Aroma Jockeying – The Artistry Of Blending Scents And Music

Blending smells with music being played in real time at clubs and concerts concerns a phenomenon known as aroma jockeying.

This is a logical outgrowth of the need today for a a new edge of discovery, so to speak, that involves pushing the experience envelope of live entertainment to expand sight and sound to new, multi-sensory heights.

Disc jockeys have always focused on our sense of sound; video jockeys, or VJs, create, curate and improvise videos for live events focusing on our sense of sight, and an aroma jockey, also known as ODO7, captivates our noses with carefully selected Air Scent International fragrances.

Where Does The Term Come From?

No horses, saddles, races or betting on the nose have anything to do with where or when these words were first used.

Graphic designer and illustrator, Austrian born Erich Berghammer first coined the term, aroma jockey, back in 2002.

It was borne from his desire to explore and alter preconceived ideas about performance art by interfacing the world of music with scent. He first employed his idea in a live performance at a theater in Utrecht, Holland.

It was a great success, and quickly became a cornerstone in shows created for deaf and blind audiences. In 2006, aroma jockey became a new word in the Dutch language.

In his own words: ”My greatest inspiration was that scent was an ignored medium…and only a few creative minds on our planet would consider it as an area of artistic expression…I started by designing three scents for a concert, and before I went public, we tested them with music. I recall the moment when two friends and I smelled the scents with music in perfect harmony for the very first time, and then I knew that fragrance would be my future.”

Aroma jockeying is all about the extension of the sensory experience via scent. This fusion alters both the music and the fragrance, transforming them into an unfettered synergy all its own, the success of which is couched in very specific guidelines.

The meshing of physical harmony with the power of smell, which is also known as “live aroma illustration,” captures the unique “smell identity” of the emotions, sounds, theme, products and colors associated with each one-of-a-kind live venue.

What Is Synesthesia?

Being able to “smell” a favorite sound is linked to a phenomenon known as synesthesia.

This relates to the fact that many people perceive reality differently, and specifically to a condition in which the triggering of one sense, such as hearing, can provoke another simultaneously, such as taste or smell.

There are two types; namely, Projective Synesthesia and Associative Synesthesia.

The former concerns the sense of vision, and seeing colors, forms, letters or shapes while listening to a song or other music. The latter relates to hearing music and feeling that the music “sounds” like a specific color.

Aroma design is not unlike other performance aspects, and its artistic effects are only maximized when they are properly analyzed and interpreted.

The decoder (aroma jockey) must be aware of its many implications as a “gateway for communication.”

The devil is always in the details when it comes to the specific fragrance selection, and according once again to Berghammer: “I use certified, unadulterated organic oils and the world’s finest and purest natural aromatic substances and flavor material: self composed, purest organic air-sprays; floral co2 extractions; unadulterated organic essential oils; the world’s finest hand-crafted incenses; woods; leaves; barks; fruits; florals; spices; crystals; roots; herbs; resins; balsams and real pheromones.”

What Are The Guidelines For Aroma Jockeys

The aroma jockey must juggle a diversity of elements in order to deftly combine the music with a scent that will provide the best experience possible.

The fusion of harmony with fragrance ultimately becomes a “smound,” which is defined as a sensual experience in which scents merge with sound in the human brain.

In Berghammer’s own words: ”…Smound is the perception or sense experience composed from a merging of sounds and smells from the brain…Dark sound does harmonize with woody, dark and root scents from plants that grow in the dark underground. Sunny sounds unite with those from plants that grow in the light.”

How Music And Sound Are Manipulated

Since the dawn of 3-D back in the 1950s, theater audiences as well as attendees in live venues have clamored for more thrills, chills and glorious abandon from the dust and strains of every day life. Aroma jockeying is the ultimate 3 D experience. Smell transports like no other sense because it adds an invisible layer of meaning and authenticity to a performance.

Aroma jockeying carefully manipulates the “feeling” and theme of every live event by matching the finest scents and linking them with music to create a potent and yet delicately balanced multi-sensory adventure that mentally transports to a dazzling, and dynamic dimension that suspends time and place.

A Few Fragrances That Lend Themselves To Aroma Jockeying

Since 1948, we have been a world leader developing, manufacturing and distributing high quality fragrances, air fresheners, deodorizers and odor control products for every application under the sun.

The following represent a partial list of some of our favored scents for aroma jockeys working with live large entertainment venues.

Genoa Lemon Diffuser Oil

Head notes burst with a citrus splash of sparkling, fresh lemon and luscious, juicy orange.

These elements soon drift seamlessly into a floral heart note bouquet featuring sweet, rich and buttery magnolia blossom and light, bitter neroli. 

This alluring fragrance folds into an elusive dry down marked by fresh twiggy green and aromatic, erotic white musk. 


A citrus stream of invigorating grapefruit, astringent, clean lemon and sharp lime form the top notes of this revitalizing scent.

These facets gently fade into a herbal/floral middle note featuring buttery gardenia, slightly medicinal and aromatic rosemary, cool, minty eucalyptus, sweet, intoxicating night-blooming jasmine, green, peppery basil and piquant, vivid carnation.

A robust dry down of dark, musky and sensual patchouli, rich, honeyed amber, balsamic, green Douglas fir and and erotic, passionate musk complete this alluring fragrance.


A complex, warm and spicy amalgam, this white flower bouquet blend was first developed in 2014.

Bursting with energetic head notes of sharp grapefruit, pristine lemon and crisp apple, these opening facets soon surrender to a fruity heart note marked by romantic, passionate rose, deeply intoxicating jasmine, potent, creamy tuberose, soft, delicate and spring-like lily-of-the-valley and rich, smooth gardenia. 

Base notes of dark, rich and honeyed amber and sun-dried, ozonic driftwood complete this intriguing scent.

Twisted Apple Diffuser Oil

This unforgettable fragrance streams with fruity head notes of waxy green apple skin fused with succulent and woody ripe apple.

Soon these aspects fade into a heart note marked by smooth, sugary peach and lush, peachy-nuanced  plum.

A soft, stabilizing base note of warm, amber-tinged and aromatic sweet musk finishes this dynamic scent.

White Tea And Thyme Diffuser Oil

This Air Scent International fragrance is meshed in the tapestry of the alluring and elusive elements that mark many of the fragrances used for burning incense in the countries of the Far Eastern corner of the globe.

A fragrance that is woody and dazzling, herbal top notes soften and soon drift seamlessly into the floral facets that mark a glorious heart note bouquet featuring smooth and clean white tea, narcotic and intense night-blooming jasmine, buttery, romantic rose petal and potent, nutty sage.

The dry down is heady and robust, featuring spicy, leathery thyme, tropical, sugary lily pad and woody, balsamic and dry cedar.

The Future of Aroma Jockeying

It would appear that aroma jockeying is here to stay, although since imagination knows no boundaries, future combinations and applications may exceed those that can now be envisioned.

Berghammer states: “Aroma Jockeying has a big future. There is clearly a shift towards interest in the power of plants and the amazing blissful effects of scents and the pleasures of synesthesia (which is a kind of hidden knowledge). Furthermore, scents can influence the behavior of customers, patients, guests and become a very important communication channel.”

Consider invoking the services of an aroma jockey for your next large company venue.

Make sure he or she uses the best fragrance refills in the world to captivate and enchant; namely, those manufactured by our master perfumers at Air Scent International.

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