Breakdown of “vinyl accord”: metal, plastic, blood, and mushrooms

How can metals smell of something? Imagine the smell of silk, chalk or plastic. You could attach attributes to these notes – usually by association, but bear in mind that these scents would be synthetic reformulations of naturally-occurring organic and inorganic compounds. Mineral notes, for instance, includes Asphalt, Asphalt accord, Black ink, Black kyanite [Kyanite…Read more »

Oxygen, flaming rock and washing on the line – whatever next?

Synthetic elements in perfume “Synthetics in perfume is a difficult subject, since there is a general misunderstanding and misconception of what is organic, natural, synthetic, and nature identical. However, what is definitely synthetic can be the origin of the substances of which the perfume consists – these can be replicated or recreated in the laboratory, whether…Read more »

A tricky distinction: synthetics and natural ingredients in perfume

One of the most controversial subjects in all of chemistry is natural versus synthetic elements. Why is this matter so complex? It comes down to understanding the difference between synthetics and naturals: “Synthetics” are man-made molecules or nature-cloned ones. “We live in a synthetic world, yet many of us strive to use all-natural materials and…Read more »

What drives a young perfumer? A passion for physics, among others…

Max Millies, the owner of Earthgro Fragrances and the creator of the perfumes featured on this website, has been in the perfume business since he was young.  He is an exception in the South African fragrance market, which is dominated by big fashion retailers and niche, organic fragrance houses owned mostly by female entrepreneurs. His…Read more »

Scientists and a perfumer define and distill the smell of old books

How we know what we smell is through odour signals being processed in the part of our brain that stores smell identification, memory, and emotion. Smells can take us back years and years, to specific times, happenings and feelings. But how about multiple lifetimes? Two researchers at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage, Cecilia Bembibre and Matija Strlič, have…Read more »

What is it about the smell of cookies and rain?

Dorothy Winters: “It’s cookies, he smells like cookies, and the smell gets stronger when he’s in heat.” (From “Michael”) Do you remember the 1996 film Michael, starring John Travolta, in which Travolta, as the angel Michael, loves dancing, fighting bulls, romance and tourist sites? My favourite part of the film is that Michael is irresistible to women because…Read more »