"The Oldie is an incredible magazine - perhaps the best magazine in the world right now" Graydon Carter, founder of Air Mail and former Editor of Vanity Fair

Subscribe to the Oldie and get a free cartoon book


After the sun, the rain – and the petrichor!

Blog | By Harry Mount | Jul 27, 2018

You could practically hear my North London garden (pictured) sigh with relief this evening, as the storm broke the heatwave.

You could certainly smell the garden's relief. That lovely rainy scent is called petrichor. During long dry spells, certain plants produce an oil which is then magically released into the atmosphere when it rains.

After a really hot spell like we've had – and a properly good downpour, which we've also just had – the intoxicating scent of petrichor is overpowering.

Petrichor comes from the Greek for stone, 'petra', and the Greek for gods' blood, 'ichor'. My garden certainly had a heavenly scent tonight.