We visited Alice & the Magician in Burlington, Vermont, where the Wisniewski brothers bottle superlative scents for cocktails and experiences

The aroma makers at Alice & the Magician want you to stop and think about scent—less conspicuous than sight, more nebulous than sound—and its often subtle yet crucial impact on our experience of the world. Aaron and Sam Wisniewski, the brother duo behind the company, operate a full-service flavor and fragrance house, designing everything from cocktail products to aromatic landscapes.

You know those scents that take you back? The detergent your grandmother used, your favorite candy from childhood or your hometown after it rains? Of all the senses, smell is the most strongly linked to memory and emotion. The Wisniewskis exercise its power by making aromatics based on their personal scent memories: one, called ‘Dirt Farmer,’ recalls working in their parents’ garden, ensconced in dirt and wet grass. Another recreates opening the door on a winter’s day to the smell of snow and ice; though it’s delivered from a bottle, the effect is unmistakable to anyone familiar with that experience. “It turns out cold has a smell,” Sam said.

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