As a US resident who visited the UK, I was surprised that many wooden buildings built before say 1800 smelled strongly of pork, an ammonia-like smell but most precisely like boar taint. I have never smelled this in old buildings in other countries.

What is the smell? Is it residue from centuries of cooking pork? Is it from an old type of varnish? Decaying wood?

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    $\begingroup$ Probably related to specific fungal metabolites. This seems to be an interesting question and I'm not sure why it's getting downvoted and marked as unclear. I suppose every person who ever visited a museum of wooden architecture or just an old village log house in temperate climate zone would know what OP is talking about. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Jun 29, 2020 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ The What causes the old book smell? question and answer were very well received, so maybe someone will provide an answer with corroborating literature references. I hope it does not turn out to be centuries of sweat. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Jun 29, 2020 at 17:20
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    $\begingroup$ @andselisk, This is exactly what I am wondering. What is wrong this with this genuine question! Above all "-3" votes. What is wrong folks? $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Jun 29, 2020 at 20:01
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    $\begingroup$ @M.Farooq I gave it an upvote, but maybe the downvotes were due to something like assuming answers would be predominantly just opinions. That is just a guess. And maybe andselisk nailed it with his fungal metabolites hypothesis. Would have been nice to see a demonstrably valid answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ed V
    Jun 29, 2020 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Fritz, Search the paper "Smell of heritage: a framework for the identification, analysis and archival of historic odours" by Cecilia Bembibre* and Matija Strlič. It is open access and probably you will find the answer. $\endgroup$
    – AChem
    Jun 29, 2020 at 20:58


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