Nathalie Lorson. Photo: Courtesy Maison Margiela Fragrances

Scientific studies confirm that of all the senses smell offers the best recall. In Scent Memories, the Cut asks people about the scents they associate with different times in their lives.

Next up is master perfumer Nathalie Lorson, an expert at fine fragrance house Firmenich, and the nose behind memorable fragrances like YSL Black OpiumLe Labo Poivre 23, and most recently, Maison Margiela Replica Coffee Break. Replica fragrances pinpoint collective everyday memories, and Coffee Break bottles finding reprieve in a cozy coffee shop thanks to Lorson’s unique, feminine, grounding scent. The Cut caught up with Lorson to talk brioche and morning brews.

My first scent memory is: The resinous smell of my very first Christmas tree.

Happiness smells like: The smell of orange flower, which reminds me of the fougassette from my childhood in Grasse. It’s a slightly sweet bread that’s flavored with orange flower water.

Love smells like: The odor of a red, sensual rose.

Friendship smells like: The smell of fresh crumpled mint, lime, and rum, coming from a delicious mojito shared with friends.

Regret smells: Bitter. A bitter smell, which you should never dwell on.

Vacation smells like: The smell of the beach, exotic flowers, and sand, mixed together and all warmed up by the sun.

The worst smell is: Any odor to that is too aggressive because it then becomes repulsive.

Sunday morning smells like: Warm, toasted bread for breakfast, melting together with the smell of freshly roasted coffee.

Monday morning smells like: A plain black coffee to better start my day!

My home smells like: My little heart-shaped plant and the freshly cut herbs from my garden.

If I could have one smell on my hands forever it would be: White musk. I always like to smell like some sort of musk.

Source: For This Perfumer, Happiness Smells Like a Specific Bread

Random sensory quotes

I think listening to music from your youth is as powerful as a scent passed beneath your nose.

— Meg Wolitzer