Very frequently we are asked: what does the scent of Goodfellas smell like. I have used Goodfellas as an example but the question is the same for all Al’s Shaving Creams. The truth is that it is nearly impossible to answer this question for a number of reasons. I will try to address some of them based on my experience both as a scientist, soaper and beer judge. But first I will try to summarize a very complex process in a few lines:
The sense of smell allows the perception of scents and odors in general. A number of specialized ephithelial cells located in the nasal cavity are stimulated by odors and send a signal to the brain. These cells contain proteins called receptors that bind to the odorous molecule and generate an electric signal that is transmitted through the olfactory (for smell) nerve. In the brain, the odor is processed and related to past experiences in the same region that controls emotions and behavior. It is not uncommon to associate smells with places or particular life periods and even with certain behaviors. Also, the olfactory sense does not process individual components. As a result, smells cannot be quantified analytically and are considered a primal response that makes each person’s response unique. In general, olfactory perception gives little information regarding the ingredients of a scent, only providing information related to its emotional impact. Gender, age and other factors contribute to the ability of identifying odors.
Would it be easier to provide a list of the essential oils that we use for each scent? It depends but in general, the answer is no. Essential oils are mixture of odorous molecules which makes them susceptible to the same considerations noted above. We used to provide this information to customers but we abandoned this practice because most people are unfamiliar with the smell of single essential oils. Furthermore, since our scents contain several essential oils, this provided very little information. Since, we have adopted a more operational description of the scents but this is not perfect. We offer the Seven Say Sampler pack to help customers make informed decisions in their purchases. In addition, we offer Custom Scents that allow customers to design their own scents.
A note on Custom Scents: Often, we receive requests like this: “I love the smell of product X, could you recreate this scent for me?”. In addition to the intrinsic difficulties discussed above, these requests also imply previous knowledge of the scent in question on my part and certain alignment or similarity between the perception of the customer and my own. In some cases, I am able to recreate scents for the customers based on type of statements but not always. A much better way of designing your own scent is by providing me with information about the essential oils that you would like to have in your scent. For instance: “I would like to create a scent that has lavender, tea tree and bitter almond”. This information greatly simplifies the process and allows me to make useful recommendations. Please remember that I am committed to your satisfaction. Have you designed your Custom Scent yet?