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The Scents and Sense of Wine

Whether you drink it or smell it, the passion for wine seduces the senses, one sip or spray at a time.

Kelly Jones is a smellaholic (my silly word) also known as a scent sommelier (her lovely words). She spent the early part of her professional career in the corporate world in Los Angeles, but her mind and her nose were usually somewhere else.

While sitting in a sterile high rise office tower in Tokyo, where her company was headquartered, she looked out at the Japanese cherry trees in bloom, and realized she needed to be out there smelling them, not inside smelling stale coffee. She began to plot an exit strategy.

On weekends, Kelly would drive up the California coast then head east to Napa wine country. This was her solace. Then one day it became her destiny.

Though she will not disclose the winery (if someone out there recalls this incident, please note the wonder of what you have done), a winemaker called her out because she was wearing perfume at a wine tasting, a big no-no for the oenophile as it can interfere with the aroma emanating from the bottle.

This was a light bulb moment for Kelly. She decided to create perfumes reminiscent of and complementary to wines.

She quit her job and moved to New York City, which is to fine fragrances what Napa and Sonoma are to fine wines, and founded Kelly & Jones.

The description of her collection is as follows: “… fine fragrance that exquisitely captures the essence of the vineyard. We offer a brand new concept in fine fragrance – scents that enhance the nuances of both wine and perfume. We believe they are a truly sensorial and experiential approach to appreciating the world of wine.”

Cut to the latter part of 2012. I’ve spent the past six months filming a documentary about people who are so passionate about wine that they’ve started second careers as vintners. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing all sorts of folks – entertainers, business executives and sports figures – but now I happen upon Kelly’s story and can just feel the connection and the identical passion.

We’ve almost finished the editing process, but I am adamant, and my team agrees to halt postproduction. I can’t get a crew to New York City at this late date, so I contact Kelly and see if she’s game to capture some footage herself. The response is quick and absolute, and we work out the technical details. Within a few days, Kelly Jones is in our film and, as I knew she would be, offers a unique perspective and distinct passion for wine of a different sort.

I’ve just read an article on incmagazine.com, “Let Them Sniff, Customers Will Buy More.” It talks about scent from a very detailed sales perspective. For example, a recent study placed two pairs of identical shoes, in two identical rooms. One was scented with a floral fragrance, the other not. Eighty-four percent of people surveyed preferred the floral scented shoes AND they were also perceived to have a value that was $10.33 higher than the unscented pair.

There was also much talk about what kinds of scents and how much scent work.

As I continually wonder when I read about surveys and studies such as these – “HUH?” And why $10.33 and not $11.42?

The author did hit on the pith of scent, suggesting that smell, though often subconscious in its effect, is the “king of the senses” when it comes to evoking emotions and memories.

In “A Passion for the Vine," the musician/vintner Jonathan Cain of Journey fame recalls when he was 4 years old, his family’s Chicago landlord took him to the basement where he housed his homemade wine. He soaked a piece of bread in it and said, “Jonny, smell the wine.”  Cain says that scent remains with him until this day, and sparked his passion for making and enjoying great wine.

Kelly figured out the same thing in a slightly different manner. Her passion for the scents of wine, has made her the queen of business sense by inspiring her own label.

Kelly & Jones is every bit as personal and provocative as any winemakers' label in the movie.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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