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Perfume and Animal Intelligence

Smell connects us to our unbelievably nuanced animal intelligence. The average human being can discriminate between more than one trillion unique odors. The worst smellers can distinguish 80 million. And yet, scent experience often exists below the threshold of conscious awareness. We may only notice the absence of aroma through the concomitant absence of taste. On the other hand, the conscious experience of scent, its diverse qualia-- the what it is like-ness of smelling-- connects our limbic system, where odor information is stored automatically, to language centers in the brain. I call this glomerulia. Cultivating glomerulia can help develop the ability to identify odors, a skill that relies on practices of memorization and classification. While most of us have the physical capacity to be masters of scent, in many of us this astonishingly granular raw potential goes unrecognized, and, with time, atrophies.
© 2021, Abby Hinsman for Wild Veil Perfume.