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I am looking for a word (in any language) for a smell that stimulates an emotion or brings back memories.

For instance, when I smell cinnamon, I get a happy feeling - and it reminds me of Christmas.

I am aware of terms such as olfactory, nostalgia, redolent and Proustian (which is more related to taste than to smell), but are there any others?

I would quite love a word that has a deep meaning if possible - such as Meraki: The soul and creativity put into something :) Thought i'd give it a go :)

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    To be clear, you're looking for a noun / noun phrase? Not an adjective for describing the evocative scent?
    – Lemma
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 11:09
  • I am happy with either or - this is for a business name I am trying to put together. I make candles, inspired by smells that take you back to a place or memory. I would love for the name to suggest this in some form
    – Catsa
    Commented Jan 24, 2018 at 11:18
  • I don't think there is such a critter but might might Nosegay serve? It doesn't have the full meaning you asked for, but some might say it sounds lovely, and it does involve good smells overcoming bad atmosphere. As a dictionary word it shouldn't be subject to copyright and still, if you use I expect a lifetime's free supply… Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 1:56
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    Re Proust, you could use "madeleine".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 2:53
  • You seem to looking for a slogan-type thing. The Redolent Candle or The Evocative Candle have a certain ring to them. You should put the candle thing in the question. Not all words associated with smells would work,
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 3, 2023 at 18:07

3 Answers 3

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An evocative smell might cover it?

Merriam Webster. evocative: evoking or tending to evoke an especially emotional response

[The] settings [are] so evocative that they bring tears to the eyes—Eric Malpass.

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It depends on the context.

MW:

Pavlovian (adj.) : being or expressing a conditioned or predictable reaction : AUTOMATIC the candidates gave Pavlovian answers

Watching the clips flash by to the deeply Pavlovian strain of John Williams’ iconic theme music transported me to a time when going to the movies was a part of, if not daily, then weekly life. —Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 7 Apr. 2023

Nostalgic (adj) feeling or inspiring nostalgia: such as a: longing for or thinking fondly of a past time or condition

As we drove through the French countryside, I couldn't help being not just nostalgic, but wistful, about how simple wine was 25 years ago. —Matt Kramer

b: evocative of a longed-for past time or condition He loved good stories, especially nostalgic ones from his boyhood, and relished the telling. —Peter Schworm

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I don't think there is such a critter but Nosegay might serve. It doesn't have the full meaning you asked for, but some might say it sounds lovely, and it does involve good smells overcoming bad atmosphere.

As a dictionary word it shouldn't be subject to copyright and still, if you use I expect a lifetime's free supply…

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  • Is it true that this has been out there for five years with no acceptable Answer? Commented Dec 6, 2023 at 21:09

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