Last spring, I happened to be walking through a park that is known as Disney Paris. It was a lovely April day. One of those kind of spring days of sun, blue sky, fluffy white clouds and blossoms. I was telling my traveling companion that walking anywhere for me is a smell a minute tour. And this particular path was no exception. Mingling in the air was a great cacophony of scent. There it was: the vapors of caramelized food, earthy flower beds, human sweat and sunscreen base notes. All displaying themselves as I walked through them. And then there was the scent that stopped me in my tracks and made me raise my nose and sniff the air around me. Vanilla. For me, vanilla is the smell of heaven. But not any kind of vanilla. I am drawn to the complex vanilla scent that is a tight blend of notes that speak of bourbon, dark rum, dried dark fruit, floral, sweet, caramelized, fermented tea/tobacco, wood resins, and a whisper of wood smoke.
That day in Disney some of those notes were there but not all. I have since read that Disney scents the air in their parks as part of their design to make people happy. Designing for happiness is a tenant of Disney. After smelling that infused air I did ask myself: How much of the complexity of vanilla needs to be present for my own sigh of happiness? If the air is infused how strong should it be? The Disney vanilla scent was noticeable to me but I would hardly describe it as over powering.
My job at Sensory Spectrum has certainly raised my awareness of scents around me. How can I not be more aware when the work of my colleagues and I involves the naming and rating sensory stimuli? Daily we are focusing on sensory cues that are design elements. We describe and measure scent often; whether it is about the smell of the air of quick casual restaurants as you walk in the door or the aroma upon opening a package or deciding upon the scent of everyday household products. And what makes a well-designed aroma experience? How subtle or noticeable should it be?

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