Making Sense of Scents

Archive for the ‘Sense of Smell’ 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.

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

Fire, fire burning bright

I really do miss the aromas that come from a good wood fire- and indeed the differences depending on the type of wood used and the state its in. Here’s my poetic take on this:

WOODSMOKE

In these days of pristine central heating

You can keep yourself as warm as toast

But there’s nothing to beat

A woodfire’s heat

And of fine smells they really can boast.

Juniper is the firewood of my choice

Mixed with apple and cherry tree too

A clean tang springs from birch

And for holly I’ll search

But old oak makes a shrine of the flue.

Sinbad’s other tale II

My lack of IT knowledge has to date meant that I can’t copy from my book and make images larger which in turn makes some of them hard to read. Equally I guess it’s a kind of safety net for copyright issues. But to respond to one question here’s the Sinbad tale again in readable form

Sinbad’s other tale

 

The Sperm it feeds on cuttlefish,

By all accounts a tasty dish

But not the bones that stomach cut

And form great scars upon the gut.

Which when the whale has had enough

And promptly sickens of the stuff

Ejects this morass on the sea,

Where “mermaid’s gold” awaits for me.

As Allah’s gift is worked upon,

By wind and waves, by rain and sun,

To give aromas of delight

Which sets the nose of man alight

And this I sell for princely sum

In Basra’s market, where all come.

Alas, I cannot tell this tale,

Of Ambergris which comes from whale.

I need protect my trade you see,

And thus a story tell to thee.

 Of abyss-edge, where fiery pits

Throw out the ambergris in bits,

So only bold will venture forth

And sail to East, West, South and North.

For with such dangers on the sea

Much safer ’tis to buy from me,

And rest assured they all come back

For nature’s aphrodisiac.

I praise my God for this bounty,

So wondrous made upon the sea.