Turning Inspiration Into Scents

The one sense we should all appreciate more is our sense of smell. It’s our quiet workhorse, our way of pointing out the beautiful and the ugly without a look, a sound, or a touch. Our nose does all the work.

It’s also a hard thing to capture in writing and, in many ways, it’s hard to catch the written in scents. I’ve long been obsessed with catching other disciplines on the page, that certain art forms offer unique moods and mindsets that other forms simply cannot do. As much as I would like my writing to make you feel as prickly as a SOPHIE song, I know that may be an impossibility. Can writing be spicy? Sure – but you may not feel that literal tingle all over your body.

I found this Creative Independent interview with perfumer Anne Serrano-McClain of MCMC Fragrances interesting for this reason. She seems to look at scents as a form of writing or music or even painting, a way to tint a person another way through the nose. I love that.

Here is her speaking about inspirations, specifically as it relates to scents being interdisciplinary.

A lot of times, the inspiration is a collage of things. They definitely all have a mood, and that could be from a song. Usually, there is a color associated with it. There could be a poem associated with it. I had a fragrance that had a piece of writing as part of the inspiration.

But I would say that, usually, they’re not inspired by one thing. It’s really like, this esoteric collection of things that in my mind, all go together.

Something to keep in mind. She also notes a scent she made that was inspired by a friend, his love of the environment, and the book Ishmael. It’s fascinating how she translated these things into a scent.

Now the tricky task for myself: how to translate the scents – and sounds and touches and colors of the world into writing.

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