Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Olfactory Diary: A Tool for Developing Your Sense of Smell

Winter is the perfect time to focus on developing your sense of smell. Nature hibernates as landscapes reveal starkness and texture, animating imagination in leafless boughs dusted with snow. Though you cannot see them, the leaves that will bud in spring exist in a state of potential; just like your ability to develop your sense of smell. 

Beginning an olfactory diary in winter allows you to focus on the ordinary in your surroundings. We are naturally drawn inward during the colder months; in the physical space of buildings and in our souls. Our sense of smell can relish the mingling of spices in an aromatic stew, the scent of fireplace embers, the comfort of a cup of coffee; all with the same level of mindfulness. Keeping an olfactory diary allows one to catalog olfactory impressions for future reflection and see how they evolve over time.

The best way to keep an olfactory diary is by taking advantage of the simplicity of paper and pencil. If you want to add a sensorial element to the experience you can choose a pencil like the storied Palomino Blackwing (602) made of fine incense cedar, the same material used in perfumery.  Many wonderful notebooks exist that are well suited to an olfactory diary. Hermes house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena is fond of using Moleskine notebooks which might inspire those with a penchant for the art of perfumery. Glass Petal Smoke's favorite notebook is the orange Rhodia Webbie as the paper is extraordinary sensual for pencil writing.

Keeping an olfactory diary allows you to catalog scent and time. All you have to do is stop, smell, listen to your inner voice and write. Make 2012 the year you get in touch with your sense of smell. You'll have 365 scent memories worth cherishing that will last a lifetime.

Click on the "Stop, Smell, Listen and Write" graphic created for this blog post and print a copy for inspiration; visually or as the cover page of your olfactory diary. 

Jean-Claude Elena shares his experience as a perfumer and reveals the inner workings of the "business" of perfume in "Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent."

"Developing Your Sense of Taste & Smell," offers tips on how to develop an olfactory/gustatory vocabulary.  

Palomino Pencils enjoy a cult following and peaked the interest of Fortune magazine last May. 

Graphic of "Stop, Smell, Listen and Write," ©2012 by Michelle Krell Kydd.  All rights reserved.