Our sense of smell is not only one of the most fascinating
of all of our sensual receptors but it is also one of the most critical for all animal species. As humans, we can detect and
distinguish more than nine thousand odors! We use our sense of smell for any number of things, including enjoying
the aromas of our favorite beverages and foods although...while you may love the aroma of a leg of lamb that's roasting
in the oven, others may feel driven to leave the house!
Over the course of the past two decades, there has been extensive
research pertaining to the human sense of smell and the science community can now tell us not only how
our nose detects odor molecules but also how the brain is able to deal with that information once it is detected.
Every odor detected by our nose comes from
molecules, tiny particles emitted from objects. Almost everything emits a smell but some of them don't reach as far as others.
For example: fruit, vegetables, perfumes, soaps, lotions and a multitude of other similar items give off many
light, volatile molecules that are long range. They float through the space around the object and eventually end up in our nose.
Other objects, like steel for instance, gives off molecules but they are not long range nor do they float as easily.
As a result of this, some might perceive steel as having no odor whatsoever.
Your sense of smell kicks in when the molecules enter
your nose. At the very top of the nasal passage, there is a postage stamp size area that contains a large patch of neurons.
Amazingly so, this area contains millions of neurons referred to as "olfactory receptor neurons".
As these neurons are unprotected they come into direct contact with the air that we breathe.
To simplify, as an odor molecule comes up the nasal passage, it becomes trapped and once this occurs, a message is immediately sent to the brain causing us to perceive odors
in any number of different a/o individual ways.
Within our brains, there are 'zones' that help us distinguish
1. the quality of an odor, 2. the type of odor we are detecting and 3. the intensity of an odor. As
a result of this, we witness a wide range of individual perceptions with the same
scent perceived by some as anything from difficult to detect to overwhelming while to others it
can be anything from extremely pleasurable to nauseating! Some people for example, have a great
deal of difficulty detecting Vanilla yet there are those who consider it an all-time favorite whereas Cinnamon
on the other hand, may be perceived by some as far too potent, even irritating, while for others it's a must have!
With our sense of smell there also comes a very strong and very
real recollection of memories, some of which are fond and others that we'd rather forget. In fact, so powerful
is our sense of smell that even long after an occasion or event, just the slightest hint of a specific aroma can
trigger impressions that we've long since put away, be they positive or negative.
So...next time you pick up a candle only to discover that it's scent mysteriously triggered childhood
images of sitting in Grandma's kitchen or should your mind suddenly wander off to that man you'll never forget, remember
--- your sense of smell is not only in your heart but so too is it very much in your head.
Having said all that, there is indeed one other possibility
as to why you may not detect any scent in that candle that you couldn't wait to enjoy and this would be the result of
poor manufacturing. To be more specific, if during production, fragrant oils are added when the wax is too hot,
the fragrance will dissipate leaving behind small traces of scent or possibly no scent