U.K. & Wintergreen Smell?

Old Oct 11th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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U.K. & Wintergreen Smell?

Smell guru wrote book on smells pointed out a cultural variation on the smell of wintergreen between U.K. and the Colonies.

She says that in U.S. most love the wintergreen smell (and taste, a component of smell i think)

but in U.K. just the smell of wintergreen is repulsive

The reason? the smell guru says it's dut to WWII where many medicines contained the wintergreen odor and thus in British minds has become associated with a medicinal smell and thus not pleasant

This all seems like a bunch of bunk to me so Q is is wintergreen a foul smell to British nostrils?

I'll have to look to see if wintergreen gum is on sale in England.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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I have no idea what wintergreen smells like! Is it an iodine sort of smell? Like some whiskies have? Because that is horrible, and makes me think of bright pink Germolene that was smothered on grazed knees at shcool. When DH has a (not so)wee dram I have to leave the room the smell is so bad.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Me neither - is it like eucalyptus ? What is scented with it now ?
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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it's not repulsive to Americans who eat it in wintergreen sweets, chewing gum and mouth wash, toothpaste, etc.

taste hard to describe - but is very minty and wintergreen is a type of mint.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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that a Welsh and a Scot don't know what wintergreen is lends credence to the author's theory that it fell out of favor in U.K. during the war.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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Add an Englishman to your list. I have no idea what it is.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Wikipedia says: (note the use of medicinal 'smell'??


Wintergreen is also the name given to a range of evergreen plants throughout the world, particularly Gaultheria species, that share the common characteristic of producing oil of wintergreen, the chemical methyl salicylate, which gives plants a distinctive "medicinal" smell when bruised. This oil is used in some kinds of chewing gum and candy, as an alternative to the more common peppermint and spearmint oils. It is also a potentially entertaining source of triboluminescence; when mixed with sugar and dried, it gains the tendency to build up electrical charge when ground, producing the very real Wint'O'Green Lifesavers phenomenon, where you can go into a dark room, wait for your eyes to adjust, and then see sparks in a mirror while chewing the candy with your mouth open.
Some species of birch also produce oil of wintergreen, but these deciduous trees are not called wintergreens.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 10:27 AM
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I've never seen anything wintergreen flavoured here. I wouldn't know it if I tasted or smelled it.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Ditto audere's above post.

I've never smelled 'wintergreen' as such, but somehow I associate it with Pine scented air fresheners, usually far too liberally sprayed around the 'bathroom' area by people who call lavatories 'toilets'.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:01 AM
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Do they hide it under the crocheted crinoline lady with the spare bog roll.
I wonder if the Mrs Buckets who use it realise that the American Mrs Buckets swoon in horror at the word "toilet".
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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I've just remembered the connection between Wintergreen and Pine - it's to do with those medicinal heat sprays well used by sportsmen - those I've known in the past have included cricketers, jump jockeys and rugby players (LOL audere!) who all exude this aroma. My ex-husband was involved in the first two of these sports so I became really quite familiar with this smell.

No doubt some footballers use it as well, but I wouldn't know about them, having no interest in football myself.

I can't remember the name of the product used then, but with my boys these days we use Radian-B which doesn't have quite the same odour.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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Maybe Whole Foods Market may have something edible with wintergreen?
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:35 AM
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I've never known a British product development team suggest wintergreen flavour or smell (or at any rate use the word) - and I've never had a wintergreen flavoured or smelling new product, from any source, presented to any buying committee I've ever sat on for listing approval.

But there's been any number of medicinal flavoured or smelling products. Your explanation sounds dangerously glib: there are loads of WW2 flavours and smells (like crap orange juice, spam and, yukkiest of all, cod liver oil) which still linger on somewhere - and they're all nastier than wintergreen.

I think wintergreen just isn't native to Britain, but is native to Nolrth America.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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wintergreen products (may be labeled methyl salicylate) are definitely sold in the UK:

http://www.vivomed.co.uk/listproduct...0/Massage.html

It's used by athletes as a heating rub for warm-up of after-workout muscle stiffness.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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I have a faint folk memory of the notion that "liniment" smells are distinctive and not considered particularly attractive, and "Fiery Jack" was a source of great merriment if smeared unobtrusively where it might interact with someone's sensitive bits.

Most people would think it odd to have a chewing gum tasting of what they'd been brought up to associated with liniments and sprains - but "repulsion"? A bit extreme, I think.

Most people don't like the generalised disinfectant smell that reminds them of hospitals and dentists, but you wouldn't say it was repulsive. They even put something like it in cough sweets to persuade you they're medicine, not to mention mouthwashes.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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PalQ - yes, Wintergreen is definitely medicinal IMO. Even if it used as an air freshener.

enzian - the heat spray my ex used to use (this is back in the 80s) was in a green can, and I'm sure had the word wintergreen somewhere on it. That brand is not sold in England now.

On the other hand, being a fairly sporty family, we get through copious amounts of Deep Heat spray, Ibuprofen gel, Voltarol gel, and Arnica both in cream and tablet form. We have also used Olbas Oil and Vicks as a heat rub. The principle of heat treatment is that the heat on the surface of the skin draws blood towards this heat, which helps heal the underlying muscle soreness/stiffness.

But Wintergreen Chewing Gum(ewww), even spearmint - in fact ANY gum - is bad enough, especially when you find it stuck to carpets, underside of cafe tables, car mirrors, and pavements/sidewalks. It is dreadful stuff.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 12:37 PM
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Its not witch hazel is it?
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 01:00 PM
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no not witch hazel

perhaps repulsive was the wrong word and should have used distasteful or actually medicinal
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 04:02 PM
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Out of curiosity, is there "Spearmint" chewing gum in the UK? Just wondering if there are any mint flavored gums in the UK as spearmint gum is acutally one of my favorites.
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Old Oct 11th, 2007, 04:07 PM
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There used to be spearmint Pacers.

They were vile.
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