I am Thankful for My Sense of Smell

22 Nov

“By knowing what we have lost we understand the pleasures that we have.”

Sephora Presents Sensorium: Lucid Dreams

This is hands down one of the best beauty events I have ever attended. Sephora and fragrance house Firmenich, hosted an exhibit called Lucid Dreams Sensorium in the Meat Packing District of Manhattan. Usually only open to the industry, this year they opened it up to the public. It only costs $15 and you receive a $15 gift card to Sephora – so basically free.

History of Fragrance

Most consumers are apathetic to the fine fragrance world, and who blames them, with every semi-famous pop star launching a series of fragrances every year we become annoyed and overwhelmed. The fine fragrance world has lost its artistry and passion. Sephora and Firmenich are determined to reinvigorate the passion and spark the imagination back into the industry.

The exhibit begins with a history of fragrances, dating back before Christ until present day. Fragrance had such a religious and personal meaning to the people of history, from warding off demons to precious gifts. On the opposite side of the timeline were various stations showing raw ingredients, along with smelling tables that blow air so you can smell the raw natural ingredient. Beautiful chandeliers with various glass perfume bottles hanging were the perfect touch! 

The Famous "Accident"



After understanding the history of fine fragrance industry and how it has developed to present day, you step into a deprivation chamber, a padded, all white room with a set of head phones and cherry lollypops. In the chamber, you heard real testimonies of people who have the disease called Anosmia, or losing the sense of smell. You have no idea how much your use your sense of smell until you lose it. One woman described ice cream as just “cold and creamy.” She could no longer tell whether it was chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, just cold and creamy. Another man said he would never be able to know the smell of his wife and children. And finally, a woman said the last item of food she had before losing her sense of smell was a cherry lollipop. She dreams about this cherry lollipop every night, but every time she tries to taste one it tastes like “battery acid”. You then are instructed to take the red cherry lollipop and taste it… tastes like nothing. This just gives you a sneak peak into the world of no fragrance. It was incredibly sad, but eye-opening.

Ingredients in the Raw

Following the deprivation chamber you went into the Life at First Scent room. Perfumers were asked to create the one fragrance they would want to smell if they had Anosmia and all of a sudden, woke up the next day and could smell again. The first fragrance was called Cashmere, to mimic the smell of warm, comforting blankets in the morning. The second fragrance was the smell of morning coffee, followed by the smell of fresh bacon and biscuits. The fourth smell was a spring is back followed by the fresh beach smell of summer vacation. Lastly, a fragrance of weekend splendor. Imagine never being to smell these simple, yet wonderful things in life? We all have that one fragrance note that takes us back to childhood on the beach – imagine never being able to make those memories again?

Lab of Emotions

Next you walked into the Lab of Emotions which played off the four main emotions fragrance evokes. Each emotion had corresponding fragrance, music and video to bring it to life. Awe of confidence  is about the effortless last touch to a polished look, Sensation of Fun was about the instant smile from the smell of the first note, Feeling of Addiction was about the dark and stormy notes and Texture of Comfort was about the sitting on the warm couch smell (This one was my favorite emotion).

Next you walked into the Lucid Dreams portion, which brings a touch of virtual reality to the mix. There are four smelling stations with blank screens. When you walk up to the station and begin smelling, a corresponding visual bursts onto the screen in front of you. It was incredible!

Lucid Dreams

Lastly, the entire group takes a Fragrance Flight. Six wine glasses are laid out in front of you with famous fragrances sprayed into the glass. You smell each individual one and write down how the fragrance makes you feel. This exercise is completely unbranded, so you have no idea if it is Chanel or some fragrance from a local supermarket. Of course, the first one I smell is my current fragrance I use – so I was spot on guessing the fragrance!

I came out of the Sensorium with an entire new appreciation about fragrance. Fragrance can evoke many emotions and memories, and we sometimes take that for granted. And here is a question I pose to you…

Fragrance Flight

Why can’t you wear a fragrance just for you?

These are the last few days of the Sensourim in Manhattan. If you live in the area I highly recommend checking it out! It is located on 414 W. 14th St. Happy Thanksgiving!



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