Cornball Philosophy


Jung said it’s not co-incidence but a resonating psychic vibration. Whatever the case, it’s currently happening to me all the time. I’d only just written to you about Etat Libre d’Orange‘s forthcoming new fragrance La Fin du Monde when my brother sends me a clipping from The Times (19.9.13) about a Maine neuroscientist’s latest olfactory research.

Get this: ” scientists claim that all smells can be described as combinations of just 10 basic scents….fragrant, woody, fruity, chemical, minty, sweet, popcorn, lemon…pungent and decayed.”

Strange isn’t it? “Popcorn” (the most striking note in La Fin du Monde) “lemon” and “minty” are so precise; “fragrant”, “chemical” and “pungent” sound like vague cop-outs to me. There again, this puts me in mind of Joan Blondell’s dictum that there is only one film plot: boy meets girl/boy loses girl/ boy gets girl. A little broad that, but Joan had a point. Well, the Maine man – Mr Jason Castro – gets us thinking once again: what say you on this olfactory breakthrough? We should love to know. Meanwhile Les Senteurs can match each of these 10 categories, scent for scent: some of them many times over. I’ll probably draw up a short list later…


1 thought on “Cornball Philosophy

  1. Hmmm.. Bizarre indeed. Do you think that ‘fragrant’ is meant to be positive and ‘pungent’ negative? e.g. lemon tart – fragrant, wet dog – pungent. It seems extraordinarily subjective for the findings of scientist folk. And lemon, why not citrus? I do however, really like the word ‘chemical’ as for me this has connotations of ‘industrial chemicals’, a note that I’ve encountered a lot recently in many ouds and in fumes where patchouli mixes with marine notes. Perhaps if they allowed themselves to make categories of two words it would make more sense e.g sharp/fruity, sweet/fruity, industrial/chemical or perhaps a special list for perfumes as oposed to all smells. You could then have feral/barnyard, floral/fetid, floral/budding etc..
    Or maybe we could write a Manifesto, a new olfactory langauge for all, with entirely made up words based on kinesthetic responses to the ‘sound of smell’, Dada style!

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