For lots of reasons this week as been a trying one. On more than one occasion I’ve been at the end of my tether and as a result my sleep has suffered horribly. Thank heavens, then, for the arrival of these two brand new products from L’Occinane in my postbag. Part of the company’s fantastic new Aromachology range, which launches in August, both the Relaxing Pillow Mist and Relaxing Perfumed Sachet have been essential bedtime companions this week – and a great help they’ve been too. Both smell amazing (thanks to lavender, sweet orange and rosemary) and, coupled with the Valerian tea I’ve been necking (alas, valium wasn’t available), they’ve just about managed to save my sanity. So if you’re craving a decent night’s sleep why not put these near your pillow!
Readers of this blog will know how much I like a scented candle. Probably my favourite candle of all time is Diptyque’s delightfully smoky Feu de Bois but I’ve had problems with the ones I’ve used recently in terms of sootiness and uneven burning so this one, Fireside, from British Brand Birch & Brook, has been a Godsend. Similar scent-wise to Feu de Bois it delivers a fantastically masculine, woodsy, smoky aroma, has a good burn time (40hrs) and is free of paraffin and other candle nasties. Cheaper than Diptyque too. Recommended.
For more info go to www.birchandbrook.co.uk
When it comes to Christmas few gifts are as nice as scented candles and few scented candles are as nice as this trio of bougies from perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. Presented as a boxed set containing three mini candles (with a burn time of 20 hours each), they look fantastic and smell of gingerbread and iris so have a festive twist but not one so Christmassy they can’t be used beyond December.
Available from Selfridges, Liberty, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Les Senteurs.
If you’re a man, finding a scented candle that doesn’t make your pad smell like a boudoir can be a real challenge so here’s one that makes your search a cinch. Roja Dove’s Roja Parfums Leather Bougie is rich, warm and – as the name suggests – delightfully leathery. It’s also big on one of my favourite fragrance notes, birch tar – an ingredient that has a natural affinity with leather since it’s often used to make it waterproof. How does it smell? Well, imagine slipping into stiff new riding boots, straddling an unforgiving leather saddle and galloping off through a Scottish forest at full pelt and you’re kind of halfway to appreciating its rich, manly fabulousness*.
Available from Harrods
*Think of me what you will but I really enjoyed writing that last sentence.
Man that I am I just love burning stuff (as a I child my mother would often sniff me when I came home from a day playing outside and ask me, “Lee, have you been burning things again?”). So it comes as no surprise that I love burning incense. I absolutely love Fornasetti Profumi Incensi with its signature Otto fragrance created by perfumer Oliver Polge for example.
My latest discovery is a collection of fantastically fragrant Incense Pyres from American company Blackbird. Presented in a dinky till with cool handwritten labels they’re a brilliantly effective way of scenting your house in a hurry and are especially good at masking the smell of things like fried fish or – and I can attest for this – cat litters that see heavy traffic. My fave version at the moment is “Ozo” which is woody and floral with a slight liquoricey vibe and which totally, but safely, satisfies my penchant for pyromania.
Available from Niven & Joshua.
A while back I wrote a piece for all about men’s increasing interest in scented candles (or ‘mandles’ as they’ve already been dubbed) for last Saturday’s Telegraph Men’s Style supplement. At the the time of writing Bella Freud hadn’t launched this rather cool 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli candle, which is a shame because had it been around it would have definitely made my selection.
Infused with frankincense, myrrh, oakmoss, musk, sandalwood and vetiver it pretty much contains all my favourite notes and is a delightfully hippy concoction that smells, for all the world, like one of the many mystic shops in Glastonbury which I never seem to be out of.
I love it and its scent diffuses beautifully, fragrancing any room in a matter of minutes. Recommended.
Bella Freud’d 1970 Black Musk & Patchouli candle is available from Space NK and bellafreud.co.uk.
Checking out the new offerings from Cire Tvudon at their boutique in Marylebone yesterday I was struck by the fact that all their scented candles have this wonderful ability to take you to places other than where you actually are. Frankly, lighting one is a bit like stepping into Doctor Who’s Tardis – you never quite know where (or when) you’ll end up.
Their Roi Soleil candle, for example, transports you to the vast wooden floor of Versailles’ Mirrored Gallery while the faintly bonkers La Lune whisks you off to, well, the surface of the moon.
Their latest creation, Bartolomé, doesn’t take you quite so far (its cues come from a Spanish missionary’s trip to the New World island of Hispaniola in the 16th century) but it’s just as exotic. Packed full of woods and spices, with notes of saffron, nutmeg, cypress, carrot seed, liquorice, cedar, vetiver, vanilla and amber, it’s a delightfully sweet, exotic, gourmand scent that’s an absolutely fantastic tonic to the impending cold days and dark nights.
Recommended. Especially for the armchair time traveller.
Available from Cire Trvdon, 36 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7QL. Tel 0207 486 7590
Quite often when I review scented candles or diffusers the reaction I get is “sounds nice but they’re so expensive!” Given that good candles can set you back £35 or more it’s a fair comment, especially in these difficult economic times. With this in mind Jonathan Ward – a man who’s a true wiz with wax – is to launch a diffusion line of candles offering customers the chance of accessing his luxury brand at slightly lower price point.
The range still has the features Jonathan Ward is famous for (the double wicks, clean burning wax and complex, multi-dimensional fragrances) but the candles cost a mere £16 and the diffusers £20 making them roughly half the price as the mainline collection.
Thoroughly English, the collection of six candles is inspired by all things native (hence names like Dorset Shore, Mightnight Sherwood and Vintage Tweed). Woodstock, above, is a blend of aromatic English woods like oak and birch along with patchouli and forest flowers like bluebell. Inexpensive maybe but certainly not unsophisticated.
The “J” range by Jonathan Ward will be available from www.jonathanwardlondon.com from April 15th.
When I first heard about this new candle from Floris I was uncharacteristically excited. The reason for this is that its core essential oils are two of my absolute favourites. I’ve loved the smell of geranium since I was a child and bergamot is one of my favourite citrus scents, richer and more rounded than grapefruit, orange or lemon. The combination of the two is lovely.
I always think with luxury products that it’s the little touches that mater the most and this hand-poured candle features both a snuffing lid (possibly the most useful addition to a scented candle, especially for anyone who values their fingertips) and, handily, a little cork mat so it doesn’t leave marks on your favourite coffee table. It comes in a glamorous gold box too so what’s not to love?
The Floris Bergamot & Geranium Scented Candle is available here. There’s a companion room fragrance too.
Disclosure Notice: I received a free sample of this product for review purposes
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As you’ve probably realised if you’re a regular reader I love a good scented candle. In truth, with two cats and a small house I can’t help but love them. I’m quite fussy about what I take a match to though. I like my candles to be as complex as my fragrances, don’t like anything too intoxicating or overly floral (I prefer my place to smell nice but not like a 17th Century boudoir) and like a clean, soot-free burn.
Like all of Jonathan Ward‘s hand-poured artisan candles his latest, Fig Ultimatum, is certainly complex. Eschewing predictability, as he always does, he’s taken the hugely popular and commercial smell of fig but added much more depth to it with honey, cognac, a warm, wet peatiness and a slightly animalistic amber base. The result is a candle that’s not as sweet and sickly as some fig fragrances can be but something altogether warmer, sexier, creamier and more comforting, so give it a go. And that’s my own ultimatum.
Jonathan Ward’s Fig Ultimatum Artisan Candle is available from 1st March from www.jonathanwardlondon.com priced £35.