Is it Possible to Dream of Scents?
I spent the whole day yesterday working on some fragrance ideas I had in mind. Whenever I am working on a project, I make sure to completely immerse myself in experiences related to the scent so I can get as close to what I “envision”. That would include making a mood board, listening to a curated playlist and smelling things that would give me inspiration. I felt really tired after the exercise so I decided to go to bed early and called it a day.
I rarely remember dreams when I wake up- but the one I had last night was vivid. My family and I were visiting my father’s ancestral house in Biliran. I clearly remember walking on the wooden floors on the second floor. As I worked my way downstairs, I smelled something familiar- Himbing! Its calming blend of lavender, green tea, olive and green apple was unmistakable!
I woke up and wondered if that indeed happened. How could one possible dream of scents? No one could have sprayed it while I was asleep as I live alone. I surveyed my place to see if there was a bottle that leaked but there was none.
I grabbed my phone and checked google for answers. In an article by BBC, Francesca Faroulo, director of the annual Bologna Smell Festival shared that Olfactory Dreamers apparently do exist. They are people who, in their everyday lives are either very sensitive to smells or have a highly trained sense of smell.
In another article, a study was made in 1998 at the McGill University in Montreal where they asked 164 people whether they had ever experienced sensations of smell or taste in their dreams; 41% of women said yes, as did 35% of men. The McGill team also gave the participants a bedside log in which to write their dreams each morning. They ended up collecting 3,372 dream reports. About half of these mentioned auditory impressions but only 1% mentioned smell.
The study concluded that smell-oriented people—those who identify odors accurately and imagine them vividly—tend to dream in smell as well. Not much study has been made since. My guess is that I must have been so immersed in my creative process the day before for such olfactory imagery to occur in my dreams.
I must admit this pandemic has been difficult for my creativity. Bouts of anxiety often leave me uninspired and disheartened. But this magical experience helped me remember my inherent love for perfume-making. I can't help but be comforted knowing that behind each scent I create, still lies is an overwhelming sense of ardor and dedication for my craft.