It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas …

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas …

Is there any season to compare with Christmas in the range and variety of lovely fragrances it evokes? From the balsam-scented boughs of wreaths, garlands and decorated trees to the delicious smells emanating from kitchens; from the incense of Midnight Mass to the smoke of fireplaces hung with stockings; from the spiced scents of oranges pierced with cloves and meat roasting with rosemary and garlic, to the narcotic perfume of paperwhite narcissi forced in pots — the fragrances are everywhere.

I make some holiday drinks mostly because of their wonderful smell, although they also taste terrific. One favorite is the Scandinavian mulled wine Glögg, a concoction of red wine, port, aquavit and brandy mixed with fresh ginger, orange zest, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, raisins and almonds. I make it in a slow cooker and let it simmer all day. Heaven! One must approach it with care, though — one mug makes you feel lovely and warm inside, with holiday goodwill toward all coursing through your veins, and a second mug will likely leave you on the floor, relying on others’ goodwill to take you home and put you to bed. There are many variations on recipes for Glögg, easily found online; I encourage you to try it. So easy and festive.

One of my favorite blogs, Bois de Jasmin, has had posts in which readers recommend various perfumes to wear on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and throughout the holiday season. So much fun to read what others recommend and enjoy! I decided to layer the gorgeous attar of Taif Rose that my husband brought me from Dubai with Aramis Calligraphy Rose, for the notes of rose, frankincense and myrrh. Frankincense and myrrh are obvious candidates for Christmas, but rose, you ask? “Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming” is my response.

On a more serious note, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin is again running an online fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, an admirable and effective organization that provides medical care to civilians and refugees in some of the most dangerous, war-torn parts of the world. As the Christian world gathers to worship the homeless newborn of a refugee family, born at a time of armed strife and conflict, we should remember the children and families who today find themselves in similar danger. My teenaged son’s Christmas gift to me was an IOU for a gift of fragrance that I could choose; I will ask him to donate to Victoria’s fundraiser and Doctors Without Borders on my behalf — the fragrance connection being that each such gift enters one into a drawing for some marvelous fragrance-related prizes. Check it out! You can enter until January 15, 2017.

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres), treating refugee mother and baby in Africa

Doctors Without Borders treating mother and child; photo Stephanie Christaki/MSF

The weather here has been so unseasonably warm that we are running around outside doing errands and chores without coats! I plan to do some gardening this week while I am away from my office, which will surely bring more scents to my attention.

What does Christmas smell like to you? Or if you celebrate another holiday at this time of year, what are its most evocative scents?

all-saints-altar-christmas

Christmas altar with Nativity creche and roses

Fragrance Friday: 6 roses for golden Autumn & rainy Autumn

Fragrance Friday: 6 roses for golden Autumn & rainy Autumn

I love Chemist in the Bottle’s list of rose fragrances for autumn, as rose is one of my favorite fragrance notes. I have put away some of my more summery rose scents in favor of those that have a more autumnal spice to them, such as Jo Malone’s Tudor Rose and Amber and Miller Harris’ Rose En Noir. Any other suggestions for autumn fragrances, with or without rose notes?

Chemist in the Bottle

October has brought golden Autumn filled with colorful leaves in shades of brown, orange, yellow and red that gradually fall from trees turning into vivid and rustling carpets on top of the park pavements. Autumn like that is pretty and can be enjoyable even at times when a chilly wind is blowing behind our backs. On the other hand there are days when the sky is completely grey and it looks as if it was about to start to fall on your heads. Days filled with gloom and rain are definitely less enjoyable but at least they give you a good reason to stay at home as you wrap yourself with a fluffy blanket with a big cup of your favorite tea or coffee in hands, watching some movies.

I bet many of you have already done that or are in the process of deciding if its the high time to…

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Swoon.

Close your eyes and imagine… You walk inside a castle and are drawn to a doorway by a lovely scent that gets stronger with each step. You enter the room. Fragrance envelops you — a complex, rose scent with hints of citrus and spice, raspberry and vanilla. A field of David Austin Wedding Roses —…

via Experience David Austin Roses With All Your Senses, at Fleuramour — DAVID AUSTIN ROSES USA

Wedding Bouquets

A bridal bouquet is a fashion accessory that “should accent the dress,” not obscure it,” says floral designer Lorraine Cooper, AIFD, in the September issue of Flowers& magazine. The article, aptly titled “It’s All About the Dress,” includes 12 bouquets she created to complement six popular wedding gown silhouettes — all magnificently photographed by Ron…

via It’s All About the Dress — DAVID AUSTIN ROSES USA

Fragrance Friday: Les Fontaines Parfumees

Fragrance Friday: Les Fontaines Parfumees

Welcome to the new home of soon-to-launch Louis Vuitton perfumes, plus sibling Parfums Christian Dior (Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior are both owned by LVMH): a restored seventeenth century perfumery in Grasse, France, with the enchanted name “Les Fontaines Parfumees”, or “The Perfumed Fountains.” It joins the previous purchase and restoration by Parfums Christian Dior of the Chateau de la Colle Noire, twelve miles away in Callian and former home of the legendary designer Christian Dior himself. Continue reading

Perfume Tourism: I’m Ba-a-a-ack!

Perfume Tourism: I’m Ba-a-a-ack!

I’ve returned from a trip to the UK that included a visit to the year-old duty free boutiques in Heathrow’s Terminals 4 and 5 dedicated to niche and high-end designer fragrances, as well as a stop at a beautiful independent perfumery in Dublin and an unexpected bargain at a VERY well-appointed fragrance department of a department store I had never heard of before. And, of course, many visits to fragrant gardens with more roses than I have seen since … well, since I visited the UK last summer.

I’ll be posting this week and in August about my finds and encounters, including some wonderful discovery sets and samples of unfamiliar or new niche fragrances, so please join me on a vicarious journey of fragrant discovery!

Storefront of perfumery Parfumarija in Dublin, Ireland.

Parfumarija in Dublin; image from http://www.parfumarija.com

Rose-Scented Lemonade

I have a new love: Fentimans Rose Lemonade. It is pale pink, fizzy, sweet, and scented like roses. It is “botanically brewed” lemonade with the addition of rose extract, which provides a soft floral fragrance and taste. What a perfect summer drink to sip while the summer roses are in bloom!

Bottle of Fentiman's Rose Lemonade.

Image: Fentiman’s.

Update: now that I’m back home and have found a local supplier of Fentimans Rose Lemonade, I have concocted a summer cocktail based on it: Old Herbaceous’ Rose Cocktail. Enjoy!