An Adventure in the Power of Scent

champagne and cheese to set the mood.

Smell. After sight, it is the most powerful sense. And unlike others, we can’t turn it off. It creates emotion, conjures memories and provides us with the ability to attract. Yes, smell is powerful and there is much to learn; fragrances are a great place to start.

To appreciate wine, one begins with a wine tasting, with fragrance one begins with a fragrance “smelling.” Well, there is certainly a better word for it, but the setting seems very similar to a wine tasting. Sure, you may not taste the fragrances, but with Sue Phillips and her Scent Adventure, you do get to take home your very own fragrance. I created “adventurous.”

The native South African, fragrance creator, and owner of Scenterprises, Sue Phillips, sets up fragrance events. Inside she explains everything needed to know about the world of perfumes. She began with the word perfume itself; “per” and “fume” are French (I knew) for “of smoke’ (I never thought about it). And I’d learn a lot more than that.

We began with a quiz to understand which fragrance family I might appreciate and I found an affinity to the Woody and Oriental. Then I smelled strips of notes. Loads of strips. Each is a simple note and from each note one starts to create their own music, to some a symphony. In the end, three to four are selected in order to mix a personalized fragrance.

taking a focused whiff (photo: Matthew Minucci)

(photo: Matthew Minucci)

As I smelled the rose, sandalwood, vanilla, and the multitude of available notes – I received an explanation of each. Sue provided its history, geographic origin(s) and explained how the notes were introduced into the array of commercial fragrances sold today. I even got the chance to see, touch, and smell the raw form of the fragrance.

the raw fragrance (photo: Matthew Minucci)

The entire experience made me revisit how I smell. I took away more than my fragrance.

Stay adventurous, Craig

This post is the third of nine in the Autumn of Adventure and the Adventure Travel Mindset series.  A special thank you for Hypnotic, Scenterprises, and Chari Suri for hosting and inviting me. 

Adventure Travel Mindset Change:

Even when I really focused on appreciating each of the five senses, as I did one morning in Joshua Tree National Park, I didn’t focus heavily on smell. (I was too excited to experience all five) Yet, there are times when smells provide the strongest memories or feelings. Well, after this scent adventure my outlook changed regarding smell. And it’s not just about fragrance either, there is a great big wonderful world out there. Sniff it up.

The Future Potential of Scents and Scenterprises

To learn more about the power of smell, Scenterprises, and the future possibilities, this video explains it all.


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  • The World of Deej

    Definitely something fun to learn about…I have a hard time identifying smells and tastes. Maybe they could teach me:)

  • Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Interesting to create a scent based on all the strips that you smelled!
    In wine tasting, I actually start first with the sniffing since tasting
    actually also involves those “fumes”, so it helps isolate the scent first, before one tastes with the tongue and the fumes!

  • Pola

    Fascinating experience… And thanks of the breakdown of “perfume” – why didn’t I ever think of it??