The perfumes, essential oils and extracts which are added to scented candles during their manufacturing process give them their distinctive smells. These fragrances are then given off as gases when the candles burn. Scented candles come in vanilla, citrus, lavender and virtually any kind of flavor or scent you can think of. Often enough, the thin line that separates scents from flavors is easily blurred, which explains why many scents can also be perceived through the sense of taste. But how much of an impact do scented candles really have on your taste? Let us find out.
THE LINK BETWEEN SCENTS AND TASTES
Scents are perceived through the nose while the tongue is responsible for tasting flavors…at least, that is what we think most of the time. Science, however, may beg to differ. The bond between these two sense organs – the nose and the tongue – goes a lot deeper than what meets the eye.
Scents and smells are detected by the olfactory system which consists of the nose and the nasal cavity. Droplets and tiny particles in the air – like the ones given off from scented candles – are inhaled through the nose and passed into the nasal cavity where they are then dissolved in the olfactory mucus membrane. The brain then receives signals about the scents which help in identifying them.
However, the nose and the mouth share the same airway which results in a situation where smell and taste occur at the same time. Quite simply put, you smell and taste things at the same time and because of how taste and smell are intertwined; the two senses work together and influence each other.
When you smell something, you can almost taste it in that moment of detection. If it is a food or an aroma closely associated with a particular type of food, the flavor of that food immediately comes to mind. This is why scents like vanilla may have mouth-watering effects for someone who has a sweet tooth, as the brain immediately links it to food items like ice-cream, pastries and confectioneries. From the smell alone, you can practically taste the vanilla in the air and you instantly come to the conclusion that the object perceiving that aroma is most likely something sweet. Citrusy and lemony scents can also be instantly associated with foods that give such flavors or tart tastes.
TYPES OF SCENTED CANDLES AND HOW THEY AFFECT YOUR TASTE
There are different types of scented candles, particularly in terms of the kind of fragrance they give off when they are lit, and each scent has a unique impact on your taste. Here are a few examples:
- Vanilla-scented candles
Vanilla-scented candles give off the mouth-watering fragrance of vanilla when they are burned. It is a very soothing fragrance which many associate with sweet foods and treats like pastry and ice-cream. The sweet smell of vanilla-scented candles permeating through the house can give off the illusion of being in the vicinity of vanilla-flavored edibles, and there are many who find this flavor calming and soothing; who will have no problem falling asleep with the scent floating in the air. However, such a scenario might seem like torture to someone who is craving vanilla flavored treats…either that or it might seem like the answer to their prayers.
- Citrus-scented candles
Citrus fruits are orange, mandarin, tangerine, lemon, lime and grapefruit among others. Burning citrus-flavored candles can help to create the effect of standing under the trees of such fruits on warm, sunny days, while squeezing the fresh juice out of the fruits. For some people the smell of citrus-scented candles reminds them of summer, spring and lemonade, and then they can easily imagine that all of those things are unfolding slowly in the comfort of their room or in their bathroom as they soak themselves inside a warm bath. If you are one of those people, then you have truly experienced what it means to burn citrus-scented candles. Aside from this soothing effect, citrus-scented candles can also smell absolutely mouth-watering, especially to citrus fruit lovers. Very often, our brains are able to process the minutest qualities of citrus scents including the level of sweetness and how tart it is, particularly in the instance of fragrances like lemon and lime. This is due to the close link between our sense of smell and our sense of taste.
- Lavender-scented candles
Although lavender is not a traditional flavor for food, lavender-scented candles are very common and they also have a huge impact on our taste. Lavender-scented candles give off a fragrance which the brain can still interpret as sweet and even mouth-watering. How this is possible even though lavender flavored-foods are not common is a little bit unclear. However, it does happen; almost as though we subconsciously want to take a sip of lavender tea (which is actually a real thing).
- Coconut-scented candles
Coconut-scented candles bring the sweet fragrance of coconut right into your bedroom, and this scent immediately creates an effect on your sense of taste by introducing the flavor of coconut into your mouth through the shared airway between your nose and your mouth. Even the barest whiff of this scent can be potent to the point where you can practically taste coconut on your tongue.
- Food-scented candles
Some scented candles are intentionally imbued with the fragrance of real foods and meals like meat and pastries. Burning bacon-scented candles will unleash the mouth-watering aroma of bacon into your living space. And candles that have been scented with the chemically engineered fragrance of pancakes will make you feel like someone is flipping pancakes right beside you. Food-scented candles appear to be the latest invention in the scented candles industry and already, there are many scents to choose from. More fragrances of this type of candles are in the process of being developed and we can only hope to be pleasantly amazed when they finally become available for purchase.