There seems to be a regrettable propensity to interpret the current data as information to be taken into account when designing flavors and scents to target people that will find them pleasant, which appears to me to be on the static side. I wished that the role of education were better emphasized in showing how the senses of taste and smell can be educated, improved, refined etc. According to this article however, it would seem that there might be genetic and cultural limitations to such an optimistic vision about (the possibility is not even considered here) making people be more intelligent and sensitive smellers and tasters....
I was surprised to read that Asians "tend to dislike the scent of clove oil" as it is famously found in the popular Tiger Balm (in China) and Kretek cigarettes (in Indonesia)...It looks like the studies are based on US-based ethnic groups rather than worldwide comparative research.
What's that smell?
The computer screen says it could be banana, wintergreen, watermelon or gasoline.
Sitting in front of the olfactometer, a white metal box sprouting a small plastic tube that emits the odor, you've got just seconds to choose among the four.
From the tip of the tube, the machine is ready to serve up another puff. It could be the scent of leather, mint, cinnamon or lemon. You choose.
After 12 minutes and whiffs of 40 different scents, a computer will print out a profile of just how keen is your sense of smell.
Neuroscientist Lloyd Hastings hopes to sell the first of his new machines this week at the International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste - a gathering in San Francisco of 1,000 leading international scientists who study these two mysterious and vital senses."
Read more in the SF Gate: Research Making Sense of the Nose and Tongue