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The Olfactory Appreciation Thread (this thread stinks!)

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posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:15 AM
It has often been suggested that we “stop and smell the roses.” It’s also been suggested that “ain’t nobody got time for dat!” If you’re anything like me you’re just too busy, or don’t particularly care for the smell of roses.

Not to worry! There is a whole world of fragrances out there that our much underappreciated sense of smell can introduce us to.

The olfactory gland is actually a specialized piece of brain tissue! It is also closely linked with the mechanisms of memory and emotion.

Olfaction is the sensory modality that is physically closest to the limbic system, of which the hippocampus and amygdala are a part, and which is responsible for emotions and memory. Indeed this may be why odor-evoked memories are unusually emotionally potent

Because we encounter most new odors in our youth, smells often call up childhood memories. But we actually begin making associations between smell and emotion before we're even born.

Now, there are plenty of things we all love or hate to smell. But I’d like to focus on some of the more quirky pleasures and displeasures of the nose—and most importantly, what memories they are associated with.

I actually have a poor sense of taste and smell now after years of chemotherapy—only too late did I realize what a treat our sense of smell is!

So, what smells do you like? What fragrances would you like to see captured in a Yankee Candle? Which ones can’t you stand? Include the memory association if it applies.

When I was in kindergarten I had to fight the irresistible temptation to eat play-doh. I never did find out what it tasted like, but the smell was intoxicating and appetizing! (On that same note, certain kinds of fish bait pastes would produce a similar effect because of the smell and the colorful, doughy texture.)

My memory of the fish bait and its distinct, savory smell remind me of the few times I went fishing with my dad and older brother—and how it was something I’d always hoped to do more often with them (a desire, unfulfilled.)

Whether mowing grandma’s yard early in the morning, or playing outfield in little league, freshly cut grass is a favorite childhood smell of mine. It was a reminder that there were still many summer days left to roll around in.

Usually the smells of a gas station are something that should be avoided like…well, a smelly gas station. But on those long road trips through the deserts of the American southwest, there is nothing more complimentary to the dry desert air than a waft of gasoline. Be sure to spill a little on your shoes while topping off the tank for that bold smell of many miles put behind you (not recommended. And neither is huffing!)

Now for a couple smells that I greatly disapprove of, even though everybody else seems to love them!

Line-dried laundry! Yuck—it smells like Mother Nature came home drunk and urine-soaking and decided to sleep on my sheets for a few hours. I know all the older folks love the smell of air-dried laundry, but it is something I just cannot abide. For my mother and grandmother, it is a smell of simpler times. For me, it is a smell that makes me feel like I need a shower.

So, what’s the deal? Is anybody else smelling the funk that I smell when I take a whiff of air-dried laundry?

Coffee is a smell that truly makes me nauseous! Why, you ask? There is a strong memory-link between the smell of brewing coffee and my cancer treatment. Everyday: morning, noon, and night, there would be a brewing pot in the hospital lounge. It’s not hard to see how I began to associate the smell of coffee with the effects of my cancer treatments. To this day, a brewing pot of coffee makes me gag.

I’m curious to see what odd and unconventional smells you like and dislike—and what vivid memories are attached to them. I can’t wait to see what you folks have to say on the subject!

edit on 23-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:21 AM
I love the smell of tire shops and leather shops. From my childhood I most remember three things: my grandmother's spice cabinet (a secret pleasure), my grandparents' cedar closet, and the smell of old ladies at church.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:29 AM

Originally posted by Lazarus Short
the smell of old ladies at church.

Was that a good smell or a bad smell

Thanks for replying. I love the smell of auto shops as well. The smell of new tires is indeed one of life's hidden pleasures.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:31 AM
Oh I love scented things, candles, soaps, lotions etc. I especially love natural scents like florals, pine, cedar, lemon, orange etc. My house is filled with scented items.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:33 AM
reply to post by Night Star

Any strong memories associated with any smells? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:42 AM
The "old lady" smell was not one that I loved. I don't really like the smell of children, either.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 12:53 AM

Originally posted by NarcolepticBuddha
reply to post by Night Star

Any strong memories associated with any smells? I'd love to hear about it! Thanks.

Hmmmm, I suppose the pine scent reminded me of time spent by a lake or walking through a forest. Floral scents always reminds me of quiet times in a garden. Funny, but lemon and orange reminds me of dishes and dusting because those are usually the scents I use for those things. And most of those scents and more I use in soaps and bath oils and reminds me of long luxurious and relaxing baths.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 03:28 AM
reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha
I have always found it curious how a smell can invoke the most intense memories. For me the smell of a motorcycle is forever etched in my psyche. When I was young my father taught me to work on motorcycles.
Now whenever I smell motorcycle exhaust it triggers vivid childhood memories. Memories of when I was 7 years old that are more vivid than what I remember from a week ago.

This thread also reminds me of a movie.
"Perfume: The Story of a Murderer"

It's about a boy who was born with a perfect sense of smell and embarks on a quest to create the most perfect perfume.
It is one of the most textured films I have ever seen. The trailer makes it seem scary but it has a fairy-tale vibe that makes the violence seem less real so it's not really that scary.
The ending is fun and surprising. I highly recommend it.

edit on 23-7-2013 by tanda7 because: sp

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 07:16 AM
reply to post by NarcolepticBuddha

Nice topic NB !
As Lazarus mentioned ... the smell of leather ...
Having worked as a saddler and in saddlery stores, also on the family stud farm; that smell of freshly tanned
leather is a real treat.

Yet in a strangely connected way, the smell of horse poo also triggers an olfactory memory response.
Not as gross a one as you may expect ... hehe.

Ed: the smell of air dried laundry on the coast as I am, is as fresh as ! ( providing the black cockatoos don't bomb it! ]

edit on 23-7-2013 by Timely because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 09:06 AM
The diesel smell of an Ice Cream Truck. Man, I really loved that smell...probably because it meant ice cream.

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 05:33 PM
I would have to say the smell of sun baked earth and rain is my all time favorite. In the heat of the summer when a thunderstorm first begins to rain, the smell of the hot dirt and the rain is wonderful to me. It means relief. I can almost hear all the animals, birds, bugs and vegetation breathe a sigh of relief. Thing are cooled, and cleaned and for a while refreshed.

I like that we can smell rain on the wind and snow too and how they each smell different.

I have a thing for rosemary as well, dunno where it comes from and did not know I even had such an attraction for the scent until a friend of mine harvested some from a plant she had, to use in a recipe and gave me a sprig to smell. Crushing the leaves released this smell I just loved! I crushed some against my wrists and smelled it over and over that evening. I have since looked for a perfume with a rosemary base but have not found one.

When I was a young girl we had a fence with night blooming jasmine growing on it and at night the breeze would waft the scent into my bedroom, when the moon was full, it shone into my room and onto me in bed, magical times for a young girl with an active imagination.

Nice of you to make us think and remember the smells that have meaning in our lives.

edit on 23-7-2013 by Iamschist because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 08:37 PM
Hello all, see this post and thought I have to add something. Many people take smell for granted, not realising the potential of smells in terms of mood, memories. I had a motorbike accident around 6 years ago, and as a result I lost my sense of smell. It seemed benign at first, tbh I did not even realise at first. The medical TERM for the loss of smell is called Anosmia. Currently there is nothing that can be done for it, it's only a matter of it coming back by chance. GREAT! (Sarcasm) Without realising the implications at first, I was basically told to just get on with it, because there is nothing that can be done. It can lead to things like depression, because a nice smell can either trigger a happy memory, or even uplift your mood to an extent. A somewhat loss of appetite, because food does not taste the same, although I still have taste, just not 100%. It is something I have to live with for the rest of my life, and it can be very frustrating explaining to people, even friends and family who easily forget, because how many times have you said or been asked, can you smell that? lol It is not life threatening, or even an obstacle like blindness or deafness in terms of achieving work, but it does have implications on your general state of well being. Think of never being able to smell your food, almost deciding at will when you are hungry, because even before you start to eat, or don't even realise you are hungry, the smell will generally raise your appetite. Just thought I'd share from another view point. PEACE

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 08:55 PM

Originally posted by Iamschist
I would have to say the smell of sun baked earth and rain is my all time favorite. In the heat of the summer when a thunderstorm first begins to rain, the smell of the hot dirt and the rain is wonderful to me. It means relief.

Oh I can't believe I forgot the smell of impending rain! It only rains a few times a year in my town so it's a good one that everybody enjoys. Everybody goes around asking "It's going to rain, can you smell it?"

Iamchist, thanks for replying. You write like a poet
and I look forward to your responses

posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 08:59 PM
reply to post by fabricofsociety

Thanks for replying! Indeed, this is a very important post.

I have lost a good portion of my sense of smell/ taste (not to mention all my other senses as well.) It can be extremely frustrating, and sometimes you feel left out when everybody goads you by asking, "Can you smell that," and "Can you taste that," or "Can you hear that?"

My answer to such questions is usually "No."

But it has definitely helped me appreciate what things I still can smell, taste, hear, etc.
Find those strong smells and tastes, because they're out there!

I think the sense of smell is easily overlooked and taken for granted. Like I said in my OP, it's one of those things you don't fully appreciate until you lose it.

edit on 23-7-2013 by NarcolepticBuddha because: (no reason given)

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