Warm Scent

By Jo Phillips

Smoke and Wood for scent still sits at the very core of our perfume love. Why do we hold such a strong connection to these essences? Why do we have such a strong emotional resonance with them? Interestingly the source or origin of the word perfume comes from two words per-fumem. These Egyptian words actually mean through-smoke. Find out more in Warm Scent. All images Jason Yates

The word Perfume along with the very nature of fragrance has, of course, evolved yet still very much at its heart find smoke and wood as still very key.

Amouroud Oud after Dark, The powerful presence of a rare Oud mingling with Turkish Rose, sweet Tobacco Amber, and enigmatic Mysore Musk; Roos & Roos, Paris Smoke And Mirrors Harrods Edp, Fresh Spicy Fragrance of Osmanthus, Amber, Tonka bean, Myrrh, Honey, Cedarwood, White musk; Armani Prive Rose D’Arabie An intoxicating rose, revealing its unabashed sensuality. From spicy notes of saffron, it blossoms into a heart of patchouli and dark woods, before surrendering to the voluptuous accords of golden amber.

It makes sense in so many ways as when we think to some of the earliest ideas of how scent was used; burnt in religious ceremonies as incense or burnt in a home as a greeting for those of high esteem for those living in the east.

L’Orchestre parfum Encens Asakusa; Tokyo. Holy temple. A winters prayer answered by the serene notes of a koto A mystical incense. Bewitching, poudery and woody. Histoires de Parfums Noir Patchouli; Mysterious and captivating, Noir Patchouli is a multi-faceted fragrance that exudes delicate floral notes followed by exotic oriental ones. Van Cleef & Arpels Bois Dorè, Pepper, cedarwood essence, cashmere wood, brazilian tonka bean absolute, white musks, amber, vanilla.

Each culture has a very different take on woods and smoke.  For many westerners, the initial feeling would draw towards a home fire burning in cold weather.  Family fires on Christmas day or other winter festivals, think bonfire night all outside fires of wood with the Guy sitting on top and popping fireworks, for those who grew up in the UK it’s treason and celebration, reminding us of plotters of past governments.

Art de Parfum Sensual Oud, darkly sensual fragrance, the resinous oud note smoky and austere with red rose and a green, fresh geranium note. The velvety florals add softness and sweetness to the oud. Against this black velvet backdrop, clove and saffron offer spice, warmth, and the subtle suggestion of the fine suede lining of an expensive handbag. As the base develops further, this suede evolves into a smoky leather note; D.S & Durga Mississipi Medicine, Inspired by the rituals of the proto-Mississippian dealth cult of the 1200s, this dark and mysterious elixir radiates rich, resinous notes of native birch tar, viola and white spruce, grounded in earthy cypress root and aromatic, powdery incense.; Art de Parfum Excentrique Moi, rich in playoffs between sweet and bitter, herbal and earthy, dark, and light. Plummy, wine-like dried fruits sweeten the tannic sharpness of black tea leaves, and the upturned-earth darkness of patchouli is illuminated by a shaft of sunshine from lemon.; Jusbox Parfum Beat Cafe, Smoke lingers in the air, filled with scents of cognac and leather couches. Beat Generation’s rebellious soul permeates the café. People stand up for their ideals in here, drawing a better future. A warm voice moves the heart and prays for freedom, accompanied by shrill notes of harmonica.

Yet if you live in a society where Christmas is not celebrated or in a climate that doesn’t reach the necessity for the warmth of an open fire then these scents will have a very different meaning.  Possibly a religious connotation, think incense winding its way towards heaven on an alter praising the Gods.

Roos and Roos Paris Mini Set x3 (Smoke and Mirrors, Oud Vibration, Purple Leather) Sunspel Oak Woods a modern and clean yet evocative of English heritage: top notes of bergamot and neroli, fused with English camomile and angelica seed, sit on a base of cedar wood, sandalwood and oak moss, sealed with amber and frankincense; Maison Margiela Replica, By The Fireside, Pink Pepper, Orange Flower Petals, Clove Oil, Chestnut Accord, Gaïac Wood Oil, Cade Oil, Vanilla Accord, Peru Balsam, Cashmeran.

Initially smokes and woods were considered far more masculine than feminine but as perfumes have become far more egalitarian so have scent ingredients.  No longer the preserve of the male bathroom cabinet these delicious deep scents are for all.

Jo Loves, Smoked Plum and Leather, A seductive combination of sweet plum liqueur and crushed cinnamon infused with smoked cedarwood and soft, warm leather; Dunhill Icon,  Lavender de Provence, rare Oud wood from the Middle East, Italian Bergamot and Neroli Absolut enhance the masculine notes of black pepper and cardamom with a base of Oris leather, the aroma you most want to linger with its compelling warmth ; Clean Reserve Smoked Vetiver, Woody Aromatic fragrance for women and men opening with Pear, Lemon Verbena, Bergamot, Quince and Bamboo Leaf; middle notes are Cotton Flower, Cedar and Peony; base notes are Vetiver, Woody Notes, Myrhh, Moss, Amber and Musk.

Their ever popular facets may well be that at its very core smoke and fires are essential parts of every humans’ existence, after all, way back when we were all more or less cave people we learnt to light fires for survival; to cook, to keep warm.  Never forget at our hearts we are creatures of habit.  We feel comfortable with what we know and as we are all aware perfume speaks to our memories very directly.  Do smoke and fire set off warning bells or a sense of comfort? Maybe even both?

diptyque, feu de bois The candle flame is enclosed in a colored hand-blown glass container. Recalling the crackling of an open fire. Warm and familiar during the winter days; Dark Night candle ScentStory Co day and night collection Dark Night, a dark musky scent opening notes of grapefruit, lemon and rum leading into a heart of black lily, rose and geranium. A twist of pomegranated backed with herbs and spices lie on a luxurious base of black amber, cedarwood, sandalwood and patchouli; Floral Street, Fireplace, crackling wood, smoky fire and cashmere blankets. It is, well, the dream. That dream’s realisation is Fireplace, a blend of Tuscan Leather, Birch Leaf, elevated with a touch of raspberry. 

Founder of Scent Story says this of Dark Night ”Dark Night is the first candle I created in collaboration with my husband. We wanted to create a candle that had a deeply memorable scent and would fit perfectly in any home or office décor. The wood wick gives a warm and rustic winter feel and is also practical and effortless. in that it is self-trimming and so requires little care.

Whatever the reaction, it will be there and it will be different from each of us.  Just like any fragrance we wear will smell fractionally different on every different skin so will the experience of the fragrance be different to each and every one of us. 

Jo Loves Lig Fires, This comforting blend of smooth, smoky wood laced with Lapsang Souchong Tea instantly brings the scent of a roaring log fire to life; Goutal Paris Bois Cendrés, a magical and mysterious wood where anything is possible. A flash of sparks releases an enchanting swirl of woody smoke; AULI Leur D’Encens, A passage to another realm, a familiar unknown, with no beginning and no end. The brand says ‘The Leur D’Encens candle was inspired by the lingering fragrance of incense I encountered in the evening air one day in Seville. Combined with the speckled rays of light at dusk, it truly was a magical moment which this candle captures with the notes of Frankincense, Vetiver, Cedarwood Atlas, Myrrh and Pine Alleppo”.    D.S & Durga portable fireplace this billows the familiar aromas of pine, cedar, birch tar and ash.

So here we have presented a small selection to get to grips with for those of us that are into winter and want that warm scent in our life.

With thanks to Dougie and Sadie

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