Re: Identity by smell (was Re:silly walks department)

From: Terry W. Colvin (
Date: Thu Jun 08 2000 - 16:10:29 MDT

James Rogers wrote:
> On Thu, 08 Jun 2000, Zero Powers wrote:
> >
> > Interesting. So, if you were blindfolded, do you think you could smell the
> > difference between a Japanese and a Mexican and tell us which was which?
> I think so, though I am not 100% positive. As I said, this is something
> I've noticed; my aggregate sample size may not be large enough to mean
> anything, although my samples do cover a broad range of ethnic groups. I
> do know of other people who have noticed the same thing though.
> Also, this isn't that precise, so I wouldn't say "Japanese"; the person
> could just as likely be Korean or similar. However, I think a person that
> "trained" their nose could make race determination quite accurately. My
> nose really hasn't been in training lately, so my smell memory is a
> bit weak right now :^) However, Mexican versus Japanese should be pretty
> easy to differentiate.
> Surely I'm not the only person on this list to notice this.
> -James Rogers

A recent thread on the Forteana list discussed the variations in smell due
to diet and/or hygiene. My experience with women in Vietnam and Thailand
is that they have a salty smell with an ambiance of seafood, depending on
their diet.

Isn't mere mention of ethnic smell differences somewhat misleading? Many
Americans are perceived as giving off an odor of baby milk or dairy products.
We don't notice this unless we don't use dairy products very much or are
strict vegetarians.

A bus in Rome on a hot day is more than a visual experience!


Terry W. Colvin, Sierra Vista, Arizona (USA)
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