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El olor de las enchiladas circula por toda la casa. This means that the enchiladas are still present somewhere. El olor a enchiladas circula por toda la casa. In that case, the enchiladas were maybe eaten, but their smell is still in the air.


I let someone else talk extensively about prepositions, but your observation is right. "El olor de las ..." means "The smell from..." and the sentence "El olor a ...." means "The smell of....". The long version of the first sentence would be "El olor que proviene/viene/sale de las...." that in English would be "The smell that is coming from......

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