It is one of the most fascinating smells in our collective memory.
And soon, there will be perfume molecules that reproduce the vibrant smell of nature after a downpour. Good news: it will make us feel happier.
By Silvia Manzoni. Illustrations by Margaret Mitchem for I’M Firenze Digest.
It’s one of those smells that the memory appropriates, that everyone remembers, almost an olfactory fantasy. Can you
think of that scent of wet earth and damp grass that is released into the air immediately after a downpour? Yes – the
fascinating smell of fresh rain. Delicious, exacerbated, vibrant, capable of stirring emotions and provoking instant well-
A RAINWATER SCENT CRAZE
Before long, we may be able to pick these rainy notes as a perfume to wear on our body or as a room fragrance: the
Swiss perfume house Givaudan has created a molecule that faithfully transcribes the smell of Petrichor (this is the
scientific name for the aroma produced when the rain falls on dry soil).
The new ingredient has been named Geogaia™ and is 100 per cent biodegradable, so the tribute to nature is not just
aesthetic. Its creator, the perfumer Maxence Moutte, tells us how he arrived at this stunning performance. “This scent is
very particular and universal, despite the variations due to different geographical areas,” he explains.
“To succeed in capturing its poetry, I worked around three olfactory poles. The central one is made up of the smells that
vegetation and earth exude after the rain by enzymatic reaction; it is a scent of damp undergrowth with a vegetal
freshness that smells a little like camphor. Then I added a sensory touch of water and fresh air, and finally, that
specific scent of soil and rocks that reveals itself after a strong downpour”.
These components make this smell a true fragrance that appeals to the senses. “When we smell nature after the rain,
the air immediately seems lighter, as if renewed, and the sensations are reinforced,” the perfumer continues. All this has
a positive effect on the mind.
“Demonstrating the emotional dimension of this new creation, 81% of consumers observed an “after-the-rain” olfactive
effect in the compositions containing a significant level of Geogaia™, describing a pleasant natural outdoor sensation.
“Being the most accurate translation of this universally evocative wet weather smell, Geogaia™ opens new creative
perspectives across all product categories”, says Stéphanie Martin, Home Care Category Director.
This innovative molecule, which could take fragrances into a new dimension, is part of a Givaudan project aiming to give
nature an olfactory voice and offer expanded benefits: ingredients that inspire joy, relaxation, and serenity.
Two other molecules derived from observing nature are part of the project: Phytogaia™, capturing the health benefits of
the molecules emitted by forest trees, and Thalassogaia™, mimicking the composition of the marine environment.
Closing your eyes, you will feel like you are in a tropical forest. It will be an excellent ally to have at hand in times of stress!
Silvia Manzoni is a Journalist and Beauty Expert.
Margaret Mitchem is a Multimedia Arts student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.