“We become more liberal about trying new things with age,” she adds, as our scent exploration generally happens in layers to make our own blended fragrances, which ultimately still draws from our beloved built-in scent libraries.
While our scent preference may rely heavily on both memory and scent exposure in order to develop, Jackson notes that our chosen scent path can also be informed by bodily needs.
“Herbalists, Ayurvedic practitioners and traditional Chinese practitioners all have a common belief that you are drawn to the herb and aromatic scents your body needs,” he says.
This is one of the driving thoughts behind the process of ‘Forest Bathing’, a practice that originated in Japan which, Jackson explains, is like “having a bath to rejuvenate you, but instead it’s a walk in the forest that does the rejuvenation”.
The co-founder of Modern Botany credits the rejuvenation to “phytoncides, which you are exposed to during the bathing. These phytoncides found “in all woody smells, trees and forests in general, are a natural antibacterial that is said to be good for your wellbeing.”
Research into the practice even suggests that exposure can help reduce stress, boost the immune system as well as improve overall feelings of happiness. Equally, says Jackson “as a scientist, who has been drawn to Sandalwood throughout my life, I now know that it contains a chemical called Alpha–Santalol” – which is also a known anti-bacterial and deodoriser.
“I have found that factoring this into Modern Botany’s products has been crucial, for allowing people to expose themselves to beneficial essential oils and phytoncides at home.”
After a more than tumultuous year, we are all undoubtedly, craving comfort and connection that scent memories can create.
According to Jackson, “Olfactory receptors allow us to be transported back in time” and to the moments and people that these familiar perfume notes represent. Even if your current perfume only subconsciously has one or two comparative notes, you might find yourself reaching for these scents now more than ever.
“Odours and fragrances can even play an important role in determining your mood”, he adds.
Factoring in a quick spritz of your favourite scent seems to have a more overarching positive effect than just a return to pre-2020 beauty protocols.
Demand for personalised scents
Scent memories may be responsible for the familiarity within current cult fragrances, however, as Lewenhaupt explains, the demand for more personalised beauty alongside the increase in perfume options, may lead to the rite of “popstar-branded perfume” no longer being the norm.
From Molecule 01, which skyrocketed to notoriety in 2006 as the first magical see-through scent famous for smelling a little different on everyone, to its younger cousin Glossier’s You, which founder Emily Weiss described as a fragrance that “lets more of you into its equation”, it is now clear that the quest for personalised beauty has begun to disrupt the previous perfume order.
By creating something universally flattering, brands have cultivated a new go-to for Gen Zs, millennials and even their parents; perfumes that draw on the individual’s own scent to round out. Scents like these, created for nobody and everybody, means especially for teenagers now, that initial scent-memory connection will be just a little harder to sniff out.
Seven scents to move on to in 2021
If you were a CK ONE girl through and through, try Byredo Sundazed. The crisp top notes of mandarin orange and Californian lemon are an exact match for the bold bang of the Calvin Klein classic but the interesting mix of jasmine and cotton candy throughout the base and heart notes make this a scent for today.