I've read that certain countries have a "smell", like Russia supposedly smells like a combination of cucumber peels, diesel oil and some other things. That's how history records smell, through description - Emile Zola has amazing passages on the smell of 1860s Paris in his novel The Kill, basically like dieing [sic] flowers and musty carpet. Maybe we need historians trained in the art of fiction who can evocatively record smells.
July 24, 2011
"Historians, perfumers, and florists all want to make sure we can smell the past."