Video Extras

The World’s Best Smell Has Been Revealed As... Vanilla

For years, humans have been debating what is objectively the best smell. Is it freshly baked cookies coming out of the oven? Is it the smell of a beautiful daffodil on the first day of spring? Is it Lynx Africa?

Well, now that we’ve done the COVID vaccine, scientists have now turned their minds to this next pressing question: determining what the most pleasant smell is. Scientists from the University of Oxford and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm took ten different scents and presented them to 235 people from nine different cultures to find out what was universally loved and hated.

“Since these groups live in such disparate odoriferous environments, like rainforest, coast, mountain and city, we capture many different types of ‘odour experiences’,” Dr Artin Arshamian from the Karolinska Institute told The Age. “We wanted to examine if people around the world have the same smell perception and like the same types of odour, or whether this is something that is culturally learnt.”

And the results reveal that humans are objectively basic with vanilla - the scent that is literally synonymous with the word ‘boring’ - coming in at number one. Rounding out the top three were peaches and lavender. Lynx Africa polled well, but only amongst teenage boys who also own fedoras and wear Tarocash t-shirts to nightclubs.

But, the big question is: what were the objectively worst smells? You’d think that mum’s farts would be there, but surprisingly that was not the case. Rounding out the bottom three scents were green peppers, decaying fish and sweaty feet.

First of all, it’s very unfortunate for green peppers to be lumped in the same category as decaying fish and sweaty feet. Even more upsetting for the humble pepper, people claimed it smelled worse than sweaty goats. People would rather be trapped in a lift with a goat that’s just run a marathon than a single green pepper.

Of course, anyone who has been on a Jetstar flight will agree that sweaty feet are the worst smell known to the human nose. As soon as you see people walking onboard a flight to Bali in things, you immediately start praying that you’re going to be seated next to a screaming baby than those smelly hooves. Either that, or you just hope you catch COVID quick enough to knock out your sense of smell for the next six hours.