Monday, April 30, 2007

Burnt ikea with a hint of orange...

This weekend I encountered a fascinating smell of a quite unique vintage. I entered the kitchen and I was overcome with a scent that carried dim echos of times past. At first I couldn't place it. I was reminded of burning the tips of nylon ropes when camping as a child, and the happy hours of playing with a lighter and a can of hairspray. As it turned out an ikea spoon had fallen on the heating element in our dishwasher. The smell of burnt ikea, while similar to the nylon ropes and burning plastic wrappers of my childhood, has a very distinctive character. The melted plastic as it begins its slow bubbling combustion has a slight hint of a rancid burnt orange peel with strong overtones of rotten driftwood and displaced chemical waste.

Surprisingly enough, this was not my first encounter with the ikea scent. Last winter we had an ikea chair that somehow caught fire in our living room and blanked the whole room with a fine orange film. A chair and a spoon. You would not think immediately that they have the same scent when burned. But, while the chair carried more subtle hints of oily fabric, somehow the magic that is a burning ikea product persisted through.

I can't say that I recommend burnt ikea. As far as combustible petroleum products go, I prefer the simple straight forward melting nylon, it's just more honest. But if you are interested in a unique and unforgettable olfactory experience, then ikea is the way to go.

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