Memories Of Loved Ones Immortalized As Scent Of The Departed

The sense of smell can evoke all kinds of emotions and memories of the past. Now one French woman has come up with the idea of encapsulating the familiar scent of the departed loved one in a bottle of perfume.

Katia Apalategui, 52, is a French insurance saleswoman who is still mourning the death of her beloved father seven years ago. She was inspired to attempt to capture the scent of the departed in a perfume.

Apalategui teamed up with some researchers from the Université du Havre, who it seems have already been working on distilling the human scent.

Researchers gave no clue as to how the technique actually works, but one did say that all they needed for the process was a piece of the person’s clothing. From this, they are able to extract the approximately one hundred distinct molecules that make up the person’s characteristic scent.

Geraldine Savary from the university explained the procedure.

“We take the person’s clothing and extract the odor – which represents about a hundred molecules – and we reconstruct it in the form of a perfume in four days.”

Popular Science theorizes that they may be using a version of the classic perfume distillation process by passing steam through an object at a high temperatures in order to capture the scent of the departed.

Apalategui’s idea may sound a little morbid to some, but according to several studies, just like music brings back the past, our sense of smell is also closely linked to memory. So why not use the process to immortalize our loved ones through the scent of the departed.

The process would naturally be of use in other applications too, for example romantic relationships — being able to smell your loved one when they are away, for example, or as an aid in the parent and child bonding experience when separated.

However, for now, Apalategui and the researchers are working on capturing the memories and scent of the departed, rather than the living, and she hopes by September this year to be able to offer the service to grieving families via funeral homes.

According to the Guardian, Apalategui claims that the link between smell and memory would mean that this new product would offer “olfactory comfort,” which would be on a par with photos and other memories of the deceased loved one.

Her son is currently attending business school and will be involved in the project. With the help of a chemist, they plan to launch their unusual business by September this year. Apalategui explained how they are planning to proceed.

“We are going through funeral homes to offer families a small box containing a vial of the departed’s odor that we would have extracted from a piece of material provided by them.

“It’s made-to-measure and will sell for around 560 euros ($600).”

Capturing the scent of the departed is an unusual but thought-provoking way of remembering those who have left us and one that could quite easily catch on.

In other, rather less pleasant, family relationships, the Inquisitr recently reported the story of a woman who is allergic to her husband’s kisses.

[Image: Perfume bottles CC BY 2.0 vagawi]