The sense of smell can be a blessing or a curse, depending on what you scent.  The “aroma” of a skunk is pervasively terrible, especially if it’s on your dog!  The perfume section of a large department store assaults the senses as does the perfume on too many women.  Perfume should be subtle and attractive, rather than knocking you down from six feet.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
~Kilgore, Apocalypse Now

However, the world is filled with delightful smells.  When our girls were small, we stayed for several days in Nags Head, North Carolina in a small motel where our corner room was perfumed with the scent of jasmine from a large bush outside the door.  It was heavenly, the first time I’d ever smelled jasmine.

If you love books, I’m confident you’ll agree that it’s hard to beat the wonderful smell you get when putting your nose into the pages of a new book.  Those of us old enough to remember ditto machines will also remember putting a freshly run-off test to our noses.  I’m not sure that’s the best smell in the world, but it was in some ways a good one.  My husband would hold out for frying bacon as the best smell ever.

There are two other scents that always make me happy.  The first is the smell of freshly baked (or baking) bread.  We’ve had a bread machine for many, many years and waking in the morning to that scent is indescribable.  One of the saddest days of our lives was the day our noses grew so used to it that we couldn’t smell it any more.

Finally, but not last, I love the scent of lavender.  One year in Provence, my s-i-l and I drove around the lavender fields.  Even though they’d already been harvested, the scent lingered everywhere.  Sprigs from all those years ago still smell good when I get my nose close to them.  My s-i-l grows lavender even though no long in Provence and this year I grew English lavender, feeding bees and harvesting three bundles of flowers to dry.

What scents tickle your nose and warm your heart?

© janet m. webb 2014

  1. Su Leslie says:

    Jasmine and lavender— two of my favourite scents. Love fresh bread smell too, but coffee is probably my absolute favourite food scent 😀

  2. I love walking outside in the spring when there are several plants in bloom including lilacs. And, I love lavender as well. Lovely.

  3. Sherry Felix says:

    The air after a storm.

  4. Ah, lavender, cannot wait for harvesting this year’s flowers.

  5. Dan Antion says:

    I love the smell of sawdust. I’m particular. I like sawdust from cutting operations much more than from sanding. Sanding has more of a burnt smell to it. I also like the smell of some coffees and teas.

  6. scr4pl80 says:

    Coffee, chocolate and freshly baked donuts, the smell of roasted chicken in Safeway. I am not a big fan of perfumes or colognes. My husband worked in both a coffee packaging plant and a chocolate company. He came home smelling SO good I just wanted to hug him for a while before letting him get out of his work clothes 🙂

    • I like those smells, too, although I worked at two different places where they made doughnuts. The smell of the grease got into all my clothes and was so hard to get out. I didn’t eat doughnuts for a long time after each of those jobs. I don’t drink coffee much and when I do, it has to be a mocha or something like that, but I do love the smell.


  7. JT Twissel says:

    First of all, love your title – I’m a huge Austen fan. Lavender can be a little overwhelmed. I’m partially to the smell of orange blossoms.

    • I don’t think I’ve smelled orange blossoms, but I imagine they smell wonderful. I like all of my scents in subtle amounts. Provence during lavender season might be a bit overwhelming. Glad you liked the title!


  8. Emma Cownie says:

    I love lavender, but not too much. Helps me feel sleepy!

  9. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the smell of Rosemary and Mint. We have some next to the steps on on side of our house and I love to brush my hand through it in the summer when I am using the stairs.

    I like your photo this week, Janet. Having the ladybug sprinkler can behind the lavender really helps to set the rear depth of the image.

  10. joey says:

    My house is lavendered-up, fer ma nerves, and it works. I do love the scent, but I prefer lilacs. The house that belonged to my old neighbor Jim, it has enormous rows of them and the rest of us have a sprinkling of them, likely off-shoots of his from long ago. In the spring, there’s a few weeks when the air is positively thick with it. Mmm. Lilac.
    Also high on my list are rosemary, basil, clover, and honeysuckle.

  11. Baked bread and pies, takes me right back to my childhood and baking day. My Mom can bake.

    Honeysuckle, though it gives me a headache. Pine trees, and vanilla. I love vanilla perfumes, and darker ones they say are for night. Tabu the prefume. That’s my Mother’s scent. I can’t stand it on my though.

    I might be really weird, but day old skunk just smells like musk to me. It doesn’t offend my nose at all. Fresh skunk …gag!

    • Vanilla is a good scent. Perfume doesn’t smell the same on different people and it seems like most women wear too much of it, no matter the scent. When our girls were little, they’d go to visit their aunt who works at Macy’s and she send them home with these silk leave drenched in Tresor. Ugh! I do NOT like that scent and those magazine inserts that were a fragrance always made me want to sneeze. 🙂

      Forget the skunk, though, old or new. That’s weird!! 🙂


      • ROFL!!! If I’m not wearing a vanilla perfume I’m wearing Tresor!

        I know my nose is weird. My friends and family be all ewww! when we’re driving by a skunk smell and I’m shrugging my shoulders, and shakin my head saying, “What? It smells like musk.” 🙂 Very similar to that old Jovan Musk scent that was around decades ago. It might still be, but that’s how I smell it. 🙂

      • Oh, no!! Open mouth, insert foot! But I’m not into musk smells at all and most perfumes just aren’t me, either. Ah, well, we can still be friends and you’ll know I’m never going to be stealing your Tresor. 🙂


  12. restlessjo says:

    With you on lavender and bread. 🙂 🙂 Jasmine is a little sweet for me but i don’t mind it on clean washing flapping on the line.

  13. Joanne Sisco says:

    The power of suggestion? I have so many pollen related allergies and reading this post, I started sneezing 🙂
    I just like the smell of the outdoors – not the smoggy car-exhaust outdoors, but the smell of the forest, or being close to a body of clean water. My favourite times of year are when it’s mild enough to have all the windows open and the outdoors is indoors too.

  14. pommepal says:

    Love all the above Janet but I LOVE the smell of a sweaty horse bedded down in a stall of freshly cleaned straw.. and a bundle of hay in the corner. I worked and lived for many years on a pig farm in NZ and though the smell is very pervasive and visitors would comment about it, my nose was switched off to it, thankfully…

  15. You’ve written such a beautiful description of many things I love. A jasmine plant sits outside of our lanai. It’s called Night Jasmine so it’s scent is fragrant in the evening. I adore fragrant gardenia. I have that one planted as you enter my home 🏡 bringing in beauty. Well … I have many more but I’ll leave you with those.
    Issy 😎