I remember once attending a very spikey (did only Canadian Anglicans use that odd term to describe the highest of high-church Anglo-Catholic liturgics?) Evensong and Benediction presided over by the local bishop who said of St. Barnabas in Ottawa and its lavish use of incense "At least here you know you are in a church thanks to the smell," a reference, I thought, to the often indistinguishable modern, purpose-built churches of cinder block that look like some hideous hybrid between an office block and a Soviet hydro station, lacking any distinguishing signs or smells of divine worship. (Speaking of which, as a would-be collector of incense, I found this website has fantastically fast service and a wonderfully wide collection of some really delightful and outstanding incense.)
The role of smell has fascinated me for a long time. In the 1990s I did extensive traveling (five of seven continents, as it turned out) and I remember being on an ecumenical trip thousands of miles from home and going for an evening stroll with some of my colleagues. Some smell or other in the wind instantly transported me back home and evoked still-sore memories of a girl I had then been dating until recently.
Why does the olfactory sense have such power? That question came up in a book whose hardback version has been out for nearly a decade, and was very favorably reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies. Now the University of California Press tells me a more affordable paperback version is forthcoming this September of a fascinating book from the Orthodox scholar Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination (U Cal Press, 2015), 448pp.