Aromateria Scents & Sensibilities

Happiness is like perfume. You can't give it away without getting some on yourself.

Old People Smell and the Elusive Smell of Old Books

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for an old book scent since I began working on Aromateria. And, yes, I’ve been working on one since but I’m still not quite happy with what I have. Some samples smell more like wet paper and some smell like too much leather. I even had one that smelled like caramel popcorn. It’s something that I always have on the back burner, tweaking, researching, all the while hoping for the occasion to horrify my family and neighbors. I plan on shouting “Eureka” and running naked from the bath tub because I roll like my homeboy Archimedes.

Yesterday, this was posted on my Facebook wall.

ScreenHunter_02 Mar. 04 14.57

So off to the internet I go to research some more. By research I mean google searches in between refreshing Pinterest.

Then I find this:

Using a special high-precision measurement technique, Nakamura–with the help of 21 adult male and female subjects–investigated unpleasant odors at minute levels that can barely be detected by the human nose. This investigation led Nakamura to palmitoleic acid as the culprit of body odor.

Over time, this fatty acid is broken down by bacteria inhabiting the skin or by lipid peroxides (which are present in larger quantities in older people), producing a substance called nonenal that “has an unpleasant and greasy odor with a grassy nuance.” A common smell closely approximating this odor is that of old books. Nakamura was the first person in the world to track down the culprit of “aging odor” and explain the mechanism by which the substance is produced.

Who knew that old people and old books smell alike? And that the elusive ingredient to an old book scent may be BO? Hmmm, not quite sure how I feel about that.

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This entry was posted on March 5, 2013 by in Aromateria News and tagged .
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