Making scents of winter

Demeter fragrances

Hope in a bottle: fragrances from the eclectic Demeter Fragrance Library.

I just sprayed eau de Dirt on my wrist and got a lovely memory rush of digging in my garden. Such is my longing for spring on this cold and grey winter’s day. I’ll admit that I’m also hooked on Demeter Fragrance Library scents, as much for their uncanny encapsulations of time travel as for the eclectic selection. Sushi cologne, anyone? According to the company’s website, Dirt was inspired by the scent of soil from freshly-plowed corn fields in springtime Pennsylvania. There’s a caveat: if you don’t think this scent smells like dirt, you probably didn’t grow up in the Northeastern United States. Real dirt smells different depending on location, be it Arizona or the south of France. So there.

Much has been written about smell triggering memory, like that first sniff of frigid winter air. We must all be romantics at heart. As it turns out, there are far fewer smells in winter than in summer simply because odor molecules move much more slowly in lower temperatures.

So can you really smell snow on the horizon? I thought I could. However, there’s research that suggests that what you’re really experiencing is your nose transitioning from not being able to smell well in winter’s dry atmosphere to being able to smell better as humidity rises–as in just before a snowstorm.

If the news that you really can’t smell snow has you down, try hitting the bottle. Wannabe farmers pining for their veggie patch, for instance, might want to try Cucumber or Tomato Seeds cologne. One of my faves is Wet Garden which strangely captures the scent of puddles and wet leaves. If you’re into embracing the here and now, there’s always Frozen Pond or Snow. Yes, we just established that you can’t really smell snow. The perfumers took a little artistic license on this one. And if you’re ready to slash your wrists should hail and sleet develop, order up a case of Sex On The Beach (the cocktail, not the act) or the classic lure of forbidden pleasure, Vanilla Cake Batter.





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