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18 Smells That Transport You Back To Your Cuban Childhood

Ahhhsere! The smells of childhood.

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1. Agua de Violetas

Cuban children smell like violets. Full stop.

2. Fabuloso

It smells good enough to drink! (But, really, don't!)

3. Cigars At Family Gatherings


Smoky, sweet, and present at all family gatherings, especially once coffee has been served. Your abuelo's guayabera always faintly smelled of it.

4. Ironbeer

It smells almost like... medicine? But medicine that you want to drink with a frita. (Note to any gringos reading this: No, it's not actual beer.)

5. Talco

It's a wonder Cuban babies don't all look like little powdered donuts. At least it smells sweet and clean!

6. Mermelada De Guayaba

Whether with queso crema, manchego or tetilla (if you wanted to get all Spanish with it), or a Maria cookie, this vaguely strawberry-scented concoction was your quintessential after-school treat.

Speaking of which...

7. Maria Cookies

Alex Alvarez / BuzzFeed

That subtle vanilla scent meant school was done and it was high time for a snack.

8. Wooden Fan

The sweet, sweet scent of sandalwood made warm days so much more pleasant.

9. Leche Condensada

How else are parents going to get their babies pleasantly plump without this sweet, rich treat? It smelled faintly of caramel. And love.

10. Cuban Birthday Cake

Because why have a birthday cake that's not PRIMARILY butter, sugar, and RUM? (Real talk, this is the most beautiful cake I've ever seen in my life.)

11. VapoRub

The scent of menthol follows you to this day.

12. Sofrito

The smell of garlic, onions, green peppers, spices, and all sorts of good things making you ready for dinner.

13. Cuban Coffee

This smell permeated your entire childhood. Your first taste was probably in the form of café con leche made up of 98.5% milk, but it still made you feel so adult.

14. The Scent of Burning Velitas

I need this particular one in my life. Here are tons more!
Brett Mikoll / Via

I need this particular one in my life. Here are tons more!

15. Freshly-Fried Croquetas

If your family made homemade croquetas, then you know it results in your house smelling like frying oil for, oh, seven years.

16. Frijoles Negros

The savory scent of black beans, garlic, bay leaf, sofrito and maybe a lil' something from the Goya packet... smells like home.

17. Perfume And Cologne (All Of It)

Doesn't matter which. Doesn't matter who. Everyone in your family was always doused in the scent of roses and gardenias and orange blossom. Always.

And, most of all...

18. Cocotazo

The smell of fear.

The smell of fear.

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