COVID survivors regain smell thanks to ‘magician’ perfumer

They had a nostril for nothing this previous yr, however now some COVID-19 long-haulers can lastly cease to smell the roses — thanks to a legendary perfumer who’s main them on a $650 “perfume journey.”

Perfumer Sue Phillips, who has created scents for Tiffany and Burberry, helps virus survivors who’ve misplaced their sense of smell.

“A chunk of my life was lacking, and I’m elated that one thing dormant for greater than a yr is triggered. Now [my sense of smell] is on full blast,” mentioned Tammy Farrell, 51, after her hourlong session at Phillips’ eponymous perfume boutique on the Upper East Side. 

Farrell misplaced her potential to smell when she got here down with the coronavirus in March 2020. The Long Island mother of three saved ready for her nostril to kick into motion however, regardless of sniffing garlic powder and strolling previous aromatic bakeries, she had no luck.

“I figured I’d suck it up for a number of weeks, however then weeks turns into months and months,” mentioned Farrell, a buyer success supervisor. She finally sought out neurologists and had mind scans and blood work completed, however every part turned up regular. “I couldn’t smell something, and nobody knew why. You simply can’t assist however cry,” she mentioned, including, “I couldn’t smell my favourite candles or my husband’s cologne. I couldn’t take pleasure in consuming — it simply grew to become gas for my physique, not pleasure.”

COVID-19 survivor Tammy Farrell regains her sense of smell after a yr by means of a “perfume journey.”Brian Zak/NY Post

When her daughter alerted her to a gasoline odor within the basement and Farrell couldn’t smell it, she knew she wanted assist. “When you possibly can’t smell gasoline leaks, it’s an enormous drawback,” mentioned Farrell. “I didn’t have any extra choices.”

Phillips, who has owned her customized perfumery for 12 years, launched the scent remedy therapeutic program earlier this yr.

“When smell is out of attain, it impacts many realms of life, together with consuming and style. People get very depressed … It’s devastating,” mentioned Phillips. “People say their life just isn’t value residing. Smell is such an enormous a part of life’s pleasures.”

Perfume knowledgeable Sue Phillips (left) reveals “perfume journey” shopper Tammy Farrell how to smell along with her mind.Brian Zak/NY Post

According to a examine by the American Academy of Neurology, some 51 p.c of people that misplaced their sense of smell due to COVID had not regained it 5 or extra months later.

Starting at $650, shoppers get one assembly with Phillips (she additionally gives a Zoom possibility, the place she sends smell strips forward of time) and a customized perfume to take residence.

She blends scents utilizing elements akin to lavender, musk, amber and vanilla, that are divided between prime, mid and base notes. The shopper then smells particular person scented strips to assist arouse the dormant sense.

It sounds simplistic, however Phillips mentioned she has helped 20 individuals regain not less than a few of their potential to smell because the new yr.

Last Thursday, as she went by means of numerous notes with Farrell, the perfumer gave particular instructions: “Smell together with your mind — strive to take up the aromas together with your mind … your mind is fogged up.”

Suddenly, Farrell started to cry. “It smells beautiful,” she mentioned of a balsamic vanilla-scented strip. “It smells very wealthy. I haven’t smelled something this robust, ever. This is a dream.”

Farrell obtained a custom-made scent utilizing her three favourite smells from the session.Brian Zak/NY Post

The evening after her one session, Farrell mentioned she detected the style of pepper in her dinner, and he or she’s dedicated to doing her “homework,” which incorporates smelling their very own fragrance, flowers and fruit all through the day with a meditation-like focus.

Days later, Farrell mentioned she had smelled garlic, albeit faintly, for the primary time in over a yr, though she lamented she nonetheless can’t smell bacon or popcorn.

Even docs working with COVID survivors are open to the remedy. “I believe it’s attention-grabbing and thrilling. There could also be some alternatives with some stimulation with totally different scents,” mentioned Dr. Yosef Krespi, an otolaryngologist at Lenox Hill Hospital who famous that two-thirds of the COVID survivors with longterm smell loss are ladies. “It’s like coaching or rehabilitation of . . . the nerves positioned on the roof of the nostril. There’s a chance for ‘bodily remedy’ [and] the re-learning of these scents.”

“I’m nonetheless in shock that it really works,” mentioned Phillips’ shopper Marissa Karen, a 27-year-old Google account supervisor from Soho. She misplaced her sense of smell after contracting COVID final March. “I went to one million totally different docs, six or seven ENTs, a neurologist, and went on oral and nasal steroids to cut back irritation. I left each physician hysterically crying.”

COVID survivor Marissa Karen now smell trains with lemons to set off recollections. Courtesy of Marissa Karen

She met with Phillips final week and will smell once more after one session. “It’s associating smells with recollections,” mentioned Karen, who does her coaching with lemons. “I affiliate it with going to a lemon farm I went to in Sorrento in southern Italy the place I had a lemonade and limoncello tasting.”

Added Karen: “You don’t understand how vital smell is till you don’t have it anymore. I can stroll exterior now and smell the spring flowers blooming.”

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