I’m having a Holiday Moment, hanging garland and little prisms and generally doing the Holiday Thing, including thinking about how to make my home smell great, which it didn’t when I walked in this evening! You’ll read about the drains later on but for now let’s talk about The Pretty Smelling Things! I give you Great Holiday Gifts for the Home! Whose home? That’s up to you! I admit to having bought several of these things….and then I kept them for myself. Yes, I am Just That Greedy. But man, they smell GOOOOOD!
Guns. No, not the automatic shotgun with the explosive shells that I want more than a box of Mallomars. But just as cool and way less likely to land me in Stateville: Frederic Malle Perfume Guns. When these first came out at Barneys I thought ‘oh, right. Just what I need, some giant industrial cleaning solvent bottle thingy full of room spray.” Well…okay. I still don’t LOVE the bottle. But I am totally in love with what’s IN those bottles. It’s not an air-freshener; I’m sure M. Malle assumes that the maid has done her daily and your house is already clean. It’s ……not really even room spray. It’s Fabulous, amped up to 11.
Start with a house that doesn’t stink (we just cleaned our drains so I’m hyper-sensitive to that. Drains is NASTY!) …a few times a day, spritz some Russian Nights (my current favorite) in the living room…or 1er Mai (always my beloved) in the bedroom. Over time, the scent will permeate the surroundings, without overwhelming…and the room takes on a scent personality. And it’s not drains! This gift would be for the avant-garde – it’s not a pretty bottle. But if
you your giftee loves sophisticated scent, this is a gorgeous way to go. Russian Nights is actually a little too sophisticated for my hovel. I wonder if M. Malle is interested in doing a scent called Shotgun Shack Fulla Rotts? Eh, probably not.
By the way, a lot of people want to know what Frederic Malle’s house looks like. eh. If you’ve seen one fabulous flat you’ve seen ’em all. I want to know what his house SMELLS like! I am going to go out on a limb and say it does NOT smell like drains. Or Rotts. sigh.
Another beauty……. Annick Goutal Noel. Blame March for this one. I think we yark about this every hollerday season – and with good reason. This is persackly the way Miss March first described it the scent of a high-end florist’s shop during Christmas season. It’s also the scent of the most romantic date I’ve ever had in my life, also at Christmastime, when my now-ex and I strolled home with me clutching a bouquet of two dozen of the most beautiful yellow roses he’d just bought me from A New Leaf on Wells Street. The crisp, wintry air, the holiday lights, the snow crunching underfoot, the roses, the wonder when you are in love, scared to death it is a mirage but stunned to have that One Night when everything converges and everything is perfect. That marriage is long gone but that One Perfect Holiday Night is encapsulated in Noel. I smile like Greer Garson every time I spray it!
I Don’t Do Candles. My sinuses, about which I whine all the time, don’t like them. Except the Malles. And you already know how fabulous they are (remember how I made such a goober of myself at the Malle Candle Event, when I confused the bowl of silk flowers with the 1er Mai candle (oh, Musette. Do try to pay attention, will you?). They are incredible scents, every single one of them. But another candle that smells divine and doesn’t send a mace through my eye is my favorite candlemaker out of Mason City, IA, Camille Lee of Soyphisticated Candles. They are soy-based, smokeless and give off great scent. I’m not into gourmand scents so I can’t tell you about those but I can tell you that her ‘holiday’ scents (my italics – I always think of pine/eucalyptus/bay etc as ‘holiday’) are deeply infused with scent. I leave these unlit and open around my house, and it smells great (except when the drains are icked – but at that point nothing short of boiling water and bleach will do). “Apples and Oranges”, “Frankincense and Myrrh”..what’s not to love?
Last but not least: My beloved Agraria. No, they do not send me freebies. No, I am not affiliated. Yes, I know I am Boring with the Agraria. But! What I am is In Love. I have been forever. Agraria Bitter Orange is one of the most perfect scents ever created. It’s Constant Comment tea in a spray. I do this: when I’m feeling like choking the life out of somebody I go take a hot shower with the shower gel, then slicker on the Body Lotion. I’ll be honest here, the lotion doesn’t hold its scent very long – certainly not like an Amouage or Malle cream or lotion…(and the shower gel scent is gone in a nanosecond)…but that’s not the point – there’s something about the ritual….I then go into the bedroom and spritz on a LOT of the cologne (a) it’s cologne and b) I like to spritz a lot). Spritzing it in the bedroom does two things, it scents me and it scents the bedroom. If I am stuck working at home on those days I want to choke the life out of somebody, I walk over to the reed diffuser and give it a whirl. In a blink I’m a size 6 again, and way the hell calmer. And the room smells good to boot! They have a Balsam which I confess to having NO idea about….I can’t get my nose out of the Bitter Orange. My BFFFF gave me the cologne for my birthday and I squealed like a third-grade girl!
Okay – NOW it’s Last but not Least: The Real Thing. Nothing smells quite like that first evening, after the tree is brought in. You know how you bring it in and let it settle? When I was a kid my parents made sure to do that early in the day (or very late at night) so we wouldn’t drive them batty, asking ‘can we hang the ornaments yet? Huh? Can we?” 500,000 times. Papi would always saw the bottom off (which is the really smelly part – that fresh-sawn trunk, with the resins)…and there would be all the jostling with the holder (remember those old steel holders (always red and green) with the iffy legs? Anyway, the jostling and the sawing filled the house with the smell of a pine forest. I quickly became anosmic to it – after the first day or so it simply was part of the house smell. But for that first magical night…oh, yum! We don’t trim a tree anymore – instead we do baskets and vases and garlands, interwoven with silver dollar eucalyptus and silver ribbon and clear glass globes and it’s all just too chic, blahblahblah.but you know what? Doesn’t matter. Bring that pine bough in this house and I’m 7 years old again. And it’s the Holidays! And the house smells great!!!