Fragrance Tips

How Perfumes Trigger Nostalgic Memories?

How Perfumes Trigger Nostalgic Memories

Most of the time, when we enter a room or pass by a stranger, then we smell a particular fragrance of perfume that takes us to another place and time. The importance of fragrances is often not understood by many. And it reminds us about the best past experiences as well as enhances our mood. The aroma of perfumes has a connection with memories and emotions that occurred in the past. In this blog, we will be discussing how perfumes trigger nostalgic memories.

For example, freshly baked cookies, bread, and cake as well as there are some captivating fragrances of the perfumes that remind us about our childhood or an event that happened in the past. The first time you smelled any scent, it created a connection. Similarly, when we come across the smell of perfumes or colognes for the first time, they might have an impact that will last for a long time.

In this blog, you will learn about the connection between perfume and emotional memories. And how scent triggers captivating nostalgic memories in your brain. But before that let’s start from the basics.

What are Nostalgic Memories?

Nostalgic memories are emotions or feelings that remind you about the things or events that happened in your past. For instance, good days and childhood memories that evoke the desire to return to the past.

Connection Between Evoking Nostalgic Memories, Emotions, and Perfumes:

The power of perfume is outstanding. It has the capability to create profound connections by arousing core emotions and distant memories. Whenever you smell the familiar perfume, it takes you back to cherish the moments of your past. There is an alluring relationship between perfume and nostalgic emotions.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s research, there are more than 400 olfactory receptors. It has been found that humans can differentiate around one trillion fragrances. The nose has a sense of smell, which has an olfactory nerve bulb in the nasal cavity. There is a strong connection between the olfactory and the limbic system (amygdala) which are present in the brain. They trigger good and more strong emotional memories. There are intertwining connections between smell, emotions, and memory.

How Perfumes Trigger Nostalgic Memories in the Brain?

Among the five senses, the sense of smell is linked to your brain. The nostalgic effect which gets triggered by the perfume is known as the Proust Effect. It is the phenomenon in which there is an “unintentional recollection of a memory after exposure to a stimulus”. It helps to recall things from the memory. Like, if you plan to go shopping and already prepared a list in your mind, then while shopping you try to remember those things you need to buy.

Sometimes, you experience the Proust Effect phenomenon while eating food that reminds you about your childhood. Actively, you are not trying to recall those past memories, in spite of that, they come back. According to research, it is found that the memories that are connected with scent are not accurate like other senses because these memories are induced by the smell which gets invoked emotionally.

Smell helps to bring back the memories. The sense of smell is closely related to your memory. Wearing nostalgic perfumes and colognes will trigger the memories that get you connected with your past and your loved ones.

Examples of Common Perfumes That are Associated With Nostalgic Memories:

There are some scents that are related to nostalgic memories and emotions. These are mentioned below:

  • Floral scents: The floral fragrances of particular flowers can evoke memories that will remind you about your loved ones. For example, lavender scent, jasmine, etc. The fragrance of wild roses conjures up the memories of spending summer daytime in nature, as well as romantic moments in a rose garden.
  • Lilacs: It is the fragrance of sweet floral which reminds you of your childhood while playing outside in the springtime.
  • Rain: After long hot weather, a pleasant smell that comes after the first rain(Petrichor) is what everyone loves. It is the earth’s scent that gives the feeling of summer drizzle (light droplets of rain) at the pool and wet pavement.
  • Coconut: The scent of coconut will remind you about the family holiday trip at the beach.
  • Scents Derived From Specific Foods: The aroma of sugar candy, baked muffins, bread, cookies, and vanilla perfume triggers the sweet memory of childhood and our mothers.
  • Books: The smell of earthy-wood perfume of old books and old papers is the most amazing fragrance that cannot be compared with others. The scent of these books can make anyone fall in love and make them fall in love with books.
  • Leathery Scent: When you buy new shoes, jackets, gloves furniture, etc., it gives you a unique fragrance by reminding many things that are related to your past.


We all have a powerful sense of smell to conjure up nostalgic memories. There are some perfumes that can enhance our memories and unlock and build new scent-memory. When you walk down the street, you often smell a hint of perfume worn by a stranger who is passing by you. It creates a unique memory, and it will help to intertwine the past and present by capturing the essence of beautiful memories of your life.

If the aroma of a perfume makes you think back about past memories vividly, it means your brain is recreating forgotten, long nostalgic memories.

So, the main purpose of this blog is to make you understand the connection between perfumes and memories and how scents can trigger nostalgic emotional memories. We hope that this blog was helpful.

Read More:

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