Is your nose always stuck in a book for reasons other than reading?
Do you love the smell of old books? Fear not, you are not alone; there’s a legitimate reason that dusty old pages smell so good.
Books give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as they decompose over time. Researchers from the University College London extracted VOCs from 1928 French novel; volunteers then blindly sniffed extracts from the book, plus seven other unlabeled scents ranging from a fish market to dirty linens. Afterward, participants filled out a survey with a question asking them to describe the smell of the historic book; the most- cited scents for the book were chocolate, followed by coffee.
By conducting this study, Researchers are hoping to break down and pinpoint scents, eventually hoping to mimic those smells in a lab to recreate aromas from the past.
Perfumers have also jumped on this idea and have created an array of scents. There is Dead Writers by Sweet Tea Apothecary which smells like black tea, vetiver, clove, musk, vanilla, heliotrope, and tobacco, or Paperback by Demeter which is described as “sweet and lovely with just a touch of the musty smell of aged paper… with a sprinkling of violets and a dash of tasteful potpourri.”
For now, I think I’ll stick with my old books —maybe with a piece of chocolate.