EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE

ACS News Service Weekly PressPac: August 19, 2010

Secrets of scents Designing the smells that sell household products

Embargoed for release: Tuesday, August 24, 1 p.m., Eastern Time

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Crafting a fragrance for detergents that leaves laundry smelling clean and fresh. Developing a room freshener, scented oil, or scented candle that whispers “cool spring air.” Giving toothpaste or mouthwash a refreshing aftertaste that lingers and lingers. The process for putting the smell that sells into thousands of consumer products is much like composing a symphony, according to maestro fragrance designer Michael Papas, who spoke here today at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“We’re talking about the harmonious mixing and matching of potentially hundreds of individual aroma chemicals,” Papas explained. “Composers have their musical notes, and we actually use what are called ‘fragrance notes’ ― three of them ― that unfold over time to the nose like stanzas of a symphony to the ear.” Papas said that few people are aware of the all-pervasive nature of smells. Scents are a part of human experience from the time people awake in the morning to the time they fall asleep at night. Childhood memories stay with people throughout life. And smells can have a powerful influence on human emotions.

“Fragrances can make people feel good,” said Papas, who is vice president-executive perfumer at Givaudan Fragrances Corporation, in East Hanover, N.J. He specializes in developing fragrances for everyday products, including laundry products, scented oils and candles, room sprays, and household cleaners. “Fragrances are part of what has been called ‘nasal nostalgia’, bringing back long-forgotten memories of pleasant experiences for people to enjoy once again,” he added. “We strive to connect with an emotion that makes the consumer feel good and could be perhaps a little nostalgic.”

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