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Stimulating Creativity

By: David Baines
Posted: October 15, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of P&F magazine.

Flavorists and perfumers understand the frustration that a bad cold and a blocked nose can cause. Volatile organic substances and mixtures used in flavor creation and perfumery become just like any other liquid, lacking their essence and character, and the ability to create anything meaningful with them is temporarily incapacitated. But worse than this, the stimulus and motivation of the job is put on hold until the sense of smell returns. The interaction of volatile organic compounds with the olfactory epithelium is a key mechanism that stimulates the creative juices of perfumers and flavorists, and releases the excitement and elation of either creating something new or matching an existing material. Creative ideas are also stimulated by the accumulation of knowledge and understanding about the subject, having a memory for hundreds of smells and the experience of using them, reading, comparing notes with like-minded flavorists and perfumers, and associations that can form in the mind from other subjects and experiences such as a new food.

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