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If a decade was a perfume, what would it smell like? What would be the top notes? How’s the drydown? Smell is one of the strongest memories. It can bring you back to the past with a single whiff. A waft of cologne on the street reminds you of a friend whose face you can’t recall, the smell of baked bread takes you back to your Grandmother’s kitchen. With that in mind, what would this past decade smell like for you? Would it be a scent you want to wear over and over again? A scent you bring out for special occasions? A bottle you immediately pour down the sink? Or maybe all three?

These aren’t the “best” smells, per se, but they are the ones that will take us back every single time.

10. Santal 33

The scent that took over an industry and then leaked onto the vanity of every aesthetic person you know. Smells like the least fashionable of the most fashionable people you know. Always a trend short and a second late. Pretty solid smell though.

9. Hops

The stench of a bitter rind. A complex floral that makes you feel like you’re being condescended to. An overflowing beer list pedaling the same flavors. A smell that makes your parent’s lips pucker as they crack open a Bud Lite. Base notes of plaid and unwashed beards and sexism.

8. Athleisure

That particular mix of synthetic magic and sweat that can only come from an overused pair of leggings. Banish the smell of cotton from your mind, this baby is lab-made with an ozone crackle that makes you feel like it’s 2090.

7. Sriracha

The smell of warm kitchens and expanding palates. A burst of spice and heat followed by a cloying sweetness that goes well with everything. A sour whiff of brands marketing their products as if buying something can be a substitution for having a personality. Also bacon. I could have written the same thing about bacon.

6. Ice

The sharp tang of going viral for pouring a bucket of water on your head. The addicting quality of a Disney movie that you just can’t let go. A heart note that reminds you the polar ice caps are melting.

5. True Crime

A smell that sends a chill down your spine. Top notes of gore, hot lights and a well-tailored suit. Heart notes of podcast downloads, private Facebook groups and black coffee. Base notes of wet earth, dead leaves and white chalk.

4. TikTok

The smell of something that distinctly wasn’t made for you. A waft of slang you’ll never use correctly, dances that will make you look like a fool in public and sexual politics that feel ancient, yet new. Also, bathwater, for some reason.

3. Scams

A well-blended accord of blood, fire, hospital scrubs, German royalty, pyramid schemes and freshly laundered money. A scent you can’t stop talking, listening and reading about. A whisper of fresh orchids and red flags.

2. Protests

An intoxicating mixture of sharpies, poster board, corner store craft materials. The smell of friends sleeping on your floor and brisk morning marches. The smell of a stranger’s sweat, the metallic zap of a fence against your back. A uniquely choreographed feeling of togetherness.

1. Obsession

The final note. The smell of a million vacations you watched other people enjoy, a million items you watched other people unbox, a million dollars you watched other people make. Is it Neroli? Yeah, it’s Neroli.

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