A 'Scent-sory' Tribute
by Sue Phillips
Sunday, March 04, 2012

Scentologist Sue Phillips President of Scenterprises discusses sources of inspiration for her fragrances!

As a designer of custom fragrances for special events, I view our Sense of Smell to be extremely important in our lives. Of all our senses, our Sense of Smell is the most powerful (after our Sense of Sight), and some studies have now shown that it is THE most powerful….but sadly it is the most ignored. As we age, our olfactory sense diminishes and if people lose their Sense of Smell, they lose their Sense of Taste, which results in depression. Think about how so many social activities revolve around dining –having breakfast, meeting for a romantic dinner, sipping tea with friends, family brunch etc. If people can’t smell and therefore can’t taste, then people withdraw from society and lose interest in life.

The solution? Engage in our Sense of Smell. Smell well and smell often! Take time out to truly SMELL THE ROSES!

So, how do we do that? Every day we engage our senses with food, music, art, fabric and or course scents (encountering wonderful aromas and sometimes awful smells). I was recently in Spain visiting my daughter who lives in a lovely town called LOGROÑO in the wine region of La Rioja. We spent a few days together in Barcelona, visiting the Perfume Museum and walking on Las Ramblas, and had a memorable time visiting a few BODEGAS (not the colloquial NY ‘grocery store’ bodegas found in a Spanish-speaking neighborhoods,)but in Spain a real BODEGA is a wine-shop, or a warehouse for the storage of wine …and in Logroňo they are spectacular WINERIES.

Seeing the meticulous wineries with their beautiful wooden barrels lined up like plump dough-boys is a joy to see …and one naturally inhales the rich aromas! Not only are the wines first class, but the actual wineries are an architectural showpiece. Each one has a design aesthetic that is so unusual and yet so welcoming, and each has its own particular style. Here is the spectacular entrance to the YSIOS Bodega and the wine barrels.

   

Ysios is very special place and subscribes to the notion that smell and taste are so intertwined– and one of their wines was designed by wine and perfume maker Alexandre Schmidtt - take a look at this bottle and you will see the label.



But turn it on it’s side and you will see a profile of Schmidtt.


Another memorable ‘scentsory’ experience was the restaurant in Ezcaray, which is a small charming village in the La Rioja region with a fabulous restaurant EL PORTAL, owned by a chef who trained at the famous restaurant EL BULLI (described as “the most imaginative generator of haute cuisine on the planet” and closed as of July 2011). It will reopen as a creativity center in 2014. We had a magnificent 10-course tasting menu, complete with wines and the most delicious variety of grained breads infused with raisins and nuts and of course every course was a visual and sensory delight. The restaurant’s stark white décor with minimal flatware allowed each dish to take center stage with the food being the visual masterpiece!

 
After the gastronomic feast we walked around the area and came across a treasure! Who would have thought that in this tiny village we would encounter an artisanal cashmere ‘factory’ owned by a father and son who weave beautiful scarves which are sold at Bergdorf Goodman? I oohed and aahed at the magnificent colors and became the proud owner of the most gorgeous purple, violet, and lavender plaid-patterned scarf. How coincidental that I wore a purple sweater that day!


Finally, our last stop was at the luxury hotel and winery, Marques de Riscal, in Elciego which was also a delightful surprise. Not only was the winery (I can’t quite call this one a bodega) marvelous, but the hotel was designed by none other than architect Frank Gehry. His signature undulating roof is crafted n titanium, but as a tribute to the wine region, the signature ‘Gehry’ billowing roof also reflected the colors of Pink (for the Wine) and Gold for the gold netting that houses the Wine bottles of de Riscal.


How fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience this quaint region, in size, but gigantic in terms of visual, sensory, gustatory and olfactive beauty! The aromas linger, but alas, are no longer completely fresh in my memory, but the visual memories are magical, and to have shared this with my daughter was the most compelling of all!

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