Like all growth-oriented industries, ours is a dynamic field, forever seeking to apply our expertise to new product areas in the hope of cultivating new markets. In order to lay out future directions for our involvement, we must carefully scrutinize the impact of fragrance upon various aspects of people’s lives. One exciting and potentially fruitful area concerns the effect of fragrance upon a person’s mood and sense of well being. We hope to ride the current wave of preoccupation with physical and emotional health, which is moving towards simpler treatment processes, and away from the complex drugs and medications which are sometimes as awful as the conditions they are supposed to cure. Our participation as perfumers in this endeavor will depend upon a marriage of convenience between our artistic creativity and the relevant scientific and medical findings.
Today we will look at two aspects of the impact of fragrance. The first concerns the effect of perfume in the social context. The second is more individual, covering perfumes and mood, stress level, and relaxation responses. A historical backdrop will be provided by a brief look at the work of the French and Italian schools of aromatherapy. Especially intriguing for us today is the work coming out of the neuroscience labs, unraveling the mysteries of the smelling processes. The data are full of incredible implications for our expanded role, if only we can understand them and translate them into new products.