Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secrets of scents: Designing the smells that sell household products

Date:
August 25, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Crafting a fragrance for detergents that leaves laundry smelling clean and fresh. Developing a room freshener, scented oil or scented candle that whispers "cool spring air." Giving toothpaste or mouthwash a refreshing aftertaste that lingers and lingers. The process for putting the smell that sells into thousands consumer products is much like composing a symphony, according to a leading fragrance designer.

Aromatic compounds are at the heart of the multi-billion dollar fragrance industry, which relies on artistry as well as chemistry to create those savory and sweet scents.
Credit: iStockphoto

Crafting a fragrance for detergents that leaves laundry smelling clean and fresh. Developing a room freshener, scented oil, or scented candle that whispers "cool spring air." Giving toothpaste or mouthwash a refreshing aftertaste that lingers and lingers.

The process for putting the smell that sells into thousands of consumer products is much like composing a symphony, according to maestro fragrance designer Michael Papas, who spoke in Boston at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

"We're talking about the harmonious mixing and matching of potentially hundreds of individual aroma chemicals," Papas explained. "Composers have their musical notes, and we actually use what are called 'fragrance notes' ― three of them ― that unfold over time to the nose like stanzas of a symphony to the ear."

Papas said that few people are aware of the all-pervasive nature of smells. Scents are a part of human experience from the time people awake in the morning to the time they fall asleep at night. Childhood memories stay with people throughout life. And smells can have a powerful influence on human emotions.

"Fragrances can make people feel good," said Papas, who is vice president-executive perfumer at Givaudan Fragrances Corporation, in East Hanover, N.J. He specializes in developing fragrances for everyday products, including laundry products, scented oils and candles, room sprays, and household cleaners. "Fragrances are part of what has been called 'nasal nostalgia', bringing back long-forgotten memories of pleasant experiences for people to enjoy once again," he added. "We strive to connect with an emotion that makes the consumer feel good and could be perhaps a little nostalgic."

Papas cites as inspiration the computer-animated film Ratatouille, which is about a rat, Remy, who dreams of becoming a gourmet chef. In one scene, Remy impresses a prominent food critic with a delicate, but plain, meal that evokes fond memories of his childhood.

"It was a very simple meal, but it dealt with emotion," Papas said. "It's the same with fragrance. A successful fragrance, much like a favorite movie, food, or song, must create such a strong connection with the consumer. "It is important for fragrance designers to try to transport customers to another, perhaps better, place or time."

Finding that emotional level while creating soothing scents is not simple, said Papas, a veteran in the industry for almost three decades. For starters, he explained even the most basic of fragrances is complex. Each is a unique blend of synthetic and natural substances, including essential oils extracted from flowers and plants. Subtle scents found within the fragrances, called notes, characterize the odor profile. These notes, similar to musical notes, must work well together as building blocks to form the bouquet.

Top notes are light, dissipate quickly and are often citrusy, whereas middle and bottom notes are deeper aromas and could be depicted as fruity or woodsy. Anywhere from 800 to 1,500 chemicals, all with their own unique profiles and characteristics, could be found in a product, depending on its complexity, Papas said.

"Creativity is such a fundamentally important aspect to what we do," Papas said. "Look at someone like the pop singer Lady Gaga. Some critics might think she's unusual, but she's creative, and she crosses boundaries and is able to inspire. For me, designing a fragrance is about amazing the consumer in unexpected ways, and I try to cross boundaries."

But a good design, he said, is much more than a pleasant aroma. Designers need to tailor their creation so that it's coherent with the product's ultimate application. The smell of air fresheners must add ambiance and freshness to the home. Likewise, laundry fragrances must have notes that are light and clean.

In requests to develop a new fragrance, clients often request development of a fragrance that contains descriptions of a particular scent and also instructions that the aroma capture distinct perceptions or even help recall certain emotions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Secrets of scents: Designing the smells that sell household products." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824132345.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, August 25). Secrets of scents: Designing the smells that sell household products. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824132345.htm
American Chemical Society. "Secrets of scents: Designing the smells that sell household products." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824132345.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins