Sniff! My Favorite Smells

Grasse, France, home to many delicious smells! Image via Wikipedia

As spring sunshine slowly warms the earth, you can smell the new season. Where I live, in  a small town north of New York City, the pungent and specific odor of fresh wild onion — their thin, bright green sprigs poking up everywhere — is one I look forward to every year.

One of my most powerful scent memories, decades old now, was driving through the North Carolina night down a winding rural road when a huge, delicious whiff of wild jasmine suddenly filled the car. Yum!

Some of my favorite smells:

Good leather

Clean dog

Warm horse

Old wool

Jet fuel (I’m going somewhere!)


Balkanie Sobranie pipe tobacco, lit or unlit



Maja soap, a classic with the most elegant black tissue paper wrapping

Oilliet-Mignardise soap by Roger & Gallet, a spicy smell of carnations. Heaven in a box!

Tiempe Passate, a super-hard-to-find perfume made by New York perfumer Antonia Bellanca

Sun-dried pine needles

1881 cologne, the 1955 classic by Nino Cerruti, the one my sweetie wore the night we met 11 years ago


The ocean

Moist earth

A well-made gin martini

Earl Grey tea, freshly steeped (yes, it’s the bergamot)

Grasse, in the south of France, has been a center of the perfume industry for many years and has a museum of scent.

Here’s a link to a Mallorca museum with some rural smells of the past.

What are some of your favorite smells?

8 thoughts on “Sniff! My Favorite Smells

  1. Lisa

    I love your list of smells. I would add to it vanilla, orange blossom, fresh baked cookies, cinnamon, and my daughter’s hair.

  2. The storage room in my grandparent’s house. I haven’t encountered anything to compare the smell to, but it reminds me of summertime, swimming pools, hamburgers, and ice cream.

    Fresh-brewed chai.

    My husband’s hair.

    Gardenia blossoms

    Air after a lightning storm

  3. LE, these are so sensual! This made me think of the storage room at summer camp where they kept all the costumes we wore for musicals we performed. One whiff of that room contained summer…

    Ohhh, gardenia! Such a luscious scent.

  4. I love the scent of freesias – that always heralds spring for me.
    And I love the smell of rain coming – in Zimbabwe, the heat builds up before a thunder storm, and you can actually smell the rain before it starts to fall in huge big round drops. Awesome.
    I always find it amazing how evocative smells can be – sometimes I can sniff something and be transported back to a moment in time, and I have no idea what it is that takes me there.
    Sunshine xx

    1. Lisa

      I love the smell of ozone. And you are so right, you can definitely smell snow in the air. I love that too, when it is the first snow of winter. It gets a little “stale” by the end of winter.

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