I was leafing through my copy of the 1st edition DMG and got a whiff of a distinctive odor that I implicitly associated with old school D&D. They say scent memory is the strongest, and it was very interesting the flood of memories from my youth that came along with this simple smell of the book. Then it hit me — this isn’t even the same book I had back then.
As a child, I was not very kind to my belongings. I have copies now of the 1st edition hardbacks as well as Moldvay/Cook B/X books here at my desk, but they’re recent acquisitions. I pulled out my Moldvay red book and took a whiff — it smelled the same.
It can’t be the binding process, the Moldvay books are soft cover saddle stitched. There’s not even any glue involved. Was there something distinctive about the quality of paper they used back then? I started scanning my shelves for other old books. I found a paperback printed in the 40’s, but no, that smelled like pretty much every old paperback book I own, a distinctive odor in its own right.
I suppose there’s nothing else to it — D&D books from the late 70’s and early 80’s have a unique odor. Frankly, to my mind, that’s pretty awesome. At least until Jenn walked in and asked “Are you smelling that book?”
I challenge you now to not start smelling all your books.