In the animal kingdom, the sense of smell plays a key role, communicating signals and driving behaviors. But in humans it has long been considered a primal, instinctual, even shameful sense. In recent times it has regained favor, and we are discovering that we are more skillful with our noses than previously thought.
Is it all a sign of our ambivalence regarding our relationship with nature? We have long used animal products to fragrance ourselves, or to make ourselves feel more powerful. Even though this practice has now almost entirely fallen out of favor, a dose of (reconstructed) animality within a fragrance's sillage still exudes a certain charm.