What are some of your favorite smells?
I like many aromas but some of the best are the ones that can only be truly appreciated when they are totally immersive, when every breath brings another wave and you’re compelled to breathe through your nose. I played golf years ago in Florida on a course that doubled as an orange grove. The sweet smell of fresh-squeezed oranges was everywhere. Then on my first visit to the Hawaiian island of Maui, I walked out of the hotel room to be greeted with the smell of bananas and noticed the banana trees were planted all over. Finally, we took the lavender tour at Matanzas Creek Winery in the Bennett Valley region of Sonoma. The stroll through lavender fields was awesome and when we ended the tour at the drying barn’s open barrels of lavender seeds, the aroma was overpoweringly delightful.
Other smells are not in-and-of-themselves pleasing, however, they invoke a happy memory or perhaps just a feeling of a happy memory. The smell of certain burning plastics brings back one of those happy feelings. I seem to faintly recall a toy, sort of a boy’s version of an Easy-bake oven, that molded plastic into various shapes. I have no memory of what I made or what I used it for, it’s just a feeling, but obviously a very good one. Others I recall quite vividly. I used to love to assemble model airplanes, meticulously gluing together dozens of parts. The smell of that type of glue takes me back and makes me smile.
Perhaps an odd observation, but I find myself sniffing first when meeting people or turning the corner into a new room. Scents travel and often are the first sense we can employ to gain a little recognizance ahead of an unfamiliar situation. This might be a primal reflex, but I’m not an expert. I’ve just caught myself over and over sniffing first and seeing, touching, or hearing later. Maybe it’s just me, but it’s what I do.
Walking in the front door of the house and being greeted by waves of baking bread or a Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing dinner are awesome aromas. Waking up to the fragrance of hot cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven. The first inhalations from a morning’s freshly brewed coffee.
During COVID I lost my sense of smell for a few days. Only when you’re missing something can you really appreciate how much you treasure it. Coffee was just warm brown water, losing all of its appeals without its scent. I hope that never happens again.