I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and somehow we got to talking about how important the sense of smell truly is. For me, it's the strongest of our senses, which is why I try to use it in my writing.
The sense of smell is like a Trapper Keeper for your memories. That's the best way I can think to describe it. I think that's how you develop your 'favorite' smells--based on the memories they created when your Trapper Keeper filed them away.
Smells are also a little bit like a time machine. The smell of vanilla takes me directly to my grandmother's kitchen. It comforts me and makes me feel warm and safe. Wet grass transports me to stargazing on a hillside. The smell of crisp new money takes me back to a Christmas where I received a stocking full of the brand new bills. Honeysuckle and Gardenias are summer. The smell of cinnamon takes me to directly to a softball game because I always had an Atomic Fireball in my mouth.
What about you? What smells are in your Trapper Keeper? Where do they transport you?