I don’t know when it began as such, or perhaps rather when it truly took off, but for as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by scent. So much of my memory is wrapped around the smells. Years ago I bought my mum a bottle of Stella McCartney’s first perfume for her birthday, in truth I think I bought it mostly because I found the scent to absolutely be her rather than her actively wanting it. But now, whenever I catch the faintest hint of that fragrance, it reminds me of her. She’s long since moved on to an entirely different scent, but in my mind that scent will always remind me of her. In my mind, it defines her. Even though she probably wouldn’t agree herself.
As a child each day I would go to my grandma’s after nursery. I spent so much of my childhood there, lying beside the heating vent, between an armchair and a wall, eating cheese on toast whilst watching Neighbours. I’m thirty now and still whenever I smell toast, I’m back at my grandma’s house waiting for a bag of Jelly Tots and a cup of tea so diluted with milk I’m not sure it would even be considered tea.
Each day when I’m getting ready I look at the selection of scents I have and make a decision for the day, based on a pretty quick analysis of my mood. I have a roster of about four that I rotate; darker woody notes for a mellow feeling, sharp punchy citrus scents for a bright summer day. My go-to fragrance for the past few years has been is Jo Malone’s Blackberry & Bay. It’s fresh and sweet without being over powering and heavy. I know as soon as I tried it for the first time that if someone was to associate that particular smell with me, I’d be more than happy with that. I love when someone in the room comments ‘Can you smell fruit?’ Yes, that’s me. I am that fruit.
Home wise, my preferences are even more changeable. Almost every surface in my flat features a scented candle of some variety. In the summer I lean towards to cleaner fruity scents that help to transport me to the Amalfi coast on a warm evening. (‘That’s a bloody powerful candle’ I hear you cry. Yes, yes it is.) Diptyque’s Baies is the kind of scent dreams are made of. Tart and sharp, but blissfully mellow at the same time. In the winter I like to try and tell myself I’m sat in front of an open fire in a ridiculously beautiful log cabin a la My Residence. Jo Malone’s Incense & Embers being potentially my favourite candle out there.
So, onto the reason I got to actually thinking about scent – Lavender & Lovage. I love the smell of lavender. If I pass a lavender bush while I’m out I always, without fail, brush my hands through it and smell it. I would however never have even considered it as a scent I would want to fill my house. I suppose if I’m honest I thought it had a smell that was rather old? I don’t know, but either way it wouldn’t have even been a candle I sniffed. On the advice of a friend with a sharp set of nostrils I ventured into the uncharted waters of Jo Malone’s Lavender & Lovage and I can confirm it is a keeper. Think summer evenings spent in the garden as the final dregs of sunlight leave the sky. It’s like being on a patio, surrounded by pots of herbs and slightly damp soil. As I don’t have a garden to spend my summer evenings in, the candle is as close as I’m going to get.
It’s funny how a scent can transport you to somewhere else. I am a huge believer in the value of investing in a good quality candle. I guarantee the difference is noticeable. There’s something technical about the level of oil to wax that makes the pricier options more potent. I’m no expert, so I won’t tread into the unknown waters of candle making any further however. What I do know is that a Diptyque candle has the capabilities of scenting a room without it even being lit. A worthy investment if you ask me. The scent of the space we spend our most personal time in should be perfect after all.