February 22, 2016

Synesthesia: What Does Purple Smell Like & Other Sensory Phenomenons

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to hear a color? To smell a sound?

For instance, when you smell Grapefruit Essential Oil, do you visualize a soft pastel green or a more invigorating crimson? Probably the warmer, brighter color to “match” the scent. That’s synesthesia!

Synesthesia is a strange and elusive scientific phenomenon. It’s defined as the blended overlap of our varying senses in a strange, often hard-to-imagine way. The most common form of synesthesia is perceiving the color behind intangible sensations and ideas where definition by color seems abstract. For example, what color is a dog’s bark or the number four?

Since its inception, synesthesia has been associated with brain damage, mental illness, psychedelic drug use and a vague sort of super-human perception. Mostly, its mere existence has been met with skepticism, but scientific evidence supporting that the blending of senses is a very real phenomenon has led to more widespread acceptance, at least in the scientific community. In fact, you’ve probably experienced it to a certain extent yourself, especially if you’ve tried aromatherapy.


Light shades tend to “dull” or subdue intense feelings. For instance, would you paint your bedroom bright orange if it’s a place of relaxation? Probably not.

Synesthesia in Popular Culture

Although only a very small percentage of those claiming to experience synesthesia have been studied scientifically, there exist extensive claims and stories about famous writers, musicians and artists claiming to experience and benefit from the “union of the senses.” Famous “synesthetes” are said to include eccentric inventor Nikola Tesla, Billy Joel and even the renowned physicist Richard Feynman. Pharrell Williams claimed that his synesthesia was the inspiration for his album “Seeing Sounds.”

Synesthesia and essential oils

Of all the things we encounter in the world, essential oils can have among the most powerful effects on our senses and feelings. The complex and varied aromas can invoke many different feelings and sensations, but how do they intertwine with synesthesia? Those who experience the phenomenon say that nearly every fragrance invokes a color for them. In fact, those who claim to regularly experience synesthesia attested to the various colors invoked by these essential oil blends.


DeStress Signature Blend Essential Oil

DeStress evokes shades of greenish blue. Its calming hue and acidic scents have the effects of ease and mindfulness simultaneously.

Click here to learn more about DeStress Signature Blend


Energy Signature Blend Essential Oil

Energy is red! The sharp and vivid feelings in impresses upon anyone is unmistakable, and this energy translates into a color of action.

Click here to learn more about Energy Signature Blend


Immunity Signature Blend Essential Oil

Immunity comes as a deep brown. Its earthiness and complex formula make for a sensation that seems to rise straight from the ground.

Click here to learn more about Immunity Signature Blend


Sleep Signature Blend Essential Oil

Purplish pink comes to mind when Sleep is inhaled. Its tones are both bright and powerfully soothing, which makes for a feeling that seems blissfully tranquil.

Click here to learn more about Sleep Signature Blend

Even more scientific discovery awaits – check out “The Science of Smell” for more amazing information on how essential oils can transform your life and health! Click here for more.


Hutton Marshall

Hutton Marshall is a freelance writer and photographer currently based in San Jose, Costa Rica. Contact him at jhuttonmarshall@gmail.com.