Chemist Makes the Stinkiest Compound Ever Known

Chemist NileRed bravely challenged himself to whip up a batch of Thioacetone, an organosulfur compound said to be the stinkiest chemical ever known.

Thioacetone is something that I’ve been wanting to make for a while, and now, I finally get to experience its horror. Will it be as horrendously stinky as it is claimed to be? … It’s actually considered a dangerous chemical due to its extremely foul odor and its ability to render people unconscious and induce vomiting …Will it make me pass out and vomit?.

This compound was first discovered in 1889 by German scientists Baumann and Fromm, although it has rarely been replicated due to its incredibly foul odor and ability to reach long distances. A public incident with this odiferous compound and subsequent panic occurred upon its discovery.

What’s also kind of concerning is that the smell itself has been described as just fearful and it apparently has the ability to spread over large areas. This was unfortunately experienced firsthand in 1889 when some scientists accidentally released a small amount of it. The horrible smell was then able to quickly spread out over a large area of the town and it caused people to faint and vomit and it led to a panic evacuation. There are even some claims that diluting the smell makes it worse and that it’s possible to smell a drop of it downwind.

While Nile wasn’t too bothered by the smell but his cameraman was. So he took the whole batch to an isolated island.

I rented an entire Island so I’d be far away from any potential victims the only downside was that if it were horrible it would be way harder to get away but I figured I’d deal with that later when I eventually got to the island I took a quick little tour and I tried to find what I felt would be the best spot to do it when I eventually found something that I liked I went back and got all my supplies and I started putting together my setup – this was thankfully really easy….

He still didn’t think it smelled that bad, so he retested the sample he had created. After adding more heat and time, he got to experience the effects of the compound.

 In the end I had successfully made the mythical Thioacetone and I’m very happy that I got to personally experience its horribleness. It wasn’t quite as overwhelmingly bad as I was hoping it would be but it made up for that by being almost unbelievably potent and I was genuinely surprised by how far it could travel. …I think that it’s pretty much as bad as it’s claimed to be and it’s almost definitely one of the worst smelling chemicals ever made.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.