Revelations In Air: A Guidebook to Smell
Journalist Jude Stewart has just published the perfect book for any scent enthusiast on your list. The writer takes a serious look at olfaction in this impassioned exploration of smell. Aiming to “challenge myself and readers to use a sense that is barely understood,” she beings by breaking down the mechanics of the nose, then dives into scent descriptions broken down into 10 categories: flowery and herbal, sweet, savoury, earthy, resinous, funky, sharp and pungent, salty and nutty, tingling and fresh, and “otherworldly”.
Many are familiar: roses, almonds, musk and lavender all make an appearance, while others are less so, such as ditto sheets, Play-Doh, and melting permafrost. Along the way, Stewart offers exercises to improve one’s experience smelling (trying to navigate a room by smell alone, for example), and fun facts abound (Chinese car buyers are searching for cars with ‘new-car smell’, and factories employ “Golden Noses” to ensure there is no scent.) What sets Stewart’s tour apart is her intense descriptions – jasmine has “an extraordinary sense of liftoff” that “rolls over you like a tidal wave,” and the smell of truffles is “heterodox, suggesting its own universe.” The book is packed with fascinating facts and information guaranteed to elevate the reader’s enjoyment of his or her fragrance collection.
Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell is published by Penguin Books and is available in select bookstores and online now.