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The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall

Updated June 14, 2019 39.4k votes 3.0k voters 43.2k views25 items

List RulesVote up the scents you most remember smelling during the '90s as you cruised the mall with your pals.

Scientists say smell is the most important sense linked to memory, and it’s not uncommon for scents to unlock long forgotten memories, bringing a tear of nostalgia to your eye. And there's probably nothing that makes you more nostalgic than catching a whiff of our favorite '90s mall smells. Whether it’s the overpowering wall of Abercrombie & Fitch cologne or movie theater popcorn, these are the smells from the mall that make you wish you could turn back time and waste a Saturday hanging out with your friends. Sniff out these memorable smells from the mall and try not to get too misty eyed.

If you’re too young to remember what the mall smelled like, then you’re in for a special treat. Collected on this list you’ll find a bevy of stores and smells that totally encompass the world of a true mallrat. Believe it or not, there was a generation of teenagers who looked forward to carousing through their local mall and munching on kiosk food, totally unsupervised by their parents. The nineties truly were a blissful time to be alive. If you were around for those good old days, check out these memorable scents from the mall and see how many are still secretly floating around inside your nose.

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  • 1
    The Food Court is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,969
    240

    The Food Court

    A true cacophony of fast food smells to delight your olfactory system.
  • 2
    Cinnabon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    2,141
    354
    Oh, those heavenly ovens.
  • 3
    Movie Theater Popcorn is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,771
    367

    Movie Theater Popcorn

    An undead, fake butter smell.
  • 4
    Bath & Body Works is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,908
    424
    Cucumbers and vanilla and sweet pea soap, oh my!
  • 5
    Sbarro is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,667
    441

    Sbarro

    Distinctive and totally 100% for sure definitely Italian.
  • 6
    The Pretzel Kiosk is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,621
    428

    The Pretzel Kiosk

    Doughy, salty goodness.
  • 7
    The Mall Fountain is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,277
    627

    The Mall Fountain

    Mmmm... chlorine!
  • 8
    Yankee Candle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,215
    630
    What's that scent? Some call it "the three wick surprise."
  • 9
    KB Toys is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    954
    616
    Home of a strange mixture of plastic and sweat.
  • 10
    Arcade Tokens is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    791
    545

    Arcade Tokens

    Metallic and almost like real money!
  • 11
    Payless is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    899
    645

    Payless

    Let fake leather dazzle your nose!
  • 12
    J. C. Penny is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    742
    546
    There's nothing like the old lady smell of the makeup counter!
  • 13
    Claire's is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    821
    609
    A mix of clinical odors and rhinestones.
  • 14
    Abercrombie & Fitch is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    1,018
    773
    AKA: The Unescapable Wall of Cologne
  • 15
    Panda Express is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    836
    667
    The orange chicken odor sticks to your hair and will be with you all day!
  • 16
    The Christmas Store is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    785
    639

    The Christmas Store

    Pine and cinnamon isn't just for December anymore!
  • 17
    Sweet Factory is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    669
    608

    Sweet Factory

    You can almost smell the diabetes!
  • 18
    Chick-fil-A is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    796
    776
    The original chicken scent.
  • 19
    The Parking Lot is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    538
    630

    The Parking Lot

    Asphalt in summer: it's what childhood dreams are made of.
  • 20
    The Gap is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    469
    641
    The grown-up scent of wardrobe basics.
  • 21
    B. Dalton is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    484
    679

    B. Dalton

    Is there anything that smells better than a new book?
  • 22
    Regis Salon is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    413
    671

    Regis Salon

    A mysterious mix of hairspray and desperation.
  • 23
    Corn Dog 7 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    369
    671

    Corn Dog 7

    Let the fry oil waft over you.
  • 24
    The Mall Massage Chairs is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    358
    658

    The Mall Massage Chairs

    When faux-leather meets all the local dads waiting for moms to finish up in Sephora.

  • 25
    The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Memorable Smells from the Mall
    322
    673

    The Freshly Waxed Tile Floor

    Ain't nothin' like fresh wax!
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