Smell rehabilitation

Among the side effects of COVID-19 is a total loss of sense of smell. Unsplash

My daily routine starts at around 8am with a wine tasting. Most days I taste a maximum of 24 wines, starting in the morning when I am at my freshest best. That routine may soon be disrupted in the likely event that I will contract COVID-19. Among the side effects that I can expect to suffer is a total loss of my sense of smell.

It is thought that the kit may be commercialised in the future, perhaps with the addition of aromas more familiar to those in target markets.

I am fully vaccinated and have had a booster shot, which should mitigate or even avoid the severity of the virus but in my business, even a slight reduction in my sense of smell (known as anosmia) would be a game-changer.

In an effort to understand more about what would hopefully be a temporary condition, I searched the Internet and found an article published by The Drinks Business that revealed help may be at hand.

The Portuguese wine group Sogrape has teamed up with the University of Aveiro to produce a sensory kit that they hope will help to rehabilitate people who have lost their sense of smell due to olfactory diseases like COVID-19.

The 100% plant-based kit, called Top COVID, contains raw Portuguese materials including rosemary powder, tangerine peel, pomace powders from local baga and touriga nacional grapes, aniseeds, ginger powder, oregano leaves and more.

Miguel Pessanha, board member and oenologist at Sogrape, told Drinks Business:

“It’s not just wine fans and those who work in the wine industry such as sommeliers who may feel the kit’s benefits. Other professions such as chefs and perfumers could find it a Godsend too.”

It is thought that the kit may be commercialised in the future, perhaps with the addition of aromas more familiar to those in target markets. The New Zealand kit, for example, might be more effective with marmite, feijoa and kiwifruit.

During my search, I also discovered an article in Drinks Business which reported that scientists had identified the world’s most universally loved smell. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and the University of Oxford had exposed 235 people from nine different cultures to 10 scents “deliberately chosen to represent all odours found in the world”.

The obvious question is how can 10 scents possibly represent all odours found in the world?

The 10 scents in order of preference were:

  1. Vanilla.
  2. Peaches.
  3. Lavender.
  4. Cloves.
  5. Rose.
  6. Mushrooms.
  7. Sweaty goats (hands-up anyone who has smelt a sweaty goat).
  8. Green peppers.
  9. Pungent garlic and decaying fish.
  10. Sweaty feet.

Most of the chosen scents can be found in wine. American oak barrels, for example, are a good source of vanilla-like aromas. Perhaps it should all be included in the Top COVID kit?


One thought on “Smell rehabilitation”

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    Keith Pritchard says:

    I did not lose one iota of my sense of smell. I used fluticasone (corticosteroid) nose spray for my sinus issues and had budesonide as I use to use Rhinocort Aqua and liked it better before it was discontinued after it went generic. I found studies that indicated these may prevent covid loss of smell and in asthma sufferers nor real lung symptoms of use in the inhalation form.

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