I have pointed out that a song has the power to conjure up memories, illicit emotion, and set a mood. I think the only other stimuli with such an influence is smell. It is incredible how a smell can put us into an instant state of mind—for better or worse. Tonight I am focusing on the better. I thought I would offer five smells that I adore and seem to always bring me to my happy place. So, in no particular order, here are my favorite smells.
Incense – Nothing conveys “home” more than when you walk into a beautiful church and the air is filled with that holy smell of incense. The smoky and wood-inspired aroma that is sacred to so many is rooted in the birth of Jesus Christ himself. Frankincense and myrrh, two gifts from the magi, are usually burned together to produce the distinctive smell. The scent of incense isn’t something I mind clinging to my clothes as I leave mass and I get great satisfaction when I can still smell it lingering throughout the day. For those who don’t know, incense purifies and sanctifies but it also has a symbolic purpose. While incense evokes the mystery and solemnity of the Divine Liturgy, it also represents the prayers of the faithful moving upward to our Father in Heaven.
Oranges – There isn’t a “portable” smell I like more than fresh oranges. Nothing will bring a smile to my face quicker than when I am in a room with other people and unbeknownst to me someone starts to peel an orange. It won’t take long until the citrusy scent reaches my nose and suddenly a stuffy room turns into an orchard. I love the smell of oranges. It is just so pleasant and fresh. Although I definitely prefer the natural smell, it goes to show how much I enjoy the general orange scent as my go-to air freshener is a citrus option.
Cinnabon – Sure, it is always a glorious smell when cinnamon rolls are baking in the oven but there is just something extra about the aroma of a Cinnabon that stands out. I could go to the mall simply to walk by Cinnabon and be happy. The cinnamon-y sweet cloud you walk through is so rich, so warm, so mouth-watering that it takes every ounce of self-control not to stop and buy a cinnamon roll. This is my favorite food smell. Simply irresistible.
Subway Shop – A lot has gone downhill for Subway over the past several years but at least it still has the fresh bread smell. In fact, the distinctive smell always brings me back to the era of $5 footlongs and other affordable menu prices. But besides the nostalgia it drums up, the smell itself is absolutely superb in its own right. Just like with Cinnabon, the smell generates a “warm” and happy feeling. Better yet, the smell isn’t something that sticks to you once you leave the restaurant like at other sandwich shops. You always knew your nostrils were in for a double special experience when the fresh bread smell mixed with a batch of cookies coming out of the oven.
New Car – Ah, the scent of promise, excitement, and novelty. The smell of a new vehicle definitely relates more than just olfactory notes of cleanliness and chemicals. Although those two things do combine to produce something that is on the surface quite pleasant, the psychological impact of the smell enhances the experience…and I am all for it. I will never forget when my parents bought a mini van almost 30 years ago and I got my first taste (umm…I mean smell?) of that unmistakable new vehicle scent. Since that moment, the new car smell has always been pleasing.
So do you smell what The Brent is cooking?! I appreciate you humoring me while I went on about such an inconsequential topic. But now it is your turn. What is a scent that means a lot to you for one or multiple reasons? Let me know. Don’t Blink.