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Food to Fragrance: Why you should eat what you smell..

fragrance and food ingredientsbergamot / grapefruit / pink peppercorns

They say the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I always thought it was with a very sharp, well placed knife. The saying though, hits on a very interesting point; what we eat is usually something that brings us comfort, invokes good memories and transplants us to far away lands. It warms our heart.

“Scent is the strongest sense linked to memory,” so stated an Axe commercial a few years ago. While many Axe ads are somewhat flippant that statement is actually true and it’s because of that, that the olfactive industry spends millions on research and development into what scents make you, the consumer, happy.

It’s a fact that we find pleasant and comforting scents that are reminiscent of foods that we find nostalgic, whether it be the vanilla sweetness of egg nog or the cinnamon warmth of a pumpkin pie. It is interesting to note that many fragrances include ingredients that are part of the food family.

In a former life, I worked in the olfactive industry, specifically fragrance development. It was, and continues to be an industry filled with amazingly talented people who create the most intricate, notorious scents in the world yet, unassumingly pass you on the street on a daily basis. Most people don’t know that such an industry exists – but indeed it does..you don’t think that Paris Hilton or Puff Daddy, ACTUALLY mix their concoctions up in their bathrooms do you?!

But back to food. Due to this direct correlation between fragrance and food – ie food makes us happy..and scent is the strongest scent tied to memory, it only makes sense to develop fragrances smell like foods that bring happy memories back to YOU…because YOU will buy it, and equally as important, YOU will feel GOOD when wearing it!

Food & Fragrance is going to be a regular feature on this blog – where I will break down the ingredients of a fragrance – and find a dish that closely corresponds to it in ingredient content and overall effect.

The first fragrance to commence this project is from the new collaboration between Le Labo and Anthropologie.

Le Labo and Anthropology Chant de Bois

The Fragrance: Last night, I attend the NY launch of the 5 new scents that fragrance creators Le Labo concocted with Anthropologie – Chant de Bois particularly caught my attention. Its notes of bergamot, grapefruit, pink pepper, patchouli and cedar lend it a spicy and citrusy mix.

Citrus and spices are common ingredients in Asian dishes. In a fragrance, citrus notes create a sparkle effect on skin, kind of like what zest does to your mouth.

Pink Peppercorns on the other hand are a very specific taste. Exotic and aromatic, they aren’t like other peppercorns; while they add spice it’s not a fiery hot pepperiness, rather more subdued and sophisticated. As it does for your palete so it does for a fragrance. Pink Peppercorns bring intricate depth to the fragrance by their warm exotic odour, the overall effect is something very sophisticated.

The Dish:
Stir-Fried Shrimp with Spicy Orange Sauce by Cooking Light.

Why it works: The orange juice ingredient provides the citrus zing that makes Chant de Bois sparkle. Soy and Ginger exude the exotic spice and depth that is provided by pink peppercorns in the fragrance. While those are more literal translations of food to fragrance, an abstract interpretation is the inclusion of shrimp. Remember the elements of Chant de Bois create an overall sophisticated air. To honor this effect I purposely chose a dish that doesn’t contain an ‘every day’ protein, such as pork, chicken, beef or tofu. Hence the shrimp is the sophisticated element.

If the dish is one that you or your Amore likes try the fragrance, as with each wear it’ll rekindle memories of good eats. If the *fragrance is to your liking then try the dish and see how elements of the fragrance translate to your food!

Let me know what you think of this new series..future posts will be much more succinct and feature men’s fragrances also!

images via anthropologie and myrecipes.com.
Ingredients: 1 / 2 / 3

*As of last night Chant De Bois is the lead seller of this new line!


12 Responses

  1. I love this new series! I’m sorry, I’ve gone missing here, so I have a lot of catching up. I love citrus smells in fragrances, it’s such a clean feeling.
    I was just reminded how I love the smell of good Brooklyn pizza, it makes me think of being a child. 🙂

  2. Yes! This is so fantastic! Bravo Saer!

  3. Oh this is fantastic! And it makes a lot of sense. My favorite scents to tend to be confectionery for homewares and citrus-y for my perfumes. I never made the connection to food but I see it. I can’t wait to read more in this series. 🙂

  4. I bought Chant de Bois that night and I am wearing it right now and loving it! I really can’t stop snifing my arm.

    I am definitely loving the food + fragrance post. What a brilliant idea to tie the two together!

  5. Wow. This is definitely a unique approach. I would love to hear about your favorite fragrance and how you break it down into a meal for future article!

  6. i’m so glad you’re going to include this feature on your blog! ever since i first met you and you told us about developing fragrances, it’s something i’ve found fascinating. before that, i’d never even considered the fact that there were designers for fragrances! looking forward to future posts!

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