What are the smells that define the Yakima Valley?

We have them...some good, some bad, but once you smell them they say "you are in Yakima."

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The Aroma Of Yakima

Wouldn't a list of iconic odors include the smell of hops at harvest, a Mexican restaurant, a field of mint in the lower valley, the smell of crushed grapes and apple cider?  There is also the smell of manure from the giant dairies in and around Sunnyside, the Yakima wastewater treatment plant when the wind shifts, and recently, the smell of a smokey summer as forest fires rip through the state.

What else is on your list and would our good smells be of universal appeal, or do you have to be from here and our "culture" to appreciate them?  Science was wondering too.

Making A Case For The Worlds's Worst

A couple of years ago the New York Times (NYT) published an article called "The World's Worst Smell".

What do you think it was?

What is the worst smell in your opinion or personal experience?  Do you think people around the world share the same reactions to similar smells?  Let's get to the bottom of the smelly barrel.

The NYT reports that scientists looking for the ingredients for a military stink bomb found:

a universally distasteful smell was something called “U.S. Government Standard Bathroom Malodor,” a substance that was designed to mimic the scent of military field latrines, in order to test cleaning products. She chose the aromatic liquid as the base of her stink-bomb recipe. The resulting formula, which she called “Stench Soup,” may well be the worst smell ever created....a science writeris one of the few humans who’s  tried inhaling Stench Soup.... described the aroma as “Satan on a throne of rotting onions.

Yikes, I'm out on that!

Study Shows Most Noses Agree

But what about smells that are universally judged as "good smells"?  Does the world have a favorite smell?  A report in EurekAlert indicates there is. A couple of university studies found that participants ranked vanilla as the best-smelling odor, followed by ethyl butyrate, which smells like peaches.  (Yakima Valley Peaches?)  There is agreement on other bad smells too:

Participants disliked the smell of isovaleric acid, which can be found in many foods including cheese, and soy milk, but also in foot sweat. Arshamian adds that a possible reason why people consider some smells more pleasant than others regardless of culture is that such odors increased the chances of survival during human evolution

Bottom Line -the studies show that it's the structure of the odor molecule itself that determines whether a smell is considered pleasant or not and not the cultural experience of the person whose nose is doing the smelling!

That means just about everybody will enjoy the smell of Yakima at its best!

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