how do you describe "smell?"

How do you describe the sensation of smell to someone who can’t smell?

Funny how related subjects pop up within a short time span.

I don’t really know (it would probably best relate to taste), but the thought occurs that a candidate for providing such a description would be one who’s lost their previously experienced sense of smell through some injury.

Or, think of yourself when you’ve had a head cold that effectively blocked that sense.

But losing the sense temporarily doesn’t make you any more able to describe it…

If shit smelled like roses & roses smelled like shit, would shit still stink?

I would really like a semi-serious answer to this question, since I have never had a sense of smell and I’m always asking people what something smells like. Drives me crazy when I ask someone what a certain cologne smells like, and they say, “spicy”. What the HELL is SPICY??? All I can relate to is taste, so I usually wind up asking, “what does the smell TASTE like?”

The best explaination of smell I have heard was someone using visuals to describe the fragrances of certain cologne. To describe the cologne called “Colors”, he said to imagine waking up on a warm Sunday morning, the sun is shining through the window, the grass and trees are green, and your kids are dressed in white and playing in the grass below the window. Then, to describe Drakkar cologne, he said to imagine the dark clouds rolling in, the wind picking up, the rain starting to pound, etc.

In my experience as someone who has never known the sensation of smell, describing smell to a non-smeller is like describing sight to someone who has always been blind. Just not possible.

The closest I cold come to answering this is to relate my experience from the days I was a taste-tester.

In college, I got paid $10 an hour to taste-test grilled hamburgers (someone had come up with a new type of grill and they wnated to do comparative taste-tests to ensure people would actually like the stuff (as I’m typing this, I’m wondering if I might not have been involved in the testing of the George Forman grill?! This was 6 or so years ago…).

Anyway, as a prerequisit for the study, a larger group of people had to send a few weeks going through a number of batteries of sampling a wide variety of different things, form saltines to sugar candy to lard to liquid smoke. Many peole were weeded out over this time, only those that could really describe the taste sensation were admitted to the study (they had a parallel study going on with hot chocolate, BTW).

When describing taste, texture was often a factor, as was smell. One of the things we tried was eating while holding our nose. Couldn’t taste a thing. I’ve always wondered how a person with no sense of smell could taste things and nodded accordingly when I would hear stories of long-time smokers thinking everything tasted bland.

Anyway, when describing taste, words like “thick,” “smooth,” “rich,” “tart,” “smokey,” and the like often came out. I think much the same would apply to smell. If you can associate with those sensations, that is.

[sub]Sorry if some of this rambles, I’ve had to write it over the course of 2 1/2 hours coming back to it on and off, so it’s not the most coherent thought process.[/sub]

I still dont get this taste/smell thing…I mean, I have NO smeller whatsoever AND I smoke. But food to me is FAR from bland. Just cant taste the more subtle things like flavored coffee, most Italian spices…etc

Oh wait…I already started my own thread about this.