Favorite Scented Candles for Daydreaming

I have a weakness for scented candles and the autumn-winter season brings many temptations. L’Artisan Parfumeur’s collection, for instance, offers plenty of reverie-inspiring options from  jasmine (Souffle de Jasmin) to saffron (Voyage à Constantinople) and more. The candles burn cleanly, without smoke or soot, and the scent lingers for a few hours in the air. These days I’m lighting Brise de Mimosa whenever I crave sunshine and verve. This candle is redolent of mimosa branches, green leaves, and violet flowers. The aroma of mimosa is delicate and complex, but Brise de Mimosa captures it well; it only takes a few minutes to fill my room with the scent of Provence.

If not mimosa, then I choose to festoon my room with the garlands of violets by lighting Molton Brown’s Exquisite Vanilla & Violet Flower candle.  True to its name, it smells of violet bonbon and fresh flowers and green notes make it airy. The lavender-tinted glass makes it a charming decorative item.

Another elegant option is Midi Eternel from the niche perfume house of Sulékó. Based in Paris, Sulékó draws on the French perfume traditions and the Slavic heritage of its founder, Anastasia Sokolow. The perfume collection, for instance, was inspired by the Russian fairy tales, but the candle is a tribute to the south of France and its heady aromas. The main accent is green, with a touch of myrtle, rosemary, and pine needles for brightness. The salty nuance that becomes obvious the longer the candle burns evokes the scents of sea breeze and driftwood. Midi Eternel has a rejuvenating, crisp fragrance, perfect for those who prefer their room scents unsweetened.

Byredo’s Tree House candle is similarly polished. The main chord includes cedarwood, sandalwood, and hay, with allspice and myrrh adding darker, warmer layers. It was inspired by the creations of the Japanese wood master Takashi Kobayashi and his tree houses. Byredo’s idea captures the aromas of polished woods in a candle form. Even after the candle is snuffed out, the peppery, balsamic scent floats in the air, evoking glistening wood shavings in different shades of amber.

Pro tip: To make any candle release its scents evenly, burn it for no longer than two hours at the time and trim the wick on regular basis. It will delight you longer and keep its scent until the last drop of wax.

What are your favorite candles and home scents?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

3 Perfume Trends for 2021 and beyond

Today’s topic is trends in fine fragrance, air care (candles, diffusers, room sprays,) and body care. Based on my professional experience and studies of consumer reports, I will share three key trends that define 2021/2022. First of all, a note on how trends are compiled, because it’s an obscure topic to most people outside of the perfume industry–and to many people in the industry as well. No crystal balls are involved; it’s all about numbers.

To put it simply, agencies like NPD and Mintel track sales of different products, and based on the sales volumes and types of products, they make inferences about consumer preferences. Similar, perfume companies research trends and preferences, based on the sales of their products and those of their competitors. Understanding trends is important for brands in today’s crowded market not so much to make the whole world smell of green tea and peaches but to see where the tastes of consumers lie. What are they interested in? What kind of products appeal to them?

The insights I share below are based on my professional experience as a researcher and the information I come across as part of my day-to-day work as an industry analyst. I will explain each trend and give a few examples. You can watch the video or read my report below.

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5 Light and Radiant Jasmine Perfumes

It always surprises me that jasmine, one of the most luminous floral notes, is considered to be heavy and smothering. Then I realize that while my attention is drawn to its apricot jam and green tea facets, many other people can’t get past the indolic, horse-sweat undercurrent. Some of us are sensitive to animalic notes. Others don’t care for the mothball-tanginess that indoles suggest. Yet even more people don’t have the chance to experience natural jasmine, but rather form their opinion based on synthetic jasmine fragrances that don’t even attempt to mimic the real thing. And when we don’t like something, we call it  “heavy.”

I love jasmine in all of its interpretations, and in my new film, I would like to defend this iconic floral ingredient and explain what makes it unique. I talk about the difference between jasmine grandiflorum and jasmine sambac and explain how this note is used in fragrances. Since I appreciate that not everyone enjoys rich white florals, I selected the gauziest, most effervescent jasmine fragrances I could find to illustrate my explanations.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2021

Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors. Or you can just tell us what perfume you are wearing and what book you are reading. I’m reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, flea market in Paris.

Popular Brands and Perfumes of 2020

For those who like lists and rankings, I have a little treat today courtesy of the Cosmetify Index, a service that ranks the most searched for and followed beauty brands around the world. The Cosmetify Index was created in 2019 to see how brands engage with social media and also how consumers respond to new launches. The newest index tracked searches and engagement in 2020, assessing the impact of the pandemic on beauty and fragrance sales.

The Cosmetify Index also tracks which brands are popular in which country, so you can glean fascinating information like Russia being a Jo Malone country, while China favors Estée Lauder. Yves Rocher rules in France, Italy, and Spain, while Rituals holds court in Germany, Scandinavian countries, and unexpectedly, Angola and Bhutan. The Indian subcontinent is united in its love for The Body Shop, although Nepal prefers Dove. And so on. Of course, these are the macrotrends and generalizations, but all trend reports are bird’s-eye-view snapshots.

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