I asked this question on Twitter this morning because it struck me as I walked into the bathroom that I love the smell of bleach. I had attacked the shower the night before and smell was still lingering (not to mention it had ruined a pair of black trousers that now have an orange knee)
I got inundated with responses. Probably 30 replies in ten minutes.
Smells for me are so important and I do think I have a very strong sense of smell. I have often smell something long before anybody else. Though it is normally that the gas has been left on, which is a useful thing. Not so much fun when you say “Oh X’s nappy needs changing” and realise you are going to have to do it.
I have a real weak spot for expensive smelly candles. Particularly Jo Malone’s. If I won the lottery this weekend I would buy a lorry load of them and have one burning everyday.
What struck me from my quick straw poll this morning is the number of “normal” smells that people have ranked their favourite. Such as these:
pine forest in spring sunshine / Christmas dinner just before it’s served / my daughter’s hair
Freshly laid tar / Petrol / Mown grass
Coal fires / petrol / blown out candles / freshly struck matches / bonfires
Jet fuel on a clear sunny morning (probably need to be a skydiver to get that one)
my dogs ears
Beer tent on cut grass
Old books / New books / Paperbacks / Hardbacks. They all smell different. Kindles don’t.
Woodsmoke / Play Doh / proper putty with linseed oil and a good gin and tonic
Real fires / frankincense / after it’s rained!
I LOVE hot vinegar.
How often is petrol appearing?!! Or fresh grass. I have to admit that I have a bit of a thing for fresh grass after it has rained.
Or leather jackets.
And new cars.
All of those can really make me inhale and stop me in my tracks.
Interestingly nobody said “Chanel No5” or Brut. Hmmm I can understand the second one. Mr B bought me a bottle of No5 for our wedding because he said that he wanted me to wear it afterwards and then when he smells it in years to come it will remind him of our wedding day.
Can any other sense do that? Can we be transported back in time by the sense touch or hearing? No doubt foodies can be with taste but I am not sure I can. For me it is definitely smell. Seems I am not alone:
That’s easy, creosote. Whenever I smell it I just know summer has arrived
Cut grass brings back walking to school in summer
the smell in the morning of November 6th, bonfires, fireworks and misty morning – lovely, reminds me of childhood.
hyacinths remind me of starting primary school all those years ago.
freshly baked bread, cause it reminds me of home. Bakery behind my parent’s house
Actually I can agree with the hyacinth one. My mum used to visit Covent Garden Flower Market in the run up to Christmas and buy hundreds of them. That smell always reminds me of a house they lived in.
The smell of pear drops always makes me think about being a kid.
Conversely I cannot use lemon scented cleaning products because it takes me back to a job I had as a live in nanny and they insisted on everywhere being cleaned with the stuff everyday. I hated the job and was miserable there for a year. So the smell of Lemon Jif takes me right back to deepest Essex.
No doubt for many people the smell of boiled cabbage reminds them of school.
Interesting that Heston’s “thing” this year, along with the hidden orange pudding again is mince pies with pine needle dusting. Making us want to smell Christmas as we eat them.
Right if you will excuse me, the tumble drier has finished and I need to go and shove my head in the towels to get the full waft of Lenor