The Smell of Winter


There is nothing in this world more alluring than the smell of piñon wood.  I don’t know why it has that affect, nor how to describe the smell.  It is just the type of smell that once you have smelled it, it is always recognizable.


Possibly, it is the smell of spruce and smoke combined, but not quite.  It has a savory note mixed with wood, smoke, and fragrance.  Smelling it reminds me of winter and Christmas.


There are towns that in winter are permeated with the smell of piñon wood.  Santa Fe, New Mexico, comes to  mind, as does Park City, Utah.

More than a bowl of chili or football, the piñon wood (also spelled pinyon wood) scent is what makes me want to wrap up in a wool sweater and wear fur lined boots.  It is rustic, outdoorsy, and smells of a gathering.  The scent entices you to search for the party, to join in the fun, warm your gloves over an outdoor fire and sip a stout but warming drink.

Shelled pine nuts.
Shelled pine nuts.

The piñon tree is a type of pine, and some varieties (single-leaf piñon, Colorado piñon , etc.) produce edible nuts known as pine nuts or pignoli.

Unshelled pine nuts. These are sometimes used as beads.
Unshelled pine nuts. These are sometimes used as beads.

Do you like the smell of piñon wood?  Does it add to your holiday spirit?  If not, what does?


Bonus:  While in Park City, I purchased a box of piñon scented incense.  I love it!  Now I want a chiminea filled with burning piñon wood!


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