Rochdale company prepares five-course banquet of extreme stinks for ‘world's smelliest museum’ in Bristol

Date published: 21 April 2022

Rochdale scent company AromaPrime has created a five-course Victorian meal for Bristol’s SS Great Britain Museum.

Billed as ‘the world’s smelliest museum’, SS Great Britain museum is an elaborately themed passenger steamship, redressed to look, sound and smell exactly like it did during the mid-1800s. Its immersive cabins don't shy away from the likes of vomit, manure and urine – scents made by AromaPrime – to tell stories from the past.

Visitors to the museum are invited to the first-class dining saloon to ‘enjoy’ a meal the ship's wealthy passengers would once have been served - ranging from putrid fish to boiled cabbage, all served in special silverware for sniffing.

The fish course proves notorious, its aroma differing greatly to the aroma of modern fish fingers, and one child has compared the boiled cabbage course to the essence of his school. Visitors are invited to rank the menu as they 'dine', because the museum plans to perfume its tables with the odour that scores highest.


AromaPrime has created scents for the Brunel SS Great Britain museum


AromaPrime recently visited from Rochdale to see how visitors have been reacting to the new collaboration.

Liam Findlay, the company's Themed Scent Consultant, said: “It was brilliant to see how completely transforming the way visitors perceive historical food, by removing the physical and visual elements, and focusing entirely on the flavours, sparked lively discussion.

“Families were trying to guess what they could smell, debating about the qualities of different Victorian recipes. One child commented on the differences between 1800s chocolate and his modern snacks. Without them realising, this unique banquet simulation helped visitors really scrutinise the food of the past and put themselves in the shoes of past passengers.

“It shows how approaching history in a new way can unlock completely new perspectives.”

Interpretation Manager, Natalie Fey, explains the museum's love of pongs: “Smells are important to us here at Brunel's SS Great Britain, because they have the ability to create a really visceral reaction. It's such a sensitive sense. It packs that immersive punch that we're looking for.”

Natalie and her team have been combing through the archives to improve the historical accuracy of the ship's multisensory smellscapes and soundscapes, and AromaPrime is already onboard, concocting the next smelly surprises for those who take a voyage.

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