7 Smelly Years of Death Scent

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Seven years ago, I started The Death Scent Project as a fun side project for research that didn’t fit into my existing academic portfolio. I was already pretty fed up with academia and hated the scholastic publishing world. I didn’t want to write articles in a style I didn’t like and have them wither behind paywalls.

I wanted real people to engage with my work. I wanted them to learn and explore and, hopefully, see their world differently. We, as humans, use aromatics for so much more than just perfume. We mark time with scent, adorn our bodies with scent, and tell stories about who we are as people and as a community with scent.

When I first launched, I called the site Death, Scent & the Live Girl. It was a play on the movie title Lars & the Real Girl, and I thought it was funny. Then I learned about SEO and the hellscape having the words death, and live girl led me to. Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot about running a website in the last seven years.


When I started, I thought exploring fragrance in death rituals was such a niche topic that I would have maybe a few dozen dedicated readers at best. This is still a tiny operation by many metrics, but sometimes I look at my stats and realise 30,000+ of you visited my site in a month, and I’m overwhelmed.

I never knew how long the project would last, but if you had told me seven years, I would have been shocked. Looking at my upcoming publication list, I think we still have a few years left. But seven is a special number for me, so instead of waiting for a round number like 10, we will give some love to my lucky number.

So here’s to seven years. Thank you for making me learn skills to improve the site and for teaching me I don’t need to be good at everything to start. Thanks for making me a better writer and teacher. Thank you for sending me both heartfelt and crazy conspiratorial emails; I love them both in very different ways. Thank you to the Swedish death metal band formally known as Death Scent, your breakup made this URL possible, and you should know I still get messages for you from your fans a couple times a year. Overall, just thank you all for being here, your time is valuable, and the fact that you chose to spend some of it with me is an honour.

To celebrate, I have a host of special pieces planned for the rest of November. For those that have gotten used to my relaxed once-every-three-months posting schedule, don’t worry. We will be back to my usual snail’s pace in December.

With Oceans of Love,