Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Sense

Interviewing thousands of people around the world, researchers found that people born before 1960 were much more likely to associate scents found in nature with their happy youthful summertimes. They spoke of freshly mown grass, earthy smells, beachy smells, the salt spray of the ocean, the scent of a certain flowers on the breeze. They also mentioned scents like pine trees at a favorite campsite or stable smells of horses and hay.

People born after 1960 tended to think back to smells like cotton candy, grill smells (meat being barbecued, the lighter fluid or charcoal starter) and the strong smell of chlorine from pools as favorite childhood summer scents.

People born after 1960 often said they didn't care all that much for the smell of freshly cut grass, or had no memory of it being a part of their childhood "reminder" scents. They preferred the chlorine smell of the swimming pool to the 'fishy' smell of the beach. They also recalled exhaust-fume smells as a positive reminder of a trip to an amusement park, which meant highway traffic jams and large parking lots.

1960 is just a rough cut off point. I conducted my own interviews with people born in the late 50's and some of them listed the fond memory smells attributed to the younger group of "post 1960 people". However most pre 1960 people did describe all natural scents and never mentioned food or exhaust fume smells at all.

The two perfumes pictured above capture some of the more natural notes of summer. With Voile d'Ete, Guerlain tried to capture sun baked earth, wild growing spearmint, a whiff of carnations, and the sun on the terracotta rooftops of the south of France.

With Herba Fresca, Guerlain wanted to bottle the scent of freshly mown grass. They blended several grassy notes with vetiver and spearmint.

Both perfumes are a success when it comes to capturing the spirit of a summer day in the country. They are light and fresh.

Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
~Hans Christian Anderson

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
~ Gertrude Stein

(painting in photo: "Summer" by Chedwick)