Occasionally, when experiencing odors from perfumes or household products, one notices a metallic appearance. People often call it a metallic smell, saying that it smells of metal or steel. But does metal smell? To perceive an odor, it must be volatile; the molecules must physically fly into your nose, make contact with a receptor, and initiate a chain of biochemical processes that the brain interprets as a certain type of smell. But it doesn't appear that metals are excessively volatile, with the exception of mercury. In addition to this, the smell is a characteristic of substances with a molecular structure, but substances with an ionic lattice for example, inorganic salts or a metallic lattice iron should not smell.