Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour
All the talk of the mysterious sense of smell, the visceral sense of smell. The sense of the emotions, therefore with the least association with reason. I really don’t get that. Yes, the sense of smell is discussed incorrectly or at least poorly. We have a striking lack of vocabulary for smell and how we use it to create meaning for ourselves. It’s a hole in our collective ability to talk to each other.
But I do love the associative capacity of the sense of smell. It is specific and evocative, but for me doesn’t have the luggage of weighty emotional cathexis. It’s the small stuff, not the big “Rosebud” moment.
So, Avignon. I smell it and it takes me right back to a very specific moment of my alter-boy youth. It’s the memory of the sensation of crunching through the snow to my parish church in the dark on winter mornings to serve the daily 7 AM mass, opening the back door to the church and smelling the lingering scent of the incense and the cold wood of the pews. That very moment. I loved it as a boy. It’s not the huge and the sweeping. It’s the small and specific. It allows me to remember myself as that young boy.