What exactly are we smelling when we smell ‘fresh air’?

By: Guardian Staff | What exactly are we smelling when we smell ‘fresh air’? | Neuroscience | The Guardian

The long-running series in which readers answer other readers’ questions on subjects ranging from trivial flights of fancy to profound scientific concepts

Especially on a cold day, when you’re inside and someone comes in after a longish period outside, they smell pleasantly of “fresh air”. What actually is that smell?

Catherine Stornoway

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