Researchers have aimed to figure out exactly what causes our urine to reek after consuming a fair amount of asparagus. The question, it seems, is can we truly smell what we think we smell? Or are we even producing a smell at all?
For both theories, the smellers/non-smellers and excretors/non-excretors, genetic mutations were the cause. But what interested us the most is the anosmia phenomenon. As we find often in our own work, the feedback reported after sampling the same aroma is so different. We’ve concluded that these variances are largely based on delivery methods, the natural intensity level of the aroma in questions as well as the context in which it is being perceived.
Smell design will never be as exact as we wish it to be.
The experience of aromas is vastly subjective and largely based on previously created associations that we, as scent and experience designers, have absolutely no control over. But beyond that, the anosmia genetic mutations can be found in roughly 2 million Americans (who knows about the rest of the world; not a widely reported anomaly). Albeit a fairly small percentage of the total U.S. population, it still speaks to the struggle of smell analysis and the factors that influence it. The solution? More noses!