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You Smell Young

Does “youth perception” perfume spritz off the years?

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Forget botox. The makers of a new “youth perception” fragrance called Timeless View claim that men will perceive women wearing it as precisely six years younger. The scent contains pink grapefruit, vanilla, and, somewhat disturbingly, baby powder. “The odor may act on the nondominant parietal lobe—the part of the brain we use in integrating perception of age,’’ says its creator, neurologist and psychiatrist Alan R. Hirsch, who’s conducted hundreds of studies on the effect of odor on behavior. “Vanilla may induce olfactory-evoked nostalgia.” It doesn’t work on other women, though. “Men are easily influenced by a woman’s aroma, but women may just be more astute at estimating age,” he says. But does it work at all? We asked our test subject to apply the spray and then head to a bar, Brooklyn Social on Smith Street, to find out whether its claims pass the sniff test.

Test Subject
Jeanette Palmer
Age: 36
Occupation: Design management
“I like the citrus smell. Though, as it sits on my skin, it starts to smell a little like patchouli, which I don’t like.”

The Noses
Pete Barrett, 29
Occupation: Audio engineer
How Old is Jeanette? “27.”
Do You Detect a Scent? “Yes, and now I don’t know why I said 27. She looks more 27 than she smells.”

Brian Smithwick, 23
Occupation: Musician
How Old is Jeanette? “About 26.”
Do You Detect a Scent? “Your standard perfume smell.”
Could Odors Affect Age-Perception? “Anyone who thinks that is a lunatic.”

Andy Faranda, 40
Occupation: Visual merchandiser
How Old is Jeanette? “34.”
Do You Detect a Scent? “Yes, I smell old lady. It’s very Avon.”
Actually, It’s Alan Hirsch. “Wait, isn’t he that guy you see on all the subways?”

Matt, Won’t give age or last name.
Occupation: Bartender
How Old is Jeanette? “My first guess is 32 . . . It’s just what my brain went to, but let me get a closer look. Okay, she’s about a month into 35.”
Do You Detect a Scent? “It smells like a flower. Not bad.”
C’mon—How Old Are You? “I’m not saying, but it’s six years younger than you think.”

Test conducted by Stacia Thiel


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