Here’s a great piece from our regular contributor TriedTestedLoved about using fragrances in public spaces. 

Preferences are deeply personal and we each have our own individual likes and dislikes when it comes to fragrance. Luckily for perfume brands, it turns out that some scents will appeal to a large number of people and that is by design. Other brands happily supply us with lots of variety, knowing that there will be something that attracts us amongst their offerings. But, what happens when we look at aromas in the home, restaurants other public space?

We’ve all been overwhelmed by the melange of scents and persistent sprayers in the perfumery store but when browsing in a shopping centre or waiting in a hotel lobby, and you end up holding your nose or gasping for air, that’s hardly a great experience, is it?

Despite careful selection and planing, there is no guarantee that the gorgeous fragrance wafting in the air isn’t in fact utterly repellent to some of us.

I’ve given this a lot of thought and feel there are various camps of people. Retailers use fragrances to guide us down supermarket aisles or entice us into a food store. Aromas of freshly bread, roasted coffee and maybe chocolates are always a winner.  Depending on the time of day and the location, there may be other foodie scents that get your mouth watering, or other light and fresh fragrances that uplift and make you want to hang around that particular area.

For perfume shopping however, there is a school of thought that advocates a neutral environment, so thatyou can really appreciate any fragrance you want to try. This is more common in smaller, niche environments as opposed to a department store, but there is a lot to be said for the “fresh air” approach.

A while back, one niche brand Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, had little private closed pods or smelling booths installed in their boutiques and department stores. You opened one up and inhaled the individual scent which had already been sprayed. Then closed it again.

Very high tech and whilst it seemed gimmicky, it was a fun way to shop away from background aromas.  Sadly, I don’t think it caught on and now you can buy Frederic Malle fragrances without feeling like a scientist.

It’s a catch 22 – having a plume of perfume  is actually great way to direct us to the fragrance department. Subliminally, we find ourselves going towards or away from strong scents. Yes, it can be off putting but maybe those people don’t like fragrance that much anyway. But the other issue is that it may well be nigh on impossible to find a scent will please everyone.. does one even exist? That is the million dollar question.

Hotels are great places to find a lightly fragranced ambiance – precisely because they want you to stay around. And more public spaces have gentler room scents now, which are easier to tolerate, so things are looking up.

So, in conclusion, we may have to accept that most of our spaces are scented to some extent, it is just a matter of finding a spot that smells good to you and staying there, even if you don’t realise why.