How does our brain pick up scents? Fractally it seems and not even trained noses get everything at once. As acclaimed perfumer Christophe Laudamiel says:
"[Smell perception of fragrant molecules] is processed like patches, like facets. And even the best experts can smell only five to eight facets at a given time," explains Laudamiel during his Big Think interview. "For the brain to register a facet, you have to have at least several components for each facet which together are going to give this signature that then you will recognize as coffee. But you won't be able to recognize the different things that you would see in coffee. Some of them, if you take them one-by-one... smell like raw potato, another one is going to smell like smoke, another one like toasted bread, another one like earth, and et cetera." And goes on to add that when creating Aura for the Thierry Mugler coffret he composed for the issue of novel-adapting film "Perfume, Story of a Murderer", asked to recreate the scent of a virgin, "he focused on the scents of milky elements like rice and the soft and velvety scents of water lily and apricot skin. Of course, to add a little human je ne sais quoi to the fragrance, he also added an a few aldehydes, which helped to mimic the notes that our decomposing skin emits regularly".
Read the rest of the article on the Big Think link.
Pic from the film "Perfume, Story of a Murderer" via jdnightghobhadi/livjournal