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The smell of summer wakes up and shapes memories


The smell of summer wakes up and shapes memories

The smell of summer can be a lot: the smell of a pool, a freshly laid lawn or barbecue charcoal in the garden. But how does it make something bloom in the summer?

The smell of summer can be a lot: the smell of a pool, a freshly laid lawn or barbecue charcoal in the garden.

The smell of summer can be a lot: the smell of a pool, a freshly laid lawn or barbecue charcoal in the garden.

Photo: AP

The smell of summer wakes up and shapes memories

For some it is the smell that comes out of the asphalt road after a hot summer's rain and is called Petrichor. For the second, it's a mixture of a great city of deodorant and sweat on the subway.

And for the next, it can be tanned skin plus sun lotion and smell of chlorine coming from an outdoor pool: it is exactly how the summer smells.

"For me, this is primarily the smell of freshly drowned grass, but also the hot tar, with which the streets were lurking in our village at that time", recalls prof. Hanns Hatt on the summer fragrances of her childhood at Tegernsee in Upper Bavaria.

Today Hatt is an award-winning physiologist at the Bochum University of Ruhr and one of the world's most famous scent researchers and confirms that what we observe as a summer smell shapes our individual experience and our environment and deeply rooted in unconscious memory. Because: smells penetrate immediately and without a lot of inbound pathways in the brain that is important to the emotions, the limbic system. If we smell again, the memories are coming back.

Scientists call it "Madeleine Moment": what Marcel Proust describes in his famous novel, "Looking for lost time," when his hero delivers a part of Madeleine's biscuits into a lime flower tea and a special blend of smells and flavors of childhood memories flooded the basis is happening to all of us. "However, we find that it will depend on us whether it will be a pleasant or unpleasant situation," says Hatt.

Therefore, sweat, sausages that are cooked on barbecues or tastings that have burnt hot asphalt can also cause positive feelings. "These are the learned processes, and when we combine fragrances with certain situations and emotions several times, it smells just like the summer," says Hatt. In addition to the summer smell of childhood, there may be other, later learned summer smells – for example, if we eventually move from the village to the city.

Can we smell more intense during the summer? "Well is a bit better supplied with heat, yes, but more important is the fact that at lower temperatures it releases more molecules of smell in the environment," explains Hatt.

At this time summer rains occur. "There are not many smells in the rain," says Hatt. But water dissolves many fragrance molecules so you can notice them more intensively. Among them are the exhalations of plants, the smell of bacterial soybeans in soil and rock dust.

In addition, not only an individual smell experience, but also a cultural space is important to what connects people with the typical smell of summer. Because in Africa or Asia the summer smells differently than in Central Europe.

This is also confirmed by expert Marc vom Ende. She works as a perfumer for Symrise and is, so to speak, in the pursuit of a great summer smell at full time.

"There are different cultures and therefore preferences, that's clear, but the world is still looking at Europe, especially France." For perfumers, it means: "The summer smells smell the light and bloom, in recent years are also more Mediterranean, with fruity notes, such as citrus or bergamot."

Even in the world of perfumes here and there, they try to achieve the "effect of the beach" – people in the sun, sand, sea and wind. Not so easy. "The perfume should not smell on the sunscreen, but on the skin." Certain summer green notes and certain humidity are trying to combine fragrance makers in the bouquets of such summer perfumes. A complicated venture, which requires beautiful nips and above all years of training, reports the end.

And finally: A freshly cut grass in grandparents 'or grandchildren' s garden or on the scent of chlorine – Pommesa in the open pool, the first time they fall in love, such perfume still draws a short straw.