Fire, Twigs & Smoke ~ home fragrance reviews

home fragrance items

I live in a house that’s almost 100 years old; with me are two male cats (and their three litter boxes — yes, they have more “bathrooms” than I do) and my partner (who cooks all the time — seafood, Indian, Thai, Burmese, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Italian food — pungent stuff!) Apart from doing a “country-house-style” cleaning a few times a year (scrubbing walls, floors, ceilings and everything in between) I rely on scented products to make my environment smell a little better than it would if I simply relied on open windows and elbow grease. I’m a big user/addict of, pardon the cuteness, candles (fire), diffusers (twigs) and incense (smoke).

Like all scented products, home fragrance prices have skyrocketed; this post will concentrate on “affordable” (or at least reasonably priced) items. Please chime in with your own favorites in all categories. The comments from my recent soap post provided sensational ideas for soap fiends; I hope this article will generate the same response for home fragrances fanatics…

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Parfums Raffy

Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d’Or ~ fragrance review

Aedes de Venustas Palissandre d'Or

In May, West Village niche perfume boutique Aedes de Venustas will launch Palissandre d’Or,1 a new unisex fragrance developed by perfumer Alberto Morillas.

For rosewood lovers like myself, it’s good to know Palissandre d’Or does not aim for any realistic representation of rosewood, and there’s no rosewood in the formula; banish that idea from your mind or you may create disappointment for yourself before giving the perfume a chance. Palissandre d’Or aims to create an “imaginary wood…”

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5 perfumes: incense fragrances for winter

burning incense stick

In July, I picked 5 great incense fragrances for summer wear, and I followed that in October with 5 perfumes: incense fragrances for fall. Now that we’ve moved on from “a decent chill” to “polar vortex warning”, it’s time for the winter version. As always, do add your own picks in the comments!

Comme des Garçons Avignon ~ as I’ve said here before, Avignon is my gold standard for church incense. Developed by perfumer Mark Buxton, Avignon starts out foreboding but ends up meditative; it’s also wearable and makes a great layering agent. If you want something churchy but not quite that churchy, try Bois d’Encens from the Armani Privé line. For the budget version, try Demeter Holy Smoke

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Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur ~ fragrance review

Aedes de Venustas Copal Azur

When Aedes de Venustas sent me a sample of their new Copal Azur fragrance, I immediately sent it to Kevin. Kevin (who some of you old-timers might remember used to review home fragrance here, including lots of incense) was not impressed. It did not, he said, smell like real copal. I wouldn’t know from real copal; my experience is pretty much limited to Demeter Incense, which is advertised as having “a unique core of Copal”. Send it back, I said, I think it smells great.

I include that story only to warn you that while it does, to me, smell great, Copal Azur might or might not meet any expectations you might have about a copal fragrance — remember our recent discussion of “realism” vis-à-vis the gardenia in Tauer Perfumes Sotto La Luna Gardenia?1 If you love incense in general, though, or if you’ve been a fan of the three Aedes fragrances that preceded this one (Oeillet Bengale, Iris Nazarena and Aedes de Venustas Signature), do give Copal Azur a try…

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