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Olfactive Association - Zara By Olivia Giacobetti


I have always been very conscious of olfactory association and how it shapes our appreciation or discernment of certain scents. More common are those scents that we come across early in life before ever setting foot in perfumery. The smell of toothpaste (mint), laundry detergent (lavender mostly commonly), cleaning products (pine, neroli, cypress), talcum (iris or violet) and medicine (cherry) are the most common ones. The association is so strong that we confuse between scent and product e.g "This smells of Colgate!" or "This smells of Dettol" when it should be mint, cypress etc.

Thus, I believe that to truly understand and appreciate perfumery, one has to disassociate between scent notes and the products that they have been used on. To unlearn and unplug the wires that olfactive association has firmly implanted in our olfactive memory. Because then the perfumery universe will be that much bigger for us to appreciate.

It is for this reason that   Olivia Giacobetti’s new 2023 line for Zara piqued my interest.

In this line, she worked on a set of smells that we have often associated with the role of laundry, air fresheners, deodorants, and a litany of household products that continue to centralise the use of smells perceived as good, to overwrite smells suggestive of a lack of hygiene or even health., ie the concept of masking the natural unpleasantness of products with scents that are pleasing.

The challenge is to disassociate and restoring such scents to the default of just being scent notes.

There are four fragrances in this line and their notes are as follows :-

  1. Livre Blanc: Pure Cotton, White Wood, Musk
  2. Vapeur Blanche: Eucalyptus, Steam, Cedarwood, Musk
  3. Popeline Blanche: Bergamot, Washed Cotton, Neroli, Musk
  4. Blanc Ensoleillé: Bergamot, Coconut Milk, Dry Woods, Musk

If you are interested in experiencing this concept and try any of these fragrances, they are available here for decant

Sample set for all four fragrances are also available at RM80 for the 5ml set or RM130 for the 9ml set. Free postage for Semenanjung Malaysia. DM or whatsapp at

Lastly, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year 2024 and hope that your fragrance journey will continue to be fulfilling and satisfying.

 Have a great new year everyone.

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