As I was sitting in the office one day, a colleague at a desk 3ft away looked up with a curious expression. She glanced around searchingly until her gaze settled on me.

‘My dear,’ she said in her customary grand manner, ‘are you wearing perfume?’

I nodded, replying: ‘Do you like it?’ She smiled at me graciously.

‘It’s simply frightful,’ she announced at a volume akin to the average loudhailer, adding: ‘So cheap!’

Choosing perfume by guesswork is just one of the pitfalls of my life as an anosmic — a person with no sense of smell.

From the fragrance of roses to the smell of burning, I’m oblivious to them all.

I am among the one in 5,000 people born anosmic — others lose their sense of smell through head trauma (Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp lost his after a car crash) or as the result of a simple flu or cold virus.

It’s thought that 200,000 Britons have anosmia — famous sufferers have included William Wordsworth, INXS singer Michael Hutchence and actor Bill Pullman.

Yet the vast majority of people able to smell have not only never heard of anosmia, but its existence has not occurred to them. The unfailing response I receive is a blank stare, before they insist: ‘But you must be able to smell baking bread or sour milk.’


If I were blind, no one would say: ‘But you must be able to see this very large mountain or that very bright light.’ So, to repeat . . . I. Can’t. Smell. At all.

‘The estimated number of anosmics is likely to be hugely inaccurate because most just cope and never mention it,’ says smell specialist Professor Tim Jacob, of Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences.

‘Lots of congenital anosmics say they don’t even realise they have no sense of smell until their teens.

'As young children they can’t understand the concept of smell but do not wish to appear different to their peers, so they learn the appropriate reactions to good or bad smells from other people’s cues.’

He adds: ‘To most people anosmia is unimportant. The condition hasn’t even entered the consciousness of the medical profession. It has no NHS budget and GPs have no idea about it.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...#ixzz1VbDwXUFn

Must be really grim not to be able to taste food. :(