In an article “Stinking rich” in a recent Australian newspaper James May of Top Gear TV fame describes feeling queasy and itchy, with even his clothes smelling of the leather, after driving his Rolls-Royce. He notes that other old leather things – jackets, antique suit cases, have a similar effect. So he is selling his car.
I sent the following to the Letters to the Editor section, published under the title “Gets up the nose“.
James May may be pleased to know he is among a special group who are supersmellers. Each have their own strongly disliked smells. The most usual, in this unusual group, used to strongly dislike cigarette smells and needed to wash clothes after outings where even a few people smoked. Among the leather dislikers was a woman who felt faint whenever she walked into a shop that sold leather shoes. Another patient who was a teacher felt sick with the smell of the students’ shoes after they had their very active lunch-break. The most amazing was a woman who was repulsed by the smell of leather in leatherwood honey. This honey is among the most sought-after honeys from the flowers of the leatherwood tree. The tree is so named because when it is cut down the smell that comes from the wood is of leather. As a dietitian I know about the supersmellers as I work with food sensitive people who react to food additives and particular food chemicals. Food sensitive people often report on particular smells that they strongly dislike or causes a reaction, such as headaches. The good news is that what is strongly noticed by James and his wife may not be noticed at all by most others, so he can look forward to getting a good price for his Rolls. Joan Breakey
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