Humans have an amazing ability to recall vivid emotional memories, triggered by scent. Retroessence is an innovative company that designs and manufactures product and experience that explore the phenomonom of scent and memory. 

Events, traveling and new experiences are more popular that ever - selling memories has become big business. Retroessence is the first product to capturing these memories through scent. Retroessence captures life’s significant moments by associating an abstract scent to a memory - capturing a moment and space in time. Later, the memory can be consciously triggered though smelling a perfume, recalling a vivid emotional memory of the time and place. 

Retroessence Olfactory Memory Kit is an experience design exploration in scent and memory. When you open the kit, the room will fill with a beautiful aroma you have never smelt before. Moments can be captured. Honeymoons, vacations, celebrations - this moment is captured, forever in association with the scent. The kit contains a perfume bottle, scented candle and note card. After noting the memorable event on the card the memory can be recalled with a spray of perfume or by filling the room with the scent of the candle.

Just like the distinctive smell of Christmas, summer trips to the beach, or Aunt Gena’s house - we all associate scent with times, places and events. Scent is our best way to recall memory and many behavioural studies believe that scent can trigger more vivid emotional memories even better than images. 

Every Retroessence kit is unique. The scent of your memory is unique to you. If you ever run out of the perfume or candle scent use the unique number printed on the memory log card to reorder perfume or candle scents online. This product aims to give people ownership over the scents they co-create through a platform that give them the ability to make, test and envision the such a personal part of our lives

Scent is our best way to recall memory and many behavioural studies believe that scent can trigger vivid emotional memories better than images. Olfactory memory is not a pseudo-science. In the book Memory for Odors, Schab and Crowder hypothesize that humans the only species capable of explicit memories (the conscious recollection of memories) stimulated by scent. Retroessence uses ‘abstract’ scents - a unique combination of essences that have very likely never been experienced before. By assigning a new scent to a memorable moment, Retroessence enables individuals to capture a memorable moment. Recreating this scent through wearing the perfume or lighting the scented candle recalls explicit memories from this moment beyond what other stimuli such as photographs could do alone. 

From high-end designer brands to boutique limited runs, there are thousands of perfumes to satisfy even the most discerning of noses. Currently, nearly all of the top perfume brands are marketed for their 1) brand image and/or 2) quality aroma. Retroessence rejects the status quo taking an innovative and contemporary approach to the product sector. 1) Not based on brand image - Retroessence focuses instead on utilising scents extraordinary ability to trigger emotional memories. This enables consumers to build their own image around what the scent, and their Retroessence product, means to them. This contemporary approach is in line the era of personal branding and consumer trends. 2) Not based on quality aroma - Aroma is a very subjective fashion accessory that becomes very personal to its user. Therefore unlike other products categories it is very hard to buy perfume online, or gift perfume. Retroessence is not based on ‘quality aroma’ and is instead based on 6 abstract scents made from popular and largely approved essences. This makes it possible for Retroessence to be bought online or gifted without requiring consideration to the scent of the product.  

Retroessence was developed in collaboration with Jingting He.


Louis Elwood-LeachComment