“We have never had had so many fragrances around us, “said Ernesto Collado, an ex-actor turned fragrance maker who leads “smelling tours” in northeastern Spain. “But at the same time, we have no idea of what life really smells like.”
Of all those wishing a swift end to the pandemic, few have reasons as obsessed with the olfactory as Ernesto Collado. The pandemic brought masks, which severed humanity from its sense of smell. And it brought the possibility that the virus could leave him unable to smell anything, which had happened to him briefly years ago when he experienced phantosmia - a condition also known as olfactory hallucination - and caused a kind of existential crisis. He had to relearn how to smell, and now he is crafting scents under the brand Bravanariz and leading tours through a landscape in Catalonia once painted by the Surrealist Salvator Dali.