We Reviewed A Scratch-And-Sniff Guidebook That Included Horse Manure

If you’ve never visited the city of York in North Yorkshire, England, you could just pick up any old guidebook, sure. But the nose always knows best. So to help immerse you in this medieval city, York has put out the very first, scratch-n-sniff guidebook — stinking horse stables and all.

Smell is one of the most powerful tools in our sensory arsenal. It makes sense that York’s tourist bureau would take advantage of that by giving prospective visitors a literal whiff of what they’re in for. As Visit York told The Daily Mail:

In terms of how we chose the smells, each section of the guidebook refers to a month of the year, from January to December, so some scents were chosen based on seasonality while others were chosen simply for their iconic status, such as the heather on the North york Moors.

We wanted to get across the wide variety of scents on offer in York, including some unexpected ones (like the smell of a ghost!) and showcase the city, its heritage and the surrounding countryside in a unique and quirky way.

Of course, as anyone who’s dabbled in the exciting world of scratch-n-sniff stickers knows, the smell you get isn’t always the smell you paid for. And while we have never been to York ourselves, we couldn’t help but wonder: Did they really manage to accurately capture a variety of city smells in one little ol’ book? We decided to do some testing.

As you can see in the above video, some scents (lavender, baked goods, and horses) were a bit easier to pick up than others (er, ghosts). And after smelling page after page of chemically stained essence of York, all the smells kind of start blending together.

So does it really make you feel like your standing in the middle of the medieval city? Not quite. Still, it’s a delightfully fun twist on a classic travel staple. And on a more personal note, there is nothing quite as fulfilling as shoving the scent of horse manure towards someone in a blindfold. [The Daily Mail]