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5 Reasons Why Your Sense of Smell is so Important & Why Scents Matter

May 23, 2017

5 Reasons Why Your Sense of Smell is so Important & Why Scents Matter

Spending all day making hand poured candles can be hard work. Why do we do it? We want our scented candles to grace your nostrils and bring you to a place where you can relax and unwind. Whether you choose to use one of our natural soy wax jewelry candles or handmade bath bombs, you'll discover a jackpot inside worth much more than the jewelry reveal you find...

Even if you think your sense of smell isn't as important as some of the other methods we rely on to connect to our surroundings (such as sight and hearing), get yourself prepared for a wealth of information that will prove to you just how essential the sense of smell is for us in our everyday lives.

The limbic system, known as the old or primitive part of our brain (it was present in the brains of the first mammals), makes up the parts of the brain that play a major role in controlling our memories, behaviors, and emotions. Consequently, the limbic system also controls how we interpret and respond to smells, which explains why the sense of smell is connected to the aforementioned. In a primal perspective, our ability to smell scents enables us to track food and water, find a mate, and even communicate.

small dog puppy sniffing smells in air

DID YOU KNOW? The importance of the sense of smell is even more prominent in other animals, where the detection of scents can be much acuter. The average human will have about 5 million smell receptors whereas a dog, for example, has anywhere from 125-300 million receptors for smell!


There are certain smells that all humans find repulsive, mostly because these are the smells that warn us of danger. The smell of smoke or rotten food are two good examples. Unpleasant and bad smells actually trigger your body to send pain signals to our brain to warn us of possible danger! How cool is that?

The inability to use your sense of smell can have a profound impact on your quality of life. Anosmia (official name of condition when you lose your sense of smell) sufferers often discuss feelings of isolation and being cut-off from the world around them. Anosmia patients also talk about experiencing a "blunting" of the emotions, which explains why smell loss can negatively affect the ability to form and maintain close personal relationships and can eventually lead to depression.


Another close connection that smell holds with you and your life is with your memory and how you recall memories. The sense of smell is more closely linked to memory than any of the other senses. Studies have shown that people can remember a scent with 65% accuracy after 1 year while visual memory sinks to 50% after only a few months.

girl smell flower

Have you ever come across a whiff of a scent that immediately transports you back to an old memory? Whether it reminds you of your mother’s delicious home cooked meals or the salty waves of a faraway beach paradise you haven't visited in years, a distinctive scent sinks into your brain and stays there. This can often happen spontaneously, with a specific smell acting as the trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience in your life.


As we mentioned before, the sense of smell is linked to the parts of the brain that process emotion. Dr. Alan Hirsch has conducted research studies that explore the ways in which smell affects human behavior. He once was quoted stating, “The part of the brain that smells and tastes is part of the emotional brain where our personality lies," and if that doesn't get your all intellectually bothered, then be sure to keep reading!

The perfume industry is built around this connection between smells and emotions. Perfume developers create fragrances that aim to evoke an array of emotions and feelings.

Research has shown that our body odor can help us subconsciously choose our partners (ever heard of pharamones?!). Kissing is thought by some scientists to have developed from sniffing, and that a first kiss is a primal behavior during which we smell and taste our partner to decide if they are a match. How weird!

essential oil scent smell

  1. TASTE

The smelling sense can also affect our sense of taste! Around 80% of the flavors we taste arrive from what we smell. Ever wondered why you can't taste food as well when your sinuses are acting up? When your smelling ability is impaired, so is your ability to taste, and some people have even been influenced to change their eating habits because of impaired sense of smell! And adding all that extra salt and seasonings to your food can potentially lead to some serious health problems down the road, so be sure to keep your sense of smell in top notch shape!

  1. TIME

Your sense of smell can even affect the way you perceive time! Dr. Hirsch has also led studies into the way that smells can influence our perception of time. In one of his studies, participants were exposed to a baby powder aroma, a coffee aroma, and no aroma at all . While the coffee aroma produced a perception of time that was reduced, the baby powder aroma produced a longer perception of time. Interesting! Likewise, pleasurable fragrances and perfumes have been shown to create “dwell-time” in stores, which increases the likelihood of customers making purchases.

Here's something to think about: incorporating the sense of smell in your home or workspace to evoke relaxation or improve focus and creativity.

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses plant materials and aromatic plant oils for the purpose of altering one’s mood, cognitive, psychological or physical well-being.

For example, lavender fragrances have been used in nursing homes to calm residents and emergency rooms to calm worried visitors. Additionally, hospitals, treatment centers and nursing homes are prone to musky smells and malodors making it imperative that the facilities invest in a scenting solution.

How can you do that on your own? Jackpot Candles can help you out! We use essential oils in our premium soy wax candles to bring out soothing fragrances, including relaxing lavender and vanilla options!


Can you think of any other ways that your sense of smell impacts your daily life? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below!

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