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My Top Twenty great smells.

Updated on July 30, 2016

Top twenty smells

A smell is a strange thing, I’m sure no two people smell something exactly the same. There is one thing for sure though and that is a smell can bring back a whole album of pictures and memories back in an instant; at least it can for me.

Scents and fragrances have been fought over and we all have our favourite.

Anosmia is the lack of sense of smell, and must be dreadful because we rely on food’s smell to confirm that it is safe to eat, and that we that we like it.

I’m always envious of my two dogs, because they can read the air like a book. They know who and what, has passed through the garden over the last few days, and just where every treat is buried by its smell. First job on a morning they stand and sample the air and then track back and forward following any scent. Imagine going past a chocolate shop with a sense of smell like that!

The world famous museum Jorvik Viking Centre in York Yorkshire England, added smells to the journey through the section looking at how the Vikings lived in ancient Jorvik as it was named by them. You can listen to the ancient language see tapestries of life and of course smell the smells.

curry | Source
sour dough sponge
sour dough sponge

The smells are not in order of preference, but it is the order that I thought about them.

  1. Baking bread, be honest whether it is in the street or in your home, baking bread makes you smile and hungry. It reminds me of my grandma’s house when I was a kid.
  2. Babies; there is something about the smell of a baby that is simple wonderful, maybe not when it needs changing, but after a bath. When my son was a baby and fresh and warm I would cuddle him until we both went to sleep.
  3. Lavender; it has the power to relax you and calm you down. It makes an interesting addition to a recipe too. A dab under my wife’s nostrils steadied her nerves for her driving test; which she passed first time.
  4. Sweet peas; one of the smells of summer. The delicate butterfly like blossoms give so much pleasure both visually and to your olfactory sensors. They remind me of my Mum because they were her favourite flower.
  5. Hyacinths; Christmas, we always have pots of these special bulbs around the house, the fragrance is sheer pleasure. To come down on a Christmas morning and no smell of hyacinths is unthinkable.
  6. Onions frying on a hot dog stand. My mouth waters within seconds of smelling fried onions, forget the sausage let me sniff the onions.
  7. Indian curry. The fragrance of this dish is truly great and maybe it should have been much further up the chart.
  8. Sour dough mother mix. The beery alcoholic fumes of this are quite addictive, I stick my nose in the top of the tub I make my sourdough mix in. Wow it can really make you dizzy. This is a new smell for me, because I have only been making bread for a couple years.
  9. Freshly mowed hay. Sorry hay fever sufferers, but meadow hay is to me a great smell. I kept rabbits and guinea pigs when I was a kid and I used to love the smell in the shed where we kept them after we had had a new delivery of hay.
  10. Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door. One cruise ship I worked on, this was the firm favourite of all the female staff and I associate it with good times and a fantastic period of my life. My wife wears it and she smells like heaven.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
cloves cinnamon nutmeg
cloves | Source
cinnamon | Source
nutmeg | Source

11. Coffee; I mean the beans rather than the drink. Old fashioned grocers used to always grind their own, so it takes me back to my childhood.

12. Chocolate. Enough said!

13. Leather. Nothing kinky here, a real leather wallet or belt makes me want to sniff it. I once won a matching set of notebook cover and presentation folder, key ring etc, what a fantastic smell.

14. Spices; cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg. I could have cheated here and given them all their own place. The smell of festivals, of Christmas, of wonderful meals. The smell of India my favourite place to visit.

15. Sandalwood, maybe it should have gone in with spices, but I think this is a really special smell. I had an aftershave that made me feel three inches taller just wearing it.

16. Cigars, I smoked them for about ten years, which was 33 years ago, but I still like to get a nostril full even though it is not good for the health.

17. Spruce trees. If you ever drive from the old capital of Tenerife up the ridge of mount Teida you pass through a spruce forest which is usually veiled with a swirling mist of low clouds, once through it there is a very pleasant smell of the forest.

18. Strawberries, almost the perfect smell, you know that their smell is almost as good as their flavour and as soon as you get a nostril full then you have to eat some.

19. Flower tent at a country fair. You walk in and you can smell the trodden grass and then the fragrances bowl you over; the heady mix can transport you to a higher plain without doubt.

20. Rose water, when I first started courting my wife back in 1966 we used to go to a very posh Indian restaurant in Bradford called the Taj Mahal. As you entered the building the first thing to greet you was the smell of roses. We felt very grown up and sophisticated when we were there, and in those days, very few locals were eating curry. I loved it from the very first taste and I still do. It is the fragrance of Turkish Delight too.

What is your favourite smell

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