A Definitive Ranking of 99 Smells

The other day I got this totally kickass neon pink chapstick. Then I opened it up only to realize it smells exactly like those horrid creamsicle suckers Lifesavers was trying to push, and failed hard at, a few years back. Later in the day I got in a cab, three strangers shoved in the back seat, only to realize the guy to my right was totally wearing my eighth-grade boyfriend's favorite cologne (here's to hoping he's still not wearing it). So I guess they really aren't kidding when they say scent is that little reminder (good or bad) of pretty much every single thing that's ever happened in your life. And yes, it will stick with you forever. I'm going to take the time to rank the eighth-grade boyfriend as the good in this equation, creamsicles as the bad.

While we might not be able to time travel (yet), our noses do it each and every day. So as an ode to the superpower you didn't even realize you possessed, here is a definitive ranking of 99 smells. I'm warning you now that this list is going to make you feel all of the feelings, from why the eff does stale beer smell so disgusting to why do I want to bathe in Sensual Amber RIGHT NOW.

99. Rest stop bathroom

Trust me, this list gets better.

98. Department store perfume section

97. Burning hair

96. Someone else's B.O.

95. Cigarettes

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94. Fish flakes

93. Your garbage can in the summer

92. Kitty litter

91. Someone else's bad breath

90. A fish market

89. Spoiled milk

88. The petting zoo

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87. A fart in a public place that isn't yours

86. Antiseptic wipes

Takes me back to the seconds before getting a shot at the pediatrician's office (*shudders*).

85. Stale beer

Generally found the morning after all over the bar floor.

84. Sponges

83. Your grandparents’ basement (or any basement in the '90s)

Very nostalgic, equally nasty.

82. Pine-Sol

81. Robitussin

80. Hard-boiled eggs

Whatever, I still eat them.

79. The New York City subway system

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78. Your own B.O.

Speaking of eggs.

77. Airplane air smell

76. Antique stores

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Like your grandparents' basement, but with more smelly wood and weird clocks in it.

75. Money


74. Skunk

Wait, or is that weed?

73. Dirty socks

72. Wet dog

(aka Fritos)

71. Halloween masks

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70. AVON Skin So Soft

69. Chlorine

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68. Halal carts


67. Cold Stone Creamery

I hate this place. With a passion.

66. Burnt, charred popcorn

I can actually taste this right now.

65. New car smell

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64. Melting plastic

It. just. stays. with. you. forever.

63. A gas leak

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Run. NOW!

62. Tuna fish


61. Taxi cab airfreshner

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60. That Subway smell

59. Sharpies

God, I love to hate this smell.

58. Nail polish remover

57. Swiss cheese

56. Play-Doh

55. Mustard

54. A basketball

53. Rubber cement

This just smells like cancer.

52. Clams on the half shell

I'm being incredibly diplomatic here because I effing love them.

51. Abercrombie

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50. Crayons

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49. Ketchup

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48. Incense

47. A hot glue gun

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46. Fall leaves

45. Malt vinegar

44. Library books

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43. Rain

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42. Elementary school eraser

41. Sriracha

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40. Matches

39. Baby wipes

38. Bazooka bubblegum

Smells great, but you know it'll wear off in under two minutes and then you're stuck with this wad of crap in your mouth for absolutely no reason.

37. Nuts 4 Nuts

36. Doritos

35. This kickball

34. Baked Brie

33. Fresh-baked bread

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32. Kooshballs

31. Spearmint gum

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30. New shoes

29. Lemon

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28. A fresh Christmas Tree

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27. Fireplaces

26. Funnel cake

25. Thanksgiving

24. Cinnamon

23. Hot chocolate

22. Gasoline

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Disgustingly delicious.

21. McDonald’s fries

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20. The Laundromat, or this Yankee Candle

19. A newborn baby

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18. Fresh-baked cookies

17. Toast

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Bonus: A young, red-faced Prince Harry ;)

16. Freshly cut grass

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15. Warm apple pie

14. Red wine

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13. The grill

12. Freshly brewed coffee

11. Clementines

10. Bacon

9. Cinnabon

8. Hawaiian Tropic Suntan lotion

7. Auntie Anne's

6. Pancakes and maple syrup

5. Buttery movie popcorn

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4. Sensual Amber

Or any other insanely potent vanilla scent.

3. Garlic sautéing

2. New tennis balls

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1. Pizza

Even bad pizza is better than most good things.

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