Caran D’Ache pencils – a slightly more interesting way to enjoy fragrance

If you’re a bit of a fragrance junkie chances are that spraying it onto skin isn’t the only way you like to enjoy your scent. But while solid perfumes and scented candles are all very nice there are other, altogether more interesting, ways to enjoy perfume too. Take this super-cool scented pencil collection from fine writing experts Caran d’Ache for example. Featuring four exquisite 4HB graphite pencils, each made of a different precious wood (Western Hemlock, White Oak, Silver Teak and White Ash), the set is heavily scented with a warm, creamy blend of patchouli, incense and tonka bean and each pencil is a real delight to hold and to smell – especially when you pop it into a sharpener.

The fragrance itself, ‘Tibetan Wood’, is the creation of master perfumer Alberto Morillas (the guy who created Armani’s Acqua di Gio and Calvin Klein’s CK One) and is certainly something you’d want to wear if it were bottled. I have to say, I loved these from the moment I clapped eyes on them. Beautiful, stylish and practical – they’ve almost tempted me to take up life drawing classes – they’re the perfect present for perfumistas but also for arty types, dads (Father’s Day is coming up remember) and, well, men who have everything but a set of scented pencils. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not something you necessarily need but trust me, you’ll certainly want them.

Les Crayons de le Maison Caran D’Ache cost £30.00 for a set of four. For stockists go to www.carandache.com

Yankee Candle’s new barbershop collection – the perfect gift for the well-groomed man

YANKEE CANDLE BARBERSHOPFew names in the scented candle business are as recognisable as Yankee Candle.  I personally can’t pass a stockist without spending at least ten minutes having a sniff at what’s new to their burgeoning range. Some scents I’m enthralled by; others totally repel me. A couple have had me running for the door. Which, in a way, is the secret to Yankee Candle’s success because when a brand polarises people (take Marmite for example) it is at least avoiding indifference.

Anyway, Yankee now have a whole range based around male grooming and five familiar smells associated with it: Barbershop (above), Aftershave, Hot Towel, Chrome and Hair Tonic. Squarely aimed at men – and as gifts for men – the candles come in sleek black tumbler jars with brushed metal lids. Barbershop, burning away in my living room as I write this, is a delightfully clean-smelling blend of eucalyptus, lavender and amber and smells fresh and powdery without being overpowering.

Yankee Candles have been almost as long as I have (no mean feat for both) and are famous for the excellent diffusion of their scents so if you’re looking for a sure-fire way to fragrance your pad this particular range might be right up your street.

Yankee Candle’s Barbershop glass tumbler candle costs £12.99

The new Acqua Di Parma Murano Candle is here!

New Acqua di Parma Murano Candle Benzoino (1)The unveiling of a new Acqua di Parma candle is always a bit of an event. This year, their Murano Collection expands with the addition of a Benzoin candle housed in a green handmade glass made in  – the clue is in the name –  Murano. Warm and comforting (just what you want in winter) the candle features a blend of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla and benzoin – an ingredient used in incense making and one which gives the candle a delicious resinous warmth that enhances the vanilla. Perfect for lighting up those long winter nights.

Available from Harrods from October, priced £95.

Aveda light the way for Earth Month

AVEDA Light the Way CandleBeing a cynical and decidedly curmudgeonly old fogey I’m always rather suspicious of brands’ charity initiatives – especially brands who say they’re giving an undisclosed percentage of their profits to a good cause. Aveda, however, are one brand that have always had their heart firmly in the right place when it comes to giving and in an admirable act of transparency (not to mention generosity) they’re donating 100% (yes, all) of the £16 RRP of their new limited edition Light The Way scented candle to the Global Greengrants Fund –  a non-profit organisation that funds groups working to solve pressing environmental problems.

Aveda have been working with the fund since 2007 so you can safely say they’re not bandwagoning either. The initiative comes as part of Aveda’s support of Earth Month this April and the candle –  a mix of warm, sweet Madagascan spice –  smells lovely so check out the Aveda site from April to grab one and to do a whole lot of good in the process.

Why Dolce & Gabbana’s Velvet Collection candles light my fire

DGFF_Velvet Candle_WOOD_high resWith Christmas just around the corner a lot of men I know (and a fair few women) are already in a slight panic about what to buy their loved ones, so here’s a tip from me: how about a candle from the Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Collection? Scented candles are always a good bet for women (my mum loves them) but an increasing number of men are appreciating what they can bring to the home too. Luxury-with-a-wick, this particular collection features a range of scented candles based around the high-end Dolce & Gabbana  Velvet Collection fragrances. Hence, there’s Velvet Wood, which is warm and resinous, and Velvet Desire – a heady floral number my mum would adore. What impresses most about these particular candles, though, is their attention to detail. Not only is the outer packaging excellent, the jars look fantastic (each also one comes in a silk drawstring bag) and – best of all – there’s a snuffer lid too. Definitely worth putting on your Christmas list.

Available exclusively from Harrods, priced £60

Bella Freud launches Lion candle

lion bellaI love Bella Freud’s scented candles. Apart from smelling great and burning well each is imbued with a delightful sense of fun and the packaging is superb. Just added to the collection (and currently burning away in my hallway) is Lion – a candle which takes its cues from Freud’s reggae album cover inspired jumpers.

Peppery, smoky and sweet it features a raft of notes often found in male fragrance (amber, cedarwood, vetiver, oakmoss and pepper amongst them) to create a room fragrance that’s perfect for men who want their house or flat to smell of something other than last night’s takeaway but don’t want it to smell like a bridal bouquet. The effect is perhaps a little subtler than I might have expected (though, given how many scented candles can be way too overpowering, that that’s not necessarily a bad thing) but overall it’s great – and, hey, it looks the biz too so what’s not to like?

Bella Freud’s Lion candle is available here.

Sleep easy with L’Occitane

L'occitaneFor 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!