Relationships

What Smells Do You Love?

dog out a car window

This weekend, I ducked into a home store, when I was stopped in my tracks…

I picked up a soap to smell through my mask, and suddenly I was transported to my Michigan home three decades earlier. The soap smelled exactly like my dad did when we were growing up — a mix of shaving cream and musky aftershave. I felt like I was 10 years old again!

Scents are incredible for their ability to whisk people through time and space. The New York Times just wrote a story about meaningful fragrances. “Every time you notice a smell — fresh bread, your best friend’s house, a wet dog, garlic frying in butter — it means volatile particles in the air have entered your body and, just for a moment, become a part of you,” says restaurant critic Tejal Rao.

Other people piped in with their scent memories: “For years I’ve been in search of a candle that smells like Nuts 4 Nuts, the infamous New York City cart that serves these treats all over the city,” says Marc Rosenberg from Brooklyn. “I’ve never actually cared for the nuts themselves… but the aroma is pure magic.”

Another sweet answer? “I am a retired teacher,” says Janet S. Bryan from Sioux Falls, S.D. “One of my distinct memory smells has to do with children playing at a table while I play along, too. The scent is the smell of new Play-Doh.”

(Do you know you can actually get a perfume that smells like Play-Doh?)

What would you add? What scent memories come to mind? I’d love to hear…

P.S. What sounds do you love, and what has inspired you lately?

(Photo by Eva Plevier/Stocksy.)

  1. – the Pacific Ocean
    – wet dog
    – the cow fields in my hometown
    – fancy stores
    – my parents
    – the library

  2. Rachel says...

    Riding down 5th Ave in the back seat with my dad driving, my great grandmother would stick her tiny wrinkled hand behind her through the seats to hold mine and sometimes pinch it! I hunted down a small bottle of Joy perfume from the 80’s to bring back that memory. Works every time I open the bottle. sigh

  3. Nikki says...

    YES. Marlboro Red smell specifically always transports me back to the house I lived in right after college with a big group of friends (still all friends now, just older and living in our own homes) and all the late nights jumping into the pool and dancing in the kitchen.

  4. Nicole says...

    We camped a lot in the California mountains when I was a kid and my mom would always stop while out on a hike or walking through the campground, sniff the air, and say, “I love that smell of hot pine.” When I went to college in Santa Cruz, I would occasionally get a whiff of that smell while walking across campus and even now, years later, I still always think of her when I smell pine trees on a hot summer day.

  5. My Dad was in the Coast Guard when I was little, so we moved a lot. The first place that ever felt like home (and has continued to be my “hometown”) was the Oregon coast.
    Years after I moved away and living in Philly, I walked down a street I’d never walked down before and was suddenly transported home. It took a little bit of searching, but I discovered a flowering laurel next to a blackberry bush – the scent of my childhood! I live in Seattle now, so both plants are regular parts of my life and every time I smell them together I’m seven years old again, climbing trees barefoot and coming home with blackberry stained fingers.

  6. Kelly says...

    I just got a cologne from Etsy that has that specific piney-smokey-frankincense smell of a Catholic church in winter. I didn’t realize how much I missed that or needed that. I’m fairly lapsed in past years, but it makes me think of midnight mass with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law, all of us nodding along to the French we don’t quite understand but following it anyway by muscle memory.

    • bb says...

      wait, kelly, what’s the name of this cologne or etsy shop? I’ve been searching so long for something exactly like this!

  7. Lily says...

    Oh gosh it’s so disgusting, but I love the smell of the dog training facility I take my dog to! It operates as a day care and boarding facility as well, and that “doggy” smell really clings to the walls, but I just love the smell of being surrounded by dogs and doing what I love most– working with my dog!

  8. LB says...

    The smell of fresh bay leaves reminds me of childhood days spent hiking through Northern California hills, specifically Big Basin park (which just had horrible fires).

    There’s a random bay leaf tree on a run I do in my Texas neighborhood and every so often in the right season, I pass it and am transported back, out of the humidity and my work-day run and to my happy place.

  9. Yelena Altman Shapiro says...

    I have a lot of smells that I absolutely love but what I also love is that my friends from college have mentioned that they think of me every time they smell DKNY Be Delicious perfume.. you know, the one that looks like a green apple? I used to wear it all the time in college and it makes me so happy that it’s an association of me!

  10. leah says...

    Gap released a bunch of scents in the 90s – remember Heaven, Dream and Grass? Takes me right back to 90th grade, listening to Mary J Blige, wearing my new silver puffy vest, getting ready for parties in someone’s basement. The smell of hormones, excitement and promise.

    • Megan Kongaika says...

      Haha…hormones, excitement and promise. Yes! I had heaven, LOVED MJB, and my puffy vest was red. Ha. Nostalgia in a bottle!

  11. Cynthia says...

    Strawberry shampoo from when I was a child transports me back to a time when life was much simpler…

  12. Irina Vodonos says...

    Car exhaust in frosty air, especially in the evening. Nothing takes me back to my childhood in Russia like that scent.

  13. Dorothy says...

    I discovered I had COVID when I woke up one morning and couldn’t smell my toddler daughter’s hair. Luckily, I’ve recovered and my smell has since returned, but I had no idea the sense of loss that I would feel during the time that it was gone. I missed my daughter’s soft baby smell most of all but also longed to smell our fire, the oranges I had cut up to decorate the tree, and peppermint. Another of my favorite smells is the inside of my husband’s car. We were in a long-distance relationship for a while (me in Ireland and him in the U.S.) and I can remember all the times he picked me up and how the scent of his car would envelope me and make me feel safe.

    • Molly says...

      I love this! The scent of your husband’s car is SO sweet. And I’m so glad you’re feeling better!! xo

  14. Madelyn says...

    I suffered a concussion almost 4 years ago, and lost my sense of smell and taste. I miss smells so, so, so much! It likely won’t ever come back. A few smells survived….for instance, I can pick up a whiff of lemons, and coffee. (could be worse) But boy do I miss perfumes, and the smell of pine….I don’t know what my boyfriend’s house smells like! Every house has a smell! You know? It’s very disconcerting.

    • kd says...

      Concussions are hard. Still noticing symptoms of mine 10 months later. Just wanted to say I’m sorry this happened to you. Xx

  15. Sue says...

    My fiance and I are getting married this Saturday on 12/12 and we picked out a Jo Malone cologne to both wear, to commemorate and remember the day. We had to push our larger wedding celebration to next year and I’m hoping when we wear it next year, we will remember the special moments of our original date.

    • Jenn says...

      My husband and I got married in September, and we did this too – I picked Maison Margiela’s Sailing Day, which was perfect for wearing also on our honeymoon in Maine. These days if I throw on one of my honeymoon sweaters with the scent barely lingering, and my husband positively swoons. I even convinced my best friend, who got married last November, to try it – now, any time she wears it, her husband recalls their honeymoon in Argentina and jokes that he’s in the mood for steak! A wedding/honeymoon scent is a MUST.

    • Megan says...

      We did this, too! We were married last December and though I didn’t use enough to really smell it throughout the day (I was so paranoid about overwhelming him because he’s sensitive to smells), we’ve worn it every month-anniversary since and any time we want to feel a little nicer and it is so, so, so nice.
      I’m so glad we picked out scents for each other.

    • OMG I love this Sue, Jenn, and Megan! My fiance and I cancelled our November wedding date for Big Sur in May (fingers crossed) with immediate family and pushed our party/celebration to 2022 (cue deer in headlights look). I LOOOOVE the idea of a scent to tie all our meaningful dates together… though our original wedding date is forever preserved as it was the date it became clear Biden won the election <3!

  16. Amy says...

    Oh, so many smells feel magical to me. The smell of books (new & old), pine trees. The first smells of summer & rain. When you can tell the first snowfall is coming. The brownies in the baking plant near my first apartment. The smell of church & holy water (I no longer attend, but the scent has stuck with me).

  17. Like many others, I am sensitive to artificial fragrances (headaches, nausea) but definitely have some natural scents that I love. Balsam firs in the sun high in the mountains, (real) maple syrup, books, sautéeing garlic, petrichor…

    For those that want to continue down this dreamy rabbit hole of scents and memories, I highly recommend Erica Bauermeister’s novel The Scent Keeper.

  18. Jessica says...

    My mom religiously uses Estee’ Lauder’s ‘Beautiful’ perfumed lotion and I secretly cannot stand the smell of it! But it reminds me of her and I know that one day I will desperately miss that smell.

    My boyfriend always has laundry on the go at his apartment, so the smell of laundry detergent is a comforting reminder of him.

  19. A says...

    I have many but the smell of radiator heat takes me back to my college years in old north side Chicago apartments.

  20. Sarahkate says...

    Oh my can scents ever re-create magic! The most perfect fragrance in the world to me was how the Marshall Field Department stores smelled at Christmas. I now know it was their own creation, and now that I’ve been on the hunt to match that fragrance for too many decades to admit, I can identify it as a combination of pine or fir, clove, orange, and a faint hint of rose. I did find a potpourri made by a company in San Francisco which comes very very close. Brings back brilliantly lit stores full of eager shoppers, the most creative Christmas windows, the uniformed door men, the wandering caroling trios dressed as Victorian gentlepersons, and of course the requisite Santa visit.

  21. Amy says...

    A flowering magnolia tree, especially after a rain. My parents had a magnolia tree outside of their bedroom, and the smell transports me back to laying in their bed with my mom just chatting. Also, fresh brewed coffee and the ocean.

  22. Kiley says...

    When I was a child I remember the smell of my mom’s shampoo when she would get out of the shower. It would make the whole bathroom smell “like her” and it was so comforting. This past weekend I was holding my 1 1/2 year old son after just having washed and styled my hair, and he took a lock of it, held it to his cheek and sighed. It made me so happy that my smell is a comfort to him just like my mom’s was for me.

  23. Helen says...

    Has anyone mentioned the smell of their dog yet? I hope dog lovers will understand — I love the way my dog’s breath smells. I can’t explain it other than pure love.

    • A says...

      Yup I love the smell of my dogs fur, regardless of cleanliness lol.

    • Molly says...

      Yes!! 100% agree. I’m pretty sure my dog thinks I’m a freak bc I’m forever hugging her & taking a big sniff of her warm, comforting scent! ;) It’s the best!

    • My dog smells like cereal and milk in the morning or after a long nap. I cannot explain it. But it’s one of the greatest smells on earth.

  24. Laura says...

    Meyer lemons
    Tomato vines – I once found a candle that smell exactly like it and haven’t been able to find it again
    Old garages and cellars
    Fresh cut cedar
    Aqua Velva aftershave – my grandpa used to use it and when he died, I remember going into the bathroom as a 6th grader and pouring a bunch on paper towel and putting it in a plastic bag. I held on to it for years and would open it when I missed him.

  25. Sue Harris says...

    Early summer mornings, while it is still cool, but you know it will be hot later. That smell, I cant really define it, but it takes me back to my childhood. Growing up in the country, walking barefoot in the dust of the dirt driveway, the sun already hot on your head, but the air still cool.
    The smell of bed linens dried in the sun outside
    The smell of fresh cut grass
    Warm bread baking
    Lilacs when the sun comes out after the rain.

    • kd says...

      I love these, Sue! The early cool summer mornings before it gets hot. I grew up in the country and had cheerleading practice at 6am every day of the summers. If I’m ever out at my parents’ in summer, I try to wake up extra early for this….

      And the sunny lilacs after the rain when it’s still a little humid out. The best.

      All of these are so great. xx

    • Anon says...

      Yes to all of these!

  26. Sally says...

    For most of my childhood and teenage years, we lived next door to an eccentric Scottish lady named Betty. She was a real character, and someone who could talk and talk and talk (even now, if one of us encounters a “talker”, we’ll still end up saying, “but they didn’t rival Betty!”

    Every year, she’d buy my sister and I chocolates for Christmas, and in exchange we’d go round to her house and spend half an hour or so pressing all the buttons on her MANY musical Christmas decorations. She absolutely LOVED Christmas, and her house was absolutely DECKED.

    Betty died quite suddenly of cancer in early 2015, and we all went to her funeral. And there her daughter presented my sister and I each a couple of Betty’s Christmas decorations. When I got home and unwrapped them, I was engulfed in the very distinctive smell of Betty’s house, all perfumey and floral. I was utterly transported. Smell is an incredibly potent thing.

    • Abigail says...

      I love this story. 💜

  27. Therese says...

    Chicago’s Midway airport has foaming soap in the bathroom that smells of …maybe My Little Pony? I can never quite put my finger on it but every time I fly home, I make it a point to wash my hands instead of using my ever present sanitizer; it transports me to being 8.

    • Lynn says...

      YESSSSSS!!!! It smells like these little plastic dolls I had a a kid. Kind of strawberry. I cannot believe I’m talking about this.

    • kd says...

      Oh my gosh! Thank you for calling this out! I have smelled this (not at the airport), but in other random commercial spaces. It smells like my childhood and toys, but I can’t ever pin it down. :)

  28. RS says...

    I have the dining room set from my late Grandparent’s house, and it includes a buffet. When I open a cupboard door, it still (nearly a decade later) smells exactly like their house used to, and it makes me happy every time.

    • Anna says...

      My grandparents moved out of their home a few years ago, and sent me the quilt I’ve always loved from their guest bedroom, and as soon as I opened the box I was transported back to Grandma’s house. It made my heart so happy.

  29. Anne says...

    I recently bought a travel size bottle of Cetaphil face wash on a whim, looking for something gentle for my travel bag. The moment I used it I was transported back to my high school self, and the bathroom in the house where I grew up where I used to try out all kinds of beauty experiments with hair, skin care and makeup as a teenager. It even had me daydreaming about my high school boyfriend and I thought of memories I hadn’t remembered in so many years. So random and surprising that this was all from a face wash that I hadn’t used since high school. Its not a particularly beautiful scent but it hasn’t changed.

  30. Roos says...

    The other day I was taking an evening bike ride. The day was already seeping out of the sky and because I was going downhill I could see the skyline of Brussels ahead of me, all movie-decor-ish in the blue hour. As I was waiting for a traffic light I caught the smell of a bakery just next to the road as the doors opened and that sweet sweet smell of bread and pastries somehow wafted to me. It was a moment that just softly takes your hand and whispers: “hey! look! smell! feel! hear!!” I felt very lucky to have a body at that particular moment, because my senses had been neglected and tangled up in work all day but this just made me perk up and think “I’m so glad I’m alive!”.

    Other favorite smells:

    – saffron
    – my late grandmothers perfume (i’ve kept a bottle)
    – my mother’s laundry detergent
    – fresh laundry hung out to dry in the garden (I still play a little hide and seek w/ myself whenever I encounter it at my parents. It’s like an Estee Lauder ad)
    – adding to that: White Linen by Estee Lauder (my mum’s perfume from when I was little)
    – libraries
    – when the heating comes on
    – suncream
    – my niece and my nephew’s necks
    – open fire
    – metros in different cities (Paris, London, Brussels)
    – citrus fruit peels
    – crushed acorns (we lived in a street w/ acorn trees and come fall the cars would crush the nuts so you’d get this strong scent of crushed acorns when I’d bike to school in the mornings)

    • Kate says...

      A bit late to the game but…
      Giorgio perfume ( my mom’s)
      The smell of my Grandparents’ house. It’s been exactly the same my whole life and I have no clue how to describe it but I love it.

      The smell of my Grandad’s work shop in his basement, a mix of oil, rusty nails and damp but in the very best way possible.

      The sweet, damp smell of the woods in the fall

      The way my nephews hair smells when they’ve been playing out in the sun in the summertime.

      The smells of sunscreen and bug spray together takes me straight to every summer of my child

      The musky smell of a horse farm

  31. Jessica says...

    I love the smell of a garage- dirt and wood and tools and lawn clippings. Every time I walk into a garage it makes me think about my dad and my grandpa. Now my husband has the same smelling garage and it brings me so much joy.

    • Liz says...

      Yes! I love the smell of a garage too :)

    • Laura says...

      Same here! We just bought our dream mid-century house with a big garage that smells exactly of the dirt, wood, etc smell, especially my grandma’s cellar. I love it.

  32. Sara says...

    As children my siblings and I spent a lot of time at our grandparents home in Nova Scotia, and even though it’s been years, we can still name the distinct smells of the different nooks and crannies. Tennis balls and chewy mints in the hall closet, gasoline and laundry soap in the garage, and Noxema woven into the fabric of my grandfather’s Lazy Boy.
    For many years after her death, the smell of my grandmother’s perfume would bring me to tears. I would walk past a stranger and catch the scent and immediately start crying thinking of her.

  33. Kate says...

    I have two older brothers who were VERY into He-Man as kids. They had all the figurines, but the only one I remember was Moss Man because he had a very specific smell. Like pepper and wet earth maybe? Every now and then I catch the smell somewhere, just a fleeting sense, and it brings me back. We all live in different states now and live different lives, but I try to text them whenever I smell Moss Man.

  34. Fresh-cut grass, slightly overripe citrus, and jasmine all remind me of my childhood in Florida. Outdated perfume with that musky-sour smell remind me of my grandma’s house. Cigarette smoke reminds me of my grandpa, who died when I was 11.

  35. Sarah says...

    My aunt religiously uses Tide in powder form and the box would sit open in their sunny laundry room so the house smelled of it. I always knew when something came from there. To this day when I hug her the smell takes me back to being a child at her house with my cousins in the summer with homemade slip n slides, hide & seek in the dark, and countless dance routines we made up.

    • Julie says...

      I’m not big on perfumes or fragranced products in general but Tide’s Original Scent detergent has a strong hold on me. My mom’s genius way to get us to do all the laundry once a week was to let us stay up late to watch movies and eat pizza if we helped her fold all the accumulated laundry with her each Friday. The scent reminds me of home in general but especially those goofy nights at home. It took me a long time to learn how to fold larger items alone because growing up there was always a second set of hands ready to fold sheets and blankets.

  36. Jessie says...

    I live in a cold place, and my house is not well insulated. Yesterday morning I was rifling through the closet for the warmest thing I could find, and I put on my partner’s Pendleton button-up. Because it’s wool they recommend against washing it too often, so as soon as I put it on I smelled his cologne. The thing is, since the pandemic started, he doesn’t wear his cologne as often. Sometimes I forget that I even equate the scent with him. Yet still, as I smelled the cologne on his shirt I felt happy and comforted and thought of pressed slacks, flat caps, pleated skirts, and electro swing.

  37. Sara says...

    I love the smell of beeswax, redwood groves, and ocean air.

  38. Kylee says...

    When I was little my dad and grandpa did a lot of home projects, so we were brought along to Home Depot for material runs. Every time I walk into Home Depot I’m transported right back to my childhood. Also, fresh grass and coffee!

    • Molly says...

      Golly, this is the best thread!! Such precious memories being shared. <3 <3 <3

  39. Nancy says...

    What a great question! Smells are so evocative. So many to choose from but a few favourites are that first hit of ‘cold night air’ (when I was little I slept in the top bunk bed and before going to sleep used to stand and press my nose to a small air vent at the top of wall and inhale the cold air from outside) and the smell when I crack open the old biscuit tin full of Christmas decorations – which is an intoxicating blend of nostalgia and magic!

  40. Lynn says...

    Coty loose powder smells like my grandma, tater tots smell like school, exhaust from buses smells like an airport.

  41. Jodie says...

    The smell of paint and paint thinner reminds me of my Dad. I always say his scent is a combination of heat, soap, and a slight tinge of paint thinner. He used to airbrush and hand letter cars in the garage when I was growing up. It is the most comforting smell I know.

  42. meghan says...

    I love the smell of freshly washed laundry!

  43. Sansa Stark says...

    Wet dog (means adventures in the great outdoors!).
    Buttermilk.
    Thyme and pine candles. My Gran’s house always smelled like that at Christmas. I was sniffing candles in a store a few years ago and came across it completely by accident. I don’t think I would ever have known otherwise.

  44. jane says...

    i don’t smoke, but cigarettes will forever smell like a party. stinky, nasty marlboro reds have that intense scent that makes me feel so happy – so few people i know smoke now. i selfishly miss it!

    and – microwave popcorn. totally makes me feel like i’m about to watch a movie in someone’s deeply carpeted basement in the midwest.

    • Therese says...

      Same! I love cigarette smoke in the summer air, even though I abhor smoking.

    • Anonymous says...

      Yes the smell of clove cigarette meaning college and freedom and first crushes

  45. Amy says...

    My dad smelled like the sun after playing golf in the summer. I miss him so much.

    Otherwise, nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee and fresh bread. I used to live near a bakery in California and they would bake bread all throughout the night. The whole neighborhood smelled like fresh bread in the morning.

  46. Lana says...

    My best friends house growing up! We had the same Nike jacket and we’d smell each other’s jackets in the cloakroom to make sure we didn’t take the wrong one home. Hahah! The same goes for her, because even to this day, (she’s now my sister in law!!) she’ll walk into my moms house and say, “Yep! Smells like Helen’s house!”

  47. Nicole A. says...

    I recently read an article that explained how Starbucks “scent marks.” That’s why they usually have their shop away from food courts! I went to the mall the other day for Christmas shopping and noticed the article to be true! Smell is so powerful! (Some others who do this: Bath and Body Works, Cinnabon, etc).

  48. Sarah says...

    I love the smell of date squares – they remind me of my Gramma who is a horrible baker and those date squares were dry and stale, but the smell! It reminds me of many magical Saturday visits to my Grandparents house, playing with my cousins and watching hockey night in Canada…..and politely saying no to the date squares.

  49. Rosa says...

    From time to time I catch the scent of something that reminds me of the smell of a doll I had as a child. It’s a sweet scent and it always takes me back. I’m very scent sensitive so it’s often a struggle to navigate this smelly world lol. Like, in the past I’ve had to leave homes because of their strongly scented air fresheners or my parents when they’re cooking certain foods. Smells that I love include smoke from a wood fire, coffee, salty sea air, and fresh cut wood. Natural smells. The thing about these scents and their ability to transport you back in time is that they come at you out of the blue and are hard to pin point on the spot.

    • Rosa says...

      Noxema cream!

  50. Katie says...

    1. The smell of brewing coffee on a flight to Europe. That smell gives me hope that we’re almost there!

    2. When my mother would come give me a kiss when my parent’s came back from a party. It was the most wonderful smell of wine, cigarettes, and Norell perfume.

  51. Wendy says...

    The smell of Halloween night. It’s a magical combination of the crisp night air and the smokiness from the candles inside the Jack-O-Lantern. It made me really excited for trick-or-treating as a child.

    The smell of my grandmother’s apartment in Japan. It’s indescribable but I can recognize it immediately. Whenever we received packages from my grandparents, I would tell my mom that the items in the box “smelled like Japan.”

  52. Carol W Wayne says...

    The family joke is that every time we smell Clorox we think of grandmother…she was born in 1904 in Oklahoma and lost her mother to tuberculosis when she was 4…everything always had to be so clean in her home..even when we traveled with them she would always wipe down the rooms at the Howard Johnson’s or Travel Lodge that we stayed at…good training for Covid! She was a wonderful cook…her fried chicken was a joy…apple pie…biscuits…pork chops….and so creative…I have her quilts and they are so colorful and beautifully stitched. It wasn’t till Covid hit that I began to wonder why she was such a fanatic about cleaning…I am sure the trauma of losing her mother so young to TB and living through the Spanish Flu epidemic had something to do with it…if she could just keep her corner of the world clean…maybe it would be safe.

  53. Amanda says...

    Like clock work, every spring with the first smells of newly laid mulch I am back to being 10 years old on the playground at my elementary school.

  54. Lauren E. says...

    I dated a guy in Ireland during my 6 week study abroad trip in 2006 and he wore Armani Code. To this day, if I pass someone on the street wearing the cologne, it takes me right back. Just don’t tell my husband :)

    • Anonymous says...

      Omg same

  55. Britt says...

    So many. Coppertone sunscreen, which reminds me of beach days when visiting my FL cousins. Fresh newspapers bring back leisurely weekend mornings. The smell of my local library and old bookstores. The smell of rain on asphalt. Fresh brewed coffee and freshly baked bread. The smell of downtown Seattle (used to work down by Pike Place market). Woods, particularly when slightly damp or dewey when hiking. And one of my favorites, the smell of salty ocean water. Brings me back to surfing.

  56. Veronica says...

    The scent of suction tube cleaning liquid. Yeah… I know, let me explain.
    I’m a dental student and after each long day spent on clinic seeing patients we have to clean everything down. Part of this involves disinfecting the suction tubes. The cleaning liquid we use has a distinct, chemical but woody scent. It lingers on the bays for a while. For me it is the smell of the end of a long, challenging and often stressful day of treating patients. It’s the scent of exhaustion and fulfilment and being one step closer to becoming a dentist.

  57. Catharine says...

    Lilac scented teen spirit—it reminds me of middle school summer camp. I smelled something lilac a few years back, and I was absolutely transported!

  58. Kate says...

    The smell of gasoline in warm weather. It’s the weirdest thing but it reminds me of my happy place–my grandparents cottage on the Finger Lakes. It was sold a few years ago, but that smell brings me right back to the excitement of summer, running down the dock with water skiis in hand while my Pappy got the boat gassed up and ready to go.

  59. Nicole says...

    Dog paws and cat breath, can’t help it. Also Spring.

  60. Emily says...

    Old Spice original reminds me of my dad, specifically when I was about 3 or 4 and he would come home from teaching (he is now a retired professor) and curl up on him in a chair– I thought it was the best smell in the world! Cooking-wise, the smells of paprika, bread, pancakes will always make me think of home. And I really love any fresh or herby smell: lavender, thyme, oregano, basil, lemon, mint.

  61. Megan Johnson says...

    Growing up, my grandmother had this amazingly lush garden in her backyard and anytime one of us kids fell and scraped a knee or got a splinter, she’d snapped off a piece of her giant aloe plant and pick a few sprigs from her tea tree bush. Like some kind of magical, friendly woodland witch, she’d peel the skin off the aloe flesh and vigorously rub the tea tree between her strong palms (she was a hairdresser)–it was a whole thing with sound effects and all. Then she’d smear this homemade salve onto our bump or bruise and I have no idea if it actually worked, but boy, did the smell alone make you feel brand new. I know a lot of people find tea tree overpowering, but I find it so calming–it always takes me back to my childhood years spend running barefoot through my grandmother’s garden.

  62. Lucy says...

    I love the smell of musty old story books — it’s like the delicious anticipation of a rollicking adventure and imaginative wonders to come, all rolled into one. I love poking around messy 2nd hand bookstores and antique shops seeing if I can unearth any rare or out of print old books, the better if there are inscriptions inside the covers or scribbled old notes within — the better to daydream about the secret life that book may have had before landing in my lap. There’s just something extra charming about pre-loved books that new books, as wonderful as they also are, just don’t quite come close to.

  63. Laura says...

    When I did a project on the 1920’s in high school, I found an old bottle of my mom’s Chanel No. 5 and had the same, transportative experience! Suddenly I was 6 years old, waiting for Pizza Hut delivery with a babysitter while my parents rushed out the door on their way out of the house for the night. I obviously didn’t know at the time, but apparently that was the scent my mom wore most nights they went out! So crazy how certain smells have this power.

  64. Nina says...

    I’m extremely sensitive to smells and fragrances. I have a whole panel of them linked to memories. For example, I love the smell of coal smoke (which is very toxic I agree), because it reminds me of winter holidays in Hungary. My mother is Hungarian, and my dad is French, growing up in France, I was (and still am) very nostalgic of times spent in Hungary (once a year or less). My Hungarian grand-mother died 8 years ago on december 6th, and I still think of her anytime I smell chamomile tea or calendula cream… <3

  65. Love this post!!!
    ~L’Air du Temps & Chanel No. 5- my mom
    ~Original Chapstick (the black one) and Avon hand Cream- my dad
    ~Original Caress Soap & roses~ my Nana
    ~Eternity perfume- my Grammy
    ~ Armani Code- hubby
    Others that transport me to childhood/fond memories: wet tar, fresh-cut grass, wood smoke, the ocean, fresh bread, Coppertone sunscreen.
    I could go on and on, Smell is something I have always responded strongly too.

    • Lauren E. says...

      L’Air du Temps! My mom wore it, too. It’s the only perfume my dad doesn’t hate.

  66. Bren says...

    I love this post! There are so many smells that come to mind. One smell I know I will never forget is the soap in the NICU at the hospital. Every day, my husband and I would make the long drive together to go visit our preemie twins, and we would stop at the hand washing station to lather our arms all the way to our elbows. We would grab a little sponge and use the nail scrubber to make sure we got every single nail clean as instructed. We still talk about how for the rest of our lives, if we ever smell that soap again in an airport bathroom, it will immediately transport us back to those long days and nights praying for our sweet girls to come home.

    • Joanna says...

      Oh my goodness, you brought me back to the exact memory I have! 36 years ago I had the same experience! My boys came home on Dec 2 and Dec 7 after almost 2 months in the NICU. The smell of the soap! Yes!

  67. Margaret says...

    Freshly cut grass always takes me back to a bike trip through Nova Scotia the summer between high school and college.

  68. Hayley B says...

    The Aqua de Gio perfume for women was the first branded perfume I really fell in love with as a teenager. It just felt so fresh and sophisticated and glamorous at the same time somehow; I even loved the green bottle it came in. I received a teeny tiny sample bottle from a friend working at a mall and I’d uncork the bottle just for little whiffs whenever I needed a quick little pick me up and it always made me feel happy. Today I wear a totally different perfume but that was one of my early faves.

    The other scent that takes me back instantly is The Body Shop’s dewberry perfume. It was an overwhelmingly powerful and looking back cheap-smelling “perfume” but for some reason everyone at my all-girls high school in the 90s loved it — you couldn’t walk two steps without your olfactory senses being assaulted by it. I also remember CK One being really popular back then thanks to the viral advertising campaign.

    But the smell that takes me back to my childhood is from a particular bar of soap. I can’t recall the brand now but I remember it was white, with floral notes that felt reassuring, like a clean warm blanket. That and the smell of Coppertone sunblock and chlorine from swimming pools — good times.

  69. My favourite scents are my little boy when he’s all warm and clean after a bath, my ‘milkshake’ hair products, and Christmas dinner. Can’t beat them

  70. Jane says...

    I’m allergic to scents and wish others were aware that this is an issue for quite a lot of people. People wearing perfume, burning scented candles, room spray, air freshener, all send me into a migraine or intense nausea, sometimes vomiting. I actually have to excuse myself very quickly from situations where people are wearing or using scent like this so I don’t get sick, it can be socially awkward but I’d rather that than be sick. “Natural” smells like food or actual flowers are fine but anything artificial/scented is a big problem. I have a really hard time understanding why so many people love adding heavy scent to their environment. To me the most wonderful “scent” is fresh clean air!

    • I’m like this, too, with a few exceptions. I feel like my parents’ generation is full of artificial fragrances: plugins, candles, room sprays, scented detergents. It’s a landmine when I go home for the Holidays and I almost always get a terrible migraine. But natural scents like nature and food are perfectly fine.

    • kd says...

      I dated someone with a severe allergy. He couldn’t touch or be around almost any fragrance. I got rid of a bunch of products in my home, but was always heartbroken to think about not wearing my perfume I’ve worn for almost 20 years. I’m more careful about the stuff I bring home now, but more importantly, more mindful of how this affects others. I’m sorry you have to navigate this challenge. Xx

  71. Oh gosh, so many smells can transport me back. It’s such an important sense and I love it when a smell drifts past me that really captures me. A few of my favourites:
    My Nan’s perfume – I’ve no idea what it was (I think a Guerlain?) but it’s a rare day I smell it again
    Bedding just in from drying on the line – I’m immediately back to being tucked into bed
    Fresh yeast – my Mum made our bread for years when we were growing up
    Leather and horses – I’m 12 again, riding out with friends, enjoying the movement, the air, the freedom.

  72. cj says...

    Bushfire smoke, fresh laundry & newborn babies!

  73. Hannah says...

    My grandma used a specific laundry detergent – one which I now use for cashmere jumpers and other wool clothing as well. And whenever I smell the scent on my clothes, I’m reminded of her. It warms my heart. But I miss her.

  74. Hannah Ward says...

    My washing machine was broken a couple of weeks ago so I was taking laundry to my mum’s which is a short drive away and having a cup of tea while it was on a quick cycle. I took it home whilst it was still wet but once the washing was dry every time I took a piece a wear it was a sucker punch of ‘home’ smell and felt like a hug from my mum. I have since bought the same detergent but it doesn’t have the same effect when I do it myself. Isn’t that strange? Might have to pop home to use my mum’s machine more often!

  75. Alice says...

    My mum wears two perfumes on rotation, and I don’t know anyone else who wears them so they are indescribably HER. Every time I go home, when I leave I spray some of her perfume onto my scarf so I can bury my face in it and smell her whenever I’m feeling sad. It ALWAYS helps.

  76. Laurel says...

    Wood shavings. Growing up, my dad did workworking as a hobby and always smelled like timber after being in the garage. When I moved overseas, I asked him to bring some of the shavings on his first visit. He did, and made a small box with a slider lid to house them. When I get homesick, I take a whiff. Makes me tear up just to write this!

    • Em says...

      so sweet laurel!

  77. martini says...

    Snow

    The breath of new babies. Nuzzling the necks of babies after their baths.

    Snickerdoodle cookies.

    The town of Hershey, PA.
    The whole town smells of chocolate.
    They even use the chocolate aroma in the wood chip mulch used throughout the entire town. Amazing.

  78. NMN says...

    The smell of leather and doublemint gum smells takes me back to running errands with my mom when I was a kid – this scent combo smells just like her purse.

  79. Claire says...

    Late in high school I wandered through a Sephora with a friend. For fun, we smelled some perfumes. All of a sudden I stopped in my tracks when I came across Chloe’s signature scent. It smelled so familiar but I couldn’t place it. Later that night I asked my mom and she told me it was the perfume she’d work when I was a child and it made so much sense why it’d had been so comforting. At Christmas, my lovely friend gave me a little rollerball version of it. :)

  80. My grandmother (Gargie) used to come and visit from Sydney, staying in her caravan in our front yard.

    I’d always wake up early and slip into her bed with her while she listened to the morning radio. Then her partner John would make us mugs of tea and hot toast. I absolutely loved it. Her little space always smelt like slightly overcooked marmalade toast and some other magical, musty sort of scent I can’t quite put my finger on. To this day every time I smell marmalade toast I think of her. x

  81. Anna says...

    Meyer lemons – I had never smelled one before I moved to California 9 years ago, but wow. The smell is incredible to me.

    Crisp mountain air. The pine.

    The soap my mom uses at her physical therapy clinic. It’s been the same soap since I was a baby. It smells like mom is home from work.

    Strangely, the smell that comes up from grates in cities. I know it is disgusting, but somehow it represented being somewhere cosmopolitan in my youth and I can’t shake it.

    And…my husband was taking a shower a month ago and I walked in and was immediately transported back to a college frat house. He had bought SANDLEWOOD Head and Shoulders. This was replaced. Immediately.

  82. Jane says...

    My grandmother always wore April Violets by Yardley. She passed away a few months ago, and last week, I found a small tube of the April Violets handcream, and bought it to keep and remember the smell.

  83. Martha Patterson says...

    Peppermint…even if it isn’t Christmas! I stock up on Twisted Peppermint soap to carry me through the year. Lemon takes me back to my grandparents house that was surrounded by lemon bushes, and the fresh squeezed lemonade we’d drink. One did not visit grandma’s house without a few lemons…after her funeral, many of the out of town relatives made sure to pick a few to take home! And lavender…Every year I attend a lavender festival up on the Olympic Peninsula..it is truly a multisensory experience! The fragrance of the lavender, combined with the sunshine on the purple flowers..and lavender lattes, ice cream, gin and tonics…..delightful!

  84. Rachael says...

    A house near me put up a new cedar fence this summer that smells exactly like my grandmother’s home in Idaho. My dad and his brothers built the home themselves over several years, so it’s the stuff of family legend as well as being the backdrop to all my summertime childhood memories. Every day when i walk past that fence I close my eyes and inhale, and I’m transported thousands of miles and several decades back to childhood summers picking blackberries from the bushes lining her house and smelling that sun-warmed cedar.

  85. Emily says...

    I have a vial of the perfume my mom used to wear when she and my dad went on dates when I was a kid. It’s called “White Shoulders” and, to me, is still the ESSENCE OF glamour, but it also makes me instantly feel safe – chilling with a TV dinner and a cool babysitter, knowing my beautiful mom and handsome dad will be home in just a few hours.

    • Cherie says...

      White Shoulders is the perfume my mother has worn her entire life. My father’s loves it and when I was a child I remember him giving it to her every Christmas. Your post made me smile.

  86. Jenni Gaderlund says...

    My 13 year old daughter just had this experience! I picked up some bag balm for her at the drugstore since her lips have been so dry. She opened it and immediately got very excited about the smell. I told her that I used to use it on her when she was little because of her excema. She said, “I remember this smell! I love this smell!”
    It was very sweet.

  87. Kerry G says...

    The smell of bacon will always remind me of my Grannie! Growing up, we always lived far away from family, but we would spend one week in the summer with my grandparents in rural Mississippi. My Grannie would wake up most mornings and make bacon and biscuits. The smell always takes me back to those days!

  88. Kelsey says...

    There is a smell that always brings me back to childhood summers in Texas. Hot, baked earth and dried grass. I’ve since moved away and while I don’t miss the heat, I find myself missing the smell. I also had the thought recently that my son won’t know that smell and won’t associate that smell with summer because his summers will smell like baked earth and pine. It’s an odd feeling!

  89. gabrielle says...

    Coppertone, wrapping paper from my grandma’s presents – just delivered to CA from London still smelling of her and cigarette smoke, Shalamar perfume, southern CA chaparral plants, citrus blossoms, roast chicken, just to name a few.

  90. Savannah says...

    Old Spice Pure Sport. My crush at summer camp wore it and then all the boys in his cabin started wearing it because the girls all talked about how they loved it. Sometimes when I’m at the store buying my own deoderant, I take a sniff and think fondly of my teenage summers on the lake. I could never get my husband to wear it, which is probably a good thing as he smells good with whatever his deoderant is (which I funnily do not know the specific name of!) But man Old Spice knew what they were doing with Pure Sport scent.

  91. Loren says...

    Charred chestnut shells always whisk me straight back to Paris, and if I close my eyes I can conjure up the sulphurous gassy smell of the RER platform at Chatelet.

    When I went to college I fell in love with a vegetarian restaurant that had the most incredible smell of cooking, as you walked up the stairs, a combination of whole wheat bread baking and their lasagna sauce, which featured allspice and garlic, simmering on the stove in a huge kettle, .

  92. Allyson says...

    My Grandma Mary Alice always smells like strawberry LipSmackers gloss and spearmint candies. My Dad smells like a dirt road, old cars running rich on gasoline and tobacco. My husband’s hair smells like Spaghetti-Os (sounds weird, but it’s comforting).

  93. Stufona says...

    For me, American buttercream smells just like birthdays!

  94. SD says...

    Leather, old books, and pine trees. One of those will make me happy. All three together? Pure bliss.

  95. K says...

    All the stickers from The Sweet Smell of Christmas children’s book. The green sticker for the tree, brown sticker for gingerbread, orange for … orange. When my husband recently found out it was still in print, he ordered it immediately. (We have no children – those stickers are for us. But that’s what pandemic nostalgia will do!)

    • Susan says...

      ♥️♥️♥️

    • SD says...

      Woah!! I haven’t thought of that book for years. Probably more like decades. But just *reading* about it brought the smells back and with them the memories of being a small child and the excitement of pulling that book out of our Christmas box each year, scratching the stickers, and smelling them!

    • Danielle says...

      Oh my goodness! I had nearly forgotten about this book. The oranges in the stocking. Thank you for the reminder!

    • jillian says...

      THIS!

    • Amy says...

      I read the comments and bought this book for my kids. It arrived today. When I opened it up, it didn’t look familiar…. but when I smelled the hot chocolate one and the pine one, I just remembered I had this book in the early 1980s.

      Several years ago, I smelled a candle and bought it only because it reminded me of *something* from my childhood. I couldn’t remember what. Now I realize it’s a smell from that book! Incredible!

  96. Emily says...

    The smell of the sun on grass, especially if it was cool enough for dew that morning. So fresh!

  97. Rachel says...

    I hope you bought that soap! I try to indulge when it’s reasonable. An orange, a bouquet, a candle, the scent memory and pleasure is worth a a small splurge from time to time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Yes! I got one for myself and one to send to my dad to see if he agrees! :)

  98. Christen says...

    The most comforting smell to me has always been vanilla. When I was little I slept with a water baby doll (remember those?) against my face every night. My doll smelled just like vanilla. I’d put myself to sleep by gently gnawing on my doll’s little hand until one night she sprung a leak.

    I’m especially comforted by holiday scents— cinnamon, clementine, and cranberry. My heart goes out to anyone experiencing the loss of taste or smell due to Covid, that would be especially difficult during the holidays.

  99. Alexandra says...

    I was just talking about this with a friend today! I recently had dinner with an ex-boyfriend (masked, outside) and caught a whiff of his scent that instantly took me back to being 19 and hopelessly in love.

  100. M says...

    My husband, a wildland firefighter, always smells like campfire, evergreens, gasoline, and sweat. It is so effing sexy.

  101. Kristiana says...

    I just had a moment like this yesterday – I stopped into a home wares store here in Dallas and picked up a candle labeled “Amber & Smoke”. I was instantly transported back to my uncles cabin up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that I would go to ever fall growing up. It smelled EXACTLY like the woodsmoke and the old cabin smells. Incredible how strong scent is and the memories it takes me back to.

  102. Lori says...

    On a podcast I was listening to recently, the hosts were talking about how they missed the smells of their friends’ homes as they aren’t visiting people during the pandemic. It made me stop and think about what my friends’ homes smell like, if anything.

    Tuna fish was a family favorite in my house growing up – Sunday was often a day for the “super duper tuna salad” my dad would make. I do still remember being hugely embarrassed when a childhood friend said my house always smelled like tuna. Nothing worse than that to a 10 year old
    ; )

    • My mum when she used to come and visit always used to say “I love walking into your house, it smells just so perfectly you” it was wonderful. I feel the same about their house. I couldn’t say what the smell is, a combination of books, crafting, cooking, but it’s so distinctly theirs and I would know it in a second.

  103. Lisa says...

    Every year I’ve driven through Yolo, Napa, and Sonoma counties of California to get to my grandparents home along the Russian River. There’s this distinct oak-y, grass-y, eucalyptus-y, warm dirt and river water smell that permeates that entire region. Since moving to the East Coast for grad and med school, the idea of that smell has stuck with me and will quickly bring on a wave of homesickness if I ruminate on it for too long.

  104. Christina says...

    My Happy Place is my grandparents’ old house in South San Francisco. Their entry hall had a cork wall which smelled incredible! I also loved the smell of their pantry. Those two smells always make me smile if I’m lucky enough to find them somewhere!

  105. Diana K. says...

    OMG that Nuts for Nuts scent memory is so real. I grew up in Queens and when I was little we would only go into the city for special occasions, like to to see the Rockefeller Christmas Tree and those sugar-crusted beauties took OVER the entire corner with their smell. When I got older, I had a shitty fashion internship in the city and I would hold back tears trying to carry a 30 lb box of lookbooks from Midtown to TriBeCa. Sometimes I got a bag of nuts from the Varick Street nut guy for the long subway ride home, but one day I told him I didn’t have any cash and the guy gave me a small bag anyway. Last year I got my dream job, and my office is right next to Bryant Park, home to a particularly pushy nut guy. Now that I work from home I no longer see him, but I hope all of my nut guys are doing ok out there.

    • janine says...

      I love the smell of the street nuts, too. My husband LOVES street cart food, he has a bunch of favorites, and he’s been working from home and we tried to recreate some of his favorite chicken with white sauce. :) Last year we took my son and nephew into the city to see the holiday sights and we stopped at a hot dog cart because the boys wanted “street hot dogs”. One of them had a hair on it. “Well, that’s street hot dogs,” shrugged my husband as he picked off the hair. LOL!!!!

  106. Andrea says...

    CK one, by Calvin Klein, reminds me of my small high school. Since it was a unisex fragrance, EVERYONE wore it, and permeated all the halls. I found it one day, and it transported me to both the carefree and drama-filled days of my teen years!

    • Abby says...

      Yeeeesssss!!!!

  107. Audrey says...

    My mother wore Chanel Desert Rose blush, lipstick, and matching nail polish when I was growing up. The smell of the blush and lipstick will forever transport me to being a small child, watching her get ready for the day, and thinking she was the most beautiful and glamorous woman in the world. She doesn’t wear the color anymore, but I feel like I need to buy her some of Christmas for old time’s sake!

    • Lulu says...

      Hello Audrey,

      I’m sure your mother would be very touched to learn that you felt that way about her and would treasure your gift.

      Cheers from Lulu.

  108. AE says...

    My parents owned an antiques store in Brooklyn when I was growing up and that smell… slightly damp, aged wood is so nostalgic for me. I also love the smell of wet cement (not fresh cement, just the smell of cement after rain) and the smell of home repair stores (Home Depot, etc) which reminds me of my dad (sawdust, plaster, etc— all the tinkering he does!)

    • Midge says...

      That is so funny — the first thing I thought of was wet cement, but I do mean fresh cement! My dad built our house growing up and a cement day always meant something big and exciting was happening. I still love it.

    • M says...

      Actually I have a funny story about wet cement. Once when I was a child, I noticed handprints in the sidewalk and I had asked my mom how they got there. She said, “Wet cement.” So then, every time it rained and the cement was still wet, I would rush outside and press my hands to the sidewalk. Of course, it never worked. It wasn’t until much, much later, in college, when I saw a cement truck pouring a sidewalk that it all clicked, “ah, wet cement”.

  109. Julianne says...

    I grew up in South Florida so the smell of pool chlorine and sunscreen is very nostalgic for me! Love it.

  110. Bethany says...

    My dad had one of those denim jackets with sheepskin on the inside and would always wear it when he was working in the garage (he’s a motorhead). I remember when he would come inside after a long winter day tinkering out there and hug me — the jacket held this perfect blended scent of denim, smoke from his wood-burning stove, engine oil, and that unique scent that is so specifically my dad. The jacket is in storage right now but I’ve told my brothers I call dibs on it when dad passes (hopefully a long, long time from now). But I hope when I finally get it that it still carries that specific scent that I love so much and reminds me of my dad holding me when I was a kid.

  111. Charlotte K says...

    I grew up around and chain smokers and generally, I loathe cigarettes, but … once in a while … sitting on a porch in the dark if I smell cigarette smoke it takes me back to childhood in the deepest way, our whole family out there, my parents drinking a beer, talking low and laughing, looking at the summer stars in the sky. JUST don’t make me smell it any other time!

    • Lori says...

      I’m with you in that I generally strongly dislike the smell of cigarettes. The one caveat for some reason, is the smell of cigarettes mixed with sand, like someone smoking on a hot summer day at a beach that I kind of like.

    • jen says...

      my first boyfriend smoked. i had never been around anyone who smoked before and that smell just morphed into a memory of him. smoke and to be honest, he also sometimes smelled of beer.

  112. Meghan says...

    I’d have to give a little more thought to what love smells like, lust, however, smells like Captin Morgan + rum and coke + axe body spray…. yum/yuck.

    • Liz says...

      I see you, 90s/early aughts sister.

    • Lauren says...

      lol 100%

  113. Kathleen says...

    When I had my son I intentionally only used one lotion- Burts Bee’s classic. I thought of it as a gift to my future self, that for the rest of my life that smell would take me back to those early years. He’s only 6 but the smell already makes me tear up. I can only imagine how much more it will make me feel the farther away I am from holding his tiny body in my arms.

    • Mac says...

      What a beautiful idea! When my daughter was born I stopped wearing anything scented because I was afraid she wouldn’t recognize my smell, which is honestly one of those slightly crazy hormonal thoughts of new motherhood, but 🤷🏻‍♀️. I like your idea better!

    • Liz says...

      I used this one barely scented/natural body wash until my daughter was about a year. Then I switched to another bottle of the same brand (Lavender instead of Rose, or something), just because it was in the house, and I cried that my baby would not recognize my scent. My partner lovingly tried to reassure me that the scent “mama” is independent of florals. Still, those hormones! Wow.

    • Jen says...

      I relate to this. I used Mustela lotion on my kids and still keep a bottle in the house at all times, ostensibly because it’s the best hand lotion on the planet, but really just because sometimes I need a reminder of their soft baby bodies and those simpler years.
      Incidentally I have long worn Occitaine’s Almond Lotion and my daughter told me I could never, ever stop wearing it because she finds it comforting!

  114. Jessica says...

    There was a cart outside of John Jay College that used to make -the- smokiest pretzels in Midtown, and the smells from the cart (pretzels and other wonderful halal treats included) would waft up to the classrooms that we’d spend our afternoons in at least four days a week during my sophomore and junior years. We’d often indulge, and I’d sit there and huff the napkin that I held my pretzel with after I’d scarfed it down just because it was such an incredible smell. It’s one of the defining smells of the city that I miss so dearly and reminds me of times spent with best friends that I haven’t seen in far too long.

  115. CS says...

    Real Jasmine bushes. Aaaaaahhhhhh.

  116. Elisabet says...

    I used to send a couple of weeks at My grandmother’s summerhouse in the archipelago (of Sweden). Built by my great grandfather in the thirties but in a style of much older architecture. When me and my siblings were there with our mother the little tv that my older cousins used when they were there was locked in a cupboard. My mother thought we should not watch tv those weeks. There were no neighbours except for my grandmother’s cousins that had no grandchildren at that time. And no roads.
    There was also an identical cupboard as the one with the TV that was filled with old toys, bord games, Readers’ Digest and women’s magazines from the 40’s to 70’s. And old dresses from the 30’s. And there was this certain smell. Of old paper and clothes and slight damp. That smell transports me back to reading on the jetty and playing cards and listen to the radio with my grandmother in the evenings.

  117. K says...

    Leahlani? Honey love fan :)

  118. Rosie says...

    The mixture of musky perfume, alcohol and fresh plumes of cigarette smoke in cold night air reminds me of being young. It’s how the air smelled after a night out when we were walking to the subway or waiting for a cab. I hate cigarettes, but the fresh smoke with the rest is so sexy to me and reminds me of what it was like not to have any responsibilities.

    • Nykole says...

      Ahhhhh! Lately, I’ve been talking about how this combination reminds me of the very same thing!

    • LJ says...

      Heck yeah

  119. CS says...

    When you are swimming in a lake and you can smell the water evaporating, which is similar to the smell of the air when there is snow on the ground on a warmer day. Also, the smell of fresh air in winter. Lilac bushes in spring. My son’s head when he was a baby. Coffee – though I don’t drink it anymore – still love the smell. The smell of a pound cake in the oven reminds me of my grandma.

  120. SKM says...

    Mr. Sketch blue (blueberry) scented felt marker was my favourite. Can’t tell you how many times I ended up with a blue tipped nose. Can still clearly remember the brown (cinnamon) and black (licorice) and others’ smells as well.

    • Diana K says...

      Yooooo!

    • Laura says...

      I loved the hot pink fruit punch scented ones and the orange ones! Reminds me of elementary school in the late 80’s :)

  121. When I was a college freshman and moving into a dorm room (many moons ago), my mom walked into the room with a giant can of Lysol and proceeded to start cleaning everything in sight. (Nothing is ever TOO clean for a Hispanic mom.) To this day, if I smell Lysol (and yes, it has to specifically be Lysol, the original scent), for example if I walk into a space that’s just been cleaned or sprayed, I’m IMMEDIATELY transported back to a small dorm room in Florida and that first delicious taste of freedom and living on my own.

  122. Sarz says...

    A smell can be comforting without being *pleasant* per se, yes? For decades, my hometown was home to a thriving paper manufacturing mill. Visitors would say it “stank” round-the-clock, but we locals preferred to think that the sulfurous aroma wafted gently through the air only on warm, windy days. The zeitgeist of electronic information sharing didn’t do much for the largest employer in my little city, but sometimes, when someone is cutting eggs, I’m 10 years old again, passing some endless summer afternoon. I’ve never found a conventionally pretty scent that could match that.

    • B says...

      My dad worked in a paper mill when I was young and I know that exact smell. Those are my memories of running to hug him when he came home from a day at work.

  123. LJ says...

    I love this! Some of mine are:
    Cold wet air & cigarettes & leather jackets
    Diesel smoke & fresh air & lake water
    Creosote
    Wood stoves & cooking ground beef (both good separately but absolutely transporting together)
    Lilacs on a rainy day
    Chives growing in the grass
    Christmas trees plus sliced oranges
    Lifesavers Wint-o-green & Bath & Body Works Cucumber Melon (high school!)
    so many!

    • Kim says...

      Lilacs on a rainy day. My heart.

    • cj says...

      Cold wet air, yes! :)

  124. Tara says...

    My now husband and I had our first apartment together in Montpelier, VT 10 years ago. Our favorite bar there called Threepenny Taproom had a distinct smell of hoppy beer and maybe like a sweaty smell?!? But after we moved away, then returned years later for our wedding, the smell remained unchanged and the most welcoming and warm thing I’ve ever smelled/felt. I can’t wait to breathe it in again.

    • ali says...

      I always love the smell of taverns when I was a kid. Stale beer
      and peanuts.

    • Emily says...

      I love Threepenny! I can’t wait until post pandemic (and baby) to be able to go there again (I live in Randolph).

  125. Celine says...

    When I was living in Paris, I used to live near Rue de Seine. It was a lovely street, at a lovely neighbourhood. Each morning, to reach the métro, I used to pass by Hotel de Seine and could smell the laundry detergant from the vents of a basement window. Somehow this smell gave me comfort and helped me adapting to a new city. (Also, it hid the pee-smelling Parisian sidewalks for a brief moment.)

    • Liz says...

      I know this smell well from NYC as well as other cities. Beautiful description.

  126. L says...

    My partner doesn’t wear cologne or use any particularly-smelling soap or shampoo, so when we were apart for seven months and I missed him terribly, I would rub his brand of deodorant on my wrists like my own personal boyfriend perfume. It really helped.

  127. Kelly says...

    Bobbi Brown’s Beach perfume is a perfect blend of Coppertone & Hawaiian Tropic. Takes me back.

    • Lisa says...

      So funny, I bought that perfume right before getting pregnant with my son and then it only reminded me of morning sickness! I had to give it away!! I loved it before that.

    • Margaret says...

      Yes, smells just like summer at the beach!

  128. Christina says...

    I recovered from Covid-19 about three months ago, but am still dealing with lost of taste and smell. And now a new thing: parosmia, when things smell very different than usual, is plaguing me. (Here’s an article about parosmia: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/smell-loss-covid-parosmia/2020/11/04/08a24c26-1e05-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html)
    So, right now, all my lovely perfumes and oils and soaps, that I have chosen for their yummy smells, and all the foods that I love and am trying to cook, are just not so pleasing. I think about odors I miss all the time! Some of them:
    –the smell of my childhood backyard, in the summer, sitting with my Dad and his bald head covered in Sea and Ski sunscreen
    –the smell of oil and machinery in my Granddad’s workshop
    –Love’s Baby Soft…I got it for Christmas one year and was just delighted
    –baking bread, baking cookies, roasting vegetables…mmmmmm
    –and just the day to day things, like laundry out of the dryer, my dog’s smell, my first swipe of deodorant. I can’t wait to smell again!

  129. Ashley says...

    My favorite smell is DEFINITELY the smoke of a wood stove. My fiancé and I love to drive out to this road where dozens of houses are burning logs, bundling up and rolling down the windows so we can guess what type of wood is being used. He’s such an expert at it. We’ll be welcoming our little girl in the next couple of weeks so I’m curious as to whether or not we’ll continue going on our late night smellathon drives (I’m guessing there’s a good chance!), but either way, I’ve just finished putting together his Christmas gift of a variety of different types of wood logs for our own rarely-used wood stove :)

    • Lauren says...

      Your smellathon drives sound so romantic! Like straight out of a movie. Best of luck with your upcoming delivery!

  130. SanDee says...

    Honeysuckle and gardenias on a warm summer night in Arkansas. My aunt and uncle had a house on what was once fertile farmland. Everything grew so well on that land. They had a beautiful backyard with an inground pool. My memories are of floating in the pool, lit underwater, while smelling the honeysuckle and gardenias that grew nearby, looking up at the colorful Chinese lanterns strung in the tree near the pool, with the sound of a train whistle in the distance. Heaven. Or very close to it.

    • kd says...

      Sounds like heaven to me! xx

  131. MegD says...

    Anytime I smell watermelon lotions or chapsticks it takes me back to being 13 and reading a Christopher Pike book and putting on my favourite watermelon lip smackers

    • Kelly says...

      I was in the perfume dept years ago and thought of my Grandma. I bought her favorite scent just so I could smell it. I wear it occasionally as well. I remember her showing up at our house at Christmas. She always smelled wonderful and had a laundry basket filled with goodies. She made haystacks, chex mix, fudge, divinity. She also brought presents and didn’t have much, but would put all her love into what she gave. She showed me love that her own daughter could not. The scent is Youth Dew by Estee.