Something stinks in here!

Post by Sandy Powell on March 21, 2014

Scent, aroma, fragrance, bouquet, smell, odour, stench, stink: these are all words to describe anything that registers with the olfactory bulb – that’s the ‘smell registering’ part of the nose for those who prefer more technical jargon.

Many of these words are used interchangeably by the cosmetic, advertising, and film industries and the population in general. Words conjure very different pictures in the brain. Is an odour anything other than “foul”? Is a fragrance anything less than “lovely”? Aroma can be somewhat suspect sliding either way in offering up a robust depiction of a scent. Aroma also tends to be used when companies wish to give the impression their product is associated with aromatherapy or has a therapeutic effect.

Remember in school when some kid smelled? It was not meant as a compliment.

“Oooooh that smell, can’t you smell that smell…” is a famous line from an iconic song of the 70’s. Hmmm, I wonder if it was bad or good perception on the part of the author and singer…. I’ll leave that one up to you.

When someone takes a whiff of an item and then asks you to smell it, watch their facial expression. It will warn you about what’s coming and whether you should accept said opportunity. But why help someone else out? Just for fun, smell something in front of a friend that is truly revolting and put on a pleasant face (you may have to practise this first), then offer it up for them to sample.

Their unguarded sense will be completely defenceless. An unrehearsed primal response of facial contortions may follow. Afterwards they will need ‘scented products’ to cover up the ‘odour’ with a ‘fragrance’. It’s enough to make an olfactory bulb tired.

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