scent memories

For This Opera Singer, Happiness Smells Like Sea Breeze

Photo: Getty Images

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 Renée Fleming, American soprano and legendary opera singer. Today marks the launch of La Voce, Fleming’s first-ever fragrance in partnership with Scent Beauty. Notes of jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, and passionfruit blend with less-expected notes of mushroom, chocolate mousse, and ebony flower. The Cut caught up with the soprano to talk soil, smoke, and sweets.

My first scent memory is: Oh, I have no idea. The notion of an early scent memory doesn’t really mean anything to me, because it’s all sound and music. So the equivalent, it’s not a song, but my first memory is being under the piano.

Happiness smells like: Sea breeze. 

Friendship smells like: Coffee.

Love smells like: A baby.

Heartbreak or loss smells like: Smoke.

Success smells like: Green grass.

My favorite food smells like: Baking. And anything sweet.

The worst smell is: Mildew, especially because I’m a singer.

Vacation smells: Foreign, to me. I don’t do vacation. I would say airplane. I’m on a plane a lot. That’s not really vacation, that’s more work but …

My home smells like: Ideally, nothing. I think sometimes smell is intrusive, so. You know what I mean?

Sunday morning smells like: The newspaper and print.

A pleasant surprise smells like: Birthday cake.

If I could have one smell on my hands forever, it would be: Soil.

I smell like: A hug.

La Voce by Renée Fleming

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For This Opera Singer, Happiness Smells Like Sea Breeze