Can you conjure a scent from your past and make it tangible; turning it into a mouthful of memory? Can you remember the smell of the back of the neck of the first person you loved? Can you recall the sweet, fleshy scent of the first fresh fig that lingered under your nose as you brought it to your mouth? Reshaping smells from our past by using olfactory mental imagery is a much more difficult exercise than visual or auditory mental imagery.
Don't worry though, it just takes practice.
If you want to remember the suffocatingly sweet scent of a hyacinth in winter, or the smell of sex during a state of celibacy, then I suggest adhering to a strict routine of sniffing. When someone embraces you, steal a sniff of their underarm. Harvest the everyday smells of your surroundings; the smell of new rain on hot pavement, the smell of oils burned from the skin of a roasted coffee bean, the smell of shampoo that still clings to the lengths of hair that taunt you from the women walking by.
But the best way to improve your olfaction is to let the scents of our baked goods saturate your senses. Let the sweet heat of the Curry of Kali and Sweet Bombay muffins weave their way through the hairs in your nose the way the water once slipped around what used to be the seven islands of Bombay. Break apart an Early Grey muffin and remember the Sunday morning you spent in bed with tea, the paper, and a long-legged companion. Sniff the surface of a Chai Love You cookie, careful not to snort a quick cloud of cinnamon and cardamom into your nose, and picture Christmas Eve in front of the fireplace that you were sure was Santa's portal. And when you want to remember the heat of summer as you are cool in spring, then let the Ginger Blue muffin raise your temperature so your skin looks like it has just been kissed by hard lips.
Oh, and if you don't know the accepted method of smelling, follow Jason's lead: