Genetics and environment both play a role in the sense of smell

I saw this article a while back and haven’t had time to post a link until now, but I wanted to include it in our series of posts on the genetic variance in the sense of smell (to find the other posts, search for the tag “genetics” on Perfume in Progress).

I’ve posted links to other research demonstrating that genetics helps determine our sensitivity to various aroma molecules, giving each of us a unique sense of smell. New research indicates that the environment we live in may actually change the structure of the olfactory neurons and therefore change our ability to smell, meaning that both environment and genetics play a role. The research was conducted with mice, but presumably researchers will confirm that it applies to humans as well. Here’s a link to the interesting ScienceDaily article titled “Genetics, environment combine to give everyone a unique sense of smell.”

From the ScienceDaily article:
Dr Darren Logan, the lead author on the study from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “The neurons in the olfactory system are highly connected to the neurons in the brain and studying these can help us understand neuronal development. We have shown that each individual has a very different combination of possible olfactory neurons, driven by genetics. In this study we also show that, with experience of different smells, these combinations of neurons change, so both genetics and environment interplay to give every individual a unique sense of smell.”

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Checking in…

It’s been quite a while since I’ve checked in on the blog. I’m still working on the two new scents and will post about them when they are ready for sampling.

I thought I’d share a few pictures from this spring. I’ve been working to improve the garden drip system because our well water clogs drippers with alarming frequency, leaving plants thirsty. I’m making progress on the project.

Here’s a beautiful anise swallowtail butterfly that rested on some lavender in my garden long enough to let me take some pics.

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We planted a few fun new shade plants, including a climbing hydrangea and an oak leaf hydrangea. The oak leaf hydrangea has unique, large, white arching blooms. The beautiful large leaves turn color in fall. This plant is still small but has already bloomed.

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A robin family raised babies in a nest in the cottage eaves in May, and we now have a family of huge crows living here. Below is a picture of two baby robins waiting for Mom to drop off more food.

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The tomatoes are just starting to produce, and my zucchini plant has grown huge but is not yet producing anything. I’m getting some yummy strawberries, but it takes a lot of plants to get much of a crop.

I’m growing a new rose this year, David Austin’s Gertrude Jekyll. It has a heavenly old rose scent and a beautiful old-fashioned rosette shape. I’ve read mixed reviews on the bush growth and health, so I hope to have luck with it! The shape and scent remind me a bit of my beloved Fantin Latour that covered a wall many years ago where I lived before moving here, though it was a paler pink color.

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This weekend my brother and his family will be visiting, so orders may be a little slower to ship between this Friday (6/30) and Monday (7/3). It will be fun to see them.

Happy summer! 🙂

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More research on the differences in our scent perception

A recent article in Inside Science describes more evidence that people experience scents differently. (Perfume In Progress has followed this research topic for a number of years; you can find a series of posts about it by searching for the #genetics tag on our posts.)

In this experiment, researchers broke the common smell of potato chips into three main aromatic molecules that smell like rotten cabbage, roasted potato, and toast when they are sniffed individually. When the three molecules are combined in the right ratio, they smell like potato chips. The researchers measured each person’s sensitivity to each molecule, which varied widely; people could be “tens of thousands of times” more sensitive to one molecule than to another, and each person had a unique sensitivity profile. Despite these different sensitivities to the individual components, three of four people could identify the mixture as potato chips based on their previous experience with eating potato chips. The article says, “Most of us know a potato chip when we sniff it. But at the chemical level, a new study shows, our noses smell quite different things.”

An article from 2013 described a study that found a 30% difference in people’s scent receptors in their noses, showing that genes play a role in why we have these different sensitivities to aroma molecules. The article says, “The human nose contains 400 different olfactory receptors – and Dr Mainland’s team found that changing a single receptor could dramatically change the way a person perceives a smell.”

Just something to think about when you discuss perfume with your friends! 🙂

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Checking in…

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I’m working on mods for two scents that are both close to being done; one is the chocolate gourmand that I’ve mentioned before, and one is the floral that I worked on last summer with orange blossom, mimosa, and jasmine. I’m very close to posting a link to the webpage for the gourmand.

Sadly, I gave up on the new 4 ml travel sprays. I loved the look of them, but the sprayers did not seem as reliable my previous 5 ml standbys, so I went back to those.

I have sold out of the batch of Lieu de Reves that I made a few months ago. I will probably wait until fall to make another batch. I’m focused now on finishing the two new scents and releasing them.

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We’ve had a lot of rain here in northern California this winter, and we’re now having a very green spring. The oak trees are pushing out lots of new growth, something they have not done for years because of the drought. I had planted a new wisteria on the arbor last fall and was excited to see it bloom even though it is still small.  The plum tree and daffodils have finished blooming, and the roses and sweet peas are just starting to bloom — I love spring. 🙂

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Perfume In Progress is Finalist in 2017 Perfumed Plume Awards

logo_PerfumedPlume copyThe Perfumed Plume Awards  just announced the 2017 finalists for their fragrance journalism awards, and the Perfume In Progress post What Goes Into Running An Artisan Perfume Business? was named one of the 10 finalists in the digital category.

The winners in all categories will be announced on April 6 at the Society of Illustrators in New York City. The full list of the 10 finalists in the digital category is given below.

Congrats to all the finalists! I’m honored to be included!

Scent Stories in Mainstream Media – Digital
Basenotes – Ambergris: Myths, Truths, and Half-Truths
CaFleureBon – How To Smell Like a Parisienne
Charenton Macerations – De-Classifying Fragrance Families
Colognoisseur – Perfume Mythbusters: Skin Chemistry
ELLE Magazine – For $22,000 This Perfumer Finds Your Signature Scent
Fragrantica – Revival culture
Leafly – What’s that Smell? It’s Cannabis Flower perfume, dahling
Perfume In Progress – What Goes Into Running An Artisan Perfume Business?
SCENTURY – Friedrich Liechtenstein: I can smell Luck!
Temporary Art Review – Primal Art: Notes on the Medium of Scent

Editing to add a link to the winners for 2017. Congrats!

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New 4 ml Travel sprays

4ml_spraysI wanted to explain a change that I have made to the bottle size options. I have removed the 3 ml and 5 ml and replaced them, at least for now, with 4 ml travel sprays. The new 4 ml are midway in price between the 3 ml and 5 ml. Offering one small spray size instead of two will help to simplify my stock. Also, I have tried four brands of 2-3 ml mini sprayers and have not been happy with any of them. I end up having to throw out a large number of them because many come with wonky tops, and even the best of them will evaporate after a few months.

The new 4 ml are similar to the old 5 ml, but they are slimmer and are matte instead of shiny. They are cute! I hope you like them, but feel free to send me feedback either way if you try them.

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Happy New Year!

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Wishing everyone a wonderful 2017! I’m very grateful to be part of the fragrance community and hope 2017 treats us well!

 

 

I took the photo above from my deck a few days before Christmas. The oak trees are bare now and look sculptural against the blue sky and puffy clouds.

I’m looking forward to finishing the two new scents that I’ve been working on this past year — the cozy chocolate gourmand and the floral with mimosa, orange blossom, and jasmine.  The gourmand should be ready very soon in the new year.

Many thanks for your support of small artisan businesses, and Happy New Year!

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