There are many ways a wine enthusiast can train and develop their ability to identify aromas in a wine. One that is overlooked and is of great usefulness to me is what I call, “The Apartment Building Aroma Training Program”.
Here is how it works: You walk through your building (on your way to your car or something, you don’t want to look crazy) and try and identify the aromas and smells on the way.
Depending on where you live, this can be a dangerous proposition, especially if your nose is sensitive, but try you must. As you progress, you’ll be able to smell that apartment cooking some Asian stir-fry, or that apartment cooking some fajitas, or that apartment putting on some cheap cologne, or that garbage chute being clogged up, or that hallway always smelling really psychedelic.
As you progress from aroma Padawan to scent Jedi, you begin to pick out more obscure and subtle smells. Someone just got out of the shower in that apartment, I can smell the shampoo. Someone just made waffles in that apartment, and that apartment is really clean, I can smell the 409.
Sometimes you can identify the aroma without knowing or wanting to know its source or cause. Like the scent of old band-aids caught in a pool filter, or the musty smell of a thrift store, or the ass end of a rodent.
To the discerning nose, these smells are an education that can be applied to the enjoyment and understanding of wine. Sure, they aren’t all desirable or even enjoyable, but they help you develop aroma “bookmarks” for you to later refer back to as well as strengthening your overall sense of smell.