Mayo ClinicAnswers from Jerry W. Swanson, M.D.
The odors detected in phantosmia vary from person to person and may be foul or pleasant. They can occur in one or both nostrils and usually can't be masked by food.
Phantosmia most often occurs as a result of a head injury or upper respiratory infection. It can also be caused by temporal lobe seizures, sinusitis, brain tumors, migraine, Parkinson's disease and stroke.
Because phantosmia can in rare cases be an indication of a serious underlying disorder, consult your doctor if you experience such symptoms.