Scent Diary : Mangoes and Sticky Rice

Sweet, sour, salty, hot. Thai cuisine satisfies all cravings in one mouthful. One of the most famous Thai dishes, mangoes and sticky rice, is likewise intriguing. Steamed rice is blanketed with a layer of salty-sweet coconut sauce and served with ripe mangoes. Grilled mung beans and sesame seeds add a nutty twist. A plate to inspire a perfumer.

mango and rice

In this space you can share any scents you encounter in your daily life. It’s a way to sharpen your sense of smell, but also just to enjoy the fragrance hobby in a richer way. Whether you write down 1 recollection–“I smelled coffee this morning”–or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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99 Comments

  • Kat: I received a tin of lavender scented shea butter this morning, so that was one of the first things I smelled. I’ll use it mostly as anti-headache balm since I can’t stand peppermint oil. March 9, 2016 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds luxurious! March 9, 2016 at 1:51pm Reply

      • Kat: It’s by a Bulgarian company, Zoya goes Pretty, they have a whole organic range of Shea butters mixed with oils. I love the ones with rose and camellia oil – they are great hand treatments. And after a day of returning to that tin (despite not suffering from a headache) I can say I like the lavender variant too. March 9, 2016 at 6:42pm Reply

        • rainboweyes: I’m a fan of Zoya Goes Pretty shea butters!
          I love the rose butter but shea + plum kernel is great too. March 10, 2016 at 2:51pm Reply

          • Kat: I just noticed that they’re about to tweak the formula a bit by adding jojoba oil. I guess that’s because some people complained that the butters can be a bit hard, the jojoba oil will make them smoother. Can’t wait to give it a try once they’re out. March 10, 2016 at 5:02pm Reply

            • rainboweyes: Yes, I can imagine it’s to improve smoothness, although for me the texture was ok.
              Have you tried anything by Alteya Organics? They have nice Bulgarian rose cosmetics too. March 11, 2016 at 3:48am Reply

              • Kat: Never heard of the brand – but it looks great. I might give it a try – thanks for the tip! March 11, 2016 at 5:25pm Reply

  • Gina: Pumpkin spice latte this morning with some old Avon Somewhere March 9, 2016 at 9:15am Reply

  • Bonnie: I’m smelling a dull metallic staleness in the air. The seasons are changing, winter just had its last blast and now we’re up to double degree temperatures. But the streets are still covered with their winter coat of salt and winter debris, people are overheating in their coats and boots, and so what we need is a good spring cleaning to sweep the streets and give us permission to change up our outerwear. I’ve heard it’s going to rain for the next two days, so Mother Nature is right on her game. March 9, 2016 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: We had rain, snow and sunshine all within a couple of hours. But now the air smells smoky. March 9, 2016 at 2:41pm Reply

  • CL: I awoke to the scent of rain cleansing the air. Since I’m up in time to wake the roosters, an evocative scent is a great way to begin the day. March 9, 2016 at 9:44am Reply

    • Victoria: A good start to a day. 🙂 March 9, 2016 at 2:44pm Reply

  • Connie: I have some Eucalyptus I got fresh at Trader Joe’s so I went to see if it still had any life left this morning in my arrangement next to my soaker tub. No, it is completely dry, but it still had a lingering smell of Eucalyptus, however faint. Too bad. My nose misses the clean smell and I know my sinuses do too. Time to get a new batch. March 9, 2016 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Eucalyptus clears the sinuses like nothing else. When it’s fresh, of course. March 9, 2016 at 2:45pm Reply

  • Karen 5.0: Of all the wonderful cuisines of the world, Thai and Indian are my favorite. The exotic melange of colors, scents and flavors is unparalleled.

    I smelled spring for the first time yesterday. Here, where we are usually often snow-covered at this time of year, the sound of birds singing and the wind blowing was accompanied by the unmistakable scent of rain.

    Now, as I sit sipping a mug of Ethiopia Cuji coffee (flavors of lavender, lemon, and currant), I once again feel grateful for the variety of scents that make life so much richer~ March 9, 2016 at 10:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t had one bad meal in Thailand, even if it was something simple from a street stall. I also loved that you could find fresh fruit as snack everywhere.

      A friend came back from a trip to Ethiopia with a big bag of coffee, and my whole apartment still smells of it. March 9, 2016 at 2:48pm Reply

      • katherine X: Fresh coffee beans and grinds. These are at the top of my list of favorite things to smell. Lucky you Victoria! March 9, 2016 at 11:43pm Reply

      • Karen 5.0: Agreed! Not a bad meal to be found in Thailand! I forgot to mention how much I love the ubiquitous and lovely orchids everywhere you look.

        Yes, after a few hours in a coffee shop, the oils from it seep into your clothes, hair, your very being. But that’s not a bad thing…for me, coffee and also bacon frying are absolutely delicious smells! March 10, 2016 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Michaela: Spring came some few days ago in my area.
    Sweet spring in the air, with cherry plum trees in full bloom overnight. Green fabulous spring of hyacinths. Earthy spring, smell of forest in the rain. Herbaceous spring, with piney rosemary and cool mint in pots, perfuming the whole room. Delicate spring, with my honey scented white tulips, while the red ones have just a touch of orange juice. Is there any perfume to suggest tulips?
    I’ll search for some daffodils. There is no spring without them.
    I reach for EL Private Collection today. March 9, 2016 at 10:34am Reply

    • Victoria: There is Byredo’s Tulipe, but to me it smells more like Febreeze. March 9, 2016 at 2:49pm Reply

      • Surbhi: Ha ha. I can’t stand febreeze. But La Tulipe is fine. It is such a soft and delicate floral to my nose. March 9, 2016 at 3:23pm Reply

        • Tara C: I like La Tulipe as well, although I only have a sample. There are so many negative comments about it I am afraid to buy a bottle. March 10, 2016 at 11:52pm Reply

          • Michaela: Tara C,

            You could wear sample after sample and, if you really enjoy it in the end, ignore each and every negative comment and buy a bottle.

            I’ll definitely sample La Tulipe if I find it. March 11, 2016 at 4:14am Reply

          • Surbhi: I am wearing it today ! I had my doubts after reading the review here and I was reluctant to put it on. (I got my bottle before reading any review) But I decided to try it again today to see if I still like it.

            It still is a very soft delicate floral for me not the strong white florals. A peaceful floral if there is anything called peaceful white floral 😀 March 11, 2016 at 11:43am Reply

        • Victoria: I actually like the smell of Febreeze. March 12, 2016 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Raquel: Oh how much I love this food, delicious, fullfilling but light.

    My birthday was yesterday and I received Alba Botanica Midnight Tuberose Shower gel so this morning I used it and I love it. Does this mean that I would probably like SL Tuberose Criminalle? I’ve never smelled it.

    I smelled my cup of coffee and the turmeric I spread on my toast with yogurt.

    I also smelled a homemade bug spray my mother makes: bayrum with tobacco leaves. March 9, 2016 at 10:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Happy Birthday! Hope that you had a wonderful day and lots of presents. Alba Botanica Midnight Tuberose reminds me of La Chasse Aux Papillons by L’Artisan. I’d say that it’s different enough from Tubereuse Criminelle, so I don’t know if you’d like TC. March 9, 2016 at 2:50pm Reply

      • Raquel: Thank you very much Victoria! I had a great day!
        Actually I was thinking about La Chasse Aux Papillons but wrote SL TC, I guess I was distracted…my mistake, sorry.
        Now I have a new perfume on my wish list! March 9, 2016 at 4:54pm Reply

  • Isabel: I love this thread and that we can share and discuss the scents of the everyday world around us!

    When I have a cold, I frequently lose my sense of smell for up to a week. This happened to me two summers ago when we were on a seaside vacation. I never quite realised how much I love the scent of sea air with sea weed, grass, wild roses and wood fires, until that week when I couldn’t smell it. I was sitting by the fire early in the night, looking at the sea and suddenly realised that to me, without the sense of smell, the world is grey.

    Luckily that doesn’t happen too often. Today I am smelling the wonderful sweetness of wet earth from where the snow has just melted away. March 9, 2016 at 10:57am Reply

    • Mia: A frightening scene not to smell the sea – the scent I miss living now in inner land but having lived by sea over 40 years.

      Or not to smell any scent! March 9, 2016 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: To me also. Colds make me appreciate my nose even more. March 9, 2016 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: This morning is the scent of fresh baked, but not made from scratch, croissants – served with homemade apricot jam. I make this jam with a vanilla pod, so it smells heavenly. Also fresh ground coffee beans. Neither of us is working today so it’s breakfast in bed. What a treat. March 9, 2016 at 11:22am Reply

  • lila: We’ve had a break in the weather and my house has a different smell in the spring vs. the winter. I commented to my husband that I noticed the house had taken on it’s spring scent and he agreed. We had a fire going in our fire pit outside so that was another scent. Buttered toast, peanut butter, cereal and almond milk, coffee, Braggs Unfiltered Apple Cider, Rosae Mundi (my SotD) and a splash bottle of Chanel Pour Monsieur my husband wants me to decant into an atomizer. He also had out a mostly used up bottle of Tuscany by Aramis (my favorite from our college days) so I gave that a whiff. I still love it! March 9, 2016 at 11:55am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s one of my favorite times of year when I can smell the changing seasons in the air. Especially wonderful when it’s on the cusp of winter and spring. March 9, 2016 at 2:56pm Reply

  • OnWingsOfSaffron: First conscious smell this morning: Kusmi’s Thé violette. Second smell: Sharp Brussel sprouts for my green smoothie. Third Smell: Patou 1000 with its funny banana scent … March 9, 2016 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I had the same tea this morning. 🙂 March 9, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

  • Pemberley: As I sat outside this morning and read, I enjoyed the smell of sweet olive wafting through the air. When I came inside, I lit my Lucky Luxe Sweet Olive candle. Lovely way to start the day. March 9, 2016 at 12:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Another interesting candle I must try. March 9, 2016 at 2:55pm Reply

  • rainboweyes: – the smell of fresh curcuma root when I was preparing my “golden milk” this morning

    – milky oolong, my favourite tea at the moment

    – Dzongkha, my STOD. Actually I’m more in spring scent mood but we had a heavy snow storm here yesterday 🙁 March 9, 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: It’s supposed to be SOTD, of course 😉 March 9, 2016 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’d love to hear what’s in your golden milk! March 9, 2016 at 2:54pm Reply

    • OnWingsOfSaffron: “Golden milk”: sounds wonderful. Let me guess: turmeric root is a given, then perhaps a nut milk, made of almonds or cashews. Then something sweet: dates, a banana? 😊 Top it off with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
      Please let us know! March 9, 2016 at 3:38pm Reply

      • rainboweyes: You’re right about dates but banana would make a great addition too 🙂
        The other ingredients are a bit of fresh ginger root, some cocoa powder, a pinch of cloves, cardamom, pepper, some ground vanilla pod, and of course cinnamon. I use differents kinds of milk, depending on what I have in my fridge. March 9, 2016 at 3:57pm Reply

  • Aurora: Daffodils, violets and primroses in bloom in the park, but the weather is cloudy today, delicious smell of wet soil after the rain, fed a squirrel some brazil nuts. Later the the unexpected aroma from a broken bottle of red wine at M&S, it must have been good wine, a decidedly floral bouquet. Also, the scent from a mix of Sahara Noir and Coco Noir lingering on my scarf from yesterday so I didn’t reapply as SN is perhaps the most potent perfume I have. March 9, 2016 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Edna: My sister has a little bakery in our village. I love to go to her house for coffee and smell all the baked goodies.
    Another favorite smell is Chai Tea.
    And my most favorite smell: rain. Rain on the woods, rain on the beach. I live in a rainforest and love my life. March 9, 2016 at 2:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: I really love the smell of rain. So evocative. March 9, 2016 at 2:42pm Reply

  • Surbhi: 1) I got a new full bottle of odin no 12 yesterday. I couldn’t wait to put it on in the morning 😉

    2) A clarifying shampoo with lavender, lemon and rosemary essential oils smelled awesome (I could only smell lavender though) I have never liked the smell of any shampoo as much before and lavender isn’t even a favorite scent.

    3) Over ripe banana ( I don’t think any other smell disturbs me as much as that). I feel like telling people don’t eat banana at your desk 🙁

    4) Fresh oranges (love them)

    5) some mixture of carnal flower / ostara / fracas lingering on my jacket from days ago.

    And I agree with the description of Thai food. Full of flavors and taste. And Mango (from india) is my favorite fruit. The mangoes served with sticky rice is closest I got to Indian mangoes here.

    I had always seen sticky rice white in color here in states. Is it a different rice or you cooked it with something ? March 9, 2016 at 2:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was at the cooking school in Thailand, and we added the blue butterfly flower tea to rice to color it. It doesn’t add any taste, only color.

      By the way, the flowers are edible too. March 9, 2016 at 2:43pm Reply

      • Steph: I was wondering about the color, too. I never knew about blue butterfly flower tea. I will have to try it! The day before yesterday I made an orange olive oil cake and used a few blood oranges mixed in with one regular orange. When it mixed with the baking soda, the batter started to change color, turning blue! It was a bit of a shock to cut into the cake and see this light blue-green color. At least it still tasted good! March 9, 2016 at 4:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s very common in Thailand where it used to make lemonade and color rice. I ordered dried flowers from a Thai online store, and I’ve been using them in teas. March 12, 2016 at 12:37pm Reply

  • Mia: Swimming pool! Not exactly a beautiful scent but evokes lots of memories, happy ones. March 9, 2016 at 2:49pm Reply

  • CristinaM: Rosemary in my garden. Spring is almost here. March 9, 2016 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love cooking with rosemary. March 12, 2016 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Joy: My husband made a fresh batch of beer yesterday. Now whenever I enter my home, I am greeted with the warm, malty, yeasty smell. Not one I would want to wear, but nice wafting out onto the patio.
    My Golden Retriever had a bath with rosemary shampoo and conditioner. He smells fresh and green. March 9, 2016 at 7:52pm Reply

    • katherine X: If he’s anything like my dogs he won’t smell “fresh and green” for long! (Sadly) March 9, 2016 at 11:50pm Reply

      • katherine X: 🙂 March 9, 2016 at 11:51pm Reply

      • Joy: You are right about that! March 10, 2016 at 12:37am Reply

    • Victoria: My husband also makes beer at home time to time. But he does it when I travel. 🙂 March 12, 2016 at 12:39pm Reply

      • Joy: It is a fun project for him, and he loves beer. March 12, 2016 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Karen A: We’ve gone from winter to spring (mid 80’s yesterday) in just a few days, so windows are open, daffodils are flowering, and the gardens need tending in a major way! But the smell of the dirt close up for the first time this season, is there anything better?

    Starting some sourdough (levain) starter, anticipating that aroma in a few days as it develops.

    On a separate note, saw a wonderful, beautiful ad for Jo Malone’s new line, The Herb Garden, with a stunning 80+ year old, Gitte Lee (actually looked it up). Makes me want to try the fragrances just because the photo is who I want to be in my future! March 10, 2016 at 7:20am Reply

    • Karen A: Adding on – after a hike in a nearby park, where a huge pine tree had fallen I suddenly had an urge for pine/rosemary fragrances! Such a switch from my usual florals.

      Plus, earlier I began tackling the garden beds, cutting down some of the grasses. Immediately recognized that earthy vetiver in Sycomore and craved it. March 10, 2016 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Rye sourdough or wheat? March 12, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

      • Karen A: I use wheat flour from this great mill in Pennsylvania, Daisy Flours. They use a lot of heritage wheat varieties that small farms grow for them, some are from 1800’s! We went up a while ago as I was curious about the mill, plus I wanted to buy a lot of flour (stored it in a freezer, it was really nice to have a huge supply on hand). It was so cool to know the variety of wheat they used for the flour I bought.

        It’s funny, because I’ve been baking bread all my adult life but never made a starter to use as the levening agent. Am excited to try a loaf Monday! March 12, 2016 at 5:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have been baking with sourdough started for the past few years, and I love it. My starter is already 4 years old, and the only hassle is to feed it on regular basis. So I taught my husband how to do it, and he’s in charge of taking care of our pet. Or two pets, because I have the wheat and rye starters. March 13, 2016 at 8:11am Reply

          • Karen A: Very fun! Yes, it seems they do require tending! March 14, 2016 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Spring is coming, the scents of nature awaken. My nose craves light florals after the deprivation of winter. I wear Diorissimo ( can’t wait to smell the real thing in May) violet and rose soliflores.
    My new scent love is lavender, I fell head over heels for Penhaligon’s Lavandula. Before, I associated lavender with the uninvited guests living in my closets without paying rent. Now I long to explore any bodycare line that works with real(istic) lavender scent. Suggestions are welcome. March 10, 2016 at 7:55am Reply

    • Joy: I use Agua Lavanda Puig soap, shower gel and body milk which I purchase from the soapbar.com. The bottles are 25.5 fl. oz. so they are a good deal, not too expensive. A fresh bar of the soap opened in the bathroom perfumes the whole house. I think that Amazon carries it also, but I like to give my business to other smaller businesses when I can. Jacqueline at soapbar.com makes such a nice package for her customers. March 10, 2016 at 6:45pm Reply

      • PNora Szekely: Thank you Joy, I’ll try it. 🙂 March 11, 2016 at 4:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Have you tried Yardley’s Lavender? March 12, 2016 at 12:45pm Reply

  • iodine: I’ve just opened a parcel containing a vial of borage oil I bought blind- partly as a homage to a very dear friend of mine who passed away three weeks ago and used beautiful borage leaves and flowers in salads.
    OMG, it’s foul, nasty, how can I keep it on my face!!!!
    And then I remembered you talking about borage at Orto Botanico…
    A horrible smell brought pleasant memories and made me smile. 🙂 March 10, 2016 at 11:02am Reply

    • Victoria: I remember it too! I have a little bottle of borage oil, and my reaction was similar to yours, but the smells vanishes quickly enough. March 12, 2016 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Kari: I love reading through these threads. I have enjoyed scented products well before I started exploring perfume.

    I started the day with a beautiful creamy caramel rooibos tea mixed with honeybush vanilla rooibos. I washed my hair with Lush Trichomania shampoo, a soft solid shampoo that is hydrating and smells of coconut. As usual I applied Lush Hair Custard after showering, a conditioning pomade/creamy mousse that smells of vanilla custard. I applied the tiniest bit of Un Bois Vanille EDP to my wrists, and some shea butter cream to the dry patches on my hands. I am wearing Lush EggSnog lip balm-a silky balm in a tin that smells of egg nog, cloves and nutmeg. March 10, 2016 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Kari: And I woke up to a kitchen that still smells like delicious roast beef and mashed potatoes. Yum! March 10, 2016 at 1:15pm Reply

    • Karen A: Yum!!!!! March 10, 2016 at 4:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Such a nicely scented day. 🙂 March 12, 2016 at 12:58pm Reply

  • Neyonta: Mangoes and rice both come under what I call ‘sun foods’. March 10, 2016 at 4:14pm Reply

  • Terry Allen: Worms. Its late winter in Minnesota, tipping towards spring, and I don’t see them but I smell them… Nosing through the ground,waking up the roots. What do worms smell like? Alaia after drydown… but more honest and more hopeful. March 10, 2016 at 4:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what smell you’re talking about. March 12, 2016 at 12:59pm Reply

      • Terry Allen: Do you smell it when its been dry for awhile and then it rains…When the worms come out? I am so excited that you might know this smell Victoria… So excited. Since I was a kid, I’ve tried to point out the wormdirt smell to people and they give me the vague nod. I love that smell. March 12, 2016 at 5:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s less obvious to me now that our spring comes in spurts and winters are mild, but in the past when winters were colder and spring arrived slower, you can definitely notice this smell. It was the first harbinger of spring for me. March 13, 2016 at 8:10am Reply

    • Peppermoon: When there’s a torrent and all of the worms are forced out of the soil, I always feel so bad for them, stranded on the concrete and wiggling helplessly. There is definitely a worm smell – smells like dirt + the smell they emit when distressed + geosmin. March 15, 2016 at 10:21am Reply

  • Ditie: Dampness. It’s been really muggy lately as we move from summer to autumn. The air is heavy with moisture, and everyone is sweaty.
    This morning there’s been a brief respite – the air is fresh and the sky is blue (but more mugginess is in store, the forecast tells me). My skin is still spongy and salty from last night’s sweat.

    Yesterday I finished reading Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel, which is full of sensory descriptions. Anne Boleyn in the forest on a cool evening, smelling of lavender; the horrible smell that lingers in the air after someone has been burned. Looking forward to starting the next volume! March 10, 2016 at 6:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mantel is so good at evoking the atmosphere, and I haven’t gotten far into Wolf Hall yet, but I like it very much. March 12, 2016 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Karen A: Funny line in an old Paul Newman/Susan Saradon movie – Paul Newman character asked Susan Saradon if she’d been at someone’s house, because he recognized the scent of her perfume. She said Lots of women wear Bal a Versailles! Had to laugh cause I thought, not anymore! March 14, 2016 at 4:19pm Reply

  • NBelle: Mangoes and sticky rice, what a delightful combo! I’ve always thought the scent of cooking rice is comforting, whether it is cooked by stove or by rice cooker.

    We are transitioning from winter to spring, and the air is getting more humid. My uni campus smelled of damp earth, mixed with car exhaust and cigarette smoke. Not entirely too unpleasant, for I have a fondness for the scent of tobacco smoke, especially when combined with J’our d’Hermes, my SotD.

    Favorite scent of the day would be the yeasty scent of my sleepy pup’s paws, heheh. March 15, 2016 at 3:19am Reply

    • Victoria: You smell wonderful. 🙂

      I bought a couple of jasmine rice soaps from Thailand, and they are such a treat. But they give me cravings for rice and coconut milk desserts. March 15, 2016 at 6:30am Reply

  • Peppermoon: I LOVE the smell of mango sticky rice. I get a craving and make it a few times a year. I’ll have to try the sesame next time.

    Have you tried the House of Gloi Mango Sticky Rice perfume oil? It’s on my test list. March 15, 2016 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t, but it sounds interesting. March 15, 2016 at 11:44am Reply

  • Hamamelis: My local supermarket gave me a big and happy surprise by selling jasmin in their tiny houseplant section. It is jasminum polyanthum and it is now sitting in my home office which is now the best scented room in the house, if not neighbourhood! It reminds me of warm Spanish summer nights, and I will try and find a tiny bit of A la Nuit that I should have somewhere. March 16, 2016 at 8:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Do you know Nights in the Gardens of Spain by the Spanish composer Manuel de Falla? I read your comment and thought that you might enjoy it. March 16, 2016 at 12:32pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: I don’t know it and will check it out! Thank you for your suggesting it. March 16, 2016 at 12:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: I found an excerpt on YouTube, by the way. March 16, 2016 at 7:27pm Reply

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