Even though I grew up with a very kind-hearted and loving father, he smoked cigars. There’s no way I found anything he did off-putting, but I disliked the smell of his cigar smoke. There’s nothing pleasing for me about it today either, though I do think of my Dad the moment my nose detects it.

Now, the smell of roses is another matter. My first recognition of rose smells took place in the garden of a daycare center where I vociferously protested attending. While I find their smell heavenly, it takes me to a place of melancholy, so I never seek them out in a fragrance product.

This phenomenon is predicted in the study of aromachology, the effects of smell on human behavior, feelings, and emotions.

The study of aromachology suggests I can’t “unsmell” or “unmake” any of these smell associations, whether positive or negative.

Coined in 1982 by the Olfactory Research Fund, now known as the Sense of Smell Institute, a division of the Fragrance Foundation, aromachology is not the same as aromatherapy, which purports some healing and holistic effects. Aromachology sticks to behavior and emotion.

But, it’s a thin line.

Aromachology’s concepts can be applied in healthcare to bring down heartrates, sports to relax players uptight about competition; and in building and home sciences to induce real estate sales, for examples.

If you’ve ever tried to sell a house, your real estate agent might have suggested planting the smell of fresh baked cookies to please potential buyers. Tap into the sense of smell, and the prospect might smell and “see” in the house a place to call home.

The City of New Orleans sprays orange citrus around the French Quarter to make an inviting smell. More shopping? Their new World War II museum theater uses a gun smoke smell to evoke an “you are there” response. I still smell it after 5 years.

While the study of aromachology is maturing to enhance our everyday lives, you don’t have to wait to be your own aromachologist. You have the nose to know what shifts in behavior and emotions you experience when exposed to positive and negative smell associations. You know what pleases your senses and what brings on a desired feeling or behavior. You can tincture around with various natural oils and synthetic smell blends to find what interests you to learn its effects.  

The Gift of Scent e-commerce site is full of products to explore, mix and mingle for your own desired results. Aromachologists that we are, we’ve gotten some of the tried and true bundled as starter kits in the “Be You” series.

If these don’t resonate, explore the “Recovery” and “Energizing” product suggestions highlighted in:  Focus on Recovery this New Year and Energize Your New Year with Essential Oils.

Or, for the really curious, and brave experimenters, you can pick from the bottled essential and fragrance oil blends. Make your own concoction to use in fragrance warmers and diffusers, also sold on the site.  See what aromachology can do for you.

Happy tincturing!

Jean VanGrey for TheGiftofScent.com


Kate is a writer and editor from Iowa. She speaks in movie and TV quotes, could eat only breakfast food, loves dogs more than most people, and is an aromatherapy enthusiast.