Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.
At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.
And now I've got to explain the smell that was in there before I went in there. Does that ever happen to you? It's not your fault. You've held your breath, you just wanna get out, and now you open the door and you have to explain, 'Oh! Listen, there's an odor in there and I didn't do it. It's bad.
Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air--moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh--felt as if it were being exhaled into one's face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.
The fragrance of white tea is the feeling of existing in the mists that float over waters; the scent of peony is the scent of the absence of negativity: a lack of confusion, doubt, and darkness; to smell a rose is to teach your soul to skip; a nut and a wood together is a walk over fallen Autumn leaves; the touch of jasmine is a night's dream under the nomad's moon.
I can't over-emphasize how important an exquisite perfume is, to be wrapped and cradled in an enchanting scent upon your skin is a magic all on its own! The notes in that precious liquid will remind you that you love yourself and will tell other people that they ought to love you because you know that you're worth it. The love affair created by a good perfume between you and other people, you and nature, you and yourself, you and your memories and anticipations and hopes and dreams; it is all too beautiful a thing!
I’m barely human. I’m more like a creature; to me, everything gives off a scent! Thoughts, moments, feelings, movements, words left unsaid, words barely spoken; they all have a distinct sense, distinct fragrances! Both a smell and a touch! To inhale is to capture, to experience! I can perceive and I can touch in so many odd ways! And so I am made up of all these scents, all these feelings! An illumination of nerve endings!
I believed I could identify the scent of the sky as I stood there, a blue menthol fragrance similar to the scent of seawater that sprayed into my face when I first dove into the ocean. That initial scent was much more subtle than the ocean's heavy, fishy aroma; it was a whiff of salt and mint, just as I approached the water on a dive, that warned me that a more powerful scent would soon enter my nose. It was the scent I dreamed in. And it was the scent of that spring sky as I stood in my yard.
What a strange thing it is to wake up to a milk-white overcast June morning! The sun is hidden by a thick cotton blanket of clouds, and the air is vapor-filled and hazy with a concentration of blooming scent. The world is somnolent and cool, in a temporary reprieve from the normal heat and radiance. But the sensation of illusion is strong. Because the sun can break through the clouds at any moment . . . What a soft thoughtful time. In this illusory gloom, like a night-blooming flower, let your imagination bloom in a riot of color.
Sometimes a scent is more evocative than a photo or an image. It is a primer for the deflagration of sensation, emotions, desires, uncontrollable atmospheres, dejavus that flood and wrap us like honey, until they make us drown in an unrepeatable moment of wellbeing... olfactory hallucinations that lead us anywhere: to the North of any South, to the East of any West...
He would be able to create a scent that was not merely human, but super human, an angels scent, so indescribably good and vital that who ever smelt it would be enchanted and with his whole heart would have to love him.
He had used only a drop of his perfume for his performance in Grasse. There was enough left to enslave the whole world. If he wanted, he could be feted in Paris, not by tens of thousands, but by hundreds of thousands of people; or could walk out to Versailles and have the King kiss his feet; write the Pope a perfumed letter and reveal himself as the new Messiah; be anointed in Notre-Dame as Supreme Emperor before kings, or even as God come to earth.
The great hall was shimmering in light, sun streaming from the open windows, and ablaze with colour, the walls decorated with embroidered hangings in rich shades of gold and crimson. New rushes had been strewn about, fragrant with lavender, sweet woodruff, and balm... the air was... perfumed with honeysuckle and violet, their seductive scents luring in from the gardens butterflies as blue as the summer sky.
They ask me what kind of perfume I wear or how I choose a signature scent or what to wear to what occasion. The truth is, I just go into the perfumery and pick out the most beautiful smell. I sniff the scent and then see with my mind’s eye the vision that it brings to my heart. If I want to wear that vision with me every day until the bottle is all used-up, then that’s the perfume I’ll purchase. And I do use it up until there’s nothing left and only then do I go out to buy another one. Another vision for another year or two. Fragrance, to me, is about wearing a perspective on your skin. The scent itself is the vehicle by which you can be reminded of those pictures that those notes have opened in your soul.
Moving on, while he wondered, the dark through which Mr. Lecky's light cut grew more beautiful with scents. Particles of solid matter so minute, gases so subtle, that they filtered through stopping and sealing, hung on the unstirred air. Drawn in with Mr. Lecky's breath came impalpable dews cooked out of disintegrating coal. Distilled, chemically split and reformed, they ended in flawless simulation of the aromas of gums, the scent of woods and the world's flowers. The chemists who made them could do more than that. Loose on the gloom were perfumes of flowers which might possibly have bloomed but never had, and the strong-smelling saps of trees either lost or not yet evolved. Mixed in the mucus of the pituitary membrane, these volatile essences meant more than synthetic chemistry to Mr. Lecky. Their microscopic slime coated the bushed-out ends of the olfactory nerve; their presence was signaled to the anterior of the brain's temporal lobe. At once, thought waited on them, tossing down from the great storehouse of old images, neglected ideas - sandalwood and roses, musk and lavender. Mr. Lecky stood still, wrung by pangs as insistent and unanswerable as hunger. He was prodded by the unrest of things desired, not had; the surfeit of things had, not desired. More than anything he could see, or words, or sounds, these odors made him stupidly aware of the past. Unable to remember it, whence he was, or where he had previously been, all that was sweet, impermanent and gone came back not spoiled by too much truth or exact memory. Volatile as the perfumes, the past stirred him with longing for what was not - the only beloved beauty which you will have to see but which you may not keep. Mr. Lecky's beam of light went through glass top and side of a counter, displayed bottles of colored liquid - straw, amber, topaz - threw shadows behind their diverse shapes. He had no use for perfume. All the distraction, all the sense of loss and implausible sweetness which he felt was in memory of women. Behind the counter, Mr. Lecky, curious, took out bottles, sniffed them, examined their elaborately varied forms - transparent squares, triangles, cones, flattened ovals. Some were opaque, jet or blue, rough with embedded metals in intricate design. This great and needless decoration of the flasks which contained it was one strange way to express the inexpressible. Another way was tried in the names put on the bottles. Here words ran the suggestive or symbolic gamut of idealized passion, or festive night, of desired caresses, or of abstractions of the painful allure yet farther fetched. Not even in the hopeful, miracle-raving fancy of those who used the perfumes could a bottle of liquid have any actual magic. Since the buyers at the counters must be human beings, nine of every ten were beyond this or other help. Women, young, but unlovely and unloved, women, whatever they had been, now at the end of it and ruined by years or thickened to caricature by fat, ought to be the ones called to mind by perfume. But they were not. Mr. Lecky held the bottle in his hand a long while, aware of the tenth woman.
Through the window, I saw the beautiful world outside: the sky, the sun, the cacti, the rocks, and the dirt. How I longed to return to it! I licked at the air, trying to smell the desert's delicious dusty scent, but could not. How was I able to see it without smelling it? Did humans control scents as well as the temperature and the waters? Is that what windows were for, to keep out scents? Why did they wish to put invisible barriers between themselves and the world?
In spite of his exceeding mental perturbation, Simpson struggled hard to detect its nature, and define it, but the ascertaining of an elusive scent, not recognized subconsciously and at once, is a very subtle operation of the mind. And he failed. It was gone before he could properly seize or name it. Approximate description, even, seems to have been difficult, for it was unlike any smell he knew. Acrid rather, not unlike the odor of a lion, he thinks, yet softer and not wholly unpleasing, with something almost sweet in it that reminded him of the scent of decaying garden leaves, earth, and the myriad, nameless perfumes that make up the odor of a big forest. Yet the 'odor of lions' is the phrase with which he usually sums it all up. ("The Wendigo")