Why Old Books Smell Good

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Anyone that's stuck their nose inside a few age-worn books (better yet, surrounded themselves with stacks of them at a library) knows what aroma I am referring to, that of old pages. While reading the book Perfumes: The Guide I was happy to read an explanation into this delightful aroma. "Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from from adopting the weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to Vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally stocking a hunger for knowledge in us all."

I can't think of a better scent combo than old leather and gentle vanilla to have around while reading.  

Perfumes: The Guide is penned by Luca Turrin & Tania Sanchez. Their writing is often biting and downright mean sometimes. They really let one know where they stand. I love it!


  1. I love this photo of you! What a wonderful quote by Luca Turin- great post! (Love that he is both poetic and snarky in his writing- delicious combination.)

    1. Thank you Kathryn. I, too, love that about Turin's writing. It's as you say "delicious"


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