"Old people smell" is real, but our abuelas smell the best!

Come on, you know you have thought it at least once in your life: "That person smells old!" Turns out that you weren't being judgemental, there really is an "old people smell".

"Elderly people have a discernible underarm odor that younger people consider to be fairly neutral and not very unpleasant," said Lundström. "This was surprising given the popular conception of old age odor as disagreeable. However, it is possible that other sources of body odors, such as skin or breath, may have different qualities."

My abuela definitely had a smell but it wasn't body odor and it was the best smell in the whole world because let's face it, if there is one thing Latin women know how to do it is age gracefully. No way our abuelas would smell old.

And I have done the poll to prove it!


In a completely unscientific fashion I asked all the Latinos around me (as I am surrounded by at least four or five at any given moment) if their abuelita (or abuelo) had a distinctive scent. After we all stopped crying because we loved them so much, here is what I can tell you Latino old people smell like:

Maja: Several of us, including myself, remember our abuela for her distinctive soap and face powder. You remember the one, it was black with the Spanish lady in red with a fan on it. LOVED IT!

Tobacco: "My abuelo smelled like cigars and still to this day when I come across that smell I'm immediately transported to my childhood. The memories of time spent with him walking down the street from his house to the colmadito in the corner for coconut ices make putting up with the smell of cigarros cubanos completely worth it!" says Johanna Torres, Editor-in-Chief

Perfume: Everything from White Musk to Jean Nate to Nina Ricci 'L'Air du Temps' Eau de Parfum--they all always wore perfume. And don't forget the Old Spice--whose abuelo didn't smell of Old Spice? According to Staff Writer Roxana Soto "My Abuelita, who is 97 years old, still smells and uses Jean Nate, both the perfume and the powder! So much so that whenever I see one of those yellow bottles, I immediately think of her! My Abuelita has NEVER EVER smelled bad!!!"

Clean laundry: "Mi abuelita's clothes always smell like a bouquet of flowers because she always put a little bag of dry flowers--that she collected all year long--and hung it inside her "ropero" (closet) and her "gavetero" (clothes drawer)." remembered Marimer Navarrate, editor/translator.

Work: According to Michelle Regaldo, staff writer, her abuelita always smelled like baking, because she was always in the kitchen! Marketing Director Andrea Slodowicz also remembers both her grandparents smelling like their hard days work: "My abuela smelled of this pink Hinds cream. It was for hands, but she used it in her face too. That and butter and flour. My grandfather was also Old Spice. And leather. He had a leather goods shop… so he always smelled like it!"

Ourselves: Senior editor Vicglamar Torres of course remembers her grandmother's scent, but it has been replaced by her own mother's scent. "You know my son said to me the other day, this pillow smells of my abuelita and I realized, my mother now means to him what my abuelita meant to me."

Now how could any of that smell "old"?!

What did your abuela or abuelo smell like? Do you beleive in the "old people smell"?

Image via rodadas.net (alvaro & alicia)/flickr

Topics: child rearing  grandparents  cosmetics