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Holiday fragrance gifts 2012, part 3

Our series of holiday gift posts continues with home fragrance of all kinds, from candles to sachets. If you missed them, check out part 1 (scented body products) and part 2 (travel sizes & coffrets).

Diptyque holiday candle collection 2012

Maybe some year, Diptyque’s holiday candles will look so dull that we’ll leave them out, but that year has not yet arrived. This year’s set includes Amber Oud (red; “…inspired by the Arabian Nights resembles a precious stone where rare spices infused with warming resins and balsams plunges the user into an Oriental dream world”), Oliban (purple; “A mysterious creation showcasing the precious resin frankincense. This fragrance will transport the user straight to the heart of the Arabian Nights.”) and Sapin Doré (green; “…pays homage to the most celebrated fir tree in the world, it transports the user straight to the heart of a forest of golden spruce trees.”). In mini candle (70g for $32) or full-sized (190g for $68), available at Nordstrom

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Top 10 Fall Fragrances 2012

gourds and a mushroom

I have been known to change my mind. Still, as far as my love of autumnal perfumes goes, it seems I am as constant as the northern star. I kept thinking of fragrances to include in this post and then realizing, blast, I’d already listed them the last time I covered fall favorites for Now Smell This in 2009. A few of the previous ten are my all-time, all-year darlings, but the fall always casts them in a particularly poignant and profound light for me. As October starts, I often think of lines from John Cheever: “and who, after all these centuries, can describe the fineness of an autumn day?” (via The Stories of John Cheever). He gives it a shot anyway:

The clear and searching sweep of sun on the lawns was like a climax of the year’s lights. Leaves were burning somewhere, and the smoke smelled, with all its ammoniac acidity, of beginnings. The boundless blue air was stretched over the zenith like the skin of a drum.

That ammoniac acidity has always given me pause — ammonia is alkaline, isn’t it? — but the sky and the sun and the lawns are all perfectly right. And then, using his characteristic contrast of the ecstatic and the everyday, he deflates that golden description with: “It was the day to canvass for infectious hepatitis.” Well, of course it was! For autumn is not only the season of reflection and melancholy, a time to moon about in cable-knit sweaters through the mists of the dying year. It is also a practical season, a time to make school lunches and Halloween costumes, to bustle along the sidewalks through gusty breezes on charitable errands. As Cheever wrote, beginnings are in the air.

So okay, you say… begin already, please! As I rounded up the usual suspects three years ago, the following list includes some of my favorite newer scents. (Surely my “Best of 2012″ picks will be predictable enough to excuse a spoiler.) There are a few of my old standbys that got missed last time, too…

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Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti room spray ~ home fragrance review

The holidays are about simple pleasures. I recently expressed that sentiment with a straight face to a friend — after shouting with glee: “Cire Trudon makes room sprays now!” My friend read the Cire Trudon Les Parfums d’Intérieur PR announcement and said: “I get the ‘pleasure’ part, Kevin, but what’s so ‘simple’ about a $142 room spray?” Fair enough.

Cire Trudon’s new room sprays come in its most popular candle fragrances: Roi Soleil, Spiritus Sancti, Abd El Kader, Ernesto, and Nazareth. Since one of my favorite churches, Santo Spirito in Florence, is thousands of miles away, I opted for the Cire Trudon fragrance that might help me conjure its atmosphere this Christmas (provided I close my eyes, get my imagination in high gear, and queue Monteverdi, Cavalli and Albinoni on the CD player); I chose Spiritus Sancti.

Spiritus Sancti smells like “classic” church incense…

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Holiday fragrance gifts 2010, part 1

Diptyque 2010 holiday candle collection

Once again, a drool-worthy holiday candle collection from Diptyque. At left, Pin (“fresh and familiar, green and resinous, the scent of pine needles and a hint of patchouli”); at right, Orange Épicée (“With its emblematic note of sour orange with a mix of essences of winter spices: Indian ginger, star anise from China, clove”). Not shown is Oliban, in blue…

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