"Taking the scenic route" implies taking a less direct alternative to the most direct route toward some destination for the purpose of experiencing more interesting scenery along the way. So, is there an expression, phrase, or idiom that basically means the same thing for smells?

For example, when I walk my dog in the park, I let him choose the route we take. As such, our route through the park will often make erratic turns and circle back on itself in a path generally determined by his nose, i.e. by the direction toward the most interesting (to him) smells each instant.

If I were to be asked later to describe where our walk in the park went, I could euphemistically say, "we took the scenic route" through the park. But that implies my dog was navigating by sight when in fact he was navigating by smell (he is almost blind). So is there an olfactory equivalent to "the scenic route" in a case like this, for smells?

"The smelly route" definitely has a negative connotation. "The mellifluous route" or "The quiet route" might work for an auditory equivalent. But what would be an olfactory equivalent?

  • 1
    The sniffy route? Dec 4, 2018 at 0:26
  • 1
    The canine sommelier route. Sommelier. A sommelier uses their nose as much as their taste buds.
    – epsilon
    Dec 4, 2018 at 0:31
  • The smelly route
    – GEdgar
    Dec 4, 2018 at 1:48
  • If you like consonance, "the redolent route" might work well.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 4, 2018 at 7:28
  • How about "follow your nose"?
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 4, 2019 at 19:09

3 Answers 3


From the point of view of the dog, the scented route is appropriate. Scent, from Merriam Webster:

1 : effluvia from a substance that affect the sense of smell: such as a : an odor left by an animal on a surface passed over

b : a characteristic or particular odor especially : one that is agreeable.

The scented route also means that the dog is tracking the routes of other dogs and other animals. Dogs have been used for millennia to catch and follow the scent of an animal that is being hunted. Dogs now are specially trained to find a missing person, or to search for drugs in luggage at airports, or to find cadavers in places like Ground Zero. Some dogs are even being trained to detect the characteristic scents of various cancers.

The dog follows the odors on the scented route with enthusiasm, so we can safely infer that the scents are interesting, and probably pleasant, to the dog. In his turn, the dogs marks a tree or a hydrant, saying:

"Hi, I've been here".

However, From the point of view of you, or another person walking a dog, the odiferous route might be more appropriate, because, many of the things the dog is smelling with enjoyment would be repugnant to you. Odiferous, from The Free Dictionary:

Having or giving off an odor, especially a strong or unpleasant one: an odoriferous bag of garbage.

There may not be a word that perfectly captures both the dog's experience and yours on the same route, but the scented route comes close; you just find the scents disagreeable if you can smell them at all.

  • 2
    Shame scentic isn’t really a word – it would be the perfect fit here. Dec 4, 2018 at 0:53
  • 1
    I like the scented route because it alliterates well with the scenic route. But I think odiferous is the word I couldn't pull out of my hat. Dec 4, 2018 at 16:30

Do you require something that specifically refers to where?  A phrase that captures the meaning you seem to be looking for is taking time to smell the roses.  It is typically used metaphorically / idiomatically:


    stop and smell the roses
      (idiomatic) To relax; to take time out of one's busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.

The Free Dictionary:

    stop and smell the roses
      To become calm and reflect upon the finer or more enjoyable aspects of life, especially when one has become overworked or overly stressed.  You can't keep working these 80 hour workweeks, John!  You have to stop and smell the roses, or else what is all that work even for?

Urban Dictionary:

    slow down and smell the roses
      this means stop stressing out, overthinking, or complaining.  put your troubles in perspective and try to enjoy the short time you have on earth.

but there's no reason why you couldn't use it literally (or at least semi-literally).

TIL Ringo Starr sang a song called "Stop And Take The Time To Smell The Roses" (lyrics, video).  It's silly, and maybe a little subversive.

The phrase is also mentioned here on EL&U.


The 'Via Effluvia' or the 'Fragrant Passage'?

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  • 1
    Fragrant is another good "smell" word that wouldn't come out of my hat. Dec 4, 2018 at 16:34
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