Scent Diary : First of the Year

Happy 2024 to my readers and friends! I wish you many wonderful experiences, health and success. Above all, I wish that 2024 will be a more peaceful year than the previous one.

What was the first thing you smelled this year? One of the exercises I gave to my ISIPCA students to develop them ability to notice and describe aromas is to track the scents they smell over the course of five consecutive days. It was a training method I learned as a perfumery students and I always found it effective. Even these days when I make a point of keeping a scent diary for several days and noting what odors I observe around me, my perception of aromas becomes heightened.

So with the goal of starting the year well, here is my list:
Jasmine tea–white grape, apricot jam, suede, green buds.
White hyacinths–I made an arrangement with white hyacinths and pine branches and I smelled the vivid wet almond and earthy rose scent as soon as I walked into the living this morning.
Panettone–my homemade panettone was scented with orange and lemon peel, vanilla and rum-raisins.
Kefir–my morning, holiday or not, starts with feeding my army of pets–sourdough starters, nukadon, and kefir. Kefir smells wonderfully of green apple and lemon.
Hermès Cuir d’Ange–my perfume today, soft leather and tender musk, with a whisper of violets and faded roses.

I would love to read your lists.

Scent Diary is a place to write your observations about the scents around you. Whether you write down 1 recollection 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. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

While looking through my articles, I found this article that I wrote a few years ago but that still remains popular and often-read: A to Z Tips for Enjoyable, Affordable and Rewarding Perfume Hobby. If you have any tips to add, I’d love to hear them.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin



  • rainboweyes: Happy New Year to you, dear Victoria and to all BdJ readers! May it bring us peace and many moments of joy.

    Here’s my first scent diary of 2024:

    Lavender, neroli and tonka bean: the remnants of the few drops I put on my pillow last night before sleep

    Freshly ground coffee for breakfast

    Porridge scented with cinnamon flowers

    Roasted hazelnuts

    Green tea from Pussimbing/Darjeeling after breakfast – light and citrusy

    What a great idea to combine hyacinths with pine branches! The amaryllis decoration on my table still looks fresh but I can’t wait to bring hyacinths into the house. Same as you, I always associate their scent with the beginning of a new year. January 1, 2024 at 8:36am Reply

    • Victoria: What a lovely list!

      I also paired amaryllis with pine branches. I will post a picture in my Instagram stories. January 4, 2024 at 8:04am Reply

  • Melissa T: Happy New Year! Here in Colorado, the air has been so dry, that I really have to bury my nose into things to get a good sense of the smell. So this is today’s scent diary (so far)..

    -Ground coffee (Counter Culture)
    -The warm amber scent of my drugstore L’Oreal shampoo and conditioner
    -Peanut butter mixed into my oatmeal

    Today I’m wearing Ormonde Jayne Taif to lend a slightly sweet rose scent to the new raspberry-colored sweater I’m wearing. January 1, 2024 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I also like Taif very much. January 4, 2024 at 8:07am Reply

  • Ewan: Toast, butter and Marmite with boiled eggs and for tea: heavy, horse-sweat smelling black PuErh tea January 1, 2024 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: The scent of pu erh is unmistakable. January 4, 2024 at 8:07am Reply

  • Gabriela: Homemade panettone by my husband (orange, almonds, vanilla). Smell of flowers on the table from last night as well as my perfume on the pillow (Ormonde Woman). Frankincense on the diffuser. Saffron, ginger, anise and lemon just now as we’ve had lunch with our children.
    Later some bergamot tea and the smell of the sea.

    Indeed, I have much to be grateful for. January 1, 2024 at 9:35am Reply

  • Kathleen: Welcoming the New Year and best wishes to all for a good start to 2024.
    -So far coffee, remnants of my perfume from yesterday YSL Yvresse, my dog’s cozy body scent waking up beside me, and Seeking Balance perfume Diane St. Clare. During the holidays I wore Chanel No 5, long time favorite including body wash, cream, and EDP. January 1, 2024 at 9:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, the whole line is very good. I also like the hair mist. January 4, 2024 at 8:07am Reply

  • Natalie: I have been doing smell training since earlier in December after I lost my sense of smell due to COVID and it has been slowly coming back. I’ve always had a keen sense of smell and I couldn’t even smell multiple sprays of my strongest perfumes on tissues at all. I felt like a bloodhound who lost their ability to smell at first and like I didn’t know who I was without it. I am very grateful and happy it is almost all back now.
    The first thing I smelled this year was while I was driving home after my shift at the hospital after midnight and it was acrid flinty smoky gunpowder from New Year’s Eve fireworks about a half mile away from the highway. When I could smell fireworks in the distance while driving my car I felt reassured that my sense of smell will be back like it was.
    Besides gunpowder today it was glorious nutmeg, cinnamon, and oatmeal. Today was the first day I could really smell oatmeal again and I was overjoyed.
    I have been trying to smell everything to get my sense of smell back and sharpen it such as spices, herbs, candles, wax melts, toiletries, perfumes, food, coffee, tea, fabrics, the air outside and interesting, and everything in between.
    I will wear my Cuir d’Ange today too and will try to notice every facet of the fragrance and be thankful I can.
    Happy New Year! January 1, 2024 at 10:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Please recover quickly! I know what it feels like–and the excitement you feel when your sense of smell is coming back. January 4, 2024 at 8:08am Reply

  • Quinn: Hello! Happy New Year! (May the year to come be gentler and more compassionate all around, oof.)

    I actually stumbled on your blog tonight for the first time because of what I think was the first thing I smelled after midnight (or at least the one so loud I can’t remember others around it): a set of shampoo & conditioner bottles I — despite knowing better, sigh — recently bought from an Ulta, which smell like a headache-inducing riot of beauty store perfume jumble plus the lingering extra-strong white vinegar I sprayed them with to try to pull the smell out of the plastic.

    I am not a person who generally enjoys a huge percentage of my olfactory experiences (I get overstimulated and also frequently headaches), and because of that I suspect I will find your blog utterly fascinating as a window into a completely different experience of scent! How delightful.

    I’m mostly commenting to ask: have you come across the novel Paladin’s Grace by T Kingfisher? It’s a fantasy romance (murder mystery/thriller, I guess? kind of? it includes both sex and dismemberment, though I’m pretty sure the latter happens entirely off screen) in a sort of nebulously medieval/renaissance setting, and one of the two protagonists is a perfumer. No idea if it is something you’re likely to enjoy on other levels, but that aspect might be interesting to you. Conveniently it’s also the first in the series, so there’s no confusion about coming into the plot feeling behind.

    Again, happy new year! I sincerely and deeply hope this next one is better for us all. January 1, 2024 at 10:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I haven’t, but I’m going to look for it. Thank you for a recommendation. January 4, 2024 at 8:09am Reply

  • Klaas: Happy new year guys, and my compliments to you Victoria for your excellent choice of perfume today! My nose has been clogged since yesterday, so not much sense of smell or taste for me so far 🙃

    So here’s what I didn’t smell today: the smell of gunpowder from the fireworks last night. For a couple of years there’s been a ban on fireworks in Amsterdam on new years eve (the Dutch light fireworks en masse between midnight and one o’clock) but no one seems to be much bothered. Like always, the sky was quite a spectacle. The smell of gunpowder is one of the most typical smells for January 1st, for as long as I can remember!

    I see I’m not the only one to start my day with overnight oats! I chop up an orange to add some taste, color and vitamins and the smell of the cut peel usually puts some punch in my morning. The smell of orange is one of the most uplifting scents I know……

    My cup of strong black tea.

    I did some laundry to start the year and I love, LOVE the smell of fabric softener. To me, Lenor Fresh Air is the epitomy of cleanliness….

    Here’s to unobstructed nostrils in 2024!! I hate not smelling anything!! January 1, 2024 at 10:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Hope that you are back to your usual self, as far as your nose is concerned! January 4, 2024 at 8:09am Reply

  • Deanna: Over the holidays I was enjoying going through my samples, leaving a a tester strip in a room closing the door and then having a lovely experience as I went back into the room, unfortunately one of the samples was Maroc pour Elle, ( Andy Tauer) This made me feel really ill, I was wondering if if you could actually die from inhaling a perfume……
    Since then (Yesterday) I can only bear to smell coffee or fruit and somehow that scent is STILL in the air.
    Is there an antidote.? Has anyone else had such an experience with a perfume.? January 1, 2024 at 11:00am Reply

    • Alityke: Yes! To Maroc Pour Elle & Radical Rose. They refuse to die! Post the nuclear holocaust the cockroaches will smell of one of these fragrances!
      Giorgio Beverly Hills gives me a headache as do some other scents but MpH & RR take the prize January 1, 2024 at 1:48pm Reply

      • Deanna: Love your description!
        ……luckily I haven’t come across Radical Rose, will make sure to avoid that one. January 1, 2024 at 2:41pm Reply

      • Cassieflower: Haha, yes, Radical Rose is quite nuclear. I bought it for my daughter for her birthday. She gets many compliments on it. It really smells fabulous on her. January 2, 2024 at 6:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Not for me. Once it happens, that’s it. January 4, 2024 at 8:10am Reply

      • Deanna: Victoria, once what happens?!
        And by the way I still haven’t quite recovered from the Maroc pour Elle, can’t bear to smell any perfumes at the moment, which is a shame as got quite a few new samples to try over the holidays…..
        Hope to be fully recovered for your Rose class💐 January 4, 2024 at 10:16am Reply

        • Victoria: Once I overdo a perfume or once it becomes overwhelming. January 4, 2024 at 10:37am Reply

  • Lee: My first scent observation of the new year is eucalyptus. I live in Southern California in an area with a lot of (non-native!) eucalyptus trees. After it rains, which it did recently, the air smells not just of rain but of eucalyptus, which is so nice. January 1, 2024 at 11:53am Reply

  • Marsi: Happy 2024! Wishing everyone a year of peace and health.

    My first smell of the new year was my gigantic, elderly cat Ted’s breath (blargh!), who was grooming himself near my pillow in the middle of the night.

    Then, since I was awake for a moment, I reapplied lip balm, so my second scent was Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in vanilla.

    Your panettone sounds fabulous, Victoria. Is there anything you can’t do?! 🙃 January 1, 2024 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Diana: Right Marsi, I just had to laugh reading your comment & Victoria’s about making panettone; Wow. Oh it does smell & taste so good… Now I’m feeling challenged to attempt the making of one – LOL!! diana January 1, 2024 at 4:50pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s a production, but it’s worth it. January 4, 2024 at 8:13am Reply

    • Victoria: This year I had to make it twice, since the first batch didn’t rise properly. I used my new sourdough starter and I think that I didn’t refresh it enough to strengthen it for the job. Luckily, the second batch came out well. January 4, 2024 at 8:12am Reply

  • Alityke: Wishing everyone Peace & Health in 2024.
    My first scent of 2024 was of my DH. Let’s just say he ate red cabbage at dinner on NYE! Having an acute sense of smell is not always pleasant. This was swiftly followed by snuggles from Mr Jarvis Cockapoo & the cozy scent of sweet, healthy dog fur. He smells of unsweetened popcorn, dirty musk & just a touch of Portrait of a Lady lingering from Christmas cuddles.
    Strong black tea & that refreshing cold milk & cornflakes aroma. Such a wholesome, happy scent.
    This evening, garlic & rosemary potatoes & ham brought a herbal, salty bistro vibe to the house.
    No perfume today, just the remains of Myrrh & Tonka on my wrist watch. January 1, 2024 at 2:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: I really like the drydown of Myrrh & Tonka. January 4, 2024 at 8:13am Reply

  • Diana: It’s such a pleasure to read all these comments; Thank you to all and to you Victoria for reminding us to notice the aromas around us! The first scent of the day is the smell of my pour over coffee, then the fresh powdery & lovely scent of my new wool fat soap; ah then outside with my cavapoo Osi surrounded by the beautiful cool fresh morning air – no description other than beautiful; a bit of magic! Wishing Peace and Love for all in ’24! January 1, 2024 at 4:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree! I always enjoy comments under our Scent Diaries. January 4, 2024 at 8:13am Reply

  • Cassieflower: Happy new year Victoria and thank you for another year of writing. We can only hope for a better world. My new year smelled of Opium, I was a bit liberal with the application, but not sorry about it. We started the first day of the year with coffee beans and champagne, two of my favourite aromas. January 2, 2024 at 6:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Coffee beans and champagne–how beautiful! January 4, 2024 at 8:14am Reply

    • Alityke: Is there such a thing as too much vintage Opium? January 4, 2024 at 8:54am Reply

  • Judith: Happy New Year Victoria. It is lovely to read you again and I am sorry I haven’t read your book yet. The desire is very much there and i have just bought the hardback.
    I go on and off amber, and i’m currently in a phase where I appreciate it very much. Ambre sultan, ambre japonais candle, ambre narguilé, ambre russe… My nose is a little blocked sadly but I still manage to smell the sweetness and warmth. I’m curious what your readers’ favourite ambers are.
    Happy new year! January 2, 2024 at 10:28am Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve named all of my gold standard ambers! Do you have a preference? January 4, 2024 at 8:14am Reply

      • Judith: I forgot Ambre des merveilles which I find very comforting and bright, as well as By the fireplace.
        Ambre Sultan might be the one I go back to but I enjoy exploring the wordiness, sweetness, smokiness of each one. I also like Chergui a lot. Eau des merveilles brings a light sheerness too! January 4, 2024 at 3:32pm Reply

        • Victoria: That one is lovely, especially when it feels dark, grey and oppressive like it does today. January 5, 2024 at 4:34am Reply

  • Aurora: All best wishes for the new year Victoria and readers.

    The highlight of scents around me was cutting a lime, intensely fragrant, almost floral, very different from a lemon, and the smell of my beeswax candle. I have been burning it since NYE and it’s such a treat. January 2, 2024 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I ordered a box of yuzu from Spain, so my house smells of it still. January 4, 2024 at 8:15am Reply

      • Gabriela: I love yuzu and live in Spain. Where did you order ir from? Thank you! January 5, 2024 at 11:54am Reply

        • Michelle Mayo: I’m from Spain too! Living in Malaga, and yourself?
          Sorry I’m a little late to the party… Happiest new year to everybody!
          I love this blog so much even though I seldom participate …
          But perhaps I shall more often given a new year has started 🙌🏽
          The remains of Shalimar from the previous night and always, always the smell of coffee – I have the traditional Italian coffee maker and the smell just lingers in harmony with whichever Zara candle is lit (not the best, but they are affordable).
          Much love and peace to all 🌟 January 7, 2024 at 3:03am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s called Citrus and Life:
          Their citrus fruit is wonderful, and their yuzu is similar to what I had in Japan. January 8, 2024 at 7:07am Reply

  • Donna: Love this post & comments!
    Things I’ve been smelling:
    1. narcissus – jasmine grandi, cellophane, musky vanilla pods.
    2. fresh osmanthus- apricots, canned peaches, old calfskin gloves, sour plums
    3.- Crimson Grace black Taiwanese tea ( Té Company) – concentrated tea leaf!, raw tobacco, sugary spruce honey
    4. my jasmine sambac enfleurage- milky gardenia, mothball indoles, orange blossom powder, chestnut honey nuances
    5. jasmine sambac heart ( Robertet) – hex c-3, galbanum, jasmine mead, green banana, orange blossom
    6. jasmine green tea co2 – concentrated vegetal green like maté, hay, honeyed urinous lily note, jasmine tea January 2, 2024 at 2:08pm Reply

    • Judith: Dear Donna,
      Do you make your own jasmine sambac enfleurage? How do you use it? Do you make some to sell too? I’d be very interested to smell it! January 3, 2024 at 2:22pm Reply

      • Donna: Hello Judith,
        I do, and quite a few other flowers!
        The pommade or the extrait I use as a raw material in composing perfumes…tricky but nothing in the world reproduces the actual headspace of a flower..and enfleurage.
        You can see some of my work at, but only during seasonal updates can anything be bought. Because I grow most of my own plants. January 4, 2024 at 6:50am Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful, inspiring list! January 4, 2024 at 8:16am Reply

      • Donna: Thank you, just happened to be in a very smelling week! January 4, 2024 at 9:20am Reply

  • Christina: I love this idea and was just thinking this morning that scent is a key way to ease the winter blues. Some scents from today:

    Tonka Cola by Mancera; cinnamon, citrus, and (of course) cola

    Ouai St. Barts body cleanser: I opened this today to take a mini vacation in the shower. It’s sweet and tropical.

    Some quite pungent Robiola cheese

    Pine needles as I vacuumed them up from the Christmas tree that came down today

    Wood smoke from a neighbor’s chimney January 2, 2024 at 5:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: I enjoyed this list very much. January 4, 2024 at 8:16am Reply

      • Christina: I appreciate your reply and felt inspired by your list! January 4, 2024 at 11:03am Reply

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