Following My Nose – The Sensory Questionnaire

Glass Petal Smoke first devised this beautiful questionnaire, I then saw it on Scent of the Day. I hope it is alright if I take a page out of their book and complete it too. Here are my answers.

1.  What does your sense of smell mean to you?

It has come to mean a lot. I was almost unaware of it when I was younger, only when something stank to high heaven, was I aware of the fact that my nose had more purposes than decorating my face. Now it is so important, that when I feel a cold coming on, I slightly panic, because not being able to smell perfumes, to use fragrances to calm, uplift, relax or stimulate me, is a deeply uncomfortable thought. Losing my sense of smell would be as awful as losing eyesight or hearing. (I hope I never lose either!!!)

2.  What are some of your strongest scent memories?

The smell at the hospital when I visited my grandfather for the last time before he died. Strong, pungent, astringent. The scent of death being covered by disinfectants and week-old flower bouquets. Never works.

3.   What are some of your favorite smells (things in nature, cooking &/or your environment)?

My children´s skin, that is the best smell on earth – no contest.

4.  Do you have any favorite smells that are considered strange?

I love the smell of Vitamin B. My husband thinks that is mighty strange, I think it is gooooood!

5.  Describe one or more of your favorite cooking smells.

Bread baking in the oven, oranges being squeezed, the smell of Beef Tartare on warm, buttered toast (I´m counting on Serge Lutens here, to bring this one on the market: Jeux de Peau).

6.  What smells do you most dislike?

New car smell. How people actually want to imitate that in a car that thankfully stopped smelling like new, is beyond me. I get sick, whenever I smell it. Car exhaust, gasoline, these are all awful for me, a gas station is the worst place to be.

7.  What smell did you first dislike, but learned to love?

Chanel N°5 and many other classic perfumes. I did not know how to appreciate them. Thankfully that has changed.

8.  What mundane smells inspire you?

The smell of snow, the smell of water, generally the smell of things that you wouldn´t think even had a smell.

9.  What scent never fails to take you back in time and why?

The smell of chalk, whoosh, I am ten and have no idea how to do fractions.

10.  What scents do you associate with memories of loved ones?

My grandfather smelled of pipe tobacco, his smoking always fascinated and repelled me, how can you inhale smoke??? My mother only wore perfume about twice a year (probably Easter and Christmas :)), I loved it when she did and I remember always being on the hunt for the bottle of perfume she kept hidden somewhere. I never found it, maybe that is why I am overcompensating now 😉

11.  What fragrance(s) remind you of growing up?

Freshly mowed grass, hot asphalt, chlorinated pools, the scent of the woods after a rain, these are the smells of endless summers…

12.  What fragrance(s) remind you of the places you visited on vacation?

I love the smell of a stand of Auntie Annies Pretzels 🙂 It reminds me of my vacations in the US, where I had a pretztel dog first thing upon emerging from the plane every time. We don´t have them here in Austria, so they run under “exotic delicacy”. It shows my dedication to pretzel dogs, that I even had one, when pregnant and always sick to my stomach, but I was not to be dissuaded even then.

13.  Describe a piece of sensory literature that is very magical for you.

The one sentence that immediately came to me when I read that question, does not describe the sense of smell or the pleasure of olfactory perception at all, there are many that would fit better, would be more positive, that would indeed be magical. But still this sentence was the first to come to mind and it wants to be written here, even if it is the antithesis of sensory literature. Maybe it can serve as an example for the paucity of perception when depression takes over (I don´t want to fling around diagnoses here, this is just my private opinion). It is a sad thought indeed, not being able to enjoy life and it´s sensory pleasures of which smell is an immensly important one. I am thankful, that my life is full of smells.

“One sticks one’s finger into the soil to tell by the smell in what land one is: I stick my finger into existence – it smells of nothing.” Soren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855

Picture sources:, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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11 Responses to Following My Nose – The Sensory Questionnaire

  1. Your responses make for an interesting read. Funny about Chanel No. 5. I tried it yesterday and enjoyed wearing it. Previously it’s always reminded me of old ladies.

    That Kierkegaard quote is very intriguing – not one I’ve heard before.

  2. kjanicki says:

    That quote is depressing, but interesting. Thanks for sharing it. Now I’m going to have to find some vitamin B to smell.

  3. Thanks for taking the Glass Petal Smoke “Sensory Questionnaire”! Love the Kierkegaard quote. I think he smells a Buddhist kind of “nothingness”.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, maybe he does. That is a very positive interpretation, it is quite typical for me to automatically look for a negative or pathological one, I like your’s better 🙂

  4. Elisa says:

    I love the quote too. I hate the smell of Vitamin B! But you reminded me I need to take some …

  5. I love reading these!
    And those pretzels, I love their smell too!

  6. Pingback: EauMG Takes Glass Petal Smoke's Sensory Questionnaire | EauMG

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