A whiff of NZ – how would you describe it?

September 26, 2009

(as dictated to Mrs Grumble)

An outfit called Visit England, the country’s tourism quango, got into trouble a week or so back over a smell. It had spent £8,500 having a scent conjured that was intended to remind the English of home.

The initiative was denounced as profligate by the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

But the idea has its supporters. A writer in The Telegraph reckons it’s a potential goldmine.

And yet if this scent – which is called By George! – did what it was intended, surely it would be a figurative goldmine?

No sentimental expat would leave the country without packing a vial of the stuff to sniff at difficult personal moments. The shops near embassies in foreign capitals that cater to the English desire for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Bird’s custard powder and Marmite would also keep By George! as a staple – lest they be caught out by the demands of anguished travellers desperate for a whiff of home. There would be air fresheners, soaps for scenting drawers and clothes hangers infused with the aroma of an Englishman’s home sold in gift shops the world over. The act of dabbing on a touch of perfume would become an obscurely political act. Yet strangely none of this has occurred.

So far, so good. But what does England smell like?
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