Working With Stinky Ingredients - Part 3

Last time we talked about stinky ingredients around here, I listed a few of my 'favorite' stinky cosmetics ingredients and promised to show you how to bend said stinkiness into pleasantness.  

To do this, we need to do a bit of nose exercise (and no, you don't need to learn how to wiggle your nose)

The first step to working with stinky ingredients is to get our perfuming noses on. Let's start whipping a few stinky ingredients into shape!

How To Get Your Perfuming Nose On

This is a relatively simple exercise, but does require your full attention and concentration.

Your nose may be a little offended at first, but will probably surprise you with hidden secrets sooner than you expect.

The object of this exercise is to train your nose to pick out the components of (any) scent.

Choose a stinky ingredient. Don't start with the absolute stinkiest ingredient, but choose one you find a bit challenging. If you have an ambivalent relationship with the scent of unrefined shea butter, start there.

Sniff the ingredient until your nose is thoroughly acquainted with the smell.

Alternate between sniffing the ingredient and taking a breath of fresh air.

Continue until you start to discover the 'undertones' and 'overtones' of the smell. Is there a muskiness in the background? Is it slightly woodsy? Nutty? Fruity?

Identify the components as best you can. Keep notes!

Keep alternating between breaths of fresh air and sniffing the ingredient.

It may take a few sessions, but it won't be long until you have dissected the scent and can begin to work with it. If there is a musky undertone, you may find the addition of a woodsy scented ingredient will enrich and 'bend' the fragrance in an entirely different (and pleasant) direction.

Yes, this takes a bit of practice, but you can totally do this. I am convinced you will surprise yourself at how quickly your nose will be able to 'dissect' what you are sniffing.

Keep at it and you will discover how easy it suddenly is to dissect the components of a wine, perfume, or any dish.

In coming posts, I will share a few personal stinky faves and how I deal with them.


Do Tell

Can you pick out the spices in a dish? Smell the difference between wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar? You may already be better at composing a scent than you think!

Previous Posts about Stinky Ingredients

Part 1
Part 2