In ENT "The Andorian Incident" T'Pol says that she uses a nasal numbing agent to help her cope with the odor of humans. Later that episode she only reluctantly agrees to share a blanket with Archer because the agent wears off and "the cold is preferable to the odor."

Is T'Pol just very sensitive (even for a Vulcan) to smells or is this something Vulcans do on a regular basis if they have to deal with humans? Is it known that - for example - Sarek, Spock, Tuvok or Vorik use one? Is it known that they use different remedies?

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    Spok, is half human. It seems likely that partial humanity would change things.
    – Zoredache
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 7:49
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    @Zoredache True! It would be a cruel trick of nature if it let's you hate your own body odor.
    – Einer
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 7:52
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    Normally I wouldn't comment on a misspelling, but it's Spock, for Zeus' sake. How do two people in succession misspell the name of probably the most famous character in the entire franchise? Commented May 12, 2014 at 10:07
  • @JamesSheridan Not that it would make thing better, but actually it's three: My Guardian-Spellchecker Paul D. Waite overlooked it too. Apparently Spocks first name is hard to pronounce and his last is hard to spell.
    – Einer
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 10:39
  • In the case of Spock as an example, I'd say he's used to it due to being half-human. Every human smells differently, but you're usually so used to your own (family's) smell that you no longer notice it (unless you're sweating a lot).
    – Mario
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 12:02

2 Answers 2


In "Broken Bow", Archer notes that it's Vulcan women that are renowned for their nasal sensitivity. It's not clear whether Vulcan men (like Sarek, Spock, Tuvok or Vorik) also suffer the same revulsion to human smells.

ARCHER Oh, I forgot... Vulcan females have a heightened sense of smell. (re: dog) I hope Porthos isn't too offensive to you.

Although Soval asks how T'Pol can stand the smell on the ship (implying that Vulcan males also have the same nasal acuity) the alternative reading is that he's asking how she (as a female) can stand the smell.

This is further backed up with a reference from the "Starfleet Medical Reference Manual" which (while considered decidedly non-canon, was co-Edited by Geoffrey Mandel, senior Production Designer for Voyager, DS9, Enterprise and various trek films)

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Furthermore, it seems highly unlikely that Sarek (who spent over 40 years living on Earth and married not one, but two human women) and Spock (whose mother was fully human) would be averse to normal human smells.

It's also possible that improvements in nose-numbing technology, the change in human diet (for more synthetic meat) and/or improvements in human hygiene render the Vulcan disgust for human smells a moot point.

  • Agreed. This also supports (or IS supported by, either way) the fact that almost ALL Vulcans we see serving with humans are male. I can think of only 3 female Vulcans serving on human ships, and that's across all shows & movies. Males, on the other hand, are virtually expected.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Oct 30, 2014 at 14:43
  • 'ang on... is this bloke asserting that vegetarian dishes are all extremely bland?! Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 0:34

It seems likely that as humans and Vulcans co-operated more and more a solution to this problem was found. Better medication for Vulcans, most likely, or some kind of deodorant for humans. In the future it just isn't an issue any more.

It also seems likely that a Vulcan show spends a lot of time with humans would be able to train themselves to ignore the smell, using their mind alone. Mastery of emotional response and senses is core Vulcan philosophy.

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    Your answer is very plausible. But do you have any sources to back it up?
    – Einer
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 13:57
  • No, speculation only.
    – user
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 21:36

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