Teenage boys bedrooms.
Washing left in the machine overnight.
There’s no doubt distinctive smells are evocative and memorable, tapping right into the heart of what it is to be human.
Now open a jar of Vegemite and apply the nostrils…..what can you smell?
Salty, yeasty, yumminess?
Actually there’s more to it than that.
Chemist Renée Webster has analysed Vegemite to work out exactly what gives it such a memorable whiff. Here are just a few components:
octanoic acid –> fatty, pineapple, banana, sweat cheese (oh, lovely)
sulfurol –> sulfur, meaty, chicken broth (gross, but not that surprising)
n-decanoic acid –> fatty, rancid (mmmm, yummo)
p-isopropanylephenol –> phenyl, antiseptic (how bracing!)
You can find the full list of Vegemite’s volatile and smelly chemical constituents here.
[image thanks to Eric Titcombe on flickr]