Rarely Do we skim the sensory files of the brain to remind us of an impressive vacation? But this is a great opportunity to work out what chef Marcus Samuelsson calls our “smell muscles.” Use our sense of smell to experience more of the world. There is no doubt that your heart will be throbbing.
A year ago, many people are beginning to dream of returning to their favorite places, breaking out of the casually packed co co co. It’s a beloved vacation spot that has been annoyingly off limits for the past 14 months. Pictures and especially vibrant television shows may remind you of a distant destination, but you can’t recreate the feeling of being there. “When you smell it, you’re directly experiencing a small piece of the place. It’s the material that makes up the place,” says author Harold McGee. His latest book, Nose Dive: A Field Guide To The World’s Smells, is in the fall. The scent of the place may be the only experience you can’t carry as a souvenir.
It’s not that I haven’t tried it. A version of Smell-O-Vision or Scentovision, a system that conveys odors in movies and television shows, first appeared in the 1960s after being introduced by Swiss scientist Hans Laub at the World’s Fair in 1939. “It didn’t work,” McGee said, but he predicted that if he put up with it for another 10 years or so, he would be able to share his scent experience when he visited India and returned home. We asked McGee and six other experts, whose scents play an important role, to share the scents that evoke the strongest memories of the place they want to smell again.
Author, food scientist
“I live in San Francisco and often drive along the coast to Mendocino. It smells of the sea and sequoia. The sequoia forest has a distinctive moist, evergreen, tree-like scent. Yes, “said McGee, adding that the bark of giant trees tends to peel off, which can be the cause of the scent. Memories of other indelible scents are less desirable. “I love visiting New York, Paris and London. The smell of the subway comes to mind,” McGee said. “The Paris subway has rubber wheels, so it may smell peculiar. The London Underground is deep underground. I feel stuffy. In New York, I pass through the subway grid. Walking down the street smells more of the subway than the street. It’s not always fun. “
Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC, including her signature fragrance line
Birch’s most memorable vacation scent comes from the Caribbean. “A flower called Lady of the Night blooms in the evening at my home in Antigua,” Birch said. “The scent is wonderful, floral and tremendous depth. It travels in the wind from room to room and through the garden.”
Chef and owner of Red Rooster and Marcus restaurants
“Before the pandemic, I took my son to Ethiopia. I went to the Addis Ababa market,” said Samuelson, who was born in Ethiopia. “There is a sound in the market, and it smells … it smells like spices and berbere.” [a traditional blend of chile peppers, coriander, ginger, garlic, basil, among other spices]In Sweden, where I grew up in a fishing village, I can smell the sea for miles and fish in smoked huts. From late summer to early autumn, I went foraging with my uncle. When I go to the woods and pick up cowberries, blueberries and mushrooms, all these memories for me are about odors. “
Floral designer and owner of a flower girl in New York City
“Whenever I think of Europe, I think of lemon trees and orange blossoms,” said Porcaro. “Driving along the Amalfi Coast gives her a citrus, soft, powdery scent,” she said, reminding her of not only the location, but also the summer.
Dr. Rose Ingleton
Dermatologist and founder of Rose Ingleton MD Skin Care Line
“I travel around the world, but my heart goes to Jamaica,” said Ingleton, his hometown. “I’m crazy about the smell of rain that has just begun to rain. The smell of the soil is soothing.”
Aroma creator, CEO of Cent Marketing Co., Ltd.
A few years ago, during a vacation with her late husband and parents-in-law, Fabrigus traveled to the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. One night, the quartet camped around a wood-burning stove, and a Berber host served an exciting tea. “The scent of fresh mint leaves, boiling water, the sweetness of sugar, the heat and smoke spread the memory of that day,” she said.
Laurent Le Gerneck
Vice President and Senior Perfumer, International Flavors & Fragrances
Last year, Laurent Le Gerneck, who lives in Manhattan, went to Mystic, Connecticut instead of a regular vacation in Brittany, the peninsula of northwestern France where he grew up. Surprisingly, on the beach in Connecticut. The smell of the town reminded me of my hometown of summer. “It’s the smell of the sea,” he said. He believes that algae give off a distinctive odor. Mr. Legerneck also misses Brittany’s crepes for sale in cafes and restaurants scattered throughout the region. “The smell of salted butter that melts in the pot is still my best memory.”
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How do you like your vacation?
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