Over the past couple of years I have been playing with synthetic smells, to be used as olfactory memory stimuli. Smell memory being a more basic response, more difficult to corrupt/dilute with newer memories. I have had a go at synthesising smells myself with ok results... but its much easier to buy them. There are a few companies in the UK that make them, but buying them can be a bit hit and miss. Sometimes the smell is uncannily like the real thing. Sometimes they emphasise a note on a smell that I don't recognise at the key note, so they smell nothing like my idea of the smell but a weird off key version of it. How the smells are put together must be down to the subjective decisions of the chemist... I guess.I really want to find out more, and want to spend time with an aroma company so I can get an understanding of how they simulate smell.
Today i got a an off key smell. I ordered the smell of 'chips'. In my mind I imagined the salty, vinegary, greasy potatoness of chip shop chips. The vial leaked in the post so I could smell it through the envelope. It absolutely reaked and really not in a good way. It was a pungent mix of raw potato and stinky chip oil and quite heady. So heady that it was over powering my office. My intention was to get a warm comforting smell... instead I managed to give myself and a colleague a vile stinking headache!