The Smell Report

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The Smell Report

High-tech smells

The development of more sophisticated technology for synthesising or ‘capturing’ previously elusive smells appears to be keeping pace with the advances in high-tech noses to detect the ones we already have.

‘Headspace’ technology now allows accurate analysis and synthetic reproduction of almost any smell. One new fragrance for men allegedly includes both the distinctive odour of a famous New York tobacconist shop and ‘essence of racing car’. Another manufacturer claims to have reproduced the scent of financial newspapers.

A process known as ‘soft extraction’, which has been in use for some time in the food industry, is the latest vogue among perfume manufacturers. By passing a special form of carbon dioxide through an object such as a coffee bean, food technologists have been able to extract coffee flavouring. The procedure is now being used to capture the fragrance of flowers which are resistant to more traditional scent-extraction techniques.