The Candle: Scents – Too Much; Too Little

The Candle: Scents – Too Much; Too Little

When walking into the candle shop, generally the first thing that gets noticed, is the scent. For most people it’s a wonderful blend of aromas that causes a pleasing sensation in the brain. For others who are sensitive with allergies, it can trigger an allergic reaction and their instinct is to stay away.

Humans have 7 primary odors that help them determine what it is they are smelling: Camphoric , Musky, Roses, Pepperminty, Ethereal, Pungent, Putrid. When your nose is working at its best, it can pick up the difference between 4,000 to 10,000 aromas. Our ability to smell pales in comparison to that of dogs and cats, who can smell up to 100 times more than humans.

We’ve all been around an older person who smells as if they’ve poured an entire bottle of cologne on them. As humans age, their ability to smell decreases, so apparently they cannot smell how strong it smells to someone younger. This may also account for why older people appear to be less interested in scented candles.

Our ability to smell helps keep us safe. You don’t need to smell curdled milk many times, to know that it has gone bad and you should not drink it. When you smell smoke, the brain immediately sends a warning that something is wrong. Likewise, when you smell the scent of baked vanilla, your brain generally triggers a reaction that something good is cooking, and you’ll be able to eat.

Smelling is like snowflakes. No 2 people smell the same aroma the same way. The scent of vanilla may smell sweeter to some people than others. According to neuropsychologist, Robert Bonkowski, the same person doesn’t experience one smell the exact same way twice. Depending on a persons physiological condition, their ability to detect odors changes from day to day.

Not surprisingly, a female’s sense of smell is keener than a man’s sense of smell. It also varies depending on the level of estrogen in her body. The ability to smell peaks when she is most fertile and sexually responsive.

When it comes to candle scents, some people like a lot of aroma, yet others find that just a little is more than enough. The noses of candlemakers become desensitized because they are working with candle scents all the time. It becomes important for them to use measured amounts of scent so the candle doesn’t become overpowering. Sniffing coffee beans can help to distinguish the differences in the olfactory senses and allow the nose to sensitize. Perfume displays in stores often utilize coffee beans for this purpose.

The bottom line appears to be, that every person is unique when it comes to what they like and don’t like in terms of scent. The best way to figure out whether the amount of scent is right for you or not, is to smell it yourself.

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Sue Lichtenberg is the leading expert on candle making at The Cranberry Barn. She has been creating candles since she was a young girl.

She is the founder of The Cranberry Barn.

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