Women appear to have a significantly better sense of smell than men – according to a survey commissioned by Gardeners’ World magazine – and the older we are the more smells we can identity. These were two key findings of an ICM survey of 2,000 people across the UK which found that more women than men were able to recognise 14 out of 15 top garden scents. The list included rose, lilac, freshly cut grass and compost. Creosote was the only smell as many men recognised as women.
Meanwhile, more than 50% of pensioners could identify 11 or more of the 15 top garden scents, while a majority of 18-24 year olds could only recognise six. The survey, commissioned to mark a special scented issue of Gardeners’ World magazine (the nation’s favourite gardening magazine), also found that freesias are the nation’s favourite garden scent, liked by 92% of respondents, followed by strawberries (91%) and then sweet pea (90%). The most disliked smell was creosote, disliked by 37%, followed by compost at 31%.
Other findings included:
• The region with the best sense of smell is the South West; the worst is London.
• Freshly cut grass is the garden scent that most reminds us of childhood, said 48% of respondents, followed by mint and strawberry at 23%, lavender at 21% and creosote, 19%.
• Gardeners, unsurprisingly, have a far better sense of smell with more than 50% able to identify 14 of the top 15 garden scents. For non-gardeners this fell to more than 50% only able to identify 6.
• The garden scents that ‘make us feel sexy’ are jasmine and rose. Slightly worryingly, 3% of Britons describe compost as the sexiest garden smell!
According to Adam Pasco, editor of Gardeners’ World: “Women overall do slightly more gardening, but this doesn’t explain the huge discrepancy in smell recognition and the reasons are likely to be biological. What is more culturally significant – and rather sad – is the drop off in the ability of the younger generation to identify the wonderful range of fragrances in the garden. Sadly it seems the younger generation are spending less time outdoors and therefore have less ability to detect different scents. However this can easily be retrained as its never too late to appreciate all the garden has to offer, so we are calling on the nation to switch off their screens, get outdoors and experience the wonderful scents of summer.”
This month’s Gardeners’ World Magazine on sale now priced at £3.80 has an innovative scented cover and a mystery scent test for readers inside. There are also 36 free lavenders for every reader, worth £23.
Notes to editors
For more information on the survey please contact Toby Hicks at Immediate Media on 020-8433-3807 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ICM interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2013 on online between 20th – 22nd April 2012.
Gardeners’ World Magazine is the market leading gardening title with an ABC figure of 216,620 readers. (Jul-Dec 2012.)