Making Sense of Scents

Archive for July, 2012

Running rings around competition

Now that the Olympics are upon us I can tell a little story. I have worked for two years at an archelogical dig in Cyprus where the oldest perfumery in the world was “snared” by earthquake.

 

A dead Ringer!

Working with some of the aromatics ground in nearby pits I was able to put together some unguents which would likely be used by athletes in the ancient Greek Olympics. The pale skinned Greeks did their thing naked, but protected themselves by smearing scented olive oil all over their physiques…hence the expression “bronzed Adonai!”

Two years ago I took the idea to the Olympic Committee in Canary Wharf and even suggested that we could make a small phial of the unisex fragrance to give to each of the 30,000 athletes- a nice little souvenir from Britain.

Guess what? They wanted thousands of pounds from me just to launch the idea.

When I explained that I didn’t need to use the words “Gold”, or “London”, or “rings” or ” 2012″….that it was in fact a historic fragrance of the ancient Olympics…it cut no ice. Money it seems not only talks but it runs, vaults and swims as well.

Result? Nothing happened. Not only did I not have the money to do anything but I simply didn’t have the muscle to take on the battery of lawyers ” protecting our so-called “Olympic legacy”. (which seems to me to have no legs)

 

Bird Brain

 It is said that during mass migrations birds rely on three senses. Firstly, they hold a mental map of the terrain from a high vantage point, and thus can visually guide themselves on.

 Secondly, a sixth sense seems to use the earth’s magnetic field, or rather the fluctuations in it, to keep a sense of location during flight.

 Thirdly, birds have been proven to associate certain smells with their home region. Aromas drifting for miles high up at the level of bird flight can be detected by these creatures. The identification of the scent- it could be of the sea-coast, or of an industrial landscape, and a judgement of the prevailing wind direction, can help the bird home in on home.

Moth Balls

One way of catching the pest Cydia molesta, the peach tree moth, is to use its pheromone chemical Acenol to attract the male to traps. Dienol traps the codling moth, whilst plum fruit moths can be attracted by Fenemol.

These moths have vast arrays of antennae, very similar to the banks of listening radars we have for alien messages.

The pheromone Bombykol which works for the bombyx mori moth, can be smelled by this insect at a distance of two miles.

A radar system like no other!

Scaling that up for humans, that is like your being able to smell your beloved in Boston whilst you are in New York!

Bastille Day tomorrow!

Bastille Day fragrances presentations

What do:

(1) Shakespeare, Joan of Arc, Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean Baptiste Grenouille ,The Bastille, Jean- Louis  Fargeon , Marie Antoinette, Lubin, Antoine Lavoisier, Madame Tussaud, Executioner Jean Baptiste Sanson, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, ……

.(2) …Charles Baudelaire, Eugene Rimmel, Septimus Piesse, General Jaqueminot, RMS Titanic, Jean Lafitte, Marie Celeste, Bonny Blue, Queen Elizabeth II and the 20th century Top Twenty best fine fragrances ever all have in common?

ANSWER

They are all  intriguingly linked , and they all feature in Aromancer David Pybus’ highly visual and entertaining presentation on French perfume as a scented Gallic tribute to Bastille day.

Two different  stimulating and sensual talks  (as above)

July 14, 2012           2.00 – 3.00 pm and 3.15- 4.15 pm

Roxy  Bar and Screen 128-132 Borough High Street SE1

(near Sainsburys) FREE ENTRY

Use it or lose it!

The sense of smell is of the highest importance to the greater number of mammals ‑ to … the ruminants, in warning them of danger; to the carnivora, in finding that prey … but the sense of smell is of extremely slight service, if any, to men …he inherits the power in an enfeebled and so far rudimentary condition, from some early progenitor, to whom it was highly serviceable, and by whom it was continually used.

     Descent of Man

          Charles Darwin (1809 ‑ 1882)

Use it or lose it!

Brilliant Savarin- a matter of Taste

A matter of taste

1.                The Universe is nothing without life, and all   that lives takes nourishment.

 

  1. 2.  Beasts feed, man eats: the man of intellect knows how to eat.

 

  1. 3.  The fate of nations hangs upon their choice of food.

 

  1. 4.  Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are

 

  1. 5.  The Creator, who made man such that he must eat to live, causes him to eat by means of         appetite, and, for a reward gives him the pleasure in eating.

 

  1. 6.  Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we give preference to things which are agreeable    to our     taste over those which have not that quality

 

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

The Physiology of Taste

1825

Xanadu

Love the idea…but there are not many incense bearing  trees in China …frankincense and myrrh come from mainly around the Horn of Africa- Somalia, Ethiopia, Dhofar….not a sign of ’em in ancient Beijing:

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan

A stately pleasure- dome decree

Where Alph, the sacred river, ran

Through caverns measureless to man

Down to a sunless sea,

So twice five miles of fertile ground

With walls and towers were girdled round:

 And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,

 Where blossom’d many an incense-bearing tree:

 And here were forests ancient as the hills,

 Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

Kubla Khan

0r, a vision in a dream

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Xanadu- did a fabulous city need to be walled? Was it to keep dreams in or barbarians out?