Emma Elwin

Notes from a Swedish stylist


Scent and Memory

Posted in Beauty
by Emma Elwin on 16 January, 2018

Cotton Poplin candle from Byredo.

So I just read that a smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence people’s moods and even affect their work performance. Because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, an area so closely associated with memory and feeling it’s sometimes called the “emotional brain,” smell can call up memories and powerful responses almost instantaneously. A friend told me about a former co-worker at ELLE who bought a perfume on her engagement day to seal the memory with that scent and then, later on, wore it again on her wedding day. What a beautiful way to make yourself relive your happiest days, isn’t it?

So I started thinking about what scent I want to come home to—what I want my brain to associate with calmness and harmony. I still get a certain feeling each time I step over the threshold of our country house; calmness and peace is always washing over me. It’s the same with one’s old perfumes—they can make you feel like a true time traveler.

But my search for the perfect scent wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I’m quite picky, and most perfumes give me a migraine. So every time I go to a perfume shop and smell all the room sprays and candles it’s without any luck. But then—finally—when I had already given up, I got this as a present: the Cotton Poplin candle from Byredo.  It smells like newly washed sheets, my musk lotion, and warm summer afternoons. It’s not too strong or overwhelming, it’s just perfect. And when I read about the notes of the candle I suddenly understood why I love it—it has all my favorite smells combined: chamomile, cedarwood and a sweet musk.


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