How many times have you been transported back to a childhood event, whisked back to a holiday destination, or even the company of a loved one when exposed to a familiar smell?
Scents have the power to evoke a multitude of memories and associations, and during the festive season, few scents bring Christmas to mind quite like the fresh aromas of pine needles and fir trees.
When it comes to our Forest Therapy blend, there is no better essential oil for triggering sensory memory during the winter season. Notes of Pink Pepper and Ho Wood intertwine with Mediterranean Cypress to infuse your home with the familiar and comforting scent of fir trees in a winter forest – guaranteed to evoke a sense of nostalgia and tradition this time of year.
We interviewed our Master Blender, and creator behind our festive Forest Therapy blend, Luke Taylor, on how aromatherapy can evoke memories, the inspiration behind the blend, and just why it is his favourite scent for the festive season.
Q: How do you use the power of scent in your role at Aromatherapy Associates?
As with most people, I have many associations to odours and memories, some positive and others negative. I feel very fortunate to work in a field I am passionate about; scents and their therapeutic benefits.
I spend some part of every day, whether I am in the office or not, evaluating and analysing fragrances and contemplating how they may affect me, or anyone else who may be exposed to them. Despite having worked for over ten years in this industry I am still learning and experiencing new scents whether it be a completely new ingredient to me, or a familiar essential oil albeit from a different source.
Q: How exactly does scent link to our memory?
If we specifically refer to Christmas, like many people my favourite memories are from childhood. There are many scents which can be associated with Christmas; food, sweets, beverages, potpourri - all of which I have associations with, but for me what I feel like I have the most instant connection with is cold fresh air mixed with the burning logs of an open fire with a background of a Christmas tree.
Aromas can trigger emotional and even physical responses. They often provoke vivid memory recall of people, places, sounds and sensations.
When I smell the fresh, resinous, woody scents of the coniferous trees, I am instantly reminded of Christmas. Your sense of smell is arguably the most primitive and is linked to some of the oldest and deepest parts of the brain. It is the only one of our five senses that bypasses the rational part of the brain and travels directly to the limbic system, concerned with instincts, emotions and memories. Which is why when you smell something, you recall the emotion associated with that scent from the first time you smelt it.
Q: What inspired you to blend Forest Therapy?
Forest Therapy was inspired by the idea of bringing the fresh outdoors into your home. When creating it, I spent time in the woodlands near my home to take in the scents and relaxing atmosphere of the environment. It is a fresh, clean, invigorating yet soft blend, created using a collection of nature’s most caring ingredients.
I feel like it captures the essence of the forest with its fresh, woody notes, but also allows the user to take a step back, relax and refocus. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to visit the forest or the great outdoors, so this blend helps bring some of those qualities to the indoor environment. It contains dominant levels of cypress and pine essential oil, which are a great link to the scent of a Christmas tree.
Q: How can we use Forest Therapy this Christmas to create new festive memories?
Our Forest Therapy Pure Essential Oil is the perfect blend for evoking memories of past Christmases and creating new ones.
I have used it on ribbon and wrapping paper in the past to add a finishing touch to my presents. Whilst fresh, the fragrance is fairly long lasting. You can also make your own potpourri and add some drops onto pinecones, garlands and other Christmas ornaments. It also works well on a diffuser, filling your entire home with the smell of a winter forest – the most ambient atmosphere for hosting loved ones.
Bring the magic of Christmas indoors with our Forest Therapy blend.