The primary gourmand: Brillat-Savarin – an 18th Century chemist who knew you’re 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 convey to on a regular basis life. And greater than mere pleasure alone: in truth, he heralded the correct appreciation and scientific examine of those so-neglected senses…

‘Inform me what you eat and I’ll let you know what you’re.’ So stated Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826, a French lawyer and politician whom, other than legislation, studied chemistry and drugs, and ultimately gained fame as an epicure and gastronome.

His seminal work Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), comprises Savarin’s philosophies and observations on the pleasures of the meals, which he very a lot thought of a science – lengthy earlier than the beginning of molecular gastronomy and critical 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: ‘Odor and style are in truth however a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nostril.’




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

Revealed solely two months earlier than his loss of life, the ebook has by no means been out of print and nonetheless proves inspirational to cooks and food-lovers to this present day. Certainly, he understood that style and scent should work collectively in concord for full satisfaction of the senses, Savarin noticed that ‘Odor and style are in truth however a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nostril.’




Previous the exceptional leaps in data 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 defend us from consuming probably dangerous substances, explaining ‘…for unknown meals, the nostril acts at all times 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 let you know what you’re.’




We as soon as devoted a complete 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 facet right here, with this extraordinarily helpful recommendation we selflessly pledge to hold by 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 grow to be briefly inhumane, who’re plagued by 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 take pleasure in all of the candy temptations that come our manner, in scent type and in chocolate. Discuss having your cake and sporting it, too!

Written by Suzy Nightingale