Fun Facts about how fragrances trigger memories

Have you ever been scrolling through old photos on Instagram or Facebook and found yourself reminiscing and smiling at such wonderful memories? Of course! But what about when a fragrance suddenly transports your mind to a completely different place? It could simply be an elegant perfume, or perhaps it’s the smell of roast potatoes which takes you back to a succulent Christmas lunch. Maybe it’s the sunscreen that reminds you of a beautiful sunny day at the beach and blue ocean waves.

But why? Though humans are heavily reliant on our sense of sight it is the sense of smell that can conjure up the strongest of emotions. Without getting too technical, this is why: the other four senses send information first to the thalamus in the brain which then sends that on to the hippocampus, a part that deals with your memories, and then also to the amygdala, the part which processes emotions.

But here’s the rub: scents bypass the thalamus and go directly to the brain’s smell centre, known as the olfactory bulb. This part is directly connected to the amygdala and hippocampus which is why smells can trigger such intense emotions and detailed memories. In other, less fancy words, scents go straight through to the fun zone.

Take one of our Cucumber, Lavender & Sage room sprays. This relaxing fragrance feels fresh and crisp but is also floral. It may remind you bees buzzing around a lavender bush, or perhaps your Nanna’s house. Our Vanilla & Caramel candle is like a Paddle Pop, which takes me to my backyard as a kid playing with sprinklers and water pistols.

As we all grow older it feels as if time is speeding up, but when we were kids everything took forever - your next birthday was ages away! There’s a similar pattern with fragrances: scents that pass through to the olfactory bulb when we are children become intensely powerful memories, which is sometimes referred to a “Proustian moment” after the famous French writer. From out of nowhere, they make us recall something we thought we had long forgotten.

Think of a candle as a miniature fireplace - all warm and soothing. When you add one of Red Hill Candle Co’s signature fragrances to the little flame we have no doubt you’ll be carried off to somewhere special!

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