Making Sense of Scents

Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category

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.

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


Holy Smoke!

The ancients believed that the only thing which could cross the physical barrier between Heaven and Earth was the smoke of incense. Indeed perfume takes its name from the Latin “per fumare” which means “through” or “by” smoke. If you prayed to your God, whatever his or her name, and you wanted your prayers to be answered favourably, it made sense to “sweeten” your request with the magical smokes of burning aromatics.
Here’s my take on that: (Oh! and by the way Onycha is crushed operculum (door) from a certain Mediterranean snail which helped “fix” the mix.  Still used in the Middle East.)


The censer burns with charcoal bright,

As on its aromatic flight,

Incense to the heavens winds,

And with sweet words a promise binds.

Dark, smoky tongue that breezes waft,

A fragrant wisp that mounts the draft,

This messenger with breath divine,

That calls the Gods and makes them mine.

I cannot fail in love or war

As Myrrh on heated coals I pour,

And Frankincense to charge the mix,

With Galbanum the scent to fix.

Onycha crushed will make complete

My Mercury on wingéd feet,

Who stirs the Gods above the cloud

And passes on my prayer endowed.

Hear Ye! A mortal stands below,

My plea is made; it’s time to show

Pray manifest and succour me

Repay my sacrifice to thee.

Smells ‘R not us!

A rabbit has 100 million smell receptors

A dog has 220 million

We miserable humans have around 10 million receptorsl

Sharks may be able to track their prey by smell from up to a mile away, following a trail of microscopic particles of protein and blood. Some species can smell one molecule of blood in over one million molecules of water – equal to one drop of blood in a very large size Jacuzzi.

When it comes to smell, we really have taken leave of our senses.

Sinbad’s other Tale by Aromancer

So here as promised is my take on AMBERGRIS


Mrs Dai Bread Two

" Me, Mrs Dai Bread Two, gypsied to kill in a silky scarlet petticoat
 above my knees, dirty pretty knees,
 see my body through my petticoat 
brown as a berry, high-heel shoes with one heel missing, 
tortoiseshell comb in my bright black slinky
 hair, nothing else at all but a dab of scent,
 lolling gaudy at the doorway, tell your fortune in the tea-leaves, 
scowling at the sunshine, lighting up my pipe."

Dylan Thomas "Under Milk Wood"

A truly beautiful adventure of a book...and who wouldn't want to meet Mrs Dai Bread Two and sample her scent?
 (except of course for the pipe- smoke!)

A great depiction by Hayley of this colourful character


The answer to Life the Universe and Everything Part 2

In space no one can hear you scream