Something smells good around here

With my work on the new fragrance/sleep/guided visualisation idea progressing really well, I’m becoming more and more fascinated by our largely ignored, but hugely powerful, sense of smell.

As a matter of fact, I’ve taken to asking people what their favourite smell is, and with the encouragement of a Stanford psychologist I’m actually about to ask you, too.

So far I’ve had almost as many answers as the number of people I’ve asked.

When you give individuals a completely free choice, the responses can be incredibly specific.

A case in point was a couple I recently met for the first time.

Her favourite?



The smell of diesel when there’s a lot of moisture in the air.

Like I said, people can often be highly particular about their olfactory preferences.

I wondered what would happen, though, if I asked you and our other readers to choose three favourite smells from a list of environmental aromas that a sample of the population have said they’re drawn to.

I know we all love a survey, so here’s a very simple questionnaire that I’d love your help with.

Thanks in advance for your contribution to it.

Once you’ve answered its single question you’ll be able to see the results as they come in, live.

I’m pretty sure this is going to be a revealing exercise.

Trust me, in fact. I have a nose for these things.

4 thoughts on “Something smells good around here

  1. I find this whole subject fascinating. I have always found smells take me right back to the first time I experienced them and my favourites seem to all be flowers that were in my grandapents’ garden. When I smell Hoya I am a three year old again standing in their front hall, freesias and I’m picking flowers in the sunshine, lily of the valley and I’m finding the flowers in the shade of a tree at about the same age. Wet earth after the rain is particularly special. As an adult I became a landscape architect, but that love of plants and planting goes back to happy times in my earliest years. Whenever I feel a low mood creeping in I take myself outside to be with growing things. My husband just doesn’t get this at all, so I’d always thought I was a bit odd. I grew up on the other side of the world from where I now live, but one whiff of a particular plant transports me back to New Zealand in the 1950s. It’s magic; a free (and carbon free) form of time travel.

  2. What a shame you didn’t include old books, my absolute favourite is a second hand book shop, even better than bacon!

  3. This is really cool! I love seeing which scents people are drawn to. Previously, it was hard for me to choose a favorite scent that I could connect with. But when you listed them out, lots of memories flooded in and I found it difficult to choose just three! Thanks for the memories 🙂

  4. It’s True Confession Thursday. One of the participants (OK, it was me) failed to scroll to the bottom of the list before making her three selections. Otherwise, “Rain” would have definitely made the grade.

    As others have commented, I found it challenging to pick only three, even though I was working from a shorter list. The aroma of rain, especially from a thunderstorm, would have been my number one. But that would have required pushing either freshly baked bread or cinnamon off the list. Interesting that both of those are associated with home and hearth, which I believe to be a hardwired desire in our DNA.

    And the real-time result when I took the test earlier had “freshly cut grass” at the top of the list. I’m severely allergic to grass so that one is a double-edged sword. (I gave up golf because high doses of antihistamines made me the most hated ‘hazard’ on the course.) I love the aroma, but respiratory and skin reactions have conditioned me to become anxious when I smell it. Skinner would be so proud.

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