20 smells that will take you right back to the 1970s

Time for your daily dose of nose-stalgia.

It's a question that younger generations always ask: What did the 1970s smell like?

Well, kids, we're here to help. Fair warning: scratching and sniffing your screen will not produce the desired effect / odor.

However, if you grew up in the decade, the mere mention of the following items will bring back olfactory memories.

Take a whiff and see if these trigger any feelings for you. Are there any other scents from that decade that linger?

1. Musk

 

It was a musky decade, overall, whether you wore Jovan, Old Spice or English Leather.

2. Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific

 

The greatest shampoo name — if not product name — of all time. The floral scent still lingers, perhaps because it's still sold somewhere, somehow.

3. Lemon Up

 

Or, those who wanted a bright, citrus scent washed with this brand.

4. Body on Tap

 

Or, if you wanted that fresh "I hang out at the bar" feeling, there was Body on Tap, the shampoo made with beer.

5. Fondue

 

Molten cheese, with a strong undercurrent of Sterno can.

6. Leaded gasoline

 

Gas stations never smelled the same once we all went unleaded.

7. Naugahyde

 

Whether it was wrapped around your dad's favorite chair or covering the interior of your Chevy Caprice, it had that not-really-leather smell, not to mention sound.

8. Super Elastic Bubble Plastic

 

This gummy Wham-O toy smelled like science and health hazards. 

9. Creepy Crawlers

 

Speaking of toys with a distinctive scent, there was this particular plastic odor, to balance out the sweet, light-bulb brownies of the Easy Bake Oven.

10. Hai Karate

 

The smell of men who take action. Or, well, live in their first bachelor pad.

11. Love's Baby Soft

 

The counterpart to Hai Karate.

12. Herbel Essence

 

We're talking the original shampoo formula. Don't go huffing the stuff in drugstores now thinking it'll bring back memories.

13. Rubber cement

 

We loved how the little brush was attached to the cap.

14. Ditto machines

 

Ah, that purple ink.

15. Polaroid film canisters

 

Touching your phone screen just isn't the same.

16. Aramis

 

Leathery, woody, with a hint of cumin and gardenia… Or so Estée Lauder claimed. It was introduced in 1964 and took off in the Seventies.

17. Charlie

 

Charlie aimed at the new city woman. It was like Mary Tyler Moore in a bottle.

18. Card catalogs

 

Musty, papery and redolent of book reports.

19. Vanish crystals

 

Keep toilets minty for decades.

20. Linoleum

 

The rubbery smell of kitchen floors.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

19 Comments

historychef 19 months ago
Ahh, the smell of Creepy Crawlers!
Boy, that takes me back to the 60s...
JimB 47 months ago
Ahh, the jokes that were told with "Gee, your hair smells terrific".
TVChel 51 months ago
I used "Loves" lemon scented products!
Led Zeppelin had a song out about "squeezing" their Lemon, until the juice ran down their legs!
JKMallaber 53 months ago
We used to paint our desks with rubber cement, then sniff it. You could roll it off in one piece and pop the bubbles to get a second hit. Wait . . . Did I just post that? :-)
dth1971 53 months ago
How about articles on 1980's and 1990's smells?
RobCertSDSCascap 53 months ago
#5- We always used regular cooking oil.
#8- Super-nauseous-caustic-bubbles!
#19- Takes the prize for worst smell of the decade!
JimmyMuraco 53 months ago
The ORIGINAL scent of Irish Spring bar soap! The one that came in the black box with the neon green letters. That was some incredible aroma!
bpacha77511 JimmyMuraco 53 months ago
oh i loved irish spring.....just doesnt smell the same now!!
Nothing like it!
idkwut2use 53 months ago
I'm familiar with nearly half of them. :-3 The Creepy Crawlers are especially good....
Vermont Country Store sells Lemon Up (which I tried) & "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" (yikes what a name!)
WILD 60 months ago
Super Elastic Bubble Plastic - This gummy Wham-O toy smelled like science and health hazards.
Dan 60 months ago
Isn't it funny how a lot of women's products were shaped like a certain part of a male's anatomy?
RobCertSDSCascap Dan 53 months ago
That tickles me!
KevinSnyder 60 months ago
As a kid growing up in the 70`s one of my favorite smells was that bubble gum smell when you opened up a fresh pack of baseball cards.
Yeah, with or without flour.
ChuckJohnson 60 months ago
You can still get rubber cement. I have some in my shop.
jholton30062 68 months ago
#5 - You could also use oil for things like shrimp.

#9 - Remember the Thingmaker? Basically a hot plate.

#11 - That was a creepy ad campaign...

#13 - We used to make rubber cement balls and bounce them around the classroom.

#19 - Nothing got the toilet cleaner...

#20 - Things just haven't been the same since they went to vinyl.... And, of course, the adjunct to linoleum: floor wax, another distinctive smell...
JimmyMuraco jholton30062 53 months ago
The old Future Floor Wax!!
Shadowdancer 69 months ago
Looking back, it;s amazing what we kids were allowed to play with. What about that "nice" smell from the original silly putty?
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?