I sometimes catch a whiff of something that reminds me very strongly, but very vaguely, of a time in my past. Different whiffs for different times. It's not a single identifiable smell and a single identifiable memory (i.e. chicken soup --> that time in Grade 10 when I had mononucleosis and my aunt took care of me). It's more of a vague smell that takes you back to a general time in your life.
How would you describe this? I'm open to both scientific and creative expressions of this phenomenon.
Allow me to add that this is not deliberate nor always positive. And I am not asking broadly about remembering the past, but about how smell, in particular, sparks a sense of past time or places.