Fanny Turlure, Johanna Decorps and Thierry Livache provide their guide to digital olfaction and introduce a new portable device to compare and identify odours within 30 seconds
Odours lie at the very core of the perfume and cosmetics experience. It is one of the first pieces of information registered by consumers upon purchase.
Ensuring the quality and stability of perfumes is a major challenge for the cosmetics industry, be that when dealing with raw materials, ingredients or finished products.
Current techniques to analyse odours include the human nose and Gas Chromatography coupled with Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS).
Trained noses have proved highly valuable to the cosmetics industry, allowing quick assessment of materials and delivering sensory results close to what the consumer will smell eventually.
A considerable part of the quality control currently performed in the industry relies on human noses.
However, the human nose, even when highly trained, is sensitive to saturation; after testing a certain number of odours, the mucosa gets saturated, making it unable to further perceive and discriminate odours.
Human panels can also be used for some tests, in which a larger number of testers are asked to assess and grade formulations.
Panels are susceptible to inter-individual variability, sometimes making the interpretation of results cumbersome due to the large dispersion of data recorded.
The logistics behind organising a panel can ...
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