I woke up in the middle of the night at about 3am with the weirdest feeling. I had just experienced olfactory perception in my dream (if it’s even possible for us to ‘perceive’ in our dreams, but let’s not go into the philosophical arguments). Obviously, some details will be lost from my recollection of my dream, but I have tried my best to record my experience almost immediately upon waking up from the dream.I dreamt that I was sniffing my arm, and it was perfumed. There was a note of lime that wasn’t sharp or zesty, but rather blended with oriental, leather and balsamic notes. There was also a hint of florals, and I’m afraid that this is as specific as I can remember. When I woke up, the name Paloma was stuck in my mind. I did a quick google search and it revealed that there is actually a perfume called Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum. Now this was very strange, because I had never consciously registered the name ‘Paloma‘ as being that of a perfume, so evidently my subconscious had stored away information that must have been obtained somehow by my peripheral vision. Reading through reviews of what vintage Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum* smells like, I am haunted by a burning desire to try it because of the strange way I have become aware of it.
I’m not sure if the olfactive dream I had was affected in any way by the fact that I had lightly spritzed some Cuir Ottoman on my neck just before heading to bed. I’m also unsure if such a dream was induced by the exam preparation stress that I am under. Curious, I decided to do some research on the matter:
In 1998,researchers at McGill University in Montreal asked 164 people whether they had ever experienced sensations of smell or taste in their dreams; 41% of women said yes, as did 35% of men. The McGill team also gave the participants a bedside log in which to write their dreams each morning. They ended up collecting 3,372 dream reports. About half of these mentioned auditory impressions but only 1% mentioned smell. The diaries also revealed a huge sex difference. As in so many other measures of odor perception, women are more tuned in than men: odorous dreams were recorded in the diaries of 20.9% of women but only 2.0% of men. It appears that dream smelling is a widespread but low frequency phenomenon: in other words, it’s something many people have experienced but not all that often.
The article ended with the following words:
Smell-oriented people—those who identify odors accurately and imagine them vividly—tend to dream in smell as well. Olfactory talent shows itself all around the clock.
Is it possible that I dreamt in smell because I’m smell-oriented? Does being a perfume lover lead to perfumed dreams? This was certainly a strange but pleasant experience.
Have you ever smelt in your dreams? If so, what was it like?
~ The Smelly Vagabond
* If any kind soul out there could send me a small sample of vintage Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, I would be most grateful.