"Manure stinks, but a rose...?"

A rose embalms. It also perfumes. This isn't an inadequacy of the English language so much as it is an inadequacy of the evolution of the English language. As the language progresses, words lose meaning and parts of speech change. Not many people think of perfume as a verb, yet it is (yes, it's also a noun, but the fact that you can buy perfume in stores has caused the verb to be overlooked.)

As for embalm, dictionary.com defines it as "To impart fragrance to; perfume." However, use of the word embalm conjures up images of the embalming process -- something which, by all accords, is most certainly not pleasant smelling.

Like I said, this isn't the language's fault. The words you're looking for exist; most people are just too lazy to get out a dictionary or thesaurus and find out what they are, so they aren't ever used. Don't blame the language, blame yourself.

You've got me on "knowing better," though. The closest I can think of is a Chinese phrase which translates to "eating bitter."