Thursday 15 April 2021

The most nostalgic smells. Freshly mown grass, Pencil shavings, Baby powder...

More than any other sense smell can evoke powerful, emotional memories. Whole scenes of people, places and things can be brought back to life by the mere hint of a long forgotten scent. Whether it’s a seaside holiday, a visit to a fairground, or a sunny walk through a forest, suddenly smelling a particular scent can suddenly take us right back there, recreating the whole sensory experience.

Pencil shavings

The research commissioned by Disneyland Paris says that the top 40 scents show a wide array of things that awaken our senses and stay with us for the rest of our lives. They show the pleasure we take in experiencing smells and the powerful emotions they evoke.

The 40 smells that transport us to our childhood.

1. Freshly mown grass - Summer days/school sports day. 
2. Pencil shavings/case/stationery - School days.
3. Baby powder - When the kids were babies.
4. Vicks vapour rub - Colds/illness.
5. Plasticine - School days.
6. Candyfloss - Childhood, fairgrounds.
7. Bonfires - Winter nights. 
8. Sun cream - Family holidays.
9. Fish and chips - Going to the beach.
10. Old perfume - Gran/mum.
11. Bubble gum - Sweet shops.
12. Chalk - Classrooms.
13. Talcum powder - Baths as a child.
14. Pipe smoke - Granddad/older male relatives.
15. Garden shed - Granddad. 
16. Chicken soup - Being ill as a child.
17. Hairspray - Mum/gran getting ready. 
18. Rain on tarmac - Summer holidays and school playground.
19. Doughnuts - Fairs/attractions.
20. Savlon or Germolene - Colds/illness.
21. Old Spice - Granddad/older male relatives.
22. Coal Tar soap - Grandparents.
23. Log fire - Winter nights.
24. Roses - Grandma.
25. Petrol/engines - Dad/ granddad.
26. Marker pens - School lessons.
27. Leather/shoes - New school shoes.
28. Lavender - Grandparents.
29. Muscle rub cream - Playing sports.
30. Popcorn - Summer
31. Musty shed - Granddad.
32. Hair gel/brill cream/lynx etc - Boys as teenagers. 
33. Bovril - Bonfire nights/cold winter nights.
34. Peppermint - Grandma.
35. Cinnamon - Early Christmases.
36. Chanel perfume - Mum.
37. Cocoa butter - Holidays/ mums.
38. Shower gel - Sports team showers.
39. Tea tree oil - Childhood injuries.
40. Jasmine - Grandma.

So many of the top 40 smells remind me of my childhood and especially the summers of my childhood. I love the smell of rain on tarmac and sun cream and there was nothing better than having a trip to the beach and getting fish and chips. Germolene reminds me of fun days playing out with friends and coming home with bumps and scrapes and the Bubble gum smell reminds me of going to the corner shop and getting 10p mix ups. We seemed to get so much for 10p about thirty years ago.

Bonfires and pipe smoke remind me of my Grandad and petrol and engines remind me of my dad. My girls even say when they smell petrol they think of my dad. He is always tinkering with some sort of engine. Even now when I go into my dad's workshop it takes me right back to being a child. The smell of it is exactly the same.

Baby powder and Johnsons baby shampoo remind me so much of when my girls were babies and I used to love sniffing their heads. There is nothing nicer than the smell of a freshly bathed baby. That sounds so creepy but it's not meant to be. 

What smell takes you back to your childhood?

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