Scent and Memory

Surely this has happened to you: a scent wafts across your path that evokes a pleasant memory of home or a momentous occasion in your life. That brief olfactory sensation brings vivid memories to mind of holidays with the family or your first date with the love of your life. What if you could make those memories last longer? With Kristin and Company Candles you can, because our long burning soy candles provide scents that make memories last longer.

Many things can trigger your memory. Our five senses (touch, sight, auditory, taste, and smell) are certainly one of them – particularly smell. Maybe the smell of chocolate chip cookies reminds you of trips to your grandma’s home or the scent of pine needles reminds you of Christmas morning when you were a child or smelling cherry blossoms reminds you of that first kiss. There can be no doubt that our sense of smell is a key component to memory recall.

Our Brain

There have been numerous scientific studies that confirm the link between smell and memory recall.

Our limbic system is in charge of emotions and memory. A study at Brown University found a correlation between memories triggered by smell and activation of the amygdala – a section of our brain located in the front of the temporal lobe that controls memory registration.

Additional studies have confirmed the link between memory and smell. Scientists suggest that, compared to verbal cues, memories triggered by smell are accompanied by more activity in the limbic system (including the hippocampus and amygdala). Smell was found to be associated with increased activity in visual parts of the brain as well. Other studies show that, compared to visuals, smell triggers stronger emotional memories and the sense of going back to a specific moment in time.

Building Memories through Scent

Identifying Odors

We smell by detecting chemicals in our environment. We taste by interacting with chemicals, but smell is special because it’s effective at a greater distance and impacts us much more quickly.

Activating Receptors

The process of smelling soy candles starts when molecules from the candles detach themselves, diffuse throughout your home, and find their way to your nose. Different types of molecules contribute to this smell. In fact, we can distinguish between some 10,000 substances that stimulate smell.

The scent molecules the candle releases into the air then dissolve in the mucous found in your nose. The cilia that trap the molecules are attached to about 50 million olfactory receptor cells.

Each molecule type fits into specifically-shaped receptors that match up only with that particular molecule, like a lock and key. This information is then sent to your olfactory bulb.

Areas in the Brain Related to Memory

From the olfactory bulb the message travels to parts of the brain in the olfactory cortex. The olfactory cortex is located in the lower part of the brain. Some parts of the olfactory cortex are connected to the limbic system, which includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and hypothalamus. These areas are primarily involved with emotion and the formation of memories.

From the olfactory cortex, information gets passed on to the thalamus and then the frontal cortex, where the smell is identified. Due to this process, we oftentimes recall memories before we even identify the smell causing it.

The information about smell goes to both primitive brain areas influencing emotion and memory, as well as to areas influencing conscious thought. The olfactory system is considered our most primitive sensory system, partially due to the system’s connections to older parts of the brain that deal with our subconscious.

So when you burn a Kristin and Company’s hand-crafted soy candle, the experiences of perceiving and interpreting the candle’s scent result from activating a neural pattern in your brain, which reminds you of specific memories, feelings, and thoughts associated with the scent. And because our candles burn longer than our competitor’s, the memories the scent brings on will stay with you longer.

To sum it up: The olfactory bulb passes information to the frontal cortex, hypothalamus, amygdala, and hippocampus.

  • The frontal cortex: provides the conscious perception of smell.
  • The hypothalamus and amygdala: provide the motivational and emotional aspects of smell.
  • The hippocampus: is in charge of odor memory.
  • Burning a Kristin and Company soy candle will make the memory last longer.

Scents Brings on Special Memories

Our ability to smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than our other senses. Smell is also the only sense that is immediate. Instead of traveling through the body and spinal chord first, smell travels directly to the brain. In fact, the nose is the only direct route to our central nervous system.

If you have a sense of smell, you can spontaneously recollect memories when you smell something you did in the past associated with that memory. The smell brings up experiences you might not have thought about in a long time. The scent of lavender might remind you of your grandmother. The smell of saw dust may bring back memories of cutting wood with your dad every fall. A sea breeze might bring about recall of a honeymoon in Hawaii. It is highly likely that you’ve had a scent cross our path just today that brought on a fond memory.

Why soy candles?

Kristin’s candles are special because they are:

  • Clean burning
  • Last longer
  • Non-toxic
  • Greater dissipation

A natural choice

Soy candles are made from soybeans. This means they burn clean and don’t release CO2. Today we live in times of great concern for the environment and conscientiousness about our health. Soy candles fit that bill. They are clean burning candles so that you can avoid polluting the air and breathing in harmful smoke – not to mention coating your walls with soot.

Long burning

Soy candles burn twice as long as candles made from paraffin, making them more cost effective.


Soy candles are non-toxic since they are made of vegetable oil. They produce negligible amounts of soot and don’t release the carcinogens toluene and benzene into the air.

Scent of a candle

Soy candles have a stronger and more pleasant scent than their paraffin counterparts. This is because soy candles have more liquid around the wick as they burn. The candles also burn soy, not petroleum. Soy candles’ scents also fill the entire house, rather than a single room.

Kristin offers a variety of candles

Kristin and Company carries over 50 candle fragrances. We offer scents in a variety of categories, so you are sure to find several that are sure to spark pleasant memories.

Kristin and Co.’s Signature Collections

Bake Shop

Bring back memories of grandma’s kitchen or your favorite pastry shop with scents such as Apple Pie, Caramel Cookie, Cinnamon Bun, and Gingerbread Girl.

Clean & Crisp

Want to relive that island vacation? Try scents such Ocean Mist, Tropical Breeze, and Island Cotton.


You don’t have to travel to your cabin in the woods to experience its relaxing atmosphere. Scents such as Walk in the Woods, Moonlight Path, and Pine Needles will take you there.


When you’re longing for a spring day during the heart of winter, just close your eyes and scents such as Lavender, Sensuous Bloom, and Wildflowers will have you thinking spring no matter the weather outside.


Take a walk through a country orchard with scents such as Apple Jack & Peel, Citrus & Basil, and Mulberry.


Transport yourself to your favorite coffee shop or bistro with scents such as Cappuccino, Hazelnut, and Spiced Clove.

Holiday Delight

You’ll relive those wonderful family holidays of your youth when you light up scents such as Snickerdoodle, Spiced Cranberry, and Sugar Cookie.


Reliving that romantic meal or that special trip to Paris is as easy as burning our Merlot, Claret, and Moscato hand-crafted soy candles.

Let Us Spark a Memory

Kristin and Company, a division of T.R. McTaggart, poured its first hand-crafted 100% natural soy candle in 2005 in Standish, Michigan. We are a recognized name in the hand-crafted candle business with soy candles sold in over 300 independent retailers across the country.

Check out our hand-crafted soy candles that come in a variety of fragrances, as well as our other products. Visit our website to shop and purchase your favorite long burning candles and begin not only recalling fond memories, but building memories when you light one of our clean burning candles!