Why smell is a form of mind control with Liam Findlay

In this Skip the Queue podcast episode, I speak with Liam Findlay, Multisensory Attraction Designer and Scenting Specialist at AromaPrime.

“Smell is very good in terms of accessibility because even if you’re on a theme park ride and you’re going along in a boat and maybe there are cannons going off. If you can’t see the cannons or you can’t hear the cannon sound effects, if you smell it, it kind of means that you’re not missing out on the story.”

Liam R. Findlay is a designer of themed attractions who also works for AromaPrime, advising attractions on how to enhance their experiences using scent. AromaPrime was founded in 1973, and it creates weird and wonderful pongs for venues like Alton TowersThe British Museum and Madame Tussauds.

The company’s collection of over 400 concoctions ranges from Dinosaur to Dungeon, and Pirate Ship to Penguin Sick. While Liam helps clients select or develop the best smells to tell their stories, he also assists in implementing them in the most effective ways.


What will you learn from this podcast?

  • The use of aroma’s storytelling and psychological influences in your attraction
  • Why “Smell is a form of mind control”

To listen to the full podcast, search Skip The Queue on iTunes, Google Podcasts and Spotify to subscribe. You can find links to every episode and more at www.rubbercheese.com/podcast.

You can also read the full transcript below.

Skip the Queue Liam Findlay Blog large

The interview

Your host, Kelly Molson

Our guest, Liam Findlay



Kelly Molson: Liam, hello. Welcome to Skip the Queue.

Liam Findlay: Hi, how are you?

Kelly Molson: I’m very good. How are you is the question?

Liam Findlay: I’m very good. Fatigued from lots of orders, but it’s a good thing.

Kelly Molson: Right, we’ll talk about that in a minute because it’s a very busy season for you. Our listeners will find out why soon, but first, icebreaker questions. So I’m going to start with a couple of topical ones. I want to know, what is your favourite smell and also, what is the smell that turns your stomach?

Liam Findlay: My favourite smell is probably a kind of, when I was growing up there was an attraction called The Timewalk in the town I lived in, and it had a musty smell in a Black Death scene. And it was very scary and dark in there and it had that horrible smell but the attraction’s been closed for over a decade now, and everyone in the town remembers it for its Black Death smell. And now I work for the company that made that smell, so I have kind of a personal connection to it.

Kelly Molson: Oh, how funny. Okay, so do they have the smell in the archives? So can you go and find the smell and it takes you back to that attraction?

Liam Findlay: Yeah, we’re selling it now as The Timewalk smell for locals who might want to transport themselves back.

Kelly Molson: This is amazing. And again, this is something that we will talk about a little bit later, the reasons why smell is so emotive for people. Okay. And what about the worst smell?

Liam Findlay: I’m not sure when it comes to that because I’m so used to all sorts of horrible smells, and especially with AromaPrime, everything’s artificial so I know it’s just chemicals, so I don’t tend to be repulsed by them. Personally, I think things that are to do with people’s mouths, like food-related smells or if someone’s just been eating and you can smell it.

Kelly Molson: Like if someone had eaten raw onion or something like that? Yeah, okay. All right. I mean, mine’s tequila but there’s a whole other story around that that we’ll save for another day. All right. What are you most likely to buy when you exit through the gift shop?

Liam Findlay: Probably a magnet for my parents’ fridge.

Kelly Molson: Do they collect magnets when they go on holiday and stuff? Is it full of them?

Liam Findlay: Yeah, it’s kind of a mandatory thing, if someone goes on holiday they have to get a magnet for the fridge.

Kelly Molson: Okay. All right, I like that. That’s quite a good collection to have. 

Liam Findlay: Unless they sell smells, Efteling sells smells of its rides in its gift shop. So that’s a must do for me.

Kelly Molson: I’ve never heard of that before. Is that the only attraction that you know that does that?

Liam Findlay: I think Europa Park might have done it, and Blackpool Pleasure Beach has candles that are inspired by the rides, but they aren’t the actual smells. So yeah, I don’t know why more places don’t do it.

Kelly Molson: Well, maybe they will after they hear this podcast, Liam, who knows? Okay. And if you could choose any attraction to create a smell for, what attraction would it be?

Liam Findlay: It’s hard to say because I kind of work on lots of smells for all sorts of attractions anyway. I think I always enjoy kind of time travel ones, maybe linking back to The Timewalk attraction that I grew up with, because they always have a nice variety of smells with all the different time periods you can go through.

Kelly Molson: Okay, yeah, all right. So yeah, there’s a little bit of variety involved in what you could create with them, so it wouldn’t all be the same.

Liam Findlay: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: Okay, interesting. Thank you. All right, Liam, what’s your unpopular opinion?

Liam Findlay: I would say that bad smells are not necessarily bad in that like I was just saying they can bring back memories. We work with lots of care homes at AromaPrime, and sometimes you can have a horrible fishy smell that’s used in scare mazes, but it’s also used to bring back memories for people that used to be fishermen or fisherwomen.

Bad smells, if you put them in different contexts, they can actually not be so bad. Sometimes you can have a kind of horrible manure smell, but if you present it as something like a lovely countryside kind of atmosphere, people can react positively to it. And actually, rhino dung, I was sniffing some rhino dung last week.

Kelly Molson: As you do.

Liam Findlay: At Chessington World of Adventures, and we were saying how it’s just got a lovely kind of grassy smell to it because the rhinos eat grass, but then when you realise it’s rhino dung, you might end up reacting to it negatively.

Kelly Molson: So we need to reframe our minds around what that smell is and take away the bad connotation of it?

Liam Findlay: Yeah. Bad smells are perhaps not always necessarily bad depending on how you look at them, that’s my message.

Kelly Molson: All right, listeners, well let us know what you think. As ever, I’m going to need to reframe tequila in my mind. Maybe, I don’t know, maybe if we meet up at an event, someone can help me do that, who knows? I thought about you while I was on holiday a few weeks ago, Liam. I don’t often think about many of my podcast guests when I’m on a holiday, but you definitely came to mind. It was because of some of the things that we’re going to talk about today.

So I took my husband and my daughter into the Museum of Torture, which was a very small museum in Tuscany, in Sienna, probably not child friendly, I’m not going to lie. I don’t think my 14 month old was overly impressed. But it was very small museum, we went down into the dungeon area and it was very small and it was very dark and it smelt really musty.

And it was the one part of the museum for me that really captured that sense of for like, “Oh, this is a dangerous place to be, something horrid is going to happen here.” And it was because of the smell. You didn’t have that in any of the other areas.

And it was really fascinating, you walked around and you looked at these torture instruments and you saw how people were treated and what they did to people but that area was the one place that it really got under my skin and up my nose, but for the right reasons because of the smell. And it instantly made me think about you and what you guys do. So tell us a little bit about AromaPrime and then tell us a little bit about what your role is there.

Liam Findlay: Well, AromaPrime’s been around since 1973, so we’re turning 50 next year and throughout that time we’ve been making immersive smells for visitor attractions. So it could be to kind of increase anticipation and anxiety in a rollercoaster queue with the smell of fire, for example, like at Alton Towers it’s Wickerman rollercoaster.

Or it could be to educate people and engage them in the past if it’s a historical smell. It could be to kind of bring about certain feelings if they’re walking into a hotel and you want a lovely signature scent that’s going to make people relaxed, or if it’s historical or a nostalgic sense that are used in care homes like I was just saying to kind of bring back fond memories. So there’s kind of lots of ways you can use smells to trick the mind and change how people feel, maybe feeling anxious in the Torture Museum.

And my job is to advise attractions on how to implement these smells and which smells might work best and kind of lead to the best results in their attractions. So whether they want to make people feel a certain way or if they want to tell a certain story and use smells to change how the story’s being told as it developed. So it’s very exciting, always lots of different projects.

Kelly Molson: It is. And I’m really intrigued about how you came to be in this role. So your bio says that you advise on Aroma’s storytelling influences, psychological influences and thematic influences, as well as practical ways to utilise aroma in different environments. All of this is really, really fascinating. But what did you study and how did you get to be this person that advises them on all these things?

Liam Findlay: Well, I actually did an animation degree and then I worked in the animation industry for a while. And from that I kind of learned lots of design skills and storytelling skills and I ended up putting that into work at an escape room where I designed escape rooms. So there was kind of sound design and visual design and telling stories again.

And then I ended up working freelance designing experiences and museum interpretation for attractions like castles and more escape rooms and a ghost train on one occasion. And through working in the attractions industry as a designer, I wondered if I could maybe contribute my kind of understanding of the processes behind attraction design and put that into smell.

And I knew that AromaPrime existed and I wondered if maybe I could help them out through that. So I sent them an email and they said, “Oh, we’re looking for someone like you,” and they took me on and I think it was late 2018 maybe so it’s been a few years now and it’s been going quite well.

Kelly Molson: So you’ve kind of honed your craft working at AromaPrime. So can you just explain a little bit about, I understand about the storytelling influences that we talked about and how smell brings back those memories and it can transport you to a different place, tell me about the psychological influences and the thematic influences. What do you mean by those? How does that work?

Liam Findlay: It’s a bit like what I was saying about the rollercoaster queue or in a scare maze, for example, you might use a pleasant smell that lots of people have a familiar connection with like the smell of bananas. Maybe not everyone likes bananas, maybe the smell of chocolate, to kind of lift people’s spirits and give them a false sense of security so that when they suddenly turn a corner and see something horrid and it has a disgusting kind of rotten smell, you’re kind of crafting the psychological journey for them.

So you’re bringing back these pleasant emotions and memories and then you’re twisting it. And maybe that horrible smell will be the smell of vomit that most people will have really unpleasant associations with and it’ll make them feel uncomfortable when suddenly a pig man jumps out with a chainsaw. So you can tie the sense into how the story develops and manipulate or influence emotions as it goes along.

Kelly Molson: Yeah. And what about the thematic influences? What does that mean in terms of smell?

Liam Findlay: It’s probably the most basic way of looking at sense. So at fantasy experience for example, like we did a wizard mini golf attraction recently, so it’s kind of binding or creating sense that apply to a theme. And sometimes that can be tricky if it’s a fantasy theme, you might not really be sure what kinds of smells potions have.

But with our unicorn smell, for example, we sniff some horses, as you would, and we read lots of ancient myths about unicorns and we kind of approached it like we would approach historical smells. So we want them to be backed up with stories and kind of authenticity where possible to make sure that the theme is as strong as it can be.

Kelly Molson: Isn’t that funny though because when you said unicorn, the image of unicorn in my head is glittery and pink because every little girls are obsessed by glittery pink unicorns. And so I was like, “Oh yeah, but for me, unicorns smell a bit sugary,” a sweet sugary smell they’d smell like.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, well that’s what the final product is really. It’s like got a little undertone of horse, but it’s mostly like a birthday cake.

Kelly Molson: Yes. Oh, I love that. Thank you for explaining that. That’s put me right. Yeah, it’s really weird how you see what something looks like and you instantly imagine what it smells like, even though I have no clue what a unicorn smells like, obviously.

I guess it’s the same feeling, the one that you spoke about in terms of making people feel comfortable and then shocking them is, I can remember reading something years ago about if you are selling your house, have some freshly baked bread just come out of the oven because that is a smell that everyone finds quite comforting and quite homely.

And so then if you can smell that while you’re in a new home, you think, “Oh yeah, I could see myself living here. This is a cozy place to be, isn’t it?” So it’s that kind of sense that you’re trying to get build in people.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, it’s a big thing in retail using scents in shops. There was a study where people went into a room, I think it was full of shoes and it wasn’t scented and they kind of responded to what they thought of the products, whether it was shoes or not.

And then there were some other participants who went into a room that was scented and it had the same products and the people in the scented room valued the products as being more expensive, or they guessed that they would be more expensive because they saw them as a higher quality because the room was scented even though they didn’t realise it was the scent that was causing that.

Kelly Molson: Because they could smell the leather and the… Right, okay. Gosh, that’s interesting, isn’t it? How it can affect how you perceive something as well.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, it can change perception. And also like you say about pleasant smells, if you smell something like bread, it makes you kind of hungry because it kind of triggers those memories of enjoying bread and therefore you’ll start to kind of seek it out and you won’t necessarily find bread, but you’ll seek out some kind of satisfaction and that satisfaction might end up being purchasing something.

Kelly Molson: A very expensive house purchase.

Liam Findlay: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: How do you create smells? Because I watched one of the interviews that you did, I think it’s for the BBC, which I will link to in the show notes, it’s really interesting. But I think one of them said that your recipes, some of them are based on 30 year old recipes, these smells. So how do you even start to create the smells?

Liam Findlay: Well, yeah, well like I was saying, we are turning 50 next year, so it was actually slightly inaccurate in the BBC video is-

Kelly Molson: Sorry, kids, it’s wrong.

Liam Findlay: Well that was my fault, I told them the wrong date. Because actually, there are not many records about the company history and I only a while ago realised or found a document that said when it was founded. So it’s always been a bit of a mystery.

But yeah, over that time we’ve accumulated over 400 aromas, so we’ve kind of got a big stock of anything anyone could imagine just about. And if they want something that’s a bit more specific, sometimes we might combine our existing scents. So it might be a bit of grass with a bit of rotten eggs for some kind of Roald Dahl soup for example.

And then if we are making something from scratch, it will be a case of finding the chemicals that kind of have certain qualities like you might have a chemical that is generally used in rose products because it has a rose smell and then you can combine it with others. And often we’ll have references like maybe rhino dung, we’ve been sent otter poo and jaguar urine before to get that right.

Kelly Molson: In the post? Go get the post today, I wonder what could be in it, that’s a surprise.

Liam Findlay: Yeah. So sometimes we’ll be kind of mixing things and sniffing and then we’ll also send lots of samples to the clients so they can say if it’s accurate or not and it works that way.

Kelly Molson: That’s brilliant, isn’t it? Funny to understand what might turn up in your letter box each day. So when you work with an attraction, Halloween is a very obvious market for you. There’s lots of scare things that happening and they are very smell related. But how do you work with an attraction? What’s that process of them calling you in and going, “Look, we’ve got this thing that we are doing, how can you work with us?” What do you do?

Liam Findlay: It kind of varies on what their end goal is. Sometimes regardless of what the kind of function of the attraction is, sometimes it will just be a case of them telling us how large the space is and then we’ll advise on the kind of machine that they’ll need because we do machines as well and the themes as well and then we’ll suggest some scents and then they put them in the machines. And it can be quite a quick process sometimes.

If it’s more complex, it might be like a museum that wants a historical scent and they don’t want it spreading around the whole museum and stinking things out or ruining the paintings down the corridor, there can be more advice to give in that regard.

So museums often it’s good to use what’s called dry diffusion when you have an object that’s scented rather than liquid kind of going out as a mist into the air. So that object will just kind of emit a smell and you can maybe put a lid over it or have it in a container that has a puffer. So yeah, I would often ask what the end goal is and then kind of make some suggestions from there.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, because I hadn’t thought about if it’s a museum, those artefacts and those things could be damaged by certain smells. It’s also, I guess you have to be quite consultative in your approach about what you offer to them individually.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, another case or another issue can be around whether people want to smell things or not. Like if they go to a scare maze, they’ll probably expect to be repulsed. But if you go into a museum, I suppose it’s because people aren’t really used to it, they’re not always prepared to sniff things. So it can be good to have flaps so people can choose whether they’re going to smell things or not.

Or maybe some places will put up little warnings if it’s kind of a profound world war trench set that they can walk into and there’s going to be horrible smell of bodies and things. Sometimes there might be a warning because it almost equates to having gory images, like in museums you’ll have warnings that there’ll be gory images here.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, and I guess talking about what we were saying earlier about those emotive, it can take you right back to a place, I guess that could be quite frightening for some people as well if they don’t want to be taken back to those places, for example.

Liam Findlay: Yeah. And because smell’s kind of flexible and a horrible smell relating to war could also be a horrible smell relating to some other unpleasant personal memory. So yeah, sometimes you have to think about how the smell’s going to be presented in a way that’s going to work for the visitors.

Kelly Molson: Okay. Thorpe Park, the Dungeons and Warwick Castle all have promotional scent ranges. This is something that you helped them develop, isn’t it? I think this was during the pandemic. Am I right? So can you tell us about this? How did this happen?

Liam Findlay: Well, it was a tricky time because all the parks were closed so the parks were wondering what to do while they were closed. And the parks were our customers as well, so we couldn’t sell to them. So everyone was kind of out of action at that point. So we were kind of thinking of ways that we could engage people in our products for the parks and for us.

So I think it was Thorpe Park we approached first and we just suggested that we could kind of release some of their smells that they used in their scare mazes and eventually it was Warwick Castle and the smells they used in their Kingmaker Experience and the Dungeons and their smells to make them available, branded under the scenes that they appear in those attractions so people could buy the Blacksmith smell at the Warwick Castle Kingmaker Experience. And that was a nice way to take people back to the attractions while they weren’t able to visit.

And it helped AromaPrime as well because we were kind of profiting from the customers of our customers in a way that everyone was kind of happy with because it was promoting the parks and the customers were happy because they were being taken back to the parks.

There was one customer who contacted me and was thanking me for the opportunity to buy the smell of the Tomb Blaster ride at Chessington World of Adventures because her sister had autism and she was really struggling with the lockdown and being able to transport herself back to the ride through the smell during lockdown kind of brought her lots of comfort. So it turned out to be a kind of lovely and beneficial project for everyone, a nice way of adapting to the scenario.

Kelly Molson: That is so wonderful, isn’t it? By the power of smell, being able to be in your favourite place without being able to leave your house. That’s incredible, what an amazing thing to have been able to do.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, and fans really enjoy it. The Wicker Man Woodsmoke smell from Alton Towers is really popular and we get people that diffuse it in their living room and make all the lights red and they play the music and send us photos.

Kelly Molson: That’s taking true fan to a whole nother level, isn’t it? Recreating the smell of your favourite attraction in your living room, wow. Okay, that’s great. But there’s other ways of using smells as well, isn’t it? And I think this is something that you’ve been talking about quite a lot on LinkedIn that I was really interested in. A smell tour of Amsterdam has been developed. And you’ve been part of this, haven’t you? So this isn’t just about attractions, this is about tourism as well. Tell us about this. I don’t fully understand what it is and how you’ve developed it.

Liam Findlay: Well, this was run by Odeuropa, who I’ve been collaborating with a lot. And Odeuropa is a kind of global group of academics who are working to improve the ways that senses are used to tell historical stories and how they are used their museums. And one of their projects was this smell tour of Amsterdam and this was done through a scratch and sniff card.

So my job was to illustrate the card and it was a map of Amsterdam so you could kind of follow a route and go to an apothecary that had a certain ingredient to its perfume that it once used or you could go down to the canals and smell what the canals used to smell like hundreds of years ago and kind of scratch as you went around. And they developed an app as well so you could kind of track where you were going.

And that was a really nice way to engage people in history and they were able to access the stories themselves. They weren’t just going through a museum and reading stuff, they were properly exploring and sniffing and taking it all in. And it was a really exciting way. It was throughout the month of September and the cards were available at Amsterdam Museum and it was an exciting way to get people enjoying and almost living the past because they were going through the real places where all this stuff happened.

Kelly Molson: That’s such a brilliant idea. So yeah, it’s completely immersive, isn’t it? You are in the area, you’re doing a walking tour so you can see the places that are being described to you and then you can smell what they smell like a hundred years ago.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, it was cool.

Kelly Molson: Wow. That is really cool.

Liam Findlay: Got lots of good responses.

Kelly Molson: And I guess you worked with them in the same mode that you would an attraction, it’s just understanding what used to be there, finding the smells that you already have and then bringing them all together into the scratch card.

Liam Findlay: Yeah. In this case, Odeuropa already had the smells because they’ve been working on lots of different historical smells themselves like the smell of hell, I think based on a kind of 1700s painting, maybe it was another century.

Kelly Molson: And what does hell smell like? Can you describe it to us?

Liam Findlay: From what I understand, it’s mostly fire and bodies.

Kelly Molson: Burning hot stuff? Okay.

Liam Findlay: But one of the members of Odeuropa had worked on an exhibition in The Hague where people could go around a gallery and they had paintings and smell puffers like foot pumps so they could pump it and a smell would come out and that would be the smell of the painting or of something that was in the painting. And it was a nice way to kind of engage them with the contents of the painting, kind of look a bit harder and think about what’s making that smile and why did it smell that way? So Odeuropa already had lots of interesting smiles that they could incorporate into this.

Kelly Molson: That’s brilliant. I would absolutely go on a scratch and sniff tour of anywhere.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, well it’s a nice model because you can kind of apply it to any city or even, I don’t know, an ancient school or a hospital or all sorts of places.

Kelly Molson: And if you think, I guess there’s just so many advantages to it as well for people that can’t see the places that they’re in but can still feel that emotive connection to them by being able to smell what those places smell like.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, smell is very good in terms of accessibility because even if you’re on a theme park ride and you’re going along in a boat and maybe there are cannons going off, if you can’t see the cannons or you can’t hear the cannon sound effects, if you smell it, it kind of means that you’re not missing out on the story.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, it’s brilliant. I hope they do more of those, I’d be up for that.

Liam Findlay: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: There’s a quote that I read from you that said, “Smell is a form of mind control.” It really resonated with me, especially because of some of the things that we’ve been talking about. But let’s go back to what you started to talk about at the beginning of our interview was about the smells for care homes because you’ve worked on quite a few projects for those as well. And I think obviously this is not attraction related, but I just think this is such a wonderful thing to be able to use your skillset for. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve done.

Liam Findlay: Well, care homes was one of the company’s first kind of activities I suppose back in the seventies. I mean, back then it would be the smells of the 1920s that would be made to take people back into the past. And that’s something interesting as well because the kind of residents who are always getting that bit older and the smells that will be familiar to them change gradually so we have to kind of think, okay, maybe World War smells, I saw on Twitter someone was complaining that their mother was being subjected to World War II songs, even though most care home residents probably weren’t around back then anymore or at least a small number.

So yeah, we’ve been producing nostalgic smells for care homes for a long time and it can be really nice if there’s like carbolic soap for example is a popular one. If there’s a smell that lots of people perhaps with dementia who will have personal memories with, it’s a nice way of unlocking those memories, especially you tend not to lose your smell memory.

So if you smell something from the past and even if you have memory problems, smelling that can kind of unlock something from years and years ago and bring back those memories and encourage conversation with the other residents that you might live with about their memories and then they’ll kind of start talking about it and sniffing and it can be a nice way to lift spirits as well as bringing back memories.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, it’s wonderful, isn’t it? I saw the clip, and again this was in the clip that we will add into the show notes, but it was about the soap smell and the lady said, “Oh, it just makes me feel comfortable.” It took her to a happier place where she just had really good memories of it and it was just such a lovely clip to see, you could almost see her face kind of light up with the smell because it took her back there instantly. It was just brilliant. And just think that’s such a lovely thing to do.

Liam Findlay: Yeah, there’s a company called Rempods, which they make a kind of sets for all care homes like a recreated nostalgic pub from the sixties or a train carriage, that’s quite a popular one. So like a wall and there’s a window that’s a screen and you can see the countryside going past. And we work with them quite a lot to supply smells to kind of bring that whole experience together. So that kind of ties into the theme entertainment as well.

Kelly Molson: Yeah, it’s like a mini attraction in a care home with sense. That’s incredible. I had no idea that that was even a possibility. What a brilliant thing to be able to do for people.

Liam Findlay: Yeah. It could even be as simple as a memory box that. We have a customer who makes memory boxes for care homes, which are just kind of full of props and things that the residents might be familiar with and they include the smells as well. And that same customer, she is a funeral director and we have what are called aroma cubes, which are normally used by care homes and they’re just little cubes you can pick up and sniff. 

And there was someone who was in her chapel of rest who had died and the person who had died had worked in a bakery so this funeral director had put the smell of bread in a little aroma cube just in the same room. And when her family, the person’s family visited in the chapel, they could smell this and they just found it really kind of nice and it took them back to her bakery and it wasn’t kind of gimmicky, the room wasn’t full of bread smells, it was just a little thing that they could use to have a nice moment with. And it worked really well.

Kelly Molson: That is so lovely. I was just thinking, because I lost my granddad a really, really long time ago, I think I was like 20 when I lost him. And if I could be in a room now and his smell would be Polos, he had Polos, pockets full of Polos everywhere, even when he passed away, all of his cardigans had Polo packets in them. And that would be the smell that would bring me back to him instantly.

So I can completely imagine how comforted they were by smelling that. Oh, it sounds really lovely. Liam, I know that you’re super busy at the moment because we are recording this at the beginning of October and Halloween is coming and everyone goes crazy at Halloween, right? So you’ve been busy since probably a good few months with people ordering in their smells. What’s the most popular Halloween smell on order at the moment?

Liam Findlay: I’d say the familiar one is the most popular because you want smells that are going to affect the largest range of people. So it will be things like vomit and poo and rotting flesh is actually popular. And I suppose not many people would be familiar with that.

Kelly Molson: It’s not a statement you hear very often, “Rotting flesh is very popular.” It’s not popular here.

Liam Findlay: We’ve released a new blocked urine smell as well. Because we already had a urine smell, but I wanted to try something that had more of a kick to it. So we’ve got kind of two urine choices this year.

Kelly Molson: Wow, wow. We’ve taken it to a whole new level of poo and wee smells on the podcast people. Liam, thank you for joining us today. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed talking about this and I think it’s such a fascinating subject to talk about. So thanks for sharing your insight. We always ask our guests for a book that they’d like to recommend to us, something that they love or something that’s helped them in some way. What would you like to share with us today?

Liam Findlay: Mine is Theme Park Design and the Art of Themed Entertainment by David Younger. And this is like, I think-

Kelly Molson: It’s like a Bible, Liam. It’s huge.

Liam Findlay: Yeah. Well I was just going to say, lots of attraction designers kind of treat this as their Bible because it’s like a big encyclopedia of everything to do with theme park design. So there’s a bit about smells in it, there’s a bit here about costumed characters, there’s stuff on cues and how different cues work. So it’s like anyone wants to go into theme park design or attraction design in general, even if it’s like museums, this is a great resource.

And actually David Younger, the author, I’ve just been working with him because he’s started a Kickstarter for a video game that’s based on a theme park sort of. And we’ve put together a scent collection of the different locations in the game so as people are playing, they can sniff the smells and kind of transport themselves into the world of the game.

Kelly Molson: Oh, how cool. You must send over the link to us and then we can pop that in the show notes for any of the listeners that will be interested in it.

Liam Findlay: Yeah.

Kelly Molson: Okay. So look, as ever, I feel like this is going to be an expensive one for my marketing budget, because that looked like a really big book, Liam. But as ever, if you’d like to win a copy of this book, then if you pop over to our Twitter account and retweet the episode announcement with the words, “I want Liam’s book,” then you’ll be in a chance of winning it.

Liam, thank you for joining us on the podcast today. Good luck with Halloween, I know it’s a really crazy busy time, but thank you for coming on and sharing all of your wonderful smells with us today.

Liam Findlay: That’s all right. Thank you for having me. It’s been fun to talk about them.


Do you know someone we should be talking to?

Do you know someone fascinating we should be talking to?

If so, email us at hello@rubbercheese.com – we’ll get back to you shortly.


Paul Wright.
Kelly Molson Managing Director

Host of the popular Skip the Queue Podcast, for people working in or working with visitor attractions, she regularly delivers workshops and presentations on the sector at various national conferences and universities including The Visitor Attractions Conference, ASVA and Anglia Ruskin University.

Read more about me

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