Can you remember a scent? You do, therefore you can describe it. You learn about what a smell is, then you show you like or dislike it when you experience it again, don't you?
But to preserve it is another thing. The antihero of this story goes on a quest for a way to do that. Heartlessly. He does not buy that some things just go away, as scents are evanescent.
It is pretty much a satire.
Visual and exciting is the film, (gorgeous girls, careful details of historical settings, etc) Director Tom Tykwer nearly is successful in using images to arouse the audience' other senses. He previously directed 'Lola rennt', which interestingly deals with the motif of time.
Inhaling bliss, anyone? Ever thought about the essence of a stone? I now even doubt if photos are a way to preserve what I see...