Do Coffee Beans Help ‘Refresh’ Your Nose?

In various fragrance boutiques and department stores, you’ve perhaps come across little bowls and jars of coffee beans and wondered what these are for. Perhaps you’ve even been told by well-meaning staff (or fragrance-loving friends) that these are to ‘refresh’ your nose after smelling too-many scents? So: do coffee beans ACTUALLY help ‘re-set’ your sense of smell, Read on to find out…

 

 

 

The coffee bean conundrum: The answer is short and sweet: sniffing coffee beans does NOT help ‘cleanse’ or ‘re-set’ your sense of smell – and this was proven by Dr. Alexis Grosofsky of Beloit College in a scientific study. Smelling coffee beans is just adding another strong smell for your nose to be dealing with! Our sense of smell constantly re-sets itself, naturally, but if you’ve over-stimulated yours by spraying on all of the perfumes, or to give your nose a bit of a rest in-between scent sample spritzing; the best way to do this is simply by smelling your wool sweater, or an unscented bit of your own skin. This is how perfumers ‘re-set’ (if they need to) while they are smelling hundreds of differing ingredients, or preparing a new fragrance ‘mod’ (modification) of a perfume’s formula.

 

 

The blog air-aroma.com puts this whole coffee bean theory to bed really clearly, saying:

‘Stop in any perfume shop, and you’re bound to find small bowls of coffee beans set between various fragrances. A salesperson may advise you to sniff the beans in between smelling multiple scents. It is commonly believed that the smell of coffee beans creates some sort of palate cleanser for your nose, allowing you to continue to smell fragrance after fragrance.

But why would someone need to do that? Olfactory fatigue, or olfactory habituation, is a real thing, and it deserves some attention. Essentially, the olfactory glands in your nose begin to recognise smells after a period of time (like the perfume you’ve been wearing all day), and will stop alerting you to them, making you think there’s no fragrance there. It is an example of sensory adaption; the body becomes desensitised to stimuli to prevent the overloading of the nervous system, thus allowing it to respond to new stimuli that are ‘out of the ordinary’. Do coffee beans have some magical little molecular component that resets our palate, allowing us to continue to smell things? Turns out, the answer is no! ‘

– If you’ve over-sniffed too many scent samples in a row (we empathise!) and smelling your clothing / a scarf / your own skin isn’t enough to ‘re-set’ your nose, just step outside for some fresh air for a couple of minutes.

Instead, if you’re looking for the best ways to smell lots of fragrances at one time, here are some top tips so as not to get in an over-olfactory-stimulated scent muddle…

 

 

 

Give fragrances TIME. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.

If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’). Make sure to write the names of the perfumes on the blotters! Otherwise you end up with a whole stack of them in your pockets or bottoms of bags, and no idea which is which…

Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial. Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. You really need to smell a scent on your skin to know for sure that it suits you.

Try not to smell more than about four or five at a time. It’s not really your nose that’s the problem, it’s our perception of smells that take time to be properly considered (and allowing a scent to develop both on the blotter and then on our skin as it warms).

Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.

 

By Suzy Nightingale

 

 

 

 

Scent Storage Solutions: How to Organise Your Fragrance Samples & Bottles

Once we start clearing away festive decorations, and the house can suddenly seem rather dull, now is the perfect time to sort out your scent collection, so that you can see what you’ve got and (most importantly) re-discover neglected perfumes you put away and forgot about…

Perhaps you have a collection of hundreds of bottles, or would just like to organise the few you have in a more aesthetically pleasing (and practical) way? Maybe, instead, you have completely lost track of all the gorgeous fragrance samples you’ve been collection from our Discovery Boxes, and are wondering how on earth to sort out the sample vials?

 

 

Don’t panic! Have a look at some of the ingenious storage solutions and suggestions below, and perhaps have a January re-jig of your own…

 

The first thing to ensure is that your fragrance bottles and samples aren’t going to be stored in direct sunlight or too-near a heat source (such as a radiator). Yes, we know, those stunning bottles are begging to be put on display, but just make sure they’re not right opposite a window or on top of the central heating – otherwise, your precious perfumes will evaporate far more rapidly, and even ‘turn’ (go much darker in the bottle, with some of the top and middle notes literally burned off). That’s such a waste of money, and can be utterly heartbreaking if a favourite fragrance is suddenly no longer wearable.

 

 

  • Of course the absolute dream is to have one of those walk-in dedicated fragrance storage rooms one often sees on rich influencers’ TikTok accounts, but that simply isn’t within the reach of most of us. So perhaps consider looking online or on your local charity shop or hardware store’s sale section for some shelving units (or corner shelving, to really maximise space) that could be painted and utilised for your scent bottle collection? If you want to add further shelves or units in the future – if they’re all painted the same colour you don’t need to worry about them all being from the same place or not matching!

 

 

Photo by thehappysloths.com

  • Rather than riffling through an old shoe-box, acrylic shelves and boxes allow you to store smaller sizes and decants, while seeing at a glimpse what you want to wear next. Muji always have a great selection, but do also check out Hobbycraft, stationery and art supply shops, and online sellers, too. Just search for ‘acrylic storage’ and lots of brilliant storage options should present themselves.

 

 

  • Places like charity shops, Etsy and Not on the High Street are great places to search for vintage cake stands – why not choose all those fragrances that are ‘sparking the most joy’ for you right now and arrange them on the tiers, with lighter scents on top, going down to more sultry or heavier, evening-appropriate ones on the bottom layer?

 

 

  • In the days when travelling was infinitely more glamorous, one carried one’s essentials (perfume, obvs) in specially made trunks. Look on auction sites, in second-hand shops and boots fairs for similar vintage cases. Stack them up in a corner, with the top case open, holding your chosen fragrances for the month(s) ahead.

 

Photo by lipstickandlibraries.com

 

  • Sample bottles and tiny vials can be tricky to store en-masse, so consider using lab equipment items like test-tube holders and racks, or look for bullet boxes, makeup caddies, fishing tackle boxes, and tool boxes. You can often find these on Ebay and similar sites, so when trying to store these smaller items, search for these terms and… think outside the box!

 

 

  • Spice racks used to be a feature of everyone’s 1970s kitchen, but now we’re more likely to have whole cupboards-full of exotic ingredients than a faded jar of ‘Mixed Herbs’, so you can usually find the racks cheaply in charity shops. They’re perfect for holding miniature bottles! Also search for ‘nail varnish shelves’ online, and consider the homeware section of your local £1 shop or hardware store.

 

 

  • Consider challenging yourself to trying new fragrances each week (be they samples or bottles you have but rarely use). Lay them out on a pretty tray – easily found in a charity shop, Facebook Marketplace, or jumble sale – and it will focus your attention on them, rather than falling back into the same old habits of wearing the same old thing. And if they’re not sparking joy? Swap them with friends, or treat yourself to something you’ll really love from our Discovery Box selection.

PS: Our Discovery Boxes boxes are also the perfect size to store your samples neatly – sort them alphabetically, by name of house or type of fragrance and add a label to the edge so you see this clearly when stacked on a shelf. But however you choose to arrange and array your collection, the most important thing to remember is that it’s easy to find what you want (or those you didn’t even know you had, in many cases!) that they are ready to hand (and wrist) and so you can fuse and enjoy them afresh.

Shopping your own stash is a complete joy and, often, an olfactory revelation. That sample you once sniffed a year ago and wasn’t sure was ‘you’? Well, maybe it’s right for who you are right now…?!

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Get Fresh! Soul-reviving scents we need now

In these longest, greyest months of the year we’re craving ultra-fresh zings of brightness to shake off the cobwebs and get us going, how about you? Here’s an edit of some super-reviving scents that put the pep in your step, a smile on your face, and can instantly make you feel more energised!

 

edeniste Energy Lifeboost® £68 for 30ml eau de parfum

Absolutely essential at this time of year (or whenever you need a pick-me-up) – a mood-boosting blend og citrus notes really feel ‘…As bright and empowering as a tall dewy glass of freshly squeezed juice.’ Get up and glow.

 

 

Molton Brown Wild Mint & Lavandin eau de toilette£85 for 100ml

The EDT revives flagging spirits via wild mint, the vivid verdancy of freshly torn basil leaves grounded by a caress of orris, silky sandalwood and rounded by tonka bean.

 

 

Sisley Eau de Campagne £84 for 50ml eau de toilette

Evoking the aqueous juiciness of the tomato and carrot atop luscious fruits and a silvery drift of incense amidst grassy herbs, Jean-Claude Ellena’s genius use of tomato leaf is freshening as ever in this timeless masterpiece.

 

 

 

Lancôme Ô De Lancôme £41 for 75ml eau de toilette

A sparkling icon since 1969, spritz a whoosh of effervescent exhilaration, the clean floral notes of jasmine, honeysuckle and lily of the valley radiating against a backdrop of herbaceously bracing breath of fresh air.

 

 

ACQUA_DI_PARMA_COLONIA_FUTURA.

 

 

ACQUA DI PARMA Colonia Futura £92 for 50ml eau de Cologne

A head-clearing herbaceous fusion of lavender, clary sage and vetiver, with sunlit shafts of grapefruit, bergamot, pink pepper and lemon. This feels like you’ve been on holiday, even on a blustery, drizzly walk in the park!
 

Written by Suzy Nightingale

Freshen-Up Your Fragrance Wardrobe by Trying the Seasonal Scent Subscription

With the dawning of a new year often comes the realisation we are craving NEW scents – something different to freshen-up our fragrance wardrobes and shake us out of the doldrums. But where to start, and how on earth to know what types of fragrances are suitable a) for us, and b) at this time of year?

Seasonal scents – are they a thing, what are the ‘rules’ and why does weather change how your fragrance smells…?

Have you noticed your favourite fragrance can smell different sometimes? All aromatic molecules need an amount of heat (usually from your skin) to work. The temperature of your skin and the air dramatically alter the rate at which the molecules evaporate and dissipate, and this then changes the way the perfume smells – to you, and others around you.

Because of this, many of us prefer to wear lighter, brighter fragrances in warmer months and swap for something cosier as the temperature drops, but is it really true you should only wear (for example) citrus / fresh fragrances in summer?

One of the things to consider when choosing a fragrance is the weather, because it DOES change how you perceive a perfume, and how it performs on your skin.

Colder weather slows down the evaporation rate (so top and heart notes last much longer) and you might find your scent doesn’t project as much in the winter.

Hot weather intensifies the fragrance notes and makes them ‘bloom’ on the skin more quickly – when molecules heat up, they evaporate more quickly.

Seasonal scents are a thing, because of the way temperature makes them change on your skin, but ‘rules’ are entirely up to your personal taste. We know it can be confusing, so with the weather in mind, we put together a specially curated selection of fragrances in a Seasonal Scents Subscription Box

Eight fabulous fragrances, mainly female and unisex scents, from globally adored leading brands (including miniatures) will land at your door each passing season (approximately every three months) – so you will always have a new scent to make you feel fabulous.

You can choose a Quarterly (£18) or Yearly (£68) and keep the contents a secret until they land at your door – because we just know how many of you adore a scented surprise arriving in the post, no matter what the weather’s doing… and you’ll be freshening up your fragrance collection all year ’round!