SET THE SCENE
Isaac Sinclair, Ecoya's New Zealand-raised, French-trained, Brazilian-resident perfumer, answers Viva's questions about home fragrance. He is responsible for bringing a new sophistication to the brand.
What are the aromas you most associate with Christmas? When I was growing up we always had a real Christmas tree in the lounge. For me, nothing evokes Christmas more than that incredible symphony of warm pine wood and green needles.
Where will you Christmas this year? I'm still not sure if I'll be in Sao Paulo or Paris for Christmas. If I go to Paris the odours will be very oyster-centric. Oysters are not necessarily a French Christmas tradition (just a winter one) but I've made them one of mine! If I'm here in Brazil I'll be overdosing on a bouquet of tropical fruits.
Any tips for creating a Christmas atmosphere with fragrance? To create that special Christmas feeling I would stay within the oriental and floriental fragrance families as their warmth and spicy connotations most evoke the festive season (think Ecoya's Holiday Season in Sydney, the Ecoya Collection's Vanilla Bean or Decadence Zhou).
What differences are there for you as a perfumer in coming up with home fragrances as distinct from those worn on the skin? There is a fundamental difference between these two categories of fragrances which is often overlooked. Fragrances designed to be worn on the skin have an evolution. They gradually reveal different aspects of themselves over time. Home fragrances are not ephemeral in this way. They also have top, heart, and bottom notes, but we perceive them all in unison.
Are home fragrances a natural extension of the perfumer's art or usually worked on by separate divisions of fragrance houses? Generally candles and reed diffusers are created by the same perfumers who design personal fragrances. There is another division called "home care" which includes fabric softeners and detergents. These applications are worked on by different perfumers as they are very specific and require a more technical approach.
Any final advice on enjoying home fragrance? Don't be afraid to experiment. You'd be surprised at how different fragrances can change the feeling and atmosphere in a room. Try out a few (keeping in mind the mood you want to set) until you find that perfect fit.
FOLLOW YOUR MOOD
Debbie Wild, lifestyle director for Jo Malone in London, shares her expertise on how to turn your house into a deliciously fragrant home. She says consumers are adopting a "more sensorial approach to living".
"Scenting your home allows you to create an environment that engages the senses. Our sense of smell is so closely linked to our emotions. Using scent in our surroundings enables you to change the ambience in your home to suit your mood."
Is there a time of year when people use home fragrance the most? Christmas is obviously a popular time of year for entertaining and so a warm scented candle or ruby-rich scent diffuser is a simple way to create a festive atmosphere. But we do not need a different scent for summer and for winter; we choose to surround ourselves with the fragrance that we feel most tuned-in to. That said, you can use different scents to define your fragrance style which is influenced by a mood, occasion or to complement the season. You may choose Pomegranate Noir to warm up winter evenings, or the classic Lime, Basil & Mandarin to refresh in summer months.
Are certain types of home fragrance better in certain rooms? Any room can be instantly transformed with aromatic candlelight and uplifting room sprays. When scenting your home the ideal option would be to use a room spray to scent the air; a scent diffuser to add a veil of fragrance; and to create a soft diffusion of scent you can burn a candle.
Candles always provide an immediate sparkle. Flickering, aromatic candlelight in the hallway is the perfect way to set the scene. Introducing different scents to every room "opens up" the house, encouraging your guests to move from space to space.
When scenting your kitchen you should choose clean uplifting, invigorating scents. The scent of grapefruit is the ideal way to cut through cooking smells and refresh the air while uplifting the senses. In the bedroom you may want to create an oasis of calm and relaxation. (Burning a Vanilla & Anise candle will create an enveloping comforting ambience.) For bathrooms a spa-like, clear voluptuous, romantic scent will create the ultimate sensory pampering experience. (Try Red Roses body wash and candles.)
You can also style your living space with different fragrance combinations. At Jo Malone London this is known as Scent Surround. The ambience of your home should be as inviting as the fragrance on your skin. Use Scent Surround sprays and diffusers to create an impression with a burst of enticing scent.
How well do the various scents mix together? This will all depend on the space you are scenting. Layering scented textures in a small cosy study may be a little too intense, however, using a mixture of candles, room sprays and diffusers in a large ballroom, at a wedding or for your Christmas party, will create a scented depth, suited to the opulent space. (The cinnamon, cypress and lavender notes of the Pine & Eucalyptus candle sit beautifully with the ruby-rich, Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround diffuser to create that luxury Christmas feel.)
Each of our fragrances are uniquely constructed to either be spritzed solo, or layered.
To create a harmonious fragrant home please share some dos and don'ts? Light candles about 30 minutes prior to your guests' arrival.
If you are looking for something refreshing, energising and enlivening, choose more citrusy fragrances (try Lime Basil & Mandarin). Alternatively, if you want something warm, passionate and intense, you may choose fragrances from our woody or spicy families. (A favourite combination of mine is peppery Vanilla & Anise layered with the decadently juicy Pomegranate Noir.)
If you are dining at home, try using Grapefruit travel candles on the table as these will not interfere with the food. When serving succulent desserts change your candles to Nectarine Blossom & Honey. This scent is perfect with sweeter dishes.
Any tips for maintaining a good candle? Keep the wax pool free of debris, cleaning the candle with a soft cloth only when it has cooled. Remove dust and excess wax on the sides.