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For human beings, smell is the sense most directly linked to the brain, and the one that most quickly evokes memory. Therefore, it's no surprise that many characters in fiction are described as having a smell that instantly identifies them. An ex-lover may always carry the memory of her favorite perfume or his cologne, or a particularly strange character may have an equally strange, but distinct, smell to match. Another common usage is for a monster to be preceded by a certain smell, warning the heroes to its presence.

This comes up often in works featuring characters who have an enhanced sense of smell or in works with animals, since most animals rely more heavily on their sense of smell than humans do. If there's non-humans involved, expect the humans be told that they stink.

May overlap with Evil Smells Bad when the character is a villain.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Akame ga Kill!, Wave is often remarked on as smelling unpleasantly like fish or saltwater. Kurome is the only one who can tolerate it.
  • Bacterian from Dragon Ball has a recognizably foul stench.
  • In Fruits Basket, the cat's true form smells like "something dead and rotting" and is generally vomit-inducing.
  • The title character in Inuyasha identifies people by scent because he is half-dog demon. Early on, he mistakes Kagome for Kikyo because their scents are so similar, though he quickly learns to distinguish them.
  • In the first episode of Lupin III: Part II, Lupin is able to figure out that a love letter sent to him, supposedly written by Fujiko, was fake because, among other reasons, the letter didn't have the faintest hint of Chanel #5 perfume.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Shinji reports smelling "the scent of Ayanami" during a synchronization test (Asuka calls him a pervert for this). Later, Rei says that Shinji's plug unit has his scent.
    • In Rebuild of Evangelion, Mari is obsessed with the scent of LCL and likes to get inappropriately close to Shinji once she sniffs it on him.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Yukishiro Tomoe smells of plum blossoms.
  • Downplayed in episode 98 of Sailor Moon. Early on, Usagi and Haruka are hiding together, and Usagi notices the scent of Haruka's cologne. Later, as Sailor Moon and Sailor Uranus, they're handcuffed together by the Monster of the Day, and when they once again hide, Moon notices the same scent on Uranus. This is Moon's first clue to Uranus's identity, since at this point Uranus and Neptune have been working their own agenda separate from the other Sailor Senshi.
  • Samurai Champloo: Fuu is searching for a samurai who "smells of sunflowers".
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, fairies are Born from Plants, so their natural forms carry the scent of a flower that differs depending on the person. One way Gowther recognized King after the Time Skip was by the smell of sweet olive flowers (symbolizing love and loyalty) on him.
  • In Wasteful Days of High School Girls, Baka recognizes Hime immediately in high school despite separated for 4 years, because of the faint smell of tonkotsu broth Hime "inherited" from her father, a ramen chef.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Asterix Unhygenix is known for smelling like rotten fish.
  • Astro City: Louisa Garneau can recognize when Resistor is about to appear because the manifestation is accompanied by the smell of her father's pipe tobacco and lemon drops.
  • New Avengers: According to a Skrull posing as Spider-Woman, Nick Fury smells like "Havana at low tide", where as the latest model of SHIELD Life Model Decoys smell like a tire factory.
  • Sin City:
    • In The Hard Goodbye, Marv's monologue referring to Goldie states "She smells like angels ought to smell, the perfect woman... the Goddess". This smell is later on brought up again when he meets Goldie's twin sister.
    • The Yellow Bastard reeks rather nasty, Hartigan pointing out the horrible smell multiple times when the Bastard is near.
  • The recurring Spider-Man villain Demogoblin is noted to leave a stench like sulfur thanks to the brimstone and hellfire he carries about. (He is an actual demon, after all.)
  • X-Men:
    • Nightcrawler's Flashy Teleportation ability produces a sulfuric cloud that characters routinely complain about. It is apparently a somewhat unique smell, because he's rarely if ever confused for anyone else.
    • Sabretooth describes the scent of Cable as that of gunpowder and Old Spice.

    Fan Works 
  • In Child of the Storm, when the Dark Phoenix is on the verge of appearing, there will often be a pervasive scent of woodsmoke. This inspires an Oh, Crap! reaction for everyone in the know, and Harry winds up exploiting it when fighting Dracula, who has a past with the entity in question.
  • In Ill Met by Moonlight, vampires are referred to as smelling like ice and iron on more than one occasion.
  • The writers want you to know the title character of Kamen Rider Showa is so stained by his past as a brainwashed assassin that someone with a good nose for it can smell the blood of his victims wherever he goes.
  • In The Land of What Might-Have-Been, enormous industrialist Rostov Branderstove is said to smell very strongly of tarnished metal and old paper — in other words, the smell of money. He also likes to wear ambergris perfume, another nod to his wealth. In the present-day segments, Branderstove has been transformed into a monstrous octopus hybrid known as the Leviathan, and now smells of salt water and "busy fishmarkets"... but Elphaba soon recognizes that he still has that distinctive whiff of ambergris.
  • Vow of Nudity: While being attacked by axebeaks way above her weight class, Fiora scares the entire flock away by using prestidigitation to mimic the telltale scent of an ankheg, a local burrowing predator who pops out of the ground to eat other savannah-dwellers.
  • Walking in Circles: Solas always smells of herbs and old books, to the point that even without looking- and surrounded by blood- Evelyn knows when he’s around her.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Anastasia, Dowager Empress Marie dabs peppermint oil on her opera gloves. The scent triggers a memory in orphan Anya of spilling peppermint oil on the palace carpet. No matter how much servants scrubbed that spot, it continued to smell of peppermint. This statement convinces Empress Marie that Anya is, in fact, her long-lost granddaughter Princess Anastasia.
  • Lotso from Toy Story 3 is pointed out to smell like strawberries.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the distinctive aroma of "Sex Panther" cologne, variously described as a used diaper filled with Indian food, a turd covered in burnt hair, and Bigfoot's dick.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022): Monterey Jack regularly wears official Rescue Rangers cologne, which Chip says smells like almond butter and gasoline. Later at the police station, Chip and Dale pick up that same scent coming from Captain Putty's office, cluing them that either Putty or Ellie is in league with Sweet Pete and was involved in Monty's kidnapping.
    Chip: Monty was literally the only person to ever use that disgusting cologne!
    Dale: Actually, I heard it's still used in Latvia to strip paint. But of course, we never see a dime of that.
  • In Diamonds Are Forever, Mr. Wint wears a particular aftershave throughout the film. When he and Mr. Kidd try to kill Bond towards the end, Bond remarks "I've smelled that aftershave before, and both times, I've smelled a rat."
  • In O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ulysses exclusively uses Dapper Dan hair pomade, and he cites its unique scent as the reason for his brand loyalty. This smell is so associated with Ulysses that the sheriff chasing him just makes his bloodhounds follow the Dapper Dan.
  • In The Parent Trap (1961), Susan (posing as Sharon) smells her grandfather:
    Charles: What are you doing?
    Susan: Making a memory.
    Charles: Making a memory?
    Susan: All my life, when I'm quite grown-up I will always remember my grandfather and how he smelled of tobacco and peppermint.
    Charles: Tobacco and peppermint. Well, I'll tell you what. I take the peppermint for my indigestion and as for the tobacco... to make your grandmother mad.
    • This is affectionately homaged in the remake, with Hallie (posing as Annie) smelling her grandfather and noting the same mixture of scents.
  • In Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, a murderer who is obsessed with perfume is guided by his intense sense of smell.
  • In Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino plays a blind retired military officer who can recognise women who walk in the room by the perfume they wear.
  • In Tremors, Graboids stink, smelling like sewage or rotten meat according to characters. This is a plot point in the first two films which occasionally clues characters in to the presence of a Graboid.
  • In The Uninvited (1944), the manifestation of the benevolent ghost is always accompanied by the scent of mimosa blossoms. This serves as both a red-herring and a plot point when it comes to determining the ghost's identity, since one character's dead mother always wore mimosa-scented perfume.

  • In the second book of the Aubrey-Maturin series, Stephen makes the mistake of purchasing a distinctive bottle of perfume for Diana, which scent never fails to remind him of her. Even when it shows up on his best friend.
  • Aunt Dimity series:
    • Dimity is associated with white lilacs, and when Francesca first comes to the cottage to be the nanny for Lori and Bill's twins, Dimity causes the cottage to smell of the flowers as a sign of welcome.
    • The Pym sisters are associated with the scent of lavender water. Among the various meanings associated with lavender in the language of flowers are serenity, grace, calmness, devotion and distrust.
  • The Belgariad: Garion refers to Ce'Nedra's flower-like scent on a few occasions, and tracks her down (using his wolf form) by it once.
  • All angels and demons in Books Of Pandemonium have their own, powerful signature scent, and if the PCs know what that scent is, they can use it to identify their opponents, even without a superhuman ability to distinct scents.
  • Joe from By Any Other Name (2013) has a natural spicy smell, which Holly greatly prefers to the overpowering smell of deodorant or aftershave that some boys have.
  • Ciaphas Cain's aide Ferik Jurgen has a very persistent and unique case of BO (he's an iceworlder, so balmy temperatures make him sweat, but even in the cold he stinks) exacerbated by various skin diseases that allows Cain to know he's there even with his back turned. It's also hinted that part of this "smell" is of psychic nature, a sense of unease due to him being The Soulless that people rationalize as bad odor.
  • In A Companion To Wolves by Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, each wolf's true name is a unique scent.
  • Comes up in Discworld:
    • Captain Carrot constantly smells of armor polish and soap, to highlight his pureness.
    • Corporal Nobbs, on the other hand, has a very strange bouquet described as a mix of cigarettes, skin cream, and old cabbage, that is instantly unforgettable to anyone who encounters it.
    • Beggar Foul Ole Ron has a Smell that is so strange it's developed its own separate identity and sometimes goes to parties on its own. It's so bad that it can't be perceived; noses shut down in self-defense the moment they detect it. The Smell's presence is instead signified by nearby brass tarnishing and peoples' earwax liquefying.
    • Mr. Groat from the Post Office — a devout believer in such odd "home remedies" as putting sulfur in his socks and using a goose-grease poultice — smells vaguely chemical, with the eye-stinging aroma of throat medicine and a hint of old potatoes.
    • Ahmed chews on cloves while in Ankh-Morpork, giving him a signature scent.
  • Snistroms from The Divide Trilogy reportedly smell so bad that people around them want to throw up.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe, individual Doctors apparently have pleasant if rather odd natural scents which are part of the reason why people instinctively trust them. The Eighth Doctor is said to naturally smell like honey. The Fourth Doctor smells of petrichor and icing sugar.
  • Hyacinth from A Drowned Maiden's Hair always smells of violets.
  • Kymerans in Nancy A. Collins's Urban Fantasy series Golgotham each have a very distinct individual scent. Good or neutral Kymerans tend to have herbal or floral scents (although Supreme Chef Lafo instead smells like Bananas Foster and corn dogs); evil Kymerans tend more towards sulfur, fish oil, scorched metal, and other similarly delightful things. Additionally, a change in scent can be a warning flag: Erys — who later turns out to be Nina's comatose body hijacked by an astral-projecting Esau — has an "unnatural" mix of molasses and dill; Dori's scent goes from bergamot and orchids (when she's a garden-variety bigoted yandere annoyance) to ashes and black pepper (when she starts committing assault and being an accessory to worse crimes); and even Hexe's usual chypre/citrus/leather sours and picks up a hint of mold when he's being corrupted against his will by an Artifact of Doom and is on the verge of irreparably alienating his pregnant consort.
  • In Gor, each Priest-King — the Physical Gods of the world who look like giant locusts — has an individual scent, which is used as their name (they communicate via scent).
  • In Harry Potter, the Love Potion Amortentia smells differently to each person based on what they're attracted to, including a scent they associate with a specific person. Harry smells a flowery scent that he recalls smelling at the Weasleys', which turns out to be associated with Ginny.
  • In Have Spacesuit Will Travel, the protagonist makes a point of mentioning the distinctive smell of the "worm-face" alien. The alien is so terrifying that the smell becomes indelibly implanted in the young man's memory, in spite of the smell not being particularly "bad".
  • Torchie from Hidden Talents always smells like smoke due to his constant fire-starting.
  • President Snow of The Hunger Games keeps a rose on him at all times in order to mask his peculiar breath, caused by his terminal illness. The main character thinks that he smells like "blood and roses" on every occasion she meets him.
  • In If I Fall, If I Die, Will's mother Diane smells like yellowed paperbacks, cinnamon, and fresh laundry.
  • In the novels Iron Dawn and Jericho Moon, the Egyptian sorcerer Kheperu smells uniquely horrible: a blend of body odor, alchemical residues, and rancid unguents. It's actually intentional, as there's a price on his head in his native Egypt and he doesn't want people getting close enough to recognize him.
  • Julia's Kitchen: Before their deaths, Julia smelled of vanilla from working in the kitchen, and Janie smelled of erasers because she collected them.
  • The third Julie of the Wolves book is from the point of view of the wolves. They always recognize Julie because her scent reminds them of willows. It also mentions that before Julie came up with her own names for the wolves, they had given each other "names" in their own minds to identify them, and they had thought of Silver as "Saxifrage" for the scented plants she liked to roll in.
  • During Julia's segments in The Magician King, she can recognize magicians by the smell of ozone: when Quentin returns to New York while on vacation, she knows that he's secretly been studying at Brakebills because his hands smell of lightning, and later, when Julia finally begins to work her own magic, she clearly recognizes the electric smell around her first spell — "Quentin's smell", as she calls it.
  • Mermaid (2011):
    • Margrethe remembers her late mother as smelling like lavender.
    • Christopher's sister Katrina smells pleasantly of flowers.
  • Mindblind:
    • Molly wears her leather riding boots everywhere, so she always smells like manure.
    • Three-year-old Joshua smells like a mixture of Mr. Bubble, mint toothpaste, and chocolate.
    • Jessa smells like citrus.
  • The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly: Charlie's mom smells like Aveda shampoo, Dove soap, and grapefruit, even though her usual smells are almost overwhelmed by the smell of her unwashed hoodie since she became severely depressed.
  • In Lisi Harrison's Monster High books, most of the Ghouls have a favorite perfume or body spray they're known by: Draculaura smells like lily-of-the-valley, Clawdeen like berries, Cleo like amber, Lagoona like coconut (and saltwater), and Spectra like lilac. Frankie is associated with vanilla from her scented candles, but she switches fragrances too often to have a signature.
  • Anna from Mouse (2017) smells like lilacs.
  • October Daye makes a point of mentioning the distinctive scent of the user's magic at least every other time a spell is cast.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Percy, half-blood son of Poseidon, is described at one point as always smelling of the sea.
  • Merrill from Post-High School Reality Quest smells like his mom's cigarettes and crocheted dolls. If Buffy spends too much time at his house, she starts smelling that way too.
  • In The Real Boy, the healer's apprentice Callie smells of licorice and hazelnut.
  • Real Mermaids: When Michaela is living as a human, she smells like her favorite shampoo, Peachtree Pro-vitamin.
  • Redwall: Triss has a sickeningly-sweet smell that originates from the never-healing wound on the adder triplets that are bound together by a chain that rubs them raw heralding its arrival. Multiple characters are driven almost to insanity from it before the reader is even told what causes it.
  • Lupus of The Roman Mysteries series lost his mother as a child. He remembers that she wore lemon perfume, and always carries a handkerchief scented with lemon to remember her. When he meets up with her again at last, she wears a different perfume and he finds it jarring.
  • Emmet from The Roosevelt has synesthesia. To him, Jeremey's smell is bluish green with brown and white flecks and bits of yellow, like an ocean wave.
  • In The Secret of Platform 13, Mrs. Trottle wears a custom-made scent called Maneater. After she disappears with Raymond, the heroes are unable to find her until the sewer-dwelling Plodger catches a whiff of it from her bathwater and tracks her down.
  • Characters' auras in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel have distinctive smells, including cinnamon. Or a snake.
  • In The Shadow Over Innsmouth, people from the titular town have a fishy smell. This is because they're gradually turning into Deep Ones. The smell intensifies as the transformation progresses, to the point that the protagonist nearly passes out due to the smell of a group of full-fledged Deep Ones.
  • Jeremy from The Silence of Murder smells like late season grass and cherry Kool-Aid. His room still smells like him even after he's been in jail for two months.
  • The Others in A Song of Ice and Fire are said to smell like cold. Often enough, somebody points out that cold is not a smell — but only until they have encountered an Other themselves.
  • In The Swan Kingdom, a smell of poisonous, rotting flesh is a plot point as it helps the main character draw a connection between the monster that attacked her mother and the beautiful young woman who shows up at the palace only a little while later.
  • In The Talisman, the Sinister Minister Sunlight Gardner smells like something rotten covered up with too much cologne.
  • In Tempest (2011), the selkie Kona tells his half-mermaid girlfriend Tempest that her hair smells like strawberries, even though she's been living underwater for eight months.
  • Thora: The mermaid Halla's hair smells like pumpkin pie. When the human Thor comments on it, Halla thinks he's incredibly exotic, because she's never heard of pumpkins.
  • Truth or Dare (2000): Josh's grandfather smelled strongly of leather and tobacco. He's been dead for years, but his study and the belongings in his drawers still smell like him.
  • The Twilight Saga:
    • Bella Swan is stated to smell like freesia.
    • Edward Cullen is said to smell like honey, lilac and sunshine.
  • In What to Say Next, Kit notes that her love interest David has a sweet lemony smell.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Perrin literally has a wolf's sense of smell, so scents would a bigger impression on him than on most people. He often dwells on his wife's scent, particularly the herbal soap she uses.
  • Stanley from When My Heart Joins the Thousand has a warm, pleasant smell, like cinnamon and old books.
  • Played for Drama in Wulfrik: Wulfrik returns half-dead from a voyage only to find his betrothed in bed with Sveinbjorn, the man who tried to have him killed. He beats the crap out of Sveinbjorn and throws him out, Hjordis tells him he'd been reported dead half a year, but Wulfrik's supernaturally good nose means that he can still smell Sveinbjorn on her.
  • You Have a Match: Leo, a talented cook, smells like his favorite spice, cinnamon.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Oz comes back to town in "New Moon Rising", he realizes that his former girlfriend Willow has been with Tara because "I can smell her on you." In "Chosen", Angel realizes that Buffy is now involved with Spike the same way.
  • In the CSI episode "Fannysmackin'", Greg is badly beaten and his eyes are swollen shut, but when Sara arrives, he tells her he recognizes "that Sidle scent".
  • In the "The Adventure of the Nutmeg Concoction" episode of Elementary, a faint smell of nutmeg is detected at a number of crime scenes, leading an FBI profiler to insist it's the "olfactory signature" of a Serial Killer. Sherlock takes one look at the file and says that the crimes have too little in common to be a serial killer; the agent in question is letting his desperation to be a hero cloud his judgement. There is a connection between the crime scenes, but the scent is left by the criminal who makes a living cleaning up crime scenes using a strong chemical that smells faintly of nutmeg, rather than by the perpetrators of the original crime.
  • The episode "Weak" from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has a Serial Rapist described by all his victims as smelling like an ashtray. It's not admissible in court, of course, but when the investigation leads them to the prime suspect's mother, a heavy smoker, they know they're on the right track.
  • Power Rangers Zeo: Adam and Tanya order drinks from Ernie, but a gross green substance comes out of the dispenser and the sink faucet. Adam and Tanya sniff it and recognize it as the oil used to power the Machine Empire, which is being used to contaminate the Earth's water supply.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series: In the episode "Obsession", the cloud monster has a distinct "sickly sweet" odor that Kirk recognizes it by. Perhaps it's not a coincidence that fog machines generate a sweet odor.
  • In Warehouse 13, "I smell fudge" means something weird, usually bad, is about to happen. If it's weird and good, you may smell apples.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Marvin is famous for the smell of his dirty diapers.

  • According to Big Finish Doctor Who's Spare Parts, Cybermen have always reeked of antiseptic from the surgeries that led to their Unwilling Roboticisation.
    • Meanwhile, the werewolves in Loups Garoux notice that the Fifth Doctor smells distinctively of celery from the bunch in his lapel. Turlough, having blown the last of his money on an extremely manky burger, is identified by the smell of cooked goat — resulting in several of the werewolves mockingly referring to him as "Goat Chop" or "Goat Boy".

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: the most famous of the game's many, many dragons have very particular odors, pleasant ones in the case of the good-aligned metallic dragons, and harsh or nasty smells for the evil chromatic dragons. Brass dragons have a sandy odor, bronze dragons smell of sea spray, copper dragons have a stony scent, gold dragons smell of saffron and incense, and silver dragons carry the scent of rain. Black dragons stink of rot and foul water, blue dragons smell of ozone and sand, green dragons have the stinging scent of chlorine, red dragons smell of sulfur and pumice, and white dragons have a crisp, faintly chemical odor.

  • In the musical 1776, John Adams writes to his wife Abigail about how much he misses her and asks, "Do you still smell of vanilla and spring air?"

    Video Games 
  • In the Geneforge series, the presence of spawners in an area is usually preceded by a smell of vinegar. Rothgroths, a type of creation that secretes acid, are usually accompanied by the smell of decay as the acid sloughs and rots their skin.
  • In Grandia II, the villain Melfice is tracked by the beastman Mareg, who tends to mutter (before attacking whatever he detected it on) "This SMELL... MELFICE!" Melfice is revealed early on to be the main character's brother. This is a problem (understatement) when they first meet Mareg, because they apparently smell alike.
  • Zexion of Kingdom Hearts has the odd ability of smelling darkness, although what said odor is like is never described. In Chain of Memories, he briefly mistakes Riku's scent when he appears in the basement of Castle Oblivion for that of the Superior of Organization XIII. This is important because within Riku's darkness lies the lingering presence of "Ansem, Seeker of Darkness", the first game's Big Bad and the Heartless of Xehanort. The leader of Organization XIII Zexion alludes to is Xemnas, Xehanort's Nobody, which explains the momentary confusion.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Link in wolf form uses his heightened sense of smell to track down the next goal at hand several times throughout the game. The nature of these scents is not described, but each has a distinct color. To wit, the four captured kids' have a yellow scent, while Ilia, Link's Implied Love Interest, has a pink scent.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Mad Bomber Fatman uses a signature cologne and puts a bit of it in every bomb he makes, which Stillman is easily able to use to detect them. However, they all turn out to be a decoy for two massive scentless bombs placed in critical points of the structure.
  • The protagonist of Persona 5 lives in a cafe, and his teammates will occasionally note that he always smells like coffee.
  • Temple of Apshai: Giant rats have a distinctive musty smell.
  • Occasionally, the stats for some characters in Undertale describes them as having specific scents. As a few examples: Papyrus smells like bones, Undyne smells like angry sushi, and Mettaton smells like Mettaton.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: A Hunter of Monsters warns the player character that Zygaena, a dangerous wereshark, can be identified by his fishy smell. Unfortunately, they don't notice this when they meet him in his human disguise.
  • In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Geralt's search for Yennefer makes repeated mention of her distinctive scent of lilac and gooseberries. Witchers (who have Super-Senses) can tell a letter was written by her because of it, and even normal humans are able to detect it if they meet her in person. Since it's mentioned in a ballad about her, she's apparently quite well known for it.

    Visual Novels 
  • Razi, the djinn love interest in Havenfall Is for Lovers, always smells of incense. The player character takes notice of it often and eventually identifies as the fragrance as oud. It seems to be a natural scent; even after a dunk in a muddy lake, all the protagonist smells from Razi is the familiar incense.
  • Fitting with her name, the sophisticated Rosé Mulan from Spirit Hunter: NG comes armed with the sickly-sweet scent of black rose perfume.

  • Girl Genius:
    • The heroine has a pleasant scent, which is used as the subject of a Running Gag by most of the characters, to the point that she considers using lab chemicals to alter it and avoid the "nice smell" comments. Her smell is also typical of the Heterodyne bloodline, allowing Jägermonsters to identify her.
    • Agatha has her body chemistry tangled up when the author of a Grand Theft Me keeps herself awake with stimulants... lots of them. This is detected by Krosp (Emperor of cats), who points out that her scent is messed up.
    • The Wasp Eaters detect wasps via smell (even though they are animal constructs, they are trained to react to it). The Weasels react to Tarvek's smell, too — they love it, which leads to a lot of Weasels hugging him.
    • When Agatha's body chemistry is altered again, this time in a Poison and Cure Gambit, Krosp is also the first to notice it.

    Western Animation 
  • In one 6teen episode called "Baby, You Stink", the boys of the main six decide to have a contest to see who of them smells the best after a week of not bathing of any kind, with the girls acting as the judges. It got way out of hand, with the boys stinking so bad that Jen said, "At this point it's not about who smells the best anymore — it's about who smells the least horrible." When the day of the actual judging came, the rules that the girls laid out were that whichever guy made it closest to them without being yelled at to stop would be declared the winner. In the order the boys went, the results were:
    • Wyatt: Made it about two-thirds of the way towards the girls, which Wyatt was happy about, because he was worried that he'd end up smelling the worst — he almost dropped out of the contest, but ultimately stayed after his then-girlfriend, Marlowe, assured him that she was fine with it and even pointed out how many of the world's top musicians and celebrities don't bathe frequently.
    • Jonesy: Being who he is, Jonesy was very confident that he'd smell the best after a week a not bathing — but he actually ended smelling the worst out of the three boys. In fact, he didn't even make it more than two steps towards the girls and Nikki was so nauseated that she actually vomited on the food court floor of the mall. On top of all that, he also got fired from his latest job at a florist shop because his rank BO killed all the flowers at the shop.
    • Jude: He made it all the way without complaint from the girls. Caitlin noted that Jude didn't smell any differently than he normally did, with Nikki adding, "Jude never bathed much to begin with — he's always had a faint, lingering odor." As a result, Jude was declared the winner.
  • Looney Tunes character Pepé Le Pew, of course. Ordinarily skunks don't stink except when they're actually spraying, which means that even for a skunk, Pepe really stinks.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "Footburn", K'nuckles tells Flapjack of a childhood flame he describes as smelling like fish guts and aftershave. At the end of the episode, Flapjack says he smells those things, revealing that the trolley conductor they met was her all grown up.
  • In Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja, the titular character's Secret Identity as the Ninja is immediately exposed by a blind man because the former apparently reeks of the smoke bombs that he often uses.
  • "The school's resident weird girl", Marcie Fleach from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, is nicknamed Hot Dog Water by her peers because that's what she smells like. In her first appearance, Freddie explains the smell as resulting from a chemical reaction involving sweat and gingham; later, we find out that her father owns an amusement park and reuses the hot dog water for bathing. In Season 2, it becomes a plot point when Velma recognizes the smell and identifies a disguised Marcie.

    Real Life 
  • This is Truth in Television — with the exception of identical twins (who share one), everybody has their own unique scent.
    • Generally, people who share a diet will find those of different diets to have a weird odor.
    • The reason for this, or at least one reason, is to prevent inbreeding. Or, this is how we know who not to bang - those who smell too much like us, i.e. they have the most similar MHC genes (which usually means being related) - although some contraceptives can reportedly mess this up.
  • There is a characteristic odor that hangs around alcoholics — it's the result of the breakdown of ethanol by the liver into aldehydes that are then excreted through the sweat. It doesn't smell like alcohol; it's the characteristic odor of someone who drinks all the time. Some writers describe this as "digested alcohol" smell.
  • If you've ever eaten a lot of garlic, you'll end up smelling like it as well, thanks to this trope.
  • Diabetics' sweat can take on a fruity aroma when their blood sugar is too high, as does their urine. The specific medical term is ketouresis.