A few weeks ago we came across an interesting short video that looks at the reasons why old books smell. Musty and Moldy would be the most common ways to describe the smell of old books however chemists from the University College London that studied the smell described the scent as having grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla for an underlying mustiness.
Richard from Abebooks explains old books are made up of organic matter that reacts with heat, light, moisture and the chemicals used in its production that in turn cause the odor. In the video Richard explores further the reasons behind these odors.
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