Latest issue of Swallow Magazine features the smells of Mexico City

The New York Times | Swallow Magazine

The latest edition of Swallow Magazine, a rarely published food periodical founded in 2009, features a novel way to experience the smells of Mexico City's culinary scene: Scratch and sniff stickers.

Maria Newman writes on the New York Times' Diner's Journal blog that the new issue, the title's third in four years, will contain 20 stickers that use the familiar microencapsulation technique to stimulate readers' olfactory senses. Editor James Casey decided to use the work of Sissel Tolaas, a Norwegian "odor artist" who re-created the smells of 200 Mexico City neighborhoods.

“You can only bring someone so far through a publication or a Web site,” Mr. Casey said. “You can show them the sights. And online, you can let them see sounds or let them see videos. But ultimately, with the smell project, we felt like we were bringing them one step closer to the city in a different way. The smells are an unavoidable aspect of traveling.”

The gimmick of using scratch and sniff stickers is nothing new -- Hustler infamously published a scratch and sniff centerfold for its August 1977 issue -- but the massive $30 issue of Swallow Magazine sounds very ambitious. Newman says it should be available on some newsstands by mid-April, but be warned: "Not all of the odors are pleasant," she writes.

  • Joshua Gillin

    Joshua Gillin is a contributor to Poynter's MediaWire blog and a writer, editor and pop culture blogger for the Tampa Bay Times and its sister tabloid, tbt*.

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