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    The Book-Smellers' Association

    Published on 09/06/2014 by David Birkett

    The Chemical Blog is not a place to which we’d naturally direct your attention, but a recent post there looks at the chemical factors behind the smell of books. The post quotes researchers as having defined the smell of older, gracefully-decaying books (a scent to which many a bibliophile is addicted) as ‘A combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness’. A team of researchers analysed more than 70 volumes, and found that the chief chemical suspects involved in books decaying and becoming fragrant were lignin and rosin. Thanks to the Chemical Blog’s contributor Alex Reis for posting this story.

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