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Zwaardemaker smell system

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The Zwaardemaker smell system was a method for classifying smells developed by the Dutch physiologist Hendrick Zwaardemaker which he published in 1895.

He identified nine primary odors:

  • Ethereal (like ether, beeswax)
  • Aromatic eg camphor or spice
  • Fragrant eg the smell of flowers
  • Ambrosiac eg amber or musk)
  • Alliaceous eg garlic or onion
  • Empyreumatic eg roasted coffee of tobacco smoke
  • Hiccine eg Sour milk or rancid food
  • Foul eg
  • Nauseous eg faeces or rotten eggs


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