Identification of fragrance chemicals relying on the human nose
February 2023

When we had identified the chemicals that Himekomatsu wood naturally releases, we were curious as to which chemical was responsible for the faint aroma from the wood of it. We thought it would be easy to identify the true nature of the aroma, since we had equipment that could identify each individual chemicals.

In reality, however, this was not what we had imagined. The method relied on the human nose, which memorized the aroma of the Himekomatsu wood, then released the chemicals of the wood one by one using the equipment, and compared the aroma with the remembered aroma. I asked if the reason for relying on the human nose was due to inadequate equipment at the facility, but this was not the case. Even today, with the development of measuring instruments, it is not possible to identify the chemicals of a fragrance that a person perceives with a machine.

If you think about it, a machine must be able to reproduce the mechanism of the human nose, and it would be difficult to reproduce the unique sense of smell with a machine. It is easy to understand why the profession of perfumer exists.