Vanilla is the world’s most popular fragrance

Picture of Björnstierne Antonsson

Björnstierne Antonsson

Am I surprised? Not so much. How many popular wines and dining experiences do not smell of vanilla? But many had probably guessed at some floral scent, such as rose, as one.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Behind the chanting of vanilla as the most attractive fragrance are research teams at Karolinska Institutet and the University of Oxford, among others. The research was about clarifying whether the experience of “good” scents is culturally conditioned – which many claim. The study involved 235 people from widely different environments around the world – everything from big cities and small villages to mountain areas and rainforests.

Participants were introduced to ten different fragrances that represent most fragrance groups in the world. The task was then to rank them – from the most pleasant to the scariest. The interesting thing was that everyone, despite living in widely different environments, had almost the same ranking. A vanilla ice cream thus works all over the world. Or to speak wine: a classic Rioja. And foot sweat is not popular anywhere.

Here are the ten selected scents and how they ranked;

  1. Vanilla
  2. Peach
  3. Lavender
  4. Cloves
  5. Ros
  6. Mushroom
  7. Sweaty goat
  8. Green pepper
  9. Sour fish
  10. Foot sweat

[Here you can read the article in El Pais about the survey.] 

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