Do you smell in color? Or perhaps you associate scents with shapes, textures or tastes? For some people, a synesthetic perception of the world around them is part of their life. Synesthesia refers to a condition when the stimulation of one sense engages others, and some famous writers and artists like Vladimir Nabokov, Vincent van Gogh and Tori Amos are known to be synesthetes.
I don’t think of myself as a true synesthete, but over the years, I have developed a way of thinking about smells that has an element of synesthesia. Certain aromas evoke colors for me, and in my video and article today, I wanted to share my experience of scents that smell blue.
The fragrances that smell blue to me are the ones that contain vetiver. The roots of this Indian grass have a complex aroma reminiscent of fresh hazelnuts, salty driftwood and licorice, but in compositions, vetiver evokes for me a dazzling variety of blue hues, from cobalt to cyan.
Guerlain Vétiver, one of the truest vetiver perfumes in existence, smells like turquoise with hints of green. The Different Company Sel de Vétiver has glints of aquamarine suggested by its combination of salty woods and cardamom. Cardamom, by the way, smells like misty sapphire to me, which I sometimes explore to advantage by pairing it with blueberries in compotes and cakes.
Another blue perfume is Chanel Sycomore, except that this dark vetiver laced with cedarwood and balsams is of a more intense blue than the other fragrances mentioned.
I also cover other perfumes in my video and share the story of why Thierry Mugler’s decision to tint Angel blue was controversial at the time–and ultimately, successful.
Matching colors and scents is ultimately personal and idiosyncratic, but thinking in terms of hues when smelling is a great way to boost your creativity–and to make the world around you more vibrant.
Please share your favorite scent-color combinations!
Photography by Bois de Jasmin, mosaics of Isfahan.
Author: “Victoria — boisdejasmin.com “