27th February was Anosmia Awareness Day, and this year we highlighted it by running an awareness-raising campaign entitled ‘Long Lost Smell’. The campaign sought to highlight the evocative connection between smell and memory alongside the impact of smell loss.
We asked people with a sense of smell to think what it might be like to have it taken away from them, and tell us which smell they would miss the most, sharing this on twitter and Facebook using hashtag #LongLostSmell. We also asked people affected by olfactory disorders which smell they miss more than any other, or the one thing they wish they could smell. This is part of our ongoing efforts to get people talking about the sense of smell.
We’ve shared the responses on our Storify page at http://www.storify.com/fifthsenseuk/long-lost-smell and the results make for fascinating reading. We received tweets from Fifth Sense members and also many from people involved in the worlds of food, wine and fragrance. A number of fragrance organisations and writers also got involved and featured articles on their websites.
On 27th February itself, Fifth Sense’s Duncan Boak and Chrissi Kelly attended the Body and City symposium organised by urban sociologist Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor. Duncan gave a talk on how the sense of smell forms an important connection to our environment, particularly in terms of our memory. Chrissi had brought along some jars of Long Lost Smells that she asked guests to sniff and try to recognise…boot polish was recognisable to most people, but those under 30 struggled to recognise the moth balls!
We also asked people who participated in the #LongLostSmell campaign to make a donation which will go towards starting a dedicated fund to support future research into smell and taste disorders. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made a donation.
Fifth Sense Member Claire Mulligan and her colleagues at Oakwood Day Service in Nuneaton (pictured left) have been wearing noseclips and red on Anosmia Awareness Day for the past few years. Claire told us: ‘Knowing there is a charity out there that supports people with similar conditions and are striving to develop more awareness and research around this is fantastic and reassuring, it gives people the opportunity to share their stories and frustrations and feel more accepted.’
Following on from Anosmia Awareness Day itself, Fifth Sense’s Chrissi Kelly (third from right in the photo) appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Breakfast on 14th March, talking about her experience of losing her sense of smell. Chrissi also talked about the work she is doing around smell training, which she believes is responsible for restoring some of her olfactory ability. Chrissi’s appearance clearly struck a chord with listeners; we’ve had emails from people asking about smell training and telling us it was the first time they’d heard there is a name for their condition.
Over in the US, the Monell Chemical Senses Center were also running some activities as part of Anosmia Awareness Day, including running a seminar on the causes and treatments for anosmia to physicians in the Philadelphia Area. For more information on their activities visit their website using the link below.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to the following people and organisations for their support of Anosmia Awareness Day and Fifth Sense:
FlavorActiV is the world’s only provider of pharmaceutical quality produced and controlled flavourstandards for use in beer, wine, cider, carbonated soft drinks, waters and many other beverages to help train professional sensory panels.
The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society produced a special report on our
#LongLostSmell activity which first appeared in their newsletter, The Scented Letter. This appears eight times a year online as a VIP Subscriber benefit to those who belong to The Perfume Society.
Click here to view The Perfume Society’s #LongLostSmell article
An independent online guide to perfume.
Get Lippie, aka Louise Woollam, is a perfume and beauty blogger and Fifth Sense member who has written extensively about her experience of developing anosmia and parosmia.
Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor at Goldsmiths College
Alex Rhys-Taylor is a sociologist with a specialism in urban sociology, not to mention a great interest in the sense of smell.
Monell Chemical Senses Center
The Monell Center is the world’s only independent, non-profit scientific institute dedicated to interdisciplinary basic research on the senses of taste and smell.
Elena Vosnaki at The Perfume Shrine
An award-winning independent online publication focusing on perfumery.
The fragrance blog of Finnish perfumer Pia Long.
And a special thanks to Daniel Schein who first started Anosmia Awareness Day and without whom, of course, none of this would have happened. Visit the Facebook page he runs at https://www.facebook.com/AnosmiaAwarenessDay