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Olfaction (our sense of smell) is extraordinary. It has a vastly bigger impact on our lives than most of us may realise. With the current coronavirus leaving many without their sense of smell, it has proven to be a stark reminder of its importance. Here we are sharing a few of the life changing effects it has, particularly the phenomenon of scent memories, along with how to protect and enhance our sense of smell.


Around 80% of everything we taste comes from our sense of smell. Without it, we taste only salty, sour, sweet, savoury and bitter. Not only this, but smell synergises taste, making all of the flavours we experience stronger and more distinct. Some studies have even found that our sense of smell is more acute when we are hungry. Give it a try, hold your nose and experience how your taste buds dull.


Our sense of smell has the power to keep us alive. It can alert us to dangers such as smoke from fire, and spoiled food which must not be eaten. It also stimulates appetite and so a loss of smell can result in malnutrition. Beyond this, as you will see below, scents are so powerfully connected to our emotions, that those we have happy associations with, have the ability to slow heart rate, relax breathing, and subsequently boost the immune system.


Olfaction is the only sense connected to the part of our brain that processes emotions. As a result, memories evoked by scent, otherwise known as scent memories, are more emotional and visceral than memories awoken in any other way. Have you ever experienced a scent and found yourself transported into the middle of a memory scape before your conscious thought even had the chance to catch up? In fact, the power of the connection between our sense of smell and our emotional memories is so strong, it has the ability to unlock memories you would never have otherwise remembered.

It is this emotional connection with olfaction that inspires the materials, textures, ingredients and design with which we craft our fragrances. We are empowered to explore the phenomenon of scent memory associations, and the visceral emotional and physiological power our fragrances can have.

Despite all of this, studies have revealed just how under-appreciated our sense of smell really is, with participants voting olfaction as the least important of all the senses, and the sense they would forfeit if they had to choose one. We think it is important to remind ourselves, and appreciate, the power of olfaction. With its ability to to improve our mental and physical health, our sense of smell is not something to turn our nose up at (too cheesy?).

How can we protect and enhance our sense of smell?

With a new appreciation for just how incredible, and important, our sense of smell is, we wanted to share a few ways with which we can not only protect, but improve our ability to experience the over 1 trillion scents our noses can detect.

  1. Avoid every day chemicals that can damage our olfactory neurons such as cleaning products, cigarette smoke, nail salon and hairdressing chemicals. The coronavirus pandemic has perhaps offered us a unique opportunity to utilise the new normal of wearing face masks where possible when exposed to these chemicals.

  2. Sniff more! Studies have shown that actively sniffing can restore some olfactory neurons.

  3. Look around when you smell. Often, the more we know about a scent the better we can smell it.

A few exercises to use olfaction and scents to enrich your life:

  1. Go on a ‘scent walk’. On a recent episode of Frauke Galia’s ‘An Aromatic Life’ podcast, she took her listeners on one of her regular ‘scent walks’. She simply took a stroll around her neighbourhood and consciously sniffed everything. From plants, the weather, to passers by, she makes a mental note of everything she smells. With easy exercises such as this, we are not only able to train our noses to better experience scents, but it allows us to be more present and appreciative of our surroundings.

  2. Write a list of your favourite scents. Whether it be a fruit, a fragrance, a candle or a flower, write them down and go and smell them when you are feeling stressed, anxious or under the weather. These comforting scents curated by you, for you, has a healing power beyond expectation.

  3. Create your own scent memories. This is a powerful tool often overlooked by us all. Pick a new scent, something you like, and wear it/ spray it/ surround yourself by it only in very particular moments you want to remember with that scent. For example, pick a new fragrance and wear it only on holiday. When you want to remember that holiday, spray the fragrance and experience your untapped memories flooding back to you. Or pick a scented candle that you only light on a Friday night before the weekend, or a particular flower you only buy when you’re celebrating life’s wins. Before you know it, success has a smell and so does that Friday night feeling.

If you’d like to hear more about the topics discussed in this months post, check out Dr Rachel Herz’s Ted Talk, ‘Smell, Your Least Appreciated Sense’ and Episodes 11 and 16 of Frauke Galia’s ‘An Aromatic Life’ podcast.

See you on THE 5TH.

H & G

On this 5th of April, the U.K. and many other countries across the globe are granted an extended public holiday weekend. Whether you're spending this time relaxing alone, or celebrating with a few of your nearest and dearest, there has never been a better time to unwind and appreciate the hope and new beginnings that Spring has to offer. Allow us to provide the soundtrack needed for you to end your weekend on a high. Discover our latest curated playlist, available now on Spotify or below.

If you're celebrating this weekend, Happy Easter.

See you on THE 5TH.

H & G

March 8th is International Women’s Day and so this month (and every day of every other month), we’re celebrating women in business and the inspiration we take from them as we embark on our journey at THE 5TH. We want to share with you the stories of just a few of the millions of women shattering that glass ceiling.

It is harder for women to succeed in business. This has been the case throughout history and remains to still be true. Does that stop us? Absolutely not! This only goes to highlight the incredible feat of successful women in business throughout history and today. It is crucial however, that we recognise that this success does not, and must not, undermine the injustice women face.

As the female co-founder of the THE 5TH, it was daunting to learn that I was trying to start a company in an environment where less than 3% of venture-capital investment in the US goes to female-led startups. Of that 3%, the average investment is half of that invested in male-led startups. I found myself reading articles suggesting women should find someone to vouch for them to overcome some of these barriers. Wtf! Understanding that I may face more barriers to success because I am a woman drives me, and THE 5TH, to continue to advocate for equality, and take inspiration from the women who challenge these sexist constructs every day.

WHITNEY WOLFE HERD – Founder and CEO of Bumble

Last month, after being the youngest female CEO to lead a company to an IPO, Whitney Wolfe Herd became the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world. To get there, she had to overcome being sexually harassed, stripped of her co-founder title at Tinder, and dismissed by her peers as a female founder. In fact, some investors have since admitted having this bias towards her in the past.

Whitney’s success goes a long way to empower women far beyond the world of business, since Bumble’s very business is to build a platform for women to ‘control the conversation’. Though originally designed for the dating world, Bumble has expanded into the friendship and networking space, carving the way for women to take the lead in all areas of life. Go Bumble. Go Whitney!

SARA BLAKELY - Founder and CEO of Spanx

Sara Blakely founded her shapewear brand Spanx over 20 years ago. Not only did she do so with just $5000 to her name, but she did it selling a product aimed at women. Why is that so significant? All the garment mills were owned and operated by men. Sara had a hard time convincing these men that her product was worth producing. Eventually, one of the men agreed. He told Sara that the only reason he called her back, is because he had three daughters who told him to give her a chance. Spanx is now estimated to be worth over $1 billion.

Last year, Sara donated $5 million to support female-run small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

MADAM C. J. WALKER - Entrepreneur and the first female self-made millionaire in America

You may recognise Madam C. J. Walker’s name from the recent Netflix mini-series Self-Made. If you haven’t seen it, you should. She was the first female self-made millionaire in America after creating her own line of hair care products in the late 1800’s. If we consider the barriers women in business face in 2021, it defied all odds that Madam C. J. Walker was able to build her empire in a world far more hostile to female entrepreneurship than it is today. Women at this time were not even allowed to vote yet! Women were not considered to be equal; their role was to elevate men. Against this backdrop, Madam C. J. Walker not only built her own empire, but enabled thousands of women to become their own bosses through selling her products. She overcame sexism, racism and poverty to succeed, build a life, and to lift women in business for her generation and every generation thereafter.

“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South. From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations... I have built my own factory on my own ground.”

- Madam Walker at the National Negro Business League Convention, July 1912

Madam C. J. Walker, Whitney Wolfe Herd and Sara Blakely are examples of what is possible for women in business when we refuse to let the unnecessary and unjust barriers we face stop us from entering into, and thriving in, the world of business. And for those of us who haven’t built multi-million (or even billion) dollar companies, we are champions just the same and are paving the way for more women in business than ever before.

Here’s to women.

See you on THE 5TH.


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