How do smells awaken our memories?

The sweet smell of grandma's apple pie, the fresh scent of clean laundry, these are scents that briefly transport us into a bubble of unspeakable emotions and sensations. We all have our Proust madeleines. Speaking of him...

More than a hundred years ago, Marcel Proust described precisely the memories and emotions he felt when he tasted Les Petites Madeleines.

"[...] I brought to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had let a piece of madeleine soften.[...]"
Download the extract from Marcel Proust's book - On the side of Swann's

Aristotle, in his treatise " On Sensation and the Sensitive" , put forward the hypothesis that smells had a particular link with memory. He didn't think so well, because the sense of smell is the only sense having a direct link with our brain.

What is an odor?

An odor corresponds to the encounter between odorous molecules transported in the air or in water and our olfactory system.
For information, we have more than 10 million olfactory receptors. In comparison, the dog has 200 million!

A direct path to the brain

A smell is a chemical signal picked up by the thousands of nerve cells present in our nose. Once the signal has been transformed into nerve flow thanks to the olfactory neurons, it will make its way between the conscious and unconscious system of our brain. It will pass through the olfactory bulb, which processes and analyzes the nervous flow, then through the hippocampus which manages memory and the amygdala, the center of our emotions.
A smell, thanks to its privileged access to the brain, is intimately linked to memory and therefore to memories. We then speak of olfactory memory.

This direct and rapid journey to the amygdala associates memory with unconscious, indefinable and powerful emotions.

Atelier Louis natural scented candles

Like Giuseppe Baldini in the book "Le parfum" , we want to recreate in our Workshop connections between smells and memories. A scented candle represents the pleasant memory of a past moment, of a hidden moment, of a concentration of indescribable emotions.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield tells us about his return to earth and the importance of smells. (video)

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