There are so many resources out there to inspire you and help you get a greater understanding of your sense of smell. Here are a few of our favourites.
Teacher's seasonal resource
Download our 'What does Santa smell like?' resource for seasonal inspiration for teachers, groups and home-schooling.
Adaptable to different age groups and variable for use in either creative writing or STEM classes, this is a fun project which brings students together in lively discussion.
Let imaginations run riot, then perhaps learn about the sense of smell, how Santa can smell different as he travels around the world and what chemicals are responsible for these smells.
All you need is our Powerpoint and to believe....
N.B. Many of these links are to Amazon but they may be available from other sellers at different prices.
Olfaction: A journey - A decade of the IFRA UK Fragrance Forum.
The Big Book of Perfume - For olfactory culture by Le collectif nez
All About Perfume is an accessible reference guide which invites readers to discover olfactory culture.
An intimate exploration of inspiration and creativity, from the parfumeur exclusif of the house of Hermès.
Fragrant: The Secret Life of Scent by Mandy Aftel
In Fragrant, through five major players in the epic of aroma, she explores the profound connection between our sense of smell and the appetites that move us, give us pleasure, make us fully alive.
Perfume: A Century of Scents by Lizzie Ostrom
The incredible stories of 100 perfumes from a whole century of scents.
Signature scents and now lost masterpieces; the visionaries who conceived them; the wild and wonderful campaigns that launched them; the women and men who wore them – every perfume has a tale to tell.
Why is our sense of smell so under-appreciated? We tend to think of smell as a vestigial remnant of our pre-human past, doomed to gradual extinction, and we go to great lengths to eliminate smells from our environment, suppressing body odour, bad breath and other smells. Living in a relatively odour-free environment has numbed us to the importance that smells have always had in human history and culture.
In this comprehensive and engaging volume, medical historian Jonathan Reinarz offers a historiography of smell from ancient to modern times.
No journalist has ever been allowed into the ultrasecretive, highly pressured process of originating a perfume. But Chandler Burr, the New York Times perfume critic, spent a year behind the scenes observing the creation of two major fragrances.
NEZ magazine is published bi-annually and explores the world around us through our sense of smell.
Smell, Memory and Literature in the Black Country by Sebastian Groes and RM Francis.
From Banks’s brewery’s yeasty stink to groaty pudding to spicy curry, Sebastian Groes and R. M. Francis have assembled a new literary history of the smells and (childhood) memories that belong to the Black Country. This often overlooked region of the United Kingdom at the frontlines of post-industrial upheaval is a veritable treasure trove for studying the relationship between olfaction and place-specific memory.
The Hidden Power of Smell by Paul A Moore
Highlights the role of the sense of smell in humans and animals
Details fascinating and unexpected ways our olfactory senses affect our lives
The combination of hard science and thought-provoking stories and examples makes this volume informative for chemical ecologists as well as accessible to lay readers
Scent by Elise Vernon Pearlstine Yale Univ. Press (2022)
Elise Pearlstine is a wildlife biologist turned natural perfumer. Plants must seduce pollinators to flourish, she tells us, and cannot relocate or avoid disease. So they produce attractive fragrances, along with volatile molecules to deter predators and heal tissues. Although these are not created for humans, we fall for them. This charming book discusses spices and scents including frankincense, saffron, rose, mint and musk. It also describes perfume manufacturing and the fashion world’s “hundreds, if not thousands” of perfume launches each year.
On the Scent is the story of a quest for answers, from the theories of ancient philosophers to the cutting-edge laboratories of 21st century neuroscience. It looks at the extraordinary experiences of patients and scientists alike, offering a unique glimpse into the world of those born without smell as well as those who lose it; exploring how smell can be a key indicator of declining physical health; and showing how new research may offer hope to the millions of people worldwide who h ave suffered sensory loss.
The Secret of Scent: Adventures in Perfume and the Science of Smell by Luca Turin.
The Secret of Scent is a book about science by way of art, in which the author's passion for perfume leads him to the scientific mystery of what makes one molecule smell of garlic while another smells of rose.
The Scent of Desire by Rachel Herz
The Scent of Desire is a fun read that connects the often under-appreciated sense of smell to the bigger picture of evolutionary biology. Dr. Rachel Herz is an expert in the psychology of scent, and this book draws heavily from her research, but it is still easily accessible to the average layperson.
Smell: A Very Short Introduction by Matthew Cobb
Our sense of smell - or olfaction as it is technically known - is our most enigmatic sense. It can conjure up memories, taking us back to very specific places and emotions, whilst powerful smells can induce strong feelings of hunger or nausea. In the animal kingdom smell can be used to find food, a mate, or a home; to sense danger; and to send and receive complex messages with other members of a species. Yet despite its fundamental importance in our mental life and in the existence of all animals, our scientific understanding of how smell works is limited.
A pioneering exploration of olfaction that upsets settled notions of how the brain translates sensory information.
Everything about the sense of smell fascinates us, from its power to evoke memories to its ability to change our moods and influence our behavior. Yet because it is the least understood of the senses, myths abound.
A work of astounding scholarship and originality, Nose Dive distils the science behind smells and translates it into an accessible and entertaining sensory and olfactory guide
Ever wondered how perfumes are developed? Or why different scents appeal to different people? The Chemistry of Fragrances 2nd Edition offers answers to these questions, providing a fascinating insight into the perfume industry, from the conception of an idea to the finished product.
Includes a chapter on 'Follow the Scent - The Science behind the Fragrance in Products'
For those who have not yet discovered them, podcasts are like a magazine in audio version - or short radio programme.
Although not the most obvious medium for promoting the fragrant world, there are several podcasts about fragrance and olfaction out there that members can enjoy. Many focus on fine fragrances, but the few I have highlighted below favour the wider topics of regulation and olfaction.
Fragrance in skincare roundtable with Pia Long and Dr Angelo Landriscina
This podcast from December 2020 helps counter some of the misunderstanding some consumers have surrounding fragrance and that it is a negative product attribute.
Older podcasts on the same channel -
www.theecowell.com focuses on sustainability and cosmetic ingredient allergens.
Not strictly a podcast, but a video, this was one of a series hosted by the Institute of Philosophy and features Professor Barry Smith.
In the same series is Smell and taste perception in the sensory-deprived brain.
Dr Doty is from the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center and talks about our sense of smell and its potential to detect and treat some neurological disorders
The Science of Smell and Memory with biological anthropologist Kara Hoover
A short podcast which also discusses why our sense of smell is heightened in the winter.
Olfactory training: what is the evidence? with Dr Justin Turner and Dr David Poetker
Dr Poetker discusses his article published in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology.
A series of podcasts with an episode entitled ‘location, location, location’ and featuring Dr Kate McLean amongst others. It promises to be ‘aromatic placemaking, at its finest’.
Closer to home, a series of podcasts on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service during 2020 and into 2021 have focused on the senses. Find them at BBC Sounds.
Growing numbers of people catching coronavirus are experiencing an unpleasant distortion of smells. Scientists are still unsure what causes this often distressing condition, known as parosmia, where previously enjoyable aromas trigger feelings of disgust. Madeleine Finlay talks to science correspondent Linda Geddes about her own parosmia, and chemist Dr Jane Parker discusses research into why the smell of coffee seems to be a trigger for so many people
The discovery and recreation of an iconic perfume formula for Soir de Paris. Discovery on BBC Sounds
BBC Sounds - Throughout history, fragrance has been used to scent both the body and our surroundings. With just one drop, perfume has the potential to stir memories, awaken the senses and even influence how we feel about ourselves. But what’s the story behind this liquid luxury in a bottle, now found on the shelves of bathrooms and department stores worldwide? In this programme, Bridget Kendall and guests explore the modern history of perfume, including its flowering in France and the explosive chemical discoveries that helped to make fine fragrance what it is today. They also explore perfume’s ancient roots and ask: what’s in a name? Bridget is joined by scientist and critic Luca Turin, writer and curator Lizzie Ostrom and the perfumer Thomas Fontaine. Also featuring William Tullett and James McHugh.
The always excellent Rutherford and Fry investigate the 'science of pongs'
Explore the work of Dr Kate McLean who works at the intersection of human-perceived smellscapes, cartography and the communication of ‘eye-invisible’ sensed data. To achieve this, she leads international public smellwalks and translates the resulting data using digital design, watercolour, animation, scent diffusion and sculpture into smellscape mappings.
From the University of York's Future Learn course on 'exploring everday chemistry'
Ideas from Totaljobs
Making smell and taste - invisible senses - visible through an interactive EXPLORATORIUM, a community-fuelled online exhibition of art, science, videos, photography and all forms of creative self-expression that transcends age, gender, and culture from around-the-world.
Olfactory Art Keller
Olfactory Art Keller is owned and operated by Andreas Keller. Andreas, the author of Philosophy of Olfactory Perception, is an academic who investigates different aspects of olfactory perception and has taught smell to philosophy students City College and to architecture students at Columbia University. He supports artists using odours and perfumers creating art.
Odeuropa bundles expertise in sensory mining and olfactory heritage. We develop novel methods to collect information about smell from (digital) text and image collections.
Ingredient directory, creation, benefits, history, sustainability and safety perspectives from the industry's trade association in the USA.
Although olfactory education is absent from the official school curriculum in France, a number of initiatives demonstrate the benefits it can offer to children. Curiosity, sociability, (re)connection to the body and mind: stimulating youngsters’ sense of smell encourages their harmonious development as individuals and enriches their experience of the world.
Blooloop article - After visiting a multi-sensory experience at Chiswick House, Rachel Mackay explores how museums and heritage sites have used scent to create immersive visitor experiences
Guardian article: From tomato-scented candles to perfumes reeking of intimate body parts, the world of smell is getting weirder. But are we ready to take our olfactory desires to the next level?
NewScientist Article: From frankincense to cacao and vanilla, Scent: A natural history of fragrance shows how aromatic substances have helped shape human culture
Exploring relationships between smell, cognition and wellbeing
Books & Resources
Open the book to go on an amazing sensory journey! Young readers are invited to rub their finger on each spread to guess the smell. Pull the tab to find out the answer. With scents from 7 different everyday scenes: in the garden, in the forest, at the market, in the kitchen, at the funfair and in the country.
Hop along with Peter Rabbit as he explores his neighbourhood--from the Rabbit burrow to Mr. McGregor's Garden and back again--in this scratch-and-sniff story. With amazing and fun smells like Mrs. Rabbit's blackberry pie and apples from the orchard, plus comforting scents of lavender and peppermint this is an interactive story like no other!
The aim of this activity is to explore our sense of smell and learn about the purpose of smells in nature.
This activity is great for waking up our sense of smell. It is a sense that isn’t used as much in traditional lessons and can be an effective stimulus for all children. For some students, smell can be a trigger, so it’s about providing a context and structured opportunity to try new approaches.
Despite its vital role in consumer and social sectors, smell is neglected in education. Today’s children are not learning about how to use their sense of smell in the classrooms. When asked what something smells like, the typical response is it “smells good” or “smells bad.” The next generation needs to be better at naming the many smells and scents we have around us.
See more scented inspiration on our 'Science of Smell' page.
The role of smell in consciousness. TedX 2019
Michelle Krell Kydd
Secrets from a trained nose. TedX 2015
Smell as a design tool. 2014
Why smell is more important than you think. 2016
The Power of the Sense of Smell. TedX 2013
How to use smell to create unforgettable experiences. 2019
The Nose Song
By Sean Vicary, music by Sam Lee & Llywelyn ap Myrddin
Scent Art. TedX 2011
Inhaling history and smelling the future, 2016
Smell, your least appreciated sense. 2019
Sense of Smell. 2013