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