I was out with a friend the other day and we passed some flowers that smelled especially good. I commented on them and then my friend and I started talking about floral scents that we both love. (So not just any good smells, such as freshly-baked brownies, but flowers in particular.)
Gardenia, for example. That definitely makes my Top 5 of favorite floral smells. And since it doesn’t grow here, it’s something that I almost never smell. I’ve tried raising a gardenia plant inside but the results were rapidly tragic. (In spite of what people think — and the serious number of hours I give over to gardening every year — I actually do not have a green thumb. The only reason that things grow outside for me is that gardening fairies come by at night and sprinkle magic dust on everything.)
Lavender is another smell that I adore, which is mostly why I have loads of it in my yard, with plans to plant more. (And also because it’s one of those super easy plants that just grows and grows and you don’t have to do anything to it. Plus, it’s hard to kill, which is another mark in its favor.)
Jasmine, for sure. Totally love the smell of that. I didn’t think we could grow it here in Virginia and then last week I just started noticing scads of it around town. I’ve never noticed it before now and I happen to know that it only grows in zones 9-10, while around here we’re in zone 7, so I don’t know what’s going on. Global warming, perhaps. Or maybe it’s an imposter jasmine.
Honeysuckle is another scent I can’t get enough of. I love when it starts to bloom in May and then I run by and catch a whiff. It’s not quite strong enough to mask my personal sweaty stinkle, but still quite lovely.
Another fragrance I was reminded of while gardening yesterday is smell of bee balm (a.k.a. monarda). The leaves have a spice-y (as opposed to spicy) smell that’s reminiscent of cloves and other similar spices. So maybe I like the smell because it reminds me of gingerbread?
My favorite smell, however, the scent j’adore most of all, is freesia. Unfortunately, freesia doesn’t grow here and it’s only rarely found in the floral section of the grocery store, so I don’t get to sniff it all that often. On the rare occasion that I do buy it — once or twice a year — a single stem can fill the first floor of my house with its lovely smell for days. The fragrance is heavy enough that I feel like I should be able to roll around in it and coat my skin with it. Truly divine.
Unfortunately, freesia is a smell that is best fresh and never, ever fake, as in, created in a lab. It is the rare freesia soap or lotion or shampoo or other product that smells like the real deal and not like some cheap, wannabe knock-off.
And for some reason, until yesterday, it never occurred to me that someone probably sells essential freesia oil and that I could buy said oil and be able to smell it whenever I want, rather than once a year. A quick Google search showed that LOTS of people already knew this and were capitalizing on my nose’s desire. There’s now a bottle in my Amazon shopping cart, waiting for my next purchase.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are the smells that I loathe. I’m not talking about the obvious ones, like garbage or decaying road kill. No, I’m talking about the ones you wouldn’t expect. For example, I cannot stand the smell of roses in lotions, soaps, or even in real life. Gag. I don’t why, only that I disliked it as a child and it’s only gotten worse over the years. That hasn’t stopped me from planting loads of roses in our yard, but you’ll never see me sticking my nose in a blossom.
What about y’all? What is your favorite smell and what’s your least favorite?