Who nose where?

Your nose is an amazing thing. You can’t look at it without using a mirror or squinting (you’re trying right now, aren’t you?) and yet it can deliver some of the most powerful sensations we experience. So how does it all work?

It’s a bit like a very sensitive filter. Inside your nose are more than 10 million scent receptors (in an area about the size of a postage stamp), which can recognise up to 10,000 different smells. Scent is actually tiny molecules that pass through the nose to these receptors, which process the particles and send messages to the brain.

But your brain can get used to scents quickly, meaning you might stop noticing them after a while. That’s why Ambi Pur 3Volution with a touch of Febreze is so handy. It works  in two ways. First it eliminates any unpleasant odours, then it replaces these with something altogether more pleasing to your nose. Three complementary scents rotate every 45 minutes, meaning your 10 million scent receptors are kept busy and you always smell something fresh. Something like Refreshing Citrus Twist for example. Or Moonlit Lavender. Or Floral Innocence.

Your sense of smell is really important to your day-to-day life, too. Think about how much you rely on it without even knowing it – you know instantly if your coffee’s burned, or if the milk’s off. What’s more, the smell of cut grass tells you summer has finally arrived and there’s nothing like the aroma of spices and fruit to bring back all those joyous thoughts of Christmas.

It also makes food taste better. If you pinch your nose while you’re eating, the food won’t taste the same. In fact, it probably won’t taste of anything much – although our taste buds can identify the basic taste types (sweet, sour, salty and so on) it’s actually our sense of smell that pins down about 95% of what we taste.

So following our brief tour of your nose, think about how big a part scent plays in your life, possibly without you even realising. Do you take a trip down memory lane whenever you catch the hint of hyacinth or a whiff of wood-smoke? Do fresh scents like clean laundry or zingy lemon always make you feel happy? We’d love to hear how you make sense of scents.