The Sensory Questionnaire was created by Michelle Krell Kydd, editor of the blog Glass Petal Smoke. I was inspired to respond to the questionnaire after reading the fascinating responses on Yesterday’s Perfume.

I encourage everyone to complete the questionnaire. You might learn something new about yourself! If you decide to take the plunge, please link your responses back to Glass Petal Smoke.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin….

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

I treasure my sense of smell because it grants me access to the past and helps me relish the present. I use my sense of smell in a recreational manner, similar to the way people use alcohol and drugs: to change my perspective, to relax, to get a “buzz”…  

2. What are some of your strongest scent memories?   Smells associated with the house I grew up in: poultry seasoning, onions frying, the musty basement, cigarette smoke, burnt dust from vacuuming with an ancient Hoover.

3. What are some of your favorite smells (things in nature, cooking and/or your environment)?
Pine trees, wild roses, my dog/cat’s fur, blackberries, incense, old books, heliotrope and night-scented stock. 

4. Do you have any favorite smells that are considered strange?   As a child, I loved the smell of my dad’s pillow. It smelled of his hair and sweat.  I also love the smell of new dollar bills, chlorinated heated pools and chalk dust.

5. Describe one or more of your favorite cooking smells.  
Nori, fresh rosemary and cilantro, fresh lime juice, bean sprouts, basmati rice.

6. What smells do you most dislike?  
Bacon, artificial maple, roasting coffee beans, marigolds, Body Shop White Musk, crepe paper streamers, packing tape. 

7. What smell did you first dislike, but learned to love? Narcissus. I couldn’t handle it at first because it smelled so urinous. These days, I douse myself with Estee Lauder Private Collection and Norell with abandon.  

8. What mundane smells inspire you?  Cut grass. Saw dust and lumber. Woodsmoke.

9. What scent never fails to take you back in time and why?
Fresh strawberries. I went on many berry-picking trips as a child, which usually ended with me sick because I ate and picked at the same time.

10. What scents do you associate with memories of loved ones?
My mother: Cover Girl face powder, Alyssa Ashley Musk, and the peppery sparkle of Coca-Cola.
My father: The dusty metallic smell from cutting keys.
My sister: Bain de Soleil tanning gelée and lily of the valley. 

11. What fragrance(s) remind you of growing up?
Loves Baby Soft, Bonne Bell Orange Crush Lip Smacker, dry cleaning chemicals, vinyl car seats, smouldering charcoal briquettes. 
12. What fragrance(s) remind you of the places you visited on vacation?
The smell of musty canvas reminds me of summers camping with my family.  

13. Describe a piece of sensory literature that is very magical for you. 
From Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic:

“The lilacs had gone absolutely wild since Gillian’s arrival, as though paying homage to her beauty and her grace, and had spilled out from the backyard into the front, a purple bower hanging over the fence and the driveway. Lilacs were not supposed to bloom in July, that was a simple botanical fact, at least it had been until now. Girls in the neighborhood had begun to whisper that if you kissed a boy you loved beneath the Owenses’ lilacs he’d be yours forever, whether he wanted to be or not.”

If you made it all the way to the bottom, I thank you for indulging me!

Heliotrope and Lilac:  Yours truly. Do not use without permission.