The most recognized smell in the world is coffee, based on a study conducted by Yale University. The survey involved 200 test subjects who were asked to name 80 familiar odors.
Previous scientific literature estimates that the human nose is capable of discerning 10,000 unique scents. However, recent scientific evidence suggests that at least 1 trillion smells can be distinguished by the nose due to the presence of approximately 400 types of olfactory receptors.
The distinctive smell of coffee is easily identifiable, even if the person is standing several feet away from the source of the aroma. Certain molecular components of the scent are said to activate specific nerve cells within the nose that respond to this particular stimulus. Other easily recognizable smells include peanut butter, Vicks VapoRub, chocolate, mothballs, bleach and crayons.