The Scents of the Winter Holiday Season

In the Northern Hemisphere, the scents of the Winter Holiday Season immediately transport us to a warm atmosphere, one that is cozy and relaxing and full of joy. Smells, more than any other sensory experience, make us feel emotions. When they are intense, they recall clear memories and therefore have the power to affect our mood, positively or negatively, even in irrational ways. This superpower is due to the fact that olfactory sensations arrive directly to the limbic system of our brain, where memories reside and emotions originate, without first being filtered through the logical and rational part of the brain.

Hence, a smell can be pleasant or unpleasant depending on what it evokes and the emotional implications it entails: it is pleasant if it is linked to a good memory or to a loved one, but it is unpleasant and annoying if it is linked to a sad memory. When smelling the scents of the Holiday Season, most people are transported to memories of a time when they relax, detach from work, and visit with family and friends.

The scents that are commonly associated with the Winter holidays are: cakes, cookies / biscuits; spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and clove; the smoke of wood burning in the fireplace; resins and wood, in particular those of pine and fir; and to a lesser extent some flowers and mosses. Of course each person’s holiday memories include specific and unique smells. For example, here in Italy, I remember the scent of oranges and panettone cake while playing bingo with my family during the Winter holidays: the citrus aroma permeated the air and blended very well with the smells of the cake and the wood burning in the fireplace, creating a unique atmosphere.

So, during this season, try to take advantage of the sensory input around you: try to recognise the aromas and the flavours you sense in sweets, teas and beverages, as well as the scents in the environment around you. This practice will help you memorise the experiences you are having and you will able to better recognise these scents in the food and perfumes you will smell in the future. Enjoy this magical sensory experience!

TasterPlace AROMAS collections are the ideal tool for those who want to train the sense of smell and get closer to the world of tasting wines and other high-quality foods. 

Who are we? TasterPlace is the gym for your Olfactory Sense! Smell is the most important sense we have to taste and appreciate a food or a drink, yet it is a sense that we train little and we are not used to associating names with what we perceive. The olfactory memory can be trained and can therefore improve considerably over time. Find out more about how to train the sense of smell for tasting at


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