Not that this is the only book, by any means, that has ever talked about the "stench of old." I'd say I'm more sensitive to it as I'm getting older, except that that isn't it, because I distinctly remember being puzzled as a young person about this pervading smell that apparently follows old people around, according to many books I've read. Or more to the point, that old people exude even as they exist. In fact, it really seems as if it's "a thing."
I've known plenty of old people in my life, and I'm pretty confident that "old people," as a class, do not have a significant and particular odor applicable only to them.
am I wrong?
I've seen it described as antiseptic, ammoniac, like dried fruit, old blood, scabs (and does anyone else even think that one can smell an individual scab enough to give it its own classification of odor?), putrefaction, stale . . .
does anyone else care to weigh in on other examples they've found of the descriptions of old people smells?
I think old people are getting a bad rap in this regard. Who's with me? Anyone? Anyone at all?