent of sporadic blossoms, Egyptian geranium and summer blackcurrant buds. Meanwhile, Coeur du Jardin moves represents the heart of a well-tended English garden, changing colour as the fragrance develops, as if leading you through a maze of bright yellow Italian bergamot and lemon blossom, towards the soft beige orchard sweetness of pear, and past the blooming brightness of jasmine and tuberose, your bright pink destination. An earthy backdrop of orris and amber shimmers throughout. Close your eyes and follow the rainbow next time you get a whiff.
- Monica x