From the horse hair and hoof oil of race day to the indulgent aroma of chocolate, tourists can now get a niff of York before they visit.
Launched today (March 7), Smell York is Britain’s first scented travel guidebook.
Infused with odours chosen to represent different aspects of the city, the book offers a healthy whiff of nostalgia.
A blend of coal, steel and engine oil odours, redolent of the oily rag used by the footplate fireman, is suggestive of our railway heritage.
And for those with a nose for the supernatural, a sulphurous stink stands in for York’s ghostly past.
Commissioned by Visit York, the free guidebook aims to entice new tourists to York by giving readers the chance to embark on an olfactory odyssey into the heart of the city – and out into the surrounding countryside.
Sweeter smells infused into the guidebook include an afternoon tea of cream cakes and scones and the city’s abundant daffodils, soon to be in full bloom around Clifford’s Tower.
The book was created by a team of scent specialists who analysed a range of smells associated with York before recreating them in the lab and applying them to the photographs in the guidebook.
Each picture features a combination of scents to reflect the range of aromas the scene depicts.
The smells are registered as soon as the reader puts the pictures to their nose – so don’t scratch, just sniff.
Perhaps the only thing missing is one of York’s most famous smells – that of a 1,000 year old Viking settlement, as recreated faithfully by the boffins at the Jorvik Centre.
Those York smells in full
York’s antiquities: “a musty infusion of leather, old books, gold, silver, wood and dust”
York in blossom: “floral scents including daffodils and roses”
Afternoon tea: “the appetising aromas of loose leaf teas, spices and cakes”
Chocolate heritage: “the indulgent scents of cocoa, butter, sugar and nuts to represent York’s status as Britain’s home of chocolate”
Railway heritage: “a nostalgic infusion of coal, steam, engine oil and iron to represent York’s rich railway history”
Rural Yorkshire: “the scent of fresh wild heather as it grows on the North York Moors, the grasslands of the Yorkshire Dales and fresh country air”
Gardens of York: “the relaxing scent of York and Yorkshire’s lavender gardens”
York Racecourse: “a combination of horse hair, hoof oil, grass and fruit punch”
Foodies favourite: a mature smell of strong Yorkshire cheese
Spooky scents: “strong smells of sulphur and roses that are frequently associated with two of York’s eternally restless spirits”
Guy Fawkes’ legacy: “a man who is now forever associated with the smells of gunpowder, fireworks and burning wood and straw”
Seasonal scents: “a traditional Christmas aroma of burning frankincense, mince pies and Advent candles in Britain’s Christmas capital”
City nose best
“Countless scientific studies prove that the human sense of smell is one of the key facets in forming strong memories. We commissioned this scented guidebook to give potential newcomers to York a fun flavour of the many lasting memories that a trip to our historic city could provide,” said Kate McMullen, head of Visit York.
“Indeed, whether you’ve got a soft spot for the scents of the supernatural or a craving for the nostril-nourishing aromas of the world’s greatest countryside, York has something for every nasal persuasion.”
A limited first-run of the Smell York olfactory guidebook is available at the Visit York Visitor Centre, 1 Museum Street, York and can be requested for free on a first come, first served basis by contacting [email protected].
Based on its success and feedback from the public Visit York may look into producing the book in larger quantities.