Books. Ooooh, that smell!
I just love this meme because it's so true. There is nothing like walking into a library or bookstore and getting that first, sweet wiff of books. For so long, I thought I was the only one guilty of this freaky fetish. But, it turns out, this affects a great deal of us bookworms and there might be a little science involved.
Love is Chemistry.
One reason we may love the smell of books is because as books age, they begin to develop a sweet smell with notes of vanilla and almonds. This is caused by the breakdown of chemical compounds in the paper. Also, researchers at University College London's Institute for Sustainable Heritage recently conducted an experiment asking how participants felt about a number of different aromas. Among them was an old book. Their findings were published in Heritage Science. Without knowing what they were smelling, participants overwhelmingly described the smell of books as being like chocolate.
Vanilla, chocolate and almonds...sounds delicious! So here we have scientific proof that, over time, books begin to exude an aroma that we associate with dessert, decadence, comfort and sensuality. Some experts believe that vanilla has long been seen as a natural aphrodisiac. As early as the 1700s, physicians recommended it to male patients to ensure potency. Studies have also shown that the smell of chocolate can affect a person's "theta" brain which can distract and relax people at the same time.
Combine this with the fact that smell is one, if not the most, powerful trigger to recall memories. It's no wonder that walking into a room full of books can cause such a pleasant and physical reaction. One sniff and we're transported back to our first wondrous trip to a library or transplanted back into a beloved childhood story. This enchanting scent brings back all the amazing memories of the places we've traveled, people we've met and adventures we've been on...IN BOOKS.
Whatever the reason, books create a beautiful smell. It's nostalgic, addictive, and oh so tempting. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
What do you think? Any smells you associate with books?