The reason old books smell so wonderful

Apparently, there’s one part of the human brain that seems programmed to never forget things. It’s somewhere in the limbic system, and it connects smells to emotions. Perhaps this why we find sniffing books so wonderfully satisfying. Either that or we’re just suckers for vanilla. Whatever the answer, in this era of odourless ebooks, you’ll still find us with our noses buried in battered old tomes, every chance we get.

The reason why old books smell so good, from the book Perfumes: The Guide by  Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez

 

 

The above photo reads as follows:

“Lignin, the stuff that prevents all tress 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 stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.”

Perfumes: The Guide

 

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