One of the nicest smells to come across as a surprise, other than flowers and bookdust, is pipe smoke. Cherry or vanilla is best. My great-uncle used to smoke a pipe. I remember that he had stubble on his face; lighter than his hair and my skin was very fair. I was a toddler the last time I saw him.
My brother-in-law smokes a pipe, sometimes, except that he doesn't like it when we all crowd behind him and follow him around to catch the smell of warm cream and wood smoke that is the scent of whatever tobacco he uses.
Last night, when I was crossing our cobblestone courtyard, I caught a whiff of it and memories of Oxford, of Tennessee, of Cambridge and Kansas all flooded back and made me smile and breathe in that lovely smell. I don't understand why breathing in cigarette smoke closes up my throat and makes me croak for my inhaler when pipe smoke only makes me smile.
Once upon a time, a friend and I considered hiring a man to come and sit in our library and smoke a pipe of vanilla tobacco every week, and lounge about in a smoking jacket we could wear later in front of the fire. We considered, too, that he might wear a monocle and have a foreign accent. And then we argued for a little while about the best recipe for coconut cookies, and then went to work.