Why do we link scent with memories?

 

Have you ever walked passed someone or walked into a room and experienced a déjà vu moment because you recognise the smell? Aromas can bring back memories almost like a physical link to a time, a place or a person. In just the same way that our brain can transport us to wonderful memories through music or images, so our olfactory senses can bring wonderful memories flooding back. And there just happens to be a name for this experience. It’s called the ‘Proustian moment’ or the ‘Proust effect.’ So named after Marcel Proust.

The process that the brain uses to understand and categorize scents is a very complicated one, so complicated that a Nobel prize was given out in 2004 to the people who decoded it. Essentially it follows this route; The chemical particles of a scent enter through the nose and are then interpreted by the olfactory bulb at the centre front of the brain. The information is then transported deeper into the limbic system of the brain where emotions are processed before arriving at the hippocampus where learning and memories are formed. 

The sense of smell is the first sense to fully develop in childhood. What you smell as a child will go on to create the basis for scents you will like and dislike for the rest of your life. It is a widely held view that the evolutionary reason behind the connection between scent and memory is the relationship between predators and prey. Prey animals need to be able to distinguish between friend and foe, and the one (almost) foolproof way to do this is by smell. They learn to associate certain smells with certain dangers and as such can react much more quickly to a threat.

Of course this isn’t something we generally have a use for anymore, as we are all safely tucked away in our houses. Meaning that instead of having to link scent to danger, your brain can now form links between scent and happy memories, people and places.

At Ava May we are inspired by this process and hope that we can help you to fill your home with feel good memories so that the next time you smell one of our fragrances you get to live them all over again.

We offer a wide range of scents from the musky fragrance of a perfume or aftershave that reminds you of a special someone to fruity and floral scent notes that take you back to a special place or occasion. Take a look at our scent range here.

We offer a wide range of scents from the musky fragrance of a perfume or aftershave that reminds you of a special someone to fruity and floral scent notes that take you back to a special place or occasion. Our scent range includes:

 For her: Dark Opium (inspired by Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium), Lime Basil and Mandarin (inspired by Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin), Black Pomegranate (inspired by Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir), Life is Beautiful (inspired by Lancome La Vie Est Belle), Pink Peony and Blush Suede (inspired by Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede), Lady (inspired by Paco Rabanne Lady Million), Si (inspired by Armani Si), Flower Explosion (inspired by Viktor Rolf Flower Bomb) and Olympian (inspired by Paco Rabanne Olympea).