Scents of camping, campfire, and motorcycles could inspire your most adventurous life
Scents of camping, campfire, and motorcycles could inspire your most adventurous life

Scientists recommend “autobiographical scents” to improve mental states and promote healing. Here’s why:

Danielle A. Vincent
3 min readApr 19, 2021

SUMMARY: Articles published in the National Institute of Health indicate certain types of scents have a powerful impact on mental states, affecting everything from reduction in cigarette cravings, to resolving PTSD-related depression, to improving recall in people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Recent findings indicate profound life improvement can be achieved through the use of scent, particularly for people who live in urban environments.

“I just wanted to share my story with y’all and thank you personally. I am a first responder, firefighter, and a 9–11 responder. I have struggled mightily with PTSD and depression. Ever since I discovered Outlaw, self-care has become one of the things I look forward to. I still struggle, but I cannot stress enough how big a part of my life you have become.” — J. Weiz

Do certain scents take you back to your childhood? Perhaps the smell of fresh cut grass or the scent of your grandpa’s tack room? There’s a reason: Your brain responds more powerfully to scent than any other trigger (yes, even more than music).

Because we’re creatures focused primarily on visual and audio cues, olfactory triggers have received relatively little attention. But in recent years, the psychological scientific community has turned their noses to the profound impact that scent — even imperceptible scents like the ambient scent of your home — has on your mental state… and from there, have determined that even small changes in scent can create profound results.

One study evaluated the concept and application of “autobiographical scents” — that is, scents inspired by real life — in particular have the potential to positively affect moods.

“Pleasant autobiographical memories in general can induce positive mood, and invoking such memories has been used as a therapeutic technique to repair emotional distress in various clinical conditions. Since odors elicit more emotional memories than other types of stimuli, and because odor-evoked memories tend to be positive, odors may be especially helpful for enhancing mood states.” — The Role of Odor-Evoked Memory in Psychological
and Physiological Health
, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University Medical School

Outlaw, a company in Sparks, Nevada, is exploring the application of autobiographical scents to inspire people to live active and positive lives. Customers are reporting profound results for all their real-life inspired scents.

One customer, in a review of Outlaw’s Gambler Subscription Box, said, “The scent of The Gambler brings back so many good memories for me. It reminds me of back in the day hanging around the pool hall with my grandpa while he was playing the ‘totally 100% legal poker game’ in the back. I miss those days, but thanks to Outlaw and The Gambler I get to relive them everyday.”

If you’d like to try Outlaw’s autobiographically inspired soaps, you can take their scent quiz and find the right scent for you:

Unlike most scents, Outlaw’s scents are inspired by real life and real scents — no artificial musk or overwhelming chemicals — which is why they’re especially good at triggering fond memories.



Danielle A. Vincent

CEO of Outlaw — — award-winning entrepreneur, published author, and incurable optimist (the doctor says it’s terminal)