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Making Sense out of Scents – an Interview with AromaPrime


Interview by Kat Mokrynski

Hello everyone, and welcome to another interview with Kat! Recently, I spoke with Liam Findlay, an employee at AromaPrime. What is AromaPrime, you might be asking yourself as you sit in quarantine, watching TikToks for the fourth consecutive hour (or YouTube videos, I don’t judge). Well, read on to find out!

Sundial: What is AromaPrime, in your own words?

Liam: AromaPrime is a themed scent company, providing any scent a customer can imagine to theme parks, museums, hotels, shops, restaurants, care accommodation, schools, 4D cinemas and even people’s homes! These can be scents for atmosphere and storytelling, scents to immerse people in history, scents to make people hungry and scents to help improve people’s mental health.

Sundial: What is your role in the AromaPrime company?

Liam: I am AromaPrime’s Attractions Consultant. Aside from working with the company, I am also an attractions designer, so I have an understanding of what attractions require when it comes to creating smells for their experiences.

Sundial: How much of an effect does scent have on a person’s experience?

Liam: Our smell receptors are connected to the part of the brain which processes memories, emotions and behaviour. Therefore, a smell could trigger a happy feeling in someone, an excited feeling or perhaps a scared feeling. If someone smells Cookies outside a shop, their brain will remember other times they’ve experienced that scent, causing them to want to go in and make a purchase. Woodsmoke smells help to immerse people in the fiery story of Alton Towers’ Wicker Man roller coaster [an amusement park in the UK] , as well as fuel instinctive feelings of excitement and trepidation.

Sundial: For some scents, the engineers have to deal with some questionable scents like “Rotting Flesh” and “Sewer.” Is there a technique to working with scents that many people would shy away from?

Liam: We work on unpleasant aromas with the same amount of research, consideration and specialism as we would with any pleasant fragrance! A member of our team from the lab once took a bus home after work, and another passenger thought they could smell fire, because of the stink on our staff member’s clothes.

Sundial: How have scents developed in the theme park industry over the years?

Liam: AromaPrime is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and many of our scents from the 1980s are still used for attractions today. We are pleased with how authentic and popular they are, although we are always working on ways of improving them. Something which evolves more rapidly is the scent machinery used – we have recently updated our standard models and are developing a DMX machine which can use multiple smells at once, ensuring that attractions are equipped with the most effective technology available.

Sundial: What are some of the steps in developing scents and the scent machines?

Liam: If we are creating a new aroma, it may simply be a case of combining our existing smells. For example, we recently did this to create a Donkey Poo smell for a seaside museum. Alternatively, if we have no pre-existing aromas to use, we may have to create a pong from scratch. This would involve careful research into the topic, referencing real smells and experimenting with different ingredients!

Sundial: If some people are starting to use scents in their home, what would you recommend they start with (scents and machines)?

Liam: People who use our smells at home sometimes use traditional options like Lavender, while others may wish to use the smells of their favourite attraction. Woodsmoke is very popular for home use, because it is used for Alton Towers’ Wicker Man roller coaster, and because it is quite pleasant. We have a Mini Dispenser which is ideal for home scenting and not too expensive. It is very simple to use, and it lights up with different colours too!

Sundial: AromaPrime has done some work with healthcare, particularly in care facilities. Would you be able to go into some more detail about that?

Liam: Because of how scent is connected to our memories, aromas such as Coal Fire, Carbolic Soap and Pear Drops are used by care homes to trigger fond memories in their residents; particularly those with dementia. Even when someone has memory loss problems, a scent can unlock memories from long ago like nothing else. Our pleasant aromas also help to make care facilities more pleasant for residents and staff, which is something we have particularly concentrated on during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sundial: What has been the most challenging scent to create so far?

Liam: No scent is too challenging for us! We’ve even created the smell of The Beginning of Time.

Sundial: For people interested in learning more about their sense of smell, how would you recommend they start their research?

Liam: If they’ve been reading this article, they’ve already started their research! The next task is to do some sniffing and think about the ways the different smells in their lives influence their thoughts, memories, behaviour and mental health. When smell is used in the right way, it could be considered a kind of mind control!

Sundial: If there was one scent that you could perfectly bottle, what would it be and why?

Liam: There are few scents we haven’t already bottled, so that is difficult to answer!

Sundial: Do you have any upcoming projects that you’re allowed to tell us about?

Liam: As people are stuck at home during the coronavirus health precautions, AromaPrime has arranged some exciting projects with major theme parks to help keep people entertained. Keep an eye on our social media channels!

You can follow AromaPrime on social media at aroma_prime on Twitter, aromaprimescents on Instagram, and AromaPrime Themed Scents on Facebook. If you’re interested in learning more about the company or purchasing a scent of your own, feel free to visit

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