A picture may be worth a thousand words, but nothing evokes the memory of a place like an aroma. We asked Chandler Burr, who organized “The Art of Scent, 1889-2012”—opening this month at New York’s Museum of Arts & Design—to describe his favorite destination-inspired fragrances, as only a curator of olfactory arts can.

Chantecaille Kalimantan

Inspiration: Borneo

Fragrance Notes: Thyme, rosemary, vanilla, agarwood, and cedar

What Burr Says: “A beautiful patinaed wood, like an Indonesian house that has stood for generations in the heat.”

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme

Inspiration: Italy

Fragrance Notes: Sicilian mandarin, grapefruit peel, juniper, and bergamot

What Burr Says: “The aroma of the eternal sun-washed Mediterranean wrapped in clean 21st-century form.”

TSL Paris Eau de Parfum

Inspiration: Paris

Fragrance Notes: Violet, rose, iris, and orange blossom

What Burr Says: “Glamour with an abstract floral concept of rose and violet—a more contemporary Paris.”

Un Jardin Sur le Nil, Hermès

Inspiration: Egypt

Fragrance Notes: Green mango, lotus, vegetal rush, sycamore wood, and frankincense

What Burr Says: “The breathtakingly lovely scent of the sun radiating from the tangy green peel of an unripe mango on the upper Nile.”