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Smelly Burlington

Two scent-sensitive sleuths sniff out an olfactory tour


Published August 17, 2011 at 9:25 a.m.

The dog days of summer, with their heat and often-oppressive air, tend to bring out the aromatics around town, both good and bad. If you are blessed — or cursed, as the case may be — with a particularly acute sense of smell, these can present another dimension of hell along with the humidity.

On a recent warm weekday, we decided to follow our bloodhound noses and pick up the scents proffered by the Queen City. Though a downpour the previous night had temporarily rinsed the air of some of its worst offenders, we've detected them often enough to guarantee their presence at peak times. Most of the smells are predictable: sewer=bad, bakery=good, etc. Still, we figure the olfaction-impaired could benefit from a guide to the sweet, savory and stinky around the city's neighborhoods*. In case, you know, someone asks you, "What's that smell?"

Our only rule for inclusion: The smell must be detectable to a passerby outside, whether in a car or on foot. If someone opens a door as you pass, and the aroma of chocolate, burgers, popcorn or beer typically wafts out, that counts. If you have to open the door, that doesn't.

*Driving through the New North End, we did not pick up on any particular smell. Could be that part of the city is just plain bland, but we're not saying that.

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