Smells like August


Erawan shrine, Bangkok

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our streams of thought could be fed into some amazing machine that would render them right here on the page?  Because then you’d be reading a post about one or more of the following: scent-memories; perfume and synesthesia; the smell of tomato plants; Stephane Humbert Lucas’ Mortal Skin; or a meditation on why Americans don’t have a word with the emotional equivalent of saudade or hiraeth, and what that might look like in perfumery.

Instead, each word drops off my fingers ungracefully, like gravel into a vat of glue.  Nothing I write here will please me.  Okay, fine — it’s August.  Lots of folks on vacation.  If you’re feeling it, tell me something.  If I were walking in your town or city or countryside today, what would I smell?  Or, tell me about a beloved connection between senses — like the taste/smell of a tomato, the smell/sound of crunchy fall leaves, the sight/smell/sound of fireworks.  What experience or object, for you, would never be described with only one sense?


Patricia Seybold August 13, 2015

I have a Russian olive outside my bathroom window....but in August it is the smell of the pinons and the pines after the monsoon rains....the dry sage baking in the hot August sun....and oh glorious....the smell everywhere just now of the roasting green chilies. Yup, March, I live in New Mexico 8000 feet above my beloved little city.

ElizabethC August 12, 2015

Today we got rain, thunder and lightening after more dry weather than I have ever seen in Seattle. I love the way the air smelled just before all the rain hit! On a side note, I am obsessed with how beautiful marigold garlands are. Trying to figure out where I could put one in our house :)

Dina C. August 12, 2015

Here in Virginia, we're having daily thunderstorms to accompany our heat and humidity, so we're indoors in the a/c. My DS is in the basement with his friends playing video games on laptops. Dear daughter is here in the dining room with her friends having a Japanese Lolita-style tea party with rose-scented votive candles (Pacifica Persian Rose), cucumber sandwiches, homemade donuts, and lots of other cute food. It's a girlie wonderland. The contrast when the boys come upstairs for snacks and drinks is extreme. ;-) Outdoors, I noticed that the hostas are in bloom, and their flowers look and smell vaguely like jasmine. My backyard garden is full of weeds and my rose bush needs to be deadheaded.

Sun Mi August 12, 2015

Oh August... August has done me in. I'm sick and I don't smell anything. But August has ravaged my garden! The giant cattail weed things took over the watermelon box and killed them all. My zucchini plant died (at least after providing me with 10 years worth of zucchini). My squash plant died. Today I discovered the 1 plum we were waiting for all summer (all the rest fell off), on the ground, apparently overripe! So sad. But we still have some apples on the trees, so hopefully we'll enjoy those yet. (Our fruit trees are still fairly young, hence the very small fruit loads!).

Neyon August 12, 2015

More than for the rest of the year, when I stroll through my garden now I can't resist rubbing a herb here or sniffing a flower there. We're fully in bloom now and in particular the summer lavender is beautifully fresh and soft and evokes calm childhood memories for me; and the garden chamomile is just full of sweet, innocent apple-like goodness. I've also discovered that our lovely foamy white gourd flower smells softly of cucumber! Missing the lush honeysuckle bushes and the kaleidoscope of sweet-peas that finished blooming earlier in summer.

Musette August 12, 2015

you weirdo. I love you. It's like you are in my heart and head! I was just thinking about this yesterday, as we drove through fields of ripening corn. This August is strange, as it's been such a weird, rainy Season. But even with that strangeness, there's a pre-Autumnal tinge to the air. The sky is shifting from Summer Azure to Autumn Blue (with that odd orange underglow). Mornings are hazier. It's starting to smell of woodsmoke. I am okay with it because it's part and parcel of the Seasons...but it is a bit melancholic. I'm in vintage Ubar today, to mark the shift. xoxoxoA

Gwenyth August 12, 2015

Hi all.... Since I live in the Rocky Mountains, most of my scent associations and memories have to do with being in the mountains during the heat of summer, crisp Autumn days, bitingly cold Winters and the rich loamy smell of spring. In August, the rains come only intermittently so the sun beats down on the trees, vegetation and the rocks, yielding some fascinating scents. There is the resinous aroma of the pine sap - sticky and richly golden. Dry and brittle grasses bring to mind the aroma of hay fields in the sun - and frequently there is the snap and rustle of fallen pine needles which are themselves dry and aromatic. Additionally, the rocks yield some interest scents as they heat and bake in the sun, smelling of hot pavement and dirt. Forests are not always cool and moist (but I ADORE those smells, too, and enjoy those scents during other seasons...) Scents I own which have the "summer in the mountains" qualities of dry grasses, resin/sap, pine and heat? These come to mind: Parfums de Nicolai Vie de Château Intense, Serge Lutens Chergui and Fille en Aiguilles, Cartier L`Heure Fougueuse IV, Christian Dior Dune, A. Tauer's L'Air du Desert Marocain and Sonoma Scent Studios Forest Walk and Incense Pure.

eldarwen22 August 12, 2015

Since the kids in my area will be starting school on the 18th of this month, people are finishing up vacation and doing the back to school shopping. So I am smelling the last few backyard BBQ's before summer hits. But nobody uses charcoal grills anymore. But after school starts, it will be clambake and bonfire season. L'Air du Desert Marocain is a perfect fall fit.

cinnamon August 12, 2015

Warm today. While my immediate world usually smells of some mix of salt, cow, horse and flowers, today the morning smelled of woodsmoke -- not a bad summer smell, as it sits on the air. Between that and the fact that my shed smells of creosote not bad at all. In fact, wonderful combo.

Portia August 12, 2015

Heya March, Today I rode my motor bike through snow. The first time snow has ever fallen on me in Australia. It smells like licking a spoon. I smell like Shalimar. Life is pretty good, Portia x

rosarita313 August 12, 2015

For me it's peaches, they are the quintessential smell and taste of summer as you eat one over the kitchen sink, still warm from the sun, so fresh and juicy and aromatic. It's colors are a summer sunrise.

caseymaureen August 12, 2015

This is a May experience rather than an August one (this year the main August smell is rain!). In May the shrub Eleagnus umbellatus flowers very discreetly, in the U.S. it can be a scrub plant but here it is cultivated. You don't really get it's scent up close it has to be born on the wind on a sunny day. I first smelled it in the gardens at Dartington Hall a magical combination of breeze on my face, long awaited sunshine on my back and an exquisite fragrance on the air. One of the gardeners showed me the bush which was about a hundred yards away and now I have one in my garden and wait every May for that sun and breeze and flower combination of conditions to make magic

KimB August 12, 2015

First rain after a long dry spell - the sound of the rain on the pavement and roof, the smell of the earth as the first rain hits it, the smell as more rain hits, the smell of the trees as the rain washes dust off the leaves. And if it is a thunderstorm, add the smell of lightning, the look of lightning, and the sound of thunder. The feel of the rain on your skin, and if you are really adventurous, the feel of the mud on your bare feet :) Definitely an August experience in my neck of the woods for most of my life. And what a wonderful sensory experience!