5 Weird Smells That Make My Brain Happy

And by happy, I mean probably rot.

Aug 22, 2014 at 9:00am | Leave a comment

I know a thing or two about fragrance. That's not false modesty -- I know maybe three things about perfume. As much as I know about the beauty industry, fragrance just isn't my specialty.

Perhaps that's because my favorite scents aren't really the kind of things you bottle. Sure, there are traditional scents I love -- I will search forever for the perfect violet-and-tuberose perfume -- but the smells that get all the happiness chemicals going in my brain are the ones on Febreze's list of rejected room sprays.

Gasoline

I've always heard you either love or hate the smell of gasoline -- no in-between. I, for one, whole-heartedly (whole-nosedly?) love it. It's almost more like a feeling than a scent, don't you think?

Living in New York without a car, I even kind of miss having to go to the gas station. I may or may not find excuses to walk past the Hess station in my neighborhood. ("Hey, is the Hess truck back and better than ever? Oh, it's nowhere near Christmas? OK, cool.")

My Dog's Ear

I have two dogs. The younger one, Rufus, doesn't smell like anything in particular. The older one's ears, however, have always smelled like Fritos. 

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Max is a fancy, smelly gentleman.

Apparently, this is pretty common, though not all dog owners find it as comforting a smell as I do. In most cases, the corn-chip smell is a result of allergy-related yeast. I've been trying to get poor Max's allergies under control for years, but alas, he seems destined to smell like a party snack.

Indoor Pools

I haven't been in a pool in years. I love swimming, though, and I even like simply being near an indoor pool. Last time I attended one of my nephew's indoor swim meets, I didn't tell him it was partly to watch him swim and partly because I'm a weirdo who looks for any opportunity to smell that combination of chlorine, tile grout and mildew.

There's a weird chemical-freshness-meets-not-unpleasant-moldiness about indoor pools that just doesn't come through in outdoor pools, I suppose because it's trapped by architecture, allowing me to really savor it. Thanks, architecture!

I bet if I layered Demeter's Swimming Pool and Mildew colognes, I could get a pretty close scent replica.

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Magazine Glue

OK, so I'm starting to notice that my favorite smells probably aren't the healthiest things to breathe in. YOLO or something.

I'm not suggesting anyone should huff magazine glue, but I'd be lying if I said I don't open new magazines right to the middle and give the spine one good sniff. It's downright gasoline-esque. 

This backfires sometimes, though. Occasionally, the glue will have a bitter base note (yeah, I'm using perfume lingo to describe magazine glue -- whatever) that just kills it for me. It's like when you're chewing on something and an unexpected crunch comes out of nowhere. Day ruined.

A Pack of Cigarettes

I've never been a smoker, and I hate being around cigarette smoke, but when I was a kid and my dad was still smoking, I loved getting a whiff of the sweet smell inside a pack of cigarettes.

When he was quitting, he chain-chewed on Extra cherry-flavored gum. It smelled good, but it was nothing compared to a pack of unlit Benson & Hedges.

What are the strangest scents you like getting all up in your nostrils? I asked Kate and she e-screamed "TENNIS BALLS. STICK MY WHOLE HEAD INTO A CAN OF TENNIS BALLS, MAN."