Lifestyle: Dig Deep into Home Fragrances
Ever walked into a hotel and felt pampered just from the scent in the lobby? That is because a good scent is one of the easiest way to trigger good memories, brings us pleasures, and elevates our daily experience. That is also why we take pleasure in scenting ourselves with body sprays or perfumes, and scenting our surroundings with home fragrances.
Tracing way back to the historical times from Egypt to Greece or even China, scenting the room or home is often link to religious or spiritual rituals to connect to god. At one point in Europe, home fragrance also became something that represents wealth and status – it was said that back in the Medieval Europe, the royalties would heavily fragrance the fabrics and curtains in the castle during their celebration ceremony and release birds to fly around within the space. As the birds flap around their wings, the movements of air would help diffuse and disperse in the fragrance throughout the entire space.
Nowadays, from scented candles to diffusers, home fragrance has become more accessible and not limited to a limited demographic anymore; and with a wide variety of shape, sizes and scent selection, it has become much easier to bring our favorite scents to our daily lives.
Just like personal fragrances, choosing the right scent for your home is very subjective and personal. Besides the personal preference on the choice of fragrances, here are some tips to go by if you don’t know where to start: think of scent as music – in a living room and bedroom, you’d usually want something like a background music that you can listen to all day without getting tired of it. Go go for something soft and subtle like a floral note or a cozy wood note; it’d keep your space smells good without overwhelming. If you are throwing a party, you’d want to turn up the intensity the same way you want to turn up the music, this would be the time to go for something more distinctive or stronger. As for kitchen and dinning room area, keep the scent crisp and clean so it doesn’t interfere with the food aroma. Fruity notes or green herbal notes are always good choices.
As for the format of home fragrances, there are hundreds and thousands of ways to bring scent to our homes, but there are only a handful of them that last through the test of time and remain the most popular formats in the market:
- Scented Candles
Scented candle is probably one of the most popular forms in home fragrance – not only that it brings out scents efficiently, it adds a dose of coziness to the ambience as well. A good scented candle should have a good “scent throw” – both hot throw and cold throw. Cold Scent Throw is the aromatic aroma that wax gives off when it’s not lit; Hot Scent Throw is the aroma when it is lit, or the radius of a candle’s scent. It is the best to have a candle that can give out its beautiful fragrance whether it’s burning or not. When choosing a scented candle, also beware of liquid beading on the top of the wax – it is a sign of a poorly made candle, it usually means the fragrance and the wax are not compatible.
Diptyque is one of my go-to brands – the French brand is probably one of the first brands that make scented candles popular to the U.S. public. The candles not only come a wide selection of artisanal scents, they perform beautifully hot and cold. Try the Figuier scent if you never tried it before, it is crisp and green, and truly resemble the scent of a freshly cut fig – it’s perfect as a everyday scent especially in Spring and Summer. For those who want to step up the game, Cire Trudon is one of the most luxurious candles one can get – started in 1643 and preferred by the Court of Louis the 15th, Cire Trudon has candles that are crafted like fine art – they are not just a treat to the nose but a pleasure to the eyes as well. Try Abd El Kader, which is inspired by Moroccan Mint Tea – the scent is refreshing with its spearmint note, yet sophisticated with Jasmine and vanilla as the base.
- Incense and Burning Paper
Incense burning is one of the most ancient ways to infuse scent into the environment – it was used mostly in religious rituals, and now it’s widely used as a form of home fragrance. Maybe it’s because of its religious background, burning incenses often adds a peaceful calming effect as well. Incense comes in many shapes and sizes; all of them defuse scents very well, though incense stick has always been the most popular form. Astier de Villatte is a great brand for luxury incense sticks, unlike the common earthy incense scents, they come in a wide range of unique fragrances. Try Namche Bazaar for a mixture of black tea and smoky tobacco, with just a hint of musk and lavender for freshness.
Burning paper for scent is a famous method throughout Europe, but it is not as well known in the rest of the world. It can be traced back to the 16th century; it was used to remove odors from any space with their frankincense and myrrh scent. Try the Armenian Burning Paper from Santa Maria Novella, there’s a slight undertone of burning paper with the fragrance, which also gives a poetic romance to the experience.
- Scent Diffusers
Reed diffuser has become a common way to scent a disclosed environment nowadays – it’s safe since there’s no fire involved in the process, and the result is usually pretty efficient. Culti Milano, a company from Italy as the name suggested, is considered the founding father of Reed diffusers. The founder Alessandro Agrati, an eclectic interior designer, realized what a fragrance can do to characterize an environment and drew his inspiration from rattan handwork to create the first stick diffuser. Today even though reed diffusers can be found under different brand names, Culti is still the world’s leading brand when it comes to quality. Try Mediterranea Décor for a breezy citrusy scent. For those who want to make a bigger statement with the scent diffuser, try the Otto Sphere Diffusers from Fornasetti Profumi. It is the signature scent of the brand created by the master perfumer Olivier Polge, which captures the character of the family garden with fresh herbs in the woods, and a touch of lavender and cedar wood. Reed diffusers require occasional “flipping” of the reeds to keep the aroma lifted in the air; replace the old reed with new ones when refilling the fragrance oils will also help the fragrance diffuse better in the space.
- Room Spray
Room spray is another way of scenting a space that is widely popular. The scent diffuses quickly upon spraying, though it works the best when it is used in smaller spaces. Room sprays are usually made in water-based solutions (instead of alcohol-based ones), so they don’t leave stains when sprayed on fabric or linens. When choosing a room spray, try to look for one with very fine dispersion so it disperse better and brings out the aroma efficiently.
Diptyque has a room spray collection that compliments its signature candle collection, The Amber Room Spray is a great one with warm elegant note that adds coziness to any space. Diptyque also have an Eau Plurielle, which is a multi-use spray that can be used on both body and fabric. It is an unisex scent with musk and wood that is seductive for both men and women. It is a convenient product if you don’t like to have too many types fragrances between yourself and your space.
- Laundry Fragrances and Linen Liners
Laundry fragrances and linen liners are great for those who are not ready to scent the whole space but still enjoy the pleasure of fragrances. By scenting the closet or laundry, you can get a whiff of fragrances lingering in the air whenever you open the closet or bring out a fresh load of laundry.
Frederic Malle has a full selection of “Rubber Incense”, which is designed to perfume small spaces like closets or dressing rooms without the use of electricity or refills. It is made with 100% recyclable plastic rubber, infused with the same high-end fragrances from renowned perfumers like its personal fragrance line. Try Marius & Jeannette, which is Frederic Malle’s personal favorite – it has the freshness of mint and sweetness of anise, it captures the freshness of summer in a unique sensory experience.
For a fine fragrance laundry detergent, The Laundress is the name of the game. The Laundress is known for its eco-friendly line of fabric care and home-cleaning products that are good for the clothes and also good for the environment. They recently collaborated with Le Labo and brought the niche fragrance’s signature scent Santal 33 to your good ol’ laundry routine. Just wash your laundry with the detergent, and your clothes will come out with the delicate scent of this unisex woody fragrance. It would not only makes you smell good when you wear the clothes, it will bring your closet a fresh dose of perfume as well.
Home fragrance really is an easy way to elevate your space with the beautiful scents that you love, it can also give your home a “signature scent” and ended up tying your memories of the scent and space together. Just a friendly reminder – Moderation is always the key. You don’t want to overwhelm the space with too much fragrance that suffocate your senses, or draw too much attention to the fragrance itself that makes people think you’re trying to cover something up. Once in a while, open up your window and refresh the air too, don’t ever underestimate the beautiful scent of fresh air!