The Stink

This Is How The Winter Should Smell

Rosemary, incense, artificial flavors, and memories of warmer months decorate this winter’s smellscape.


The Stink is a monthly column that analyzes the desires and cravings evoked by scents, particularly those of New York City.

I’m writing to you from a precarious and vulnerable position: a man has left me in his house alone while he goes to therapy. None of this is your business, but you might want to know that I was met with a pleasant and unexpected surprise when I grabbed his worn shirt to smell it before writing this. At first, a classic base of skin and sweat dusted with a musked citrus laundry detergent, but this classic core was wrapped in an unusually minty, fresh, and cold sweetness, like chewing gum while standing in line at an ice cream shop, particularly a Cold Stone Creamery– sugary, blonde ice cream mixed on a frozen stone slab. After breathing into it for long enough (about three deep breaths), dormant cigarette residue began to rise to the surface. Heavenly. I think I’ll step out for a smoke.

The weather is finally cooling. The onset of cold weather has always been one’s cue to conceptualize how you’ll bring the outside in for the cold months. This task is at once isolating and incredibly romantic. Decisions about what to take inside with you begin at the end of August when the light shifts and the air starts thinning, but the weather remains hot. The smells you took in during that time will stay with you through the winter.

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