Was that pungent odour caused by dung, something dead or indeed, as one kind reader suggested, Gordon Brown’s underpants?
Such was the strength - and the immense sweep - of a pong which descended on Kirkcaldy on Tuesday, it had the whole town talking about it.
In a flurry of Facebook comments - our online query was viewed over 10,000 times - Press readers described the smell as ‘rank’, ‘stomach-churning’ and as Christopher Allan Smith, memorably put it “Like a mega stink bomb had gone off.”
And the odour, which could be detected in Dysart and across Kirkcaldy, reaching the retail park, was so offensive, one local, believed “something had died.”
Kenny Wilson told the Press: “My business is in Mitchelston Industrial Estate and this putrid stench has been hanging round most of the day. I did think about a call to SEPA but no idea where it was coming from.
“Smelled like raw sewage being spread on the fields - but worse.”
Online chatter threw up a list of potential culprits: human manure, hen manure, farmers spraying the fields, the old Pathhead pong rearing its head yet again.
When approached for advice, retired farmer John Harley (76) told the Press the process of spraying fields with fertiliser normally carried no odour.
He added: “A lot of farmers will be emptying their cattle courts just now. If the muck’s in a pile the smell lasts for three days and then it disappears - but it will stink for the first 24 hours.”
However, yesterday (Wednesday) the source of the pong was finally unveiled and, bizarre as it seems, we can now reveal the guilty party was booze, albeit not in a form most people are familiar with.
According to Fife Council, a farm - which it declined to name on grounds of confidentiality - had been spreading “distillery cake” on its fields; a relatively new bio-organic fertiliser derived from the distillation of ethanol.
Don Taylor, lead officer (public protection) said: “We’re aware of the smell in this area and have spoken with SEPA and the company doing the spreading.
“We have advised the company of our requirements accordingly.
“The company assures us that the material is being ploughed into the field and this should be completed today (Thursday).
“This should remove the odour problem. We will continue to deal with the problem until it’s resolved.”
A (relieved) spokesman from the Bank of Scotland branch at Mitchelston said yesterday: “I can confirm every customer passed some comment on it.
“But the sun is now shining and there’s no smell today!”