A very nosy memory
Blending great cognac is all about olfactory memory
What did you drink this morning—coffee or tea? What did your tea smell like? What did your coffee taste like? If you are stymied for words, you are not alone. Humans are very good at remembering and describing what they see but ask them to describe smells and taste and they become quiet. Wine writers and perfume “noses" (professionals who mix and create scents) are exceptions to this rule. They make a living out of discerning and describing smells and tastes. The rest of us merely roll our eyes when they describe, say, the 2009 vintage as smelling of “gooseberries, tar, and burnt leather". What the heck does burnt leather smell like? The technical term for this is “olfactory memory", or cataloguing and articulating what your nose smelled.