Why Old Books Smell Good
“Lignin, the stuff that prevents all trees from adopting the
weeping habit, is a polymer made up of units that are closely related to
vanillin. When made into paper and stored for years, it breaks down and
smells good. Which is how divine providence has arranged for secondhand
bookstores to smell like good quality vanilla absolute, subliminally
stoking a hunger for knowledge in all of us.
From Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez’s Perfumes: the guide