How we perceive certain smells is no doubt a subjective matter. For example, some people may like the smell of garlic in their food whereas others may be repulsed by it. Conditioning also comes into play, for example, sanitation workers have lesser inclination to be repulsed by bad smelling garbage. Evolutionary factors may also be involved, for example, lab grown rats are fearful of cat smell, even though they may not have actually ever come face to face with a cat.
However, there are some smells in this world that are extremely intense and are likely to be rated bad by most people. Based on research and actual events, here are some of the worst smelling objects in the world.
Thioacetone – A synthetic organosulfur compound, Thioacetone can be created in a lab. It has an extremely foul odor. It was obtained for the first time way back in 1889 in Freiburg, Germany. The chemical accidently leaked outside the lab, resulting in several cases of nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness. Most symptoms were caused by the intensely foul odor of Thioacetone. Scientists recreated the experiment again in 1967 and similar results were noted this time too.
Uranus – The seventh planet from the sun and four times larger than Earth, Uranus is an ice giant. However, not many of us may fancy going to Uranus, as the planet smells similar to rotten eggs. Astronomers have discovered that the atmosphere of Uranus comprises large amounts of Hydrogen Sulfide. This is the chemical that gives rotten eggs their characteristic bad smell.
Rafflesia arnoldii – Flowers usually release aromatic scents, but this one’s just the opposite. Also referred to as stinking corpse lily, Rafflesia arnoldii releases an extremely bad odor that closely resembles that of rotting flesh. It does so to attract flies and beetles, which then help in pollination. Rafflesia arnoldii is usually found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
Durian – Cultivated primarily in Thailand and Malaysia, Durian fruit is exported to most parts of the world. While a ripe Durian fruit can taste and smell appetizing, things turn pretty nasty when this fruit starts to rot. In one incident, the smell of a rotting Durian fruit was mistaken for a gas leak at a university in Melbourne. A major evacuation was carried out subsequently. Scientists have found that Durian has several dozen odor active compounds, some of which are similar to those found in rotten eggs.
Vieux-Boulogne – Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, Vieux-Boulogne cheese is usually prepared in France. Among its many characteristics is its extremely strong smell. When tested with specialized tools, Vieux-Boulogne was rated to be the ‘smelliest’ cheese in the world.