Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Magic of Smell and Taste

There are regular readers of Glass Petal Smoke and those who discover the blog by algothrimic happenstance. The most interesting email inquiries come from the later, who are “flavor and fragrance curious.” Something inside of them wakes up when they read about the power of smell and taste, and how deeply these two senses are tied to memory.

Once a person has opened up to their senses it's as if they’ve found a long lost friend, a companion that was always by their side, but until that point of discovery remained in the shadows. This new found awareness may prompt provocative questions insinuated by doubt, such as this one from the UK, “Are flavor and fragrance enthusiasts simply self-indulgent nostalgists?”

Appreciation of flavor and fragrance isn’t solely driven by a desire to go back in time; it’s more of a desire for return; return accompanied by present day knowledge and experience. The awareness that transpires as a result of sensorial discovery results in spiritual equilibrium, the fulcrum on which truth and mystery are perfectly balanced. Flavor and fragrance are a catalyst for sustenance and soul, the desire for reconciliation between the seen and unseen; it’s why Glass Petal Smoke exists.

When someone wears a perfume or tastes a delightful flavor for the first time, a part of them merges with everything the creator of that experience has encountered (perfumer or chef) up until the moment of that specific sensory creation. There is a synchrony that erases time as we know it, makes friends of strangers, linking life experiences into a greater eternal whole; a “collective sensory unconscious” that is deeply engaging. It is from this powerful source that myths, as well as true stories about scent and taste, spring forth.

Does this mean there aren’t any self-indulgent nostalgists lurking about? Absolutely not, but what it does mean is that the experience of scent and taste is a powerful force that can transcend the ordinary world as we know it. If we don’t become overly attached to the things we are attracted to or the things we wish to avoid, we can find inner peace in our common humanity; something the world can always use in large helpings.

The image that accompanies this post is by Edmund Dulac and is titled "Stealers of Light."