Portrait of a Scientist & Smeller: Subha Patel {The 5th Sense in the News}


Subha Patel is an olfactory scientist working for IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances). She specializes in finding new scents recorded and reconstituted from nature thanks to Living Flower Technology also called Head Space Technology. Among other things, she is one of the developers of the space rose note found in Shiseido Zen (the white bottle) dubbed "Overnight Scentsation"......

"Patel lifts another orchid, a yellow and black blossom with spiky petals: "A little bit spicy, a dusky cinnamon, a soft greenness." A pale pink orchid with ruffled petals: "A touch of clove." Another: Coconut. Another: Soapy.

It's Patel's job to introduce these scents to clients looking for new notes to infuse their perfumes (or, just as likely, their laundry detergents), and then recreate these scents molecularly. Workers will come in at night to capture a scent, if necessary.

"Some flowers open up only at night, and in early morning, they fall down, all because nature created it in such a way to balance the insects who pollinate it," Patel explains. "Every day, I find something different, even if I have smelled it before. I just haven't been there at that time."

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