"The hot oil smells very good."
Translation:La varma oleo odoras tre bone.
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To me, the difference is there. In English "smells well" implies that it's subjective, I. E. A person has a keen sense of smell. Smells good is objective, an object with a pleasant aroma. This breaks my brain using "bone" instead of "bona". No comment so far has explained why this is so. Is this just common usage even though there is no evidence?
The first thing to watch out is that "smell" has two meanings in English and that these meanings are represented by different words in Esperanto. Flari means to detect a smell with your nose. Odori means to give off a smell. Your comments is based on a double meaning that doesn't exist in Esperanto.
Since posting elsewhere in this thread that I have the same question (after almost two decades of speaking Esperanto every day), I've discussed this with other fluent speakers online, checked reference books, and even had an opportunity to discuss it face to face with the author of PMEG.
So... with all that in mind, here's the explanation I would give now. First, don't try to think of it in English. Saying "smells well" will mislead your brain. Think that "odori" means to give off a smell. "Bona" would describe the subject, not the smell being given off - that's why we use "bone".
Quite honestly, my gut still tells me that it should be different, but this usage is very common - basically standard - so I must admit that something real is going on here and that my gut is steering me wrong.