Photo Credit: facebook.com/NESTFragrances
I recently read an article in The New York Times on how shared spaces like hotel and apartment lobbies, hallways and gyms are being infused with scent as a means to seal the deal with potential customers, buyers and renters and keep them coming back for more, and science supports the reasoning behind this. Since our sense of smell has a direct link to an area in our brain that’s strongly associated with emotion and memory, the perfect pleasing scent can make you feel happy, comfortable and right at home.
Doesn’t it make sense then to make sure your home smells as wonderful as it could? “One’s sense of smell should be included in the sensory experience of a specific place,” says Jon Bresler, President and Founder of Lafco, a luxury articles and fragrance brand with house & home and body care collections, though he believes in switching things up seasonally. “In the hot summer months it would make sense to want to fragrance your home with something bright, clean and crisp. And in colder months one might want something warmer and more enveloping – during the winter in New York City, where I don’t have a fireplace, I tend to only burn our Feus de Bois/Ski House Candle ($60) – it smells like a 400-year-old fireplace in a ski chalet – a place I would love to be.” Wouldn’t we all! But this certainly drives home the point that with the right home scent, we just might feel like we are there.
To keep your home scent from becoming overpowering or cloying Bresler suggests you “choose home fragrance products with a high natural essential oil content since products with large components of natural extracts produce more nuanced, less sticky or cloying scents.”
Infuse your home with candles, diffusers, sprays and more:
Archipelago Smoked Ashwood Wooden Boxed Diffuser ($39) looks pretty cool when displayed and the blend of Tobacco, Myrrh, Rich Amber, Black Vanilla and more make for a warm, comforting scent that lasts for several months. The way it works is the fragrance oils soak up and saturate the round wooden cap to infuse your room with the scent.
Lafco Mini Diffuser in Tree ($65) is a warm, green fragrance that can be made stronger if desired by reversing the reeds after their initial absorption. Fragrance oils of pine needles, spruce, balsam fir, and incense surround you with a modern Christmas tree fragrance you’ll love all season long.
Nest Pumpkin Chai Scented Candle ($64) is encased in a beautiful glass vase that can do double duty to hold flowers later on. It smells out-of-this-world good thanks to notes of wild pumpkin, spicy masala chai, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, and is made with a premium, soft, highly refined, cosmetic-grade wax to optimize burn and fragrance diffusion.
Le Labo ‘Santal 26’ Home Fragrance Spray ($125) is the perfect blend of amber, coco, vanilla, cedar, spices, musk and sandalwood. Spray it into the air, on the curtains or rug, or anywhere else in need of a quick and beautiful refresh.
Clean Warm Cotton Reed Diffuser ($32) envelops you in notes of Citrus, Lilac and Jasmine, Amber and Musk. It’s a relaxation-inspiring, comforting, clean scent that will make you feel right at home and happy to be there.
Note: Lafco and Clean home fragrance products were sent for review. Others were tested in store. Opinions are my own.
You can’t see it or feel it, but when you’re wearing it you might feel like there’s nothing you can’t do. I’m talking about fragrance, easily able to trigger memories and other deep seated emotional responses as well as enrich your world tenfold.
Lately, I’ve been into solid perfumes. They smell just as great as the usual spritz or dab on versions of fragrance, but since they’re made from oils, waxes and other ingredients that have hardened into solid form they won’t leak or spill so they are extra easy to tote wherever you go. I make sure I have one on hand for easy, on-the-go access whenever the mood strikes. I like to tuck one in my pocket, bag or desk and apply touchups throughout the day. Sometimes I even layer one over whatever else I’ve applied earlier. I simply rub it onto my pulse points like my wrists, behind my ears, or wherever I want.
Here, 6 solids worth trying:
Estee Lauder ‘Evelyn Lauder & Elizabeth Hurley Dream Pink – Modern Muse’ Solid Perfume Keychain ($49.50) is a pretty keychain that multitasks as a fragrance. Notes of sparkling florals and sensual woods come together to create a one-of-a-kind, unique scent. It’s only available for a limited time — through June 2016 — to raise awareness that early detection saves lives. With every purchase of the Modern Muse Solid Perfume Keychain, Estée Lauder will donate 100% of the suggested retail price to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Diptyque Essence Insensées Solid Perfume ($60), a limited edition sensual solid fragrance is composed of the notes of late harvest jasmine, crisp orange blossom and herbal basil, comes encased in a smart bronze-toned compact you’ll happily show off in public.
Le Labo Jasmine 17 ($85) marries an edgy metal tin with the sensual, feminine fragrance of natural jasmine, musk, sandalwood and vanilla. It’s also enriched with sweet almond oil, coconut oil and soybean oil.
Juniper Ridge Big Sur Trail Resin Cologne ($35) is loved by women and men alike. It’s formulated with plants, confers, bark, moss, mushrooms and other plants that will remind you of hiking in the Big Sur area. Rub it on to be transported there or choose another Juniper Ridge scent for a mental vacation to a different hiking area.
L’Occitane Rose 4 Reines Solid Perfume ($12) takes essential oils of four different rose varieties and combines them with notes of Violet, Blackcurrant leaves, musk and sandalwood for a sensual, velvety, romantic scent.
Lush Strawberry Feels Forever Massage Bar ($11) isn’t necessarily classified as a fragrance — it’s a massage bar — but it gets the job done. I’ve been wearing it as scent since I first smelled it at a Lush event about a year ago — I swear it’s addictive and I can’t get enough of it! Rub it on your body to moisturize your skin and deliver the scent of fresh, fragrant strawberries, hibiscus flower and coconut oil.
Photo Credit: Saks Fifth Avenue
Visitors to the Big Apple as well as New Yorkers can sniff to their hearts content at the newly re-vamped fragrance floor at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan. No longer hidden among a forest of scents, cutting-edge, artistic brands like Le Labo and Kilian, as well as the most dignified of classic favorites like Hermès and Chanel have their own freestanding mini-shops.
Ten days of special events to celebrate the floor’s unveiling kicked off last week, but you are not too late to catch a few, including.
- October 2 – A retrospective of the seven generations of Creed fragrance creations.
- October 3 – Celebrate Bond No. 9’s 10th anniversary with a Fine Fragrance Happy Hour.
- October 4, 2-6pm – Meet Kilian Hennessy for a private fragrance consultation.
- October 5 – Have your Jo Malone fragrance box painted by an on-site artist with any Jo Malone purchase.
But if you miss the festivities, don’t fear, the following are permanent installations.
Visit the Le Labo counter to turn your fragrance purchasing experience up on its head. Compounding technicians hand formulate—as in freshly blend—your scent of choice while you wait. There are 14 permanent formulas to choose from, plus nine city exclusives that are normally only available in their namesake town (keep that in mind for the next time you visit Dubai or Tokyo). As for the brand’s signature, Santal 33 qualifies, a smoky, woody type of perfume reminiscent of the Marlborough man, but loved by women just as much as men.
If its bling you are after, go no further than Bond No. 9 New York, the fragrance house that transformed the aromas of New York neighborhoods into legend. The Saks locale features a Swarovski Bar that showcases limited edition, collectible perfume bottles that are all a glitter in crystal. Stop by the site to enjoy the glitz, custom blend a signature scent, and celebrate Bond’s10th anniversary,by sampling Perfumista Avenue, the latest Bond creation, a fantasy NYC avenue of talented noses.
What accolade has not been bestowed upon Hermès—sophisticated (beyond), chic, coveted, and exclusive, but never before—accessible!! The new Saks island makes testing the classics such as Calèche and 24, Faubourg a cinch, and also lets you experiment with the new Jour d’ Hermès or the artfully crafted Colognes. Plus….the Saks “carre” (a square shaped boutique inspired by the classic Hermès scarf) is the only fragrance boutique in the U.S. to package your purchase in the signature orange gift box.
The Kilian counter is not only a treat for the olfactive sense but for the visual one as well. A large picture of the handsome founder Kilian Hennessy (grandson of the founder of LVMH) stares at passerby from the backdrop. iPad technology enhances the fragrance appreciation experience with interactive exploration of fragrance ingredients. And for the true connoisseur, sign up for a “Bespoke Service” consultation with Kilian himself to create a one-of-a-kind scent.
You will also encounter the worlds of Diptyque, Creed, Penhaligon’s, Acqua di Parma, Cartier, and Chanel presented in their own special counters. As for more of your past and future favorite perfumes, you will find them at the Fragrance Bar in the center of the floor. Happy sniffing!
Just in Time for Valentine’s Day, Scented Gifts for $55.00 and Under
I’m powerless against the siren call of fragrance—particularly niche fragrances, those artisanal and mindfully crafted perfumes that reflect the creativity of the perfumer and the fearlessness of the marketer. Often transportive, sometimes challenging, the olfactive compositions of companies like L’Artisan Parfumeur, Bond No. 9, Le Labo, Serge Lutens, Santa Maria Novella and Frédéric Malle call to me like Christian Louboutin speaks to the shoe obsessed.
But alas, such temptations come with a price, and in these recessionary times, I’ve sublimated my proclivities…at least, a bit. Some of my favorite niche lines offer moderately priced options that would make wonderful Valentine remembrances. Just remember to drop a hint to your beloved.
Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom cologne is available in 1-oz. and 3.4-oz. sizes. Photo credit: www.jomalone.com.
For example, Jo Malone, the bath, body and home collection created by a London esthetician, offers all of its colognes, 23 in total, in a 1-oz. size for $55.00. My favorite is Orange Blossom, but in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, French Lime Blossom, inspired by a stroll down the Champs Élysée, is a particularly romantic option, and Pomegranate Noir entails a sensual, spicy and fruity bouquet. All are available at www.jomalone.com as well as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus stores.
L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Rose des Indes small candle. Photo credit: www.artisanparfumeur.com.
I’ve wiled away many a rainy afternoon nosing through the scent library of L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Upper West Side boutique in New York City. While its eaux de toilette, which have transported me to places like Cuba, Timbuktu and Reunion Island, remain firmly in the $135.00 range, the Paris-based line also includes 1.2-oz candles for just $20.00. The flowery scents, including Oranger en Fleurs and Rose des Indes, create a classic romantic ambiance. Store locations can be found at www.artisanparfumeur.com.
“Fighting the rising tide of conformity” is Le Labo’s inspiration, manifested as a line of hand-made perfumes formulated individually at the time of purchase at seven U.S. and seven international locations. All of the fragrance-maker’s scents are available in a 0.5-oz. size for $52.00, perfect for a little Valentine’s Day surprise. The collection comprises 11 perfumes available at all venues, as well as six scents exclusive to individual cities. My favorites include Patchouli, Neroli and Oud, a mythical wood essence. Go to www.lelabofragrances.com for locations and online purchases.
Laurice Rahmé, the founder of the New York-based Bond No. 9, is well aware of the financial pressures set upon fragrance lovers; case in point, the recent debut of Andy Warhol Success is a Job in New York, an eau de parfum. As an inclusive gesture, many of the brand’s 35-plus scents are available as a 7-ml Bon-Bon spray vial for $45.00 or $50.00. Appropriate Valentine’s Day choices include Chelsea Flowers, redolent of white peony, white hyacinth and musk, and Nuits de Noho, a simultaneously feminine and irreverent fragrance with notes of jasmine, creamy vanilla and sheer patchouli. Select scents also are available as single-boxed soaps for $35.00 including the brand’s popular Scent of Peace fragrance. Visit www.bondno9.com or Saks Fifth Avenue to purchase.
The mini-sized Fleur Sauvage perfume oil from Tsi-la. Photo credit: www.barneys.com.
The Barneys New York website features a passel of reasonably priced gifts through its boutique fragrance category. Red Flower offers a host of organic scents like Guaic, Ambrette and Champa in a roller ball bottle for $48.00. The Tsi-la natural line includes mini-sized perfume oils for $45.00 each; fragrances include Fleur Sauvage, Ilang Ilang and Fiori d’Arancio. Other brands worth checking out on www.barneys.com are Kiehl’s, Malin + Goetz, Apothia, Tocca and Kai for gifts priced under $55.00.
And finally, Annick Goutal, one of the original niche brands to reach U.S. shores offers a chic option for cost-wary fans. Its Petite Cherie eau de partum can be had as a 0.3-oz. roller ball for $39.00 through www.aedes.com.