Editorial: The Nose Knows

9/7/2013 7:00 AM
By Dennis Larison Editor

Leave it to the Los Angeles Times to alert us to a development of less than urgent import to dairy farmers — a cow-friendly cologne.

The scent, available since July from the Portland General Store in Maine, was the brainchild of Lisa Brodar, described as the company’s “nose.”

She told Times reporter Adam Tschorn that she and her partner Troy Tyler “have really gotten into homesteading and farming,” which prompted her to try to come up with a farm-themed cologne.

Some of the company’s other scents are called Whiskey, Wood and Saltwalter.

“In doing my research, I found some material that talked about how cows and livestock don’t like strong fragrances,” Brodar said. “I remember reading one story about a farmer whose wife washed some of his clothes in a fragrant detergent, and the cows went really crazy and started acting up. They just hated it. And I thought: Now that’d be a challenge!’ ”

This idea seems to make a bit of sense (pun intended). We humans probably underestimate how much animals are affected by scents. My dog, for instance, puts great store in what his nose tells him, and I’ve heard that a much greater portion of a his brain than a human’s is devoted to processing and storing messages from his nose.

Other animals must also have stronger sniffers than we do, so it could confer some advantage to our handling of them if we pampered their noses.

Just think what an edge some fair exhibitors would have if they were able to slather on a scent that would calm their show animals and make them more responsive just before they entered the show ring.

“Believe it or not,” Brodar told the Times, “I actually found a list of scents that are beneficial and aromatherapeutic to livestock — cows specifically.”

The only problem was “a lot of those scents are a little off-putting to humans,” she said, prompting her to turn for a base scent to sandalwood, which is pleasing to humans and probably neutral to cows, to which she added a few of the oils that cows do like.

Although Brodar claims to have field-tested her Farmer’s Cologne at some friends’ farms, the results appear inconclusive. None of the animals “seemed put off by it,” is how she described it.

That — along with the cologne’s price of $110 for a small bottle — may be off-putting to farmers.

But that doesn’t appear to have stopped online sales, which have come mostly from major cities such as Chicago, New York and San Francisco.

“It’s become a trend that a lot of urban — or previously urban — people want to have livestock,” Brodar explained. “You can see that with all the modern homes adding chicken coops. I thought this would be something for the people who dream of that kind of life.”

Still, it seems like it could be a good idea if someone were to pursue it seriously and ignore the human reaction. If they did, those fair exhibitors might end up with something they could use, especially if it were affordable — preferably free.


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9/2/2014 | Last Updated: 11:30 AM