Trina Machacek: Sniffers unite |

Trina Machacek: Sniffers unite

By Trina Machacek

Just like the candy or the chip aisle in big stores there’s also another aisle that has a draw of irresistibility. So irresistible that the followers of the items in this aisle have created a market so big that specialty stores are now in vogue. Carrying the items that were once just a notion now are found near and far and in some very interesting places.

This aisle? This drawing in of a varied array of people? Well it is the sniffy aisle. The candles. The oils. The globs of wax and wax melting apparatuses and infusers that distribute hits of… Well let’s just sniff our way along and see shall we?

The first in line to be a sniffer will be me. I do not like to walk into my winter closed up home and have pre- or post-breathed winter-locked air the only thing my nose is attacked by.

No, I like the sniffiness of earthy smells. But! Yes a delightfully fragrant “but.” Yikes. But not all mixes of these air lighteners are what makes my nose happy. Nor, I might add many other noses.

A friend and I recently turned down this colorful walkway in a big store and began our trip through smells of the world. I would rather it had been in a store that sold only sniffy stuff but there isn’t one within over 250 miles of where I live. I so enjoy the trips to the stores that carry only things that have odors. I mean of course candles and soaps and lotions and waxy built things that I can burn until the smell is indelibly fused to my brain. Then it is gone and I can go back and try something new and un-sniffed by my proboscis. But this day we were hindered by time and mileage so we were limited to a mere 24 linear feet of sniffs.

There is a method to shopping this line of goodies that tantalize my nose. I know myself and I don’t like smells that remind me of soap. Oh my nose knows. I so don’t fall for anything that says fresh. I know fresh. I live where fresh was invented and there isn’t anything my nose has sucked up that can compare to the fresh I happily get to inhale out my back door.

So fresh and spring and anything touting freshness is left to the next nose to come along. And green. I do not like to sniff anything green. Green tells me that the mixer didn’t have enough good scent to make something wonderful so he put some green in it to make it eye appealing. Nope, green’s not for me.

As my friend and I were sniffing, happily looking for something wonderful we were nearly knocked over by a lady who knew exactly what she wanted and was, I think, afraid we would discover her scent and ferret all her packages away. She reached between us, grabbed up three or four of her desired sniff and away she went.

We looked at the spot where she grabbed and one package was left. Well of course we opened a corner of the one left on the shelf and sniffed at what she took. It was not all that great. Figures, after all it WAS green. HAHA. Then we decided that’s why there are so many to choose from for all of us sniffers. She was happy and that’s really what the aisle of sniff is all about.

This is a very subjective product. I give big kudos to the company that puts out a catalog to buy sniffy things from. I get one of those. They have even gone so far as to put a few scratch and sniff spots on candles in their sales catalog. I bought from it. It was not at all as satisfying as going from package to candle to oil, opening a corner, lifting a lid, squeezing a package and sniffing.

But in a pinch a scratch and sniff is better than just a written description. Like this. I like homey, warm, baking, buttery sniffs. So when I saw one listed as Buttered Rum and Cookies a delightful mix of cozy nights mixed with the warmth of mom’s sugar cookies just out of the oven, I was all over it. When my candle came I popped off the glass top and drew a sniff into my waiting nose almost feeling the smell? Ahhh.

I was to some degree a little sad. I think I felt a bit cheated by not going in and sniffing a dozen or more smells before I let my nose pick my way to gratification.

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka. Her book They Call Me Weener is available on Or to buy a signed copy e-mail her at