Yesterday when I was out running I smelled the most remarkable thing. It was so compelling that I had to stop and inhale it until I had the scent fixed in my memory. On my short route, a vacant lot that formerly was half of someone’s property is starting to be developed. The loggers and earth-scrapers have done their evil job, and now someone has put up a new fence on one side of the development. My guess is that it’s probably the people who live next to the construction activity, not the developer.
The smell emanating from this new fence was one of the most remarkable wood scents I’ve ever experienced. It was like a mix of freshly cut pine, fir, cedar, and oak wood with not a hint of green leaves, topped off by a smoky, burnt, caramelized sugar. I can't even begin to do it justice in words.
The really interesting tie-in to this wood smell is the fragrance of a small orchid that’s usually blooming in my greenhouse, Maxillaria variabilis. It has a similar oak wood and caramel smell, and I’ve always been tempted to make a perfume based on it. The fence I smelled today was like a larger-than-life version of the Maxillaria, but even better.
The Maxillaria-new fence perfume is going on my list of ones to make this year!
[Board fence photo from Wikimedia; Maxillaria variabilis photo is mine.]