Keith Kelsen’s Scent Narrative: Happy Fresh New Year 2018


Fresh fragrances are leading the industry trend, foretelling a new year of optimism and happiness, emotions that fresh Scents brings to us.  I remember the clean, fresh scents as kid mowing acres of grass, fishing in the babbling creek, after a thunderstorm, or walking in the house and taking a whiff of the lemon scent of the freshly cleaned kitchen.  These Fresh scents and others remind me of something new…like a new year. Welcome to 2018!

Many people either don’t understand or often underestimate the impact of Scent.  A favorable scent, like Fresh, goes a long way to good mental health.

“Want to boost your mood or stir up old memories? Try using your nose” recommends Psychology Today in their blog, “The Power of Scent”.

What we do know is that any fragrance can evoke positive or negative psychological states. Research has proven that Scent creates or amplify moods and even evoke memories. A “Fresh Start” is to begin with a new and clean beginning, which is why FRESH is our first Scent Narrative of the New Year!


Recent studies (quoted in earlier Scent Narrative’s), have shown that there was a swing in the last two years to more Fresh Scents.  The Fresh fragrance family captures the scents of fresh-cut grass, citrus or the aromas of water notes such as the Scent of charged wet air after a thunderstorm or the scent of warm aquatic sea breeze in the summer.

The memories of happiness it evokes creates joy in the moment. The fact the trend is towards Fresh makes some behaviors potentially predictable.  It even has begun to define a group of people by its very nature.


If you go to Instagram, you’ll see there’s a whole category called “Freshies”. The profile is of a young millennial woman whose an achiever with “a stressful job and a calendar full of SoulCycle™ classes”.  She rejects the “super-heady fragrances” of Boomers or Grandma’s “Powdery Scent”.  She has matured beyond the “fruity body mists smelling like her high school BFF”.  Freshies prefer the lean and clean Scents that are citrusy, light, airy, and, obviously, fresh.


Given the multiple meanings of Fresh, it’s a term that might be interpreted differently according to culture, language, context, age, and experience. First, let’s clarify what we mean by “fresh.” It’s the refreshing and natural scents that occur naturally in nature.  A fresh fragrance is considered invigorating, nature inspired, reminiscent of early morning air or sea breeze. It is typified by green or citrus notes[i].

The interpretation of fresh in the Scent industry is as synonym of cool and antonym of warm.  This suggests that the psychological dimension might be associated with temperature. Thus, cool fresh Scent, would correspond to scents typically encountered in the cool season, while warm fresh Scent would be evoked by odors found in nature during summer.


Sensory ratings on a scale of freshness are difficult to obtain, as the fresh dimension of olfactory perception is not well researched.  Yet. Psychophysical studies aimed at quantifying the relationship between Fresh and Tenacity are still being studied.

Sensory maps of scents are investigated in In Zarzo’s breakthrough work,  Perceptual Freshness Correlated with Substantivity, attempting to further understand the psychological aspects involved in the perception of refreshing Scent character.  The main target of his work is to study the correlation between Fresh and substantivity. The relationship is well established in perfumery.  At descriptive level as the industry’s definition of Fresh is as follows:

“The parameter that measures the lasting property of a material when applied on the skin is called substantivity or tenacity. It is well known by perfumers that citrus and green notes are perceived as fresh and they tend to evaporate quickly…In this work, it was found that the correlation between fresh odor character and odorant substantivity is quite strong (r = −0.85). ‘Fresh’ is sometimes interpreted in perfumery as ‘cool’ and the opposite of ‘warm’. This hypothesis is rather simplistic but it may provide a new insight to better understand the perceptual space of scents.” Manuel Zarzo


Fresh is a whole new science for Scent.  In “The Art of Scent”, fragrance expert Chandler Burr says that “Fresh” is more conceptual than actual.

“It’s pure luminescence, or light turned somehow into scent.  New materials, including some terrific fragrance molecules, have allowed scent artists to create them…Clean scents allow women to communicate themselves in a sharper, more clearly defined way than classical fragrances.” Chandler Burr


Christopher Bergland author of The Athlete’s Way, has found a link between Fresh and the Mindset of Peak Performance:

“I first discovered the link between olfaction and athletic performance when I started running as a teenager in the early 1980s. In The Athlete’s Way, I have a section on the power of olfaction and ritualization that I used in competition to create an energized and optimstic mindset for peak performance in sports competitions. On page 86, I describe the power of olfactory memories linked to a time, place, mindset, and behavior from my personal perspective.”


Fresh Scents can make you happy! Scents like newly-cut grass, citrus can all make you more joyful. Last month, HuffPost (Dec 06, 2017) offered “11 Scents That Can Do Wonders For Your Well-Being”, that offered these insights:

“Scent researchers found that a chemical released by a newly-mowed lawn can make people feel joyful and relaxed. The aroma may also prevent mental decline as you grow older.”

Scents like lemon and orange are not only well-known for their Vitamin C properties, but simply sniffing the fruit can help boost energy and alertness.”


Fresh Scents can elevate your mood in any given situation. What a great way to set a context for your New Year. Hmmm the fresh smell of success! Happy New Year!

[i] Thiboud M. Empirical Classification of Odors. In: Müller P.M., Lamparsky D., editors. Perfumes: Art, Science, and Technology. Elsevier; New York, NY, USA: 1991. pp. 253–286.