Friday 20 January 2017

David Robbins: Searching for the perfect smell? Look no further than a slice of toast

David Robbins

Published 18/09/2010 | 05:00

What, I wonder, does the past smell like? Is it that leathery, perfumey smell of the inside of Auntie Vera's handbag? Or is it the dry, clean smell of my father's shaving cream?

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Smell and memory are powerfully linked. The waft of a scent from across the room, the drift of something agricultural in the car window, the yeasty warmth of a fresh loaf, all these can trigger powerful memories.

Sure didn't our old friend Marcel Proust get a whole seven-volume novel out of what happened when his narrator first smelled and then tasted a freshly baked madeleine cake?

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