sniffing around | sensibilities


Nose experts from multi-disciplinary industries were interviewed about their fascination, sensation and perception of smell, culture and identity.

We look at aromas and smells as an ingredient… in the same way a conventional cook would look at spices and herbs. We look at happiness as ingredients & we try to evoke that with smell—to elicit an emotional reaction from people… We consider the emotional part of eating!
Grant Achatz, Executive Chef, Alinea.

Natural scents are intimate and very close to the body. They don't broadcast across the room. What makes a perfume last all day and remain in elevators devoid of people is the presence of synthetics. Natural perfume is about your relationship with yourself and your own sense of smell which is very important part of your identity.
Mandy Aftel, Perfumer & Author, Aftelier Perfumes.

Fragrance is like identity… Take jasmine, it has 900 different olfactive parts, so it has enormous complexities… Women tend to seek out complexity than purity—to find their own unique self. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable in your skin, the more you look for complexity in your scent…
Roja Dove, Perfumer, Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie.

The senses, and especially smell, warrant far more scholarly and artistic attention than they have received to date. There is a strong connection between smell and identity… this needs to be approached from a critical cultural angle and not a biological or socio-biological perspective, since the latter risks naturalizing a very social phenomenon.
David Howes, Professor of Anthropology, Concordia University (Montréal, Canada) & Director of the Concordia Sensoria Research Team (CONSERT).

It’s incredibly valuable & worth while to be a deliberate conscious eater! In terms of ethics & what’s on your plate! To really stop and think—What am I eating? What is the texture? What is the smell? And to really engage and focus on the senses while you’re eating to fully appreciate it! Focuing on it—to find more room in your life to do that because it just makes you more open to the world…
Francis Lam, Food Editor, Gourmet Magazine.

The sign of a great wine is when I can’t get my nose out of the wine—the soul of the wine is in the nose. That’s 80% of the flavour—if the aromatics check out, then everything else should check out!
Jeff Mazen, Sommelier, Dommenico Selections.

Culture strongly influences how we understand or interprete smell. Cultural responses to smell differ widely as do cognitive responses. We all have our own unique smell and can recognise and are recognised by our smell… How we interprete them however, depends on our perception…
Ashley Rowe, Sensory Artist.

When you & your nose drink spirits within the environment, within the context in which they were created… and you meet the people… and you eat the food… and you learn about the culture… and the history… and everything that goes with it… it creates a very powerful sense memory response!
Brian Van Flandern, Mixologist, Creative Consultants.