The right scent is a real home comfort… How to make every room smell beautiful this winter (and beyond)
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We’re all at home together, and the air we breathe can add to the occasion – smells are evocative and nostalgic, so we want to enhance the holidays with some beautiful smells that will always remind you of a place and time. Perhaps like us you’ve become a bit fed up of the ubiquitous cinnamon and clove wafts at this stage of the year and want something different. So here are five of the more intriguing and enticing ways to make your home smell warm, welcoming and fabulous (plus two to wear yourself).
1. GET A GUN
The Frederic Malle home giant scent gun is just a great way to fire gorgeous smells into a room (€140); it’s fun and it’s immediate (is it wrong to want to spray the dog? Obviously it’s too expensive to do that, but I’d be tempted). There’s currently a limited-edition holiday version in a Pierre Hardy-designed box – it’s a sweetened pine and amber blend created by the masterful Dominique Ropion. Try also: Rituals’ spray guns. They are good value (€32.50 for a generous 500ml). We recommend Wild Fig, which smells like a much pricier designer room fragrance, or the new violet fragrance, a great pick for winter.
There’s a smart black candle to match (€32.50), and their stick diffusers in glass bottles are also worth a look. At the Rituals boutique on Grafton Street, stockists nationwide and www.rituals.com.
2. CHANNEL KARL
I read about a stylist who puts a few drops of Estée Lauder Youth Dew bath oil in boiling water to scent her house, which is a glamorous idea. We’ve spotted Youth Dew on www.magees.ie (€39.95), so will be trying this out. There’s also the story of designer Karl Lagerfeld, who apparently used to spray his curtains with perfume. I don’t have curtains, but admire the decadence and frivolity of this behaviour.
3. FRAGRANT OILS
A more practical method is dropping a few drops of essential oil into a diffuser: see www.thenatureofthings.ie for the cute MAËL ones (€59), in colours from pink to grey to match your kitchen. Stock up on oils for every mood and occasion: we’re going for Cardamom at the moment, with Chamomile for evenings, and bright sunny Bergamot for mornings. Really adore this gorgeous small Irish business – do support it. Another option is Karl Murray’s Kotanical essential oils – try their sunny Neroli blend (€20, www.kotanical.ie).
4. FINEST FORESTS
Can anything make January better? I’d argue that Cloon Keen Noble Fir candle (€42) is not just for Christmas – its sophisticated pine and resin notes, mixed with smokey tones and hints of cinnamon make it simply far superior to any other candle at this time of year, in my opinion. It’s not just the smell – the way it’s presented, in elegant white and gold, makes it a luxurious standout (plus the burn time is 55-60 hours). Just for comparison, the best-known candle brand’s 45-hour burn time candles are €63. I enjoy Noble Fir all year round in fact: a naturally beautiful forest scent is always welcome. I also love their Spanish Arch Room Spray in a silver bottle – it reminds me that spring is coming. www.cloonkeen.com.
5. LIGHT A FIRE
Keep the home fires burning … Log fires and smokey bonfire smells are particularly gorgeous at the time of year, when you want to feel cosy. At a time when central heating is at a premium, perhaps this will make us feel warm. The Margiela Replica By the Fireplace candle (€55), with woods, chestnut and orange flower, is pretty warming, and I also love Jazz Club, with its delicious run, tobacco and vanilla haze.
6. WEAR IRIS
What perfume to wear on these chilly days? I feel that iris-based perfumes are perfect for this time of year – they are somehow cold, icy even, and with a subtlety we really want right now. Everyone else will be wearing big dressy winter scents, so something coolly understated makes you that bit different. The dream is Frederic Malle Iris Poudre (€200 at Brown Thomas), a fabulous winter perfume – its Snow Queen iris coolness has an inner warmth from vanilla and sandalwood, plus creamy tonka bean. It’s modern but also reminds me of my granny’s favourite perfume years ago – Iris Poudre is insanely beautiful in a classical way.
Tip: go for the hair perfume for a (slightly) more affordable way to wear it (€115 for 100ml). This makes a gorgeous gift at any time of the year. Another option: I was wearing Escentric Molecule+Iris at a friend’s last week and she texted me afterwards to find out what it was, though she doesn’t really wear perfume; I’d left a trail of it in her house and she had fallen in love with it. Amazing how a subtle and personal scent can make such an impression, and it shows you don’t have to necessarily go loud when it comes to perfume. The good news is they are doing 30ml refill bottles versions for €53, at Brown Thomas.
7. BURN BRIGHTLY
Nunaïa’s new candle Sacred Space ticks all the boxes – with its entirely natural and restful lavender and rose geranium scent, clean-burning soy wax (up to 38 hours burn time) and made in Ireland credentials, it’s an excellent option for €26; www.nunaia.com).