The worst chat up line I ever received was when I was in my mid-20s in a bar. A chap leant over and said in a broad accent: “Fancy a drink? By the way I smelt ya before I saw ya!”. I was wearing the perfume Poison at the time.

Smell is extremely important when it comes to attraction between two people. Research has shown that our body odour, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us subconsciously choose our partners.

Much of our emotional response to smell is governed by association, something which is borne out by the fact that different people can have completely different perceptions of the same smell.

The sense of smell is closely linked with memory, probably more so than any of our other senses. Smells evoke particular memories; the scent of an orchard in blossom conjuring up recollections of a childhood picnic, for example. This can often happen spontaneously, with a smell acting as a trigger in recalling a long-forgotten event or experience.

Marcel Proust, in his ‘Remembrance of all Things Past’, wrote that a bite of a madeleine vividly recalled childhood memories of his aunt giving him the very same cake before going to mass on a Sunday.

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