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Issue 28: Sachet Away


Woman About the Internet

February 23 · Issue #28 · View online

I am a writer, mother, and decent human being living in Seattle, Washington. My monthly newsletter pairs perfectly with the everyday and the End of Days. I think you're swell.

A mystery smell has been emanating from the refrigerator for about a week now. At first, I thought it might be the sweet scent of apples mixed with savory leftovers or something lingering around the condiments. This has become a hot topic in my household as I am the only one who is apparently able to smell this smell. My husband, the cleanest man on earth, claims ignorance. I know better. And not just because it’s caused me to throw up in the sink.

I’ve now officially said “I promise not to throw up” more during this pregnancy than in college with similar success rates.
The average human can distinguish 1 trillion smells, a figure that has been widely debated and potentially debunked (for perspective, adults can only distinguish 2.3-7.5 million colors). Most scents we stumble upon are actually complex casseroles of tens to hundreds of different odorous molecules, like the sinister bouquet in the back of my fridge.
I’ve long held the entirely privileged opinion that in this modern life we should no longer have to endure foul smells as we move about the world. Of course, this is impossible. In my daily existence, there’s always an abandoned chicken carcass to greet me on a city sidewalk or alleyways that reek of urine or other people’s picnics on airplanes* or a rogue dirty diaper in the Starbucks bathroom.
I once worked for a confectioner that sponsored a museum exhibit on the history of chocolate making. During a final lap around the exhibit prior to opening day, the guide pointed out where cocoa aromas would be piped in. I was puzzled. She then went on to give me a high-level introduction into the world of scent marketing. “We’ll blast them on the way out, like an amusement park ride!” As someone who used to spend her days inside of a factory full of chocolate, I can assure you it smelled more like a scratch and sniff sticker than an immersive scentscape.
After a brief stay at Disneyland a few years back I became fascinated by Smellitizers, the patented technology Disney employs at their parks to deliver consistent puffs of nostalgia, starting with the sweet aroma of baked goods on Main Street. In these past seven months of pregnancy, I’ve often wished for Smellitizers of my own - a puff of vanilla and bergamot in the living room whisking me back to the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel, the flickering scent of a Chateau Marmont candle in the bedroom.** Basically, I want my home to smell like a fancy hotel and not the very last thing I managed to toss in the Instant Pot on a Tuesday night.
I am not alone. There are message boards full of scent hunters in heated debates, almost as vicious as the BabyCenter boards I frequent in times of quiet desperation. While the W Hotel sells its signature fragrance, the Pan Pacific’s is proprietary (I called to inquire). Westin room spray is also a coveted fragrance.
I can assure you that it does not smell like the back of my refrigerator.
I’ll leave you with the following breathtaking description from the depths of Disney message boards devoted to scent hunting. The cool, musky smell of water present on rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean stands out as a fan favorite and apparently is unintentionally captured by a French cologne called Messe de Minuit, described by one user as “…not a fragrance of darkness but one of flickering candles and smoky shadows and of light filtered through an ancient gothic cathedral window on a cold winter night.”
Count me in. I promise not to throw up.
*WHO eats salami in a closed space surrounded by strangers?!?
**Shout out to the very wise and very posh Angela Serratore for alerting me to the existence of this candle. 
I love you and you are deserving of great things.
xo Drew
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Some of my other writing lives here. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, you can do so right here. I also hang out on Twitter.
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