What does cold smell like?

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Birgit posed this question yesterday in her post, “New Year, New Perfume, New Love,” and today I attempted to answer it.

The hubby and I started 2011 on the right foot: we embarked on a 10-mile hike this morning, with no regard to the bitter cold! As we were hiking, I was pondering B’s question,

What does it smell like? What does the color white smell like? What does quiet smell like? What does serenity smell like?

Frozen waterfalls and waterways around us, mammoth icicles hanging perilously above us, chill breath fogging in the air, and… nothing. Nothing! I looked for scent, and found none. Evergreens, river below, grasses, and other flora, all steadfastly refused to give up even the tiniest whiff of fragrance. Serene, it was. Quiet, it was. I wore Champagne de Bois for the adventure, but it was Zagorsk I was thinking of—the scent to fit the mood of the day.

Had it been just a few degrees warmer, I would, no doubt, have been able to report more interesting results.

What does white smell like?

On the left, sitting on the heating vent and halfway through a mighty yawn, Cho.

Above images from today’s hike.

9 thoughts on “What does cold smell like?

  1. Very intriguing questions….Birgit’s descriptions of the snow are beautiful. Post if you come up with anything!

    Sounds like you had a lovely hike today, despite nature not giving up any of her scents!

    I spent a couple of hours in a mall today (eep!) and it smelled like CK One everywhere. It’s a perfectly fine scent, but it seemed like it was following me to every store, every floor.

    Great photos, and Cho is in fine form!

    1. LOL doesn’t quite cut it; I really did just shake the house with a belly laugh, imagining a bodily incarnation of CK One following you around the mall!

      I know that there are “white” smells, white flowers project what I think of as white smells, but those are *hot* white smells to my nose, transporting me to tropical venues where snow is an imaginary thing that happens to other places.

      Incense fragrances are wonderful in the cold, evoking a spirit and a season, but those don’t quite answer the question for me—I don’t even know if there is an answer!

      Cho is the dorkiest cat in the world. I don’t know if you can see from the small image, but she sits on the heat vent so that the warm blast “blows up her skirts,” a la Marilyn Monroe. And we keep our house at 73 degrees. What a cat.

  2. I agree with you – white brings up associations of tropical and flowers, as opposed to cold and frost. But if I stop to think about it – it has been a frozen, bitter-cold December here in the right armpit of Northern Europe – I would have to say that cold to me smells…metallic, like the faint scent of a brass key, or like slightly rusty iron, and even a bit like earth, that slow exhalation of winter snoozing away while waiting for spring.

    Or…as one of my favorite songs put it so elegantly: “Winter’s breath of steel and stone…” which says it all in six words…;-)

    1. Ah yes, metallic! Steel and stone… is there such a fragrance? If so, I need to find me a sample right quick!


      P.S. are you familiar with the show “Metalocalypse”? It’s rad.

    1. LOL! Cho is hilarious. She does the weirdest things, for a cat.

      I’ll send her your compliment; you should hear back in three to five days.


  3. The pictures of your hike look amazing, I wish I were there!
    I don´t associate the “hot” whiteness of flowers when I think about white, for me it is cold always. There is a smell to snow, you certainly know when it is about to snow, you can smell it hours ahead, it is such a clear, beautiful scent, but I fail to describe it.
    Love your cat, such a beauty! Makes me miss mine, she died several years ago 😦

    1. The hike was beautiful! It felt so good to get out and get some exercise—shake off those winter doldrums 🙂

      That’s interesting that white flowers are a “cold” reference for you… I wonder if I associate the scent of white flower with “hot” because the image in my mind is of a tropical venue?

      We need a treatise on the psychology of scent, Birgit! 😉

      Sorry you lost your kitty! Living with animals can be so rewarding, but so heartbreaking too 😦


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