Smelling the World
A journey to discover our most enigmatic sense
Once considered an embarrassing throwback to our past, a primitive sense to be hidden or covered, our sense of smell is actually much more important than we could imagine. This sense underpins attraction, sensuality and the connections we feel with the world around us. Smells, perfumes and odours are always around us and condition our lives, our health and our memories often in ways that are evocative and personal. Smelling has always triggered emotions: smells make us laugh and cry, feel anxiety or appreciate what we are eating and
drinking (our sense of taste is very closely linked to our sense of smell). And they also convince us to spend a lot of money: worldwide the perfume business is worth more than 30 billion dollars. If there is one positive to come out of the tragedy of Covid-19, and the exponential increase in cases of anosmia and parosmia, it is a new focus on research into the sense of smell. Let’s try to understand a bit more about how our most intimate sense works.