The primary gourmand: Brillat-Savarin – an 18th Century chemist who knew you might be what you eat (and scent!)

Lengthy earlier than ‘gourmand’ foodie-inspired fragrances have been even dreamed of and whereas scent was nonetheless perceived because the poor cousin of our different senses; one 18th Century polymath was championing the beautiful pleasures that style and scent carry to on a regular basis life. And greater than mere pleasure alone: in actual fact, he heralded the correct appreciation and scientific research of those so-neglected senses…

‘Inform me what you eat and I’ll inform you what you might be.’ So stated Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826, a French lawyer and politician whom, aside from regulation, studied chemistry and medication, and ultimately gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.

His seminal work Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), accommodates Savarin’s philosophies and observations on the pleasures of the meals, which he very a lot thought of a science – lengthy earlier than the delivery of molecular gastronomy and severe research of style and scent had begun.

And scent was very a lot on the forefront of the gastronomique expertise, Savarin had labored out; exclaiming: ‘Scent and style are in actual fact however a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nostril.’




Beforehand thought of the least necessary of the senses – certainly, scent stays the least scientifically explored, although know-how is making large leaps in our understanding – Savarin proclaimed that, ’The sense of scent, like a devoted counsellor, foretells its character.’

Printed solely two months earlier than his dying, the e book has by no means been out of print and nonetheless proves inspirational to cooks and food-lovers to at the present time. Certainly, he understood that style and scent should work collectively in concord for full satisfaction of the senses, Savarin noticed that ‘Scent and style are in actual fact however a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nostril.’




Previous the exceptional leaps in information high-tech gear has allowed and revealing how entwined our sense of scent is to the style and pleasure of meals, Savarin additionally noticed how our noses shield us from consuming probably dangerous substances, explaining ‘…for unknown meals, the nostril acts all the time as a sentinal and cries: “Who goes there?”‘ whereas coming to the conclusion that an individual’s character could also be foretold of their style and scent preferences… ‘Inform me what you eat and I’ll inform you what you might be.’




We as soon as devoted a whole concern of our award-winning journal The Scented Letter to style and scent – as after all we’re gourmand followers in ALL the senses. And so it’s heartening to know that Brillat was on our aspect right here, with this extraordinarily helpful recommendation we selflessly pledge to hold by way of life:

‘Those that have been too lengthy at their labor, who’ve drunk too lengthy on the cup of voluptuousness, who really feel they’ve change into quickly inhumane, who’re laid low with their households, who discover life unhappy and love ephemeral… they need to all eat chocolate and they are going to be comforted.’



Smart phrases, certainly. We plan to get pleasure from all of the candy temptations that come our manner, in scent kind and in chocolate. Speak about having your cake and carrying it, too!

Written by Suzy Nightingale