Five weeks into lockdown, and I think it’s safe to say that ‘escape’ is at the forefront of most of our minds just now!
Our homes may be providing us with the safety and security we need – and there truly is no better place for us to be – but being able to escape from the uncertain and bewildering realities of current lockdown life offers a much-needed bit of sweet relief, whether it be through the pages of a favourite novel, the alluring locations of a film, the exotic taste of a freshly-cooked dish, or scent of a faraway land.
Nothing evokes the senses, or has the power to transport, more than scent. The part of our brain that processes smell also stores our memories, which means that when our noses detect the scent of something we have stored with a memory, that memory is retriggered. It may be the smell of vine-grown tomatoes in your grandfather’s greenhouse, the salty tang of the ocean on your first trip to the seaside, or the scent of your favourite childhood meal; the scent and memory will forever be closely entwined.
This is the reason that my favourite way to switch off, unwind and escape is simply to light a scented candle, because it offers a dreamlike conduit to another time and place. Now perhaps more than ever, I appreciate this transportative quality of scent. When enjoying a nice long warm bath I like to have a candle that evokes a sense of the tropics burning nearby, so I can close my eyes and imagine I’m laying in the ocean, the sun beating gently down, a man selling freshly-cut coconuts a few yards up the beach. When I’m curled up on the sofa reading a book I like to burn a candle with a scent that closely matches the setting of my novel, further transporting me into it’s pages. And when I’m sat at my desk working (ok, kitchen table as the bf has stolen the office) I like to have a gently floral scented candle nearby and imagine the smell is wafting in from my garden through an open window. In reality we’re four floors up, overlooking a car park, without even as much as a balcony for outdoor space.
So I thought today I’d round up a selection of candles and other home fragrance products designed to help you create your own escape, to a setting of your choosing, whether you dream of rambles along a blustery Nordic coastline, saying aloha to a chilled island vibe, or simply pottering in a garden, bursting with the fresh, sweet scent of springtime. Just pick your destination below..
Choose your Adventure
stargazing in the Mojave Desert: the mingling scent of cedar, eucalyptus and earthy patchouli, with a touch of tangy blood orange and floral jasmine blossom, and a resinous, smoky sandalwood and amber base, stimulating moments of peace and thoughtfulness.
1/ Piñon, makko & palo incense, Incausa 2/ No.26 Copal, PF Candle Co. 3/ Indio tealights with terracotta candle holder, The Very Good Candle Company 4/ Joshua Tree ceramic candle, Norden 5/ 29 Palms, Roen 6/ Palo Santo gold travel candle, Brooklyn Candle Studio 7/ Palo Santo incense sticks, Incausa 8/ No. 005 Mojave Rain, The Nomad Society 9/ Palo Santo sticks, Pampa
Frolicking by the Pacific: Salty skin, ocean waves, warm sand underfoot, sea salt, dune grasses and driftwood. Notes of blackcurrant, patchouli, tuberose and sea moss, mingled with wild sage, fig and lavender. The scent of bonfire on the breeze.
1/ Swell Sunset incense cones, PF Candle Co. 2/ Pacific essential oil blend, Vitruvi 3/ Topanga, Roen 4/ Sweet Ash*, Baxter of California 5/ No.21 Golden Coast room spray, PF Candle Co. 6/ Tides, Evermore 7/ The Surf Shop of Stephane, Lola James Harper 8/ The City by the Bay, 42 pressed 9/ Waves, Keap
Magical Moments in the Mediterranean: Memories of bustling cobblestone streets, sweet Italian pastries, hazy summer afternoons by olive groves, a waft of citrus peel and fresh cut basil on the air and long, lazy, alfresco nights with a glass of wine in hand.
1/ Neroli + Basil, Wax + Wick Workshop 2/ Italian Garden, Octō London 3/ Italia, Brooklyn Candle Studio 4/ Ver incense cones, Essence + Alchemy 5/ Mas Santo, Homework 6/ Grove, Tiger & Co. 7/ Roam room mist, Hobo + Co. 8/ Olive Terra, PF Candle Co. 9/ Tonic, The Muses
Morning Trails through the Forest: Dewy walks in dense woodland groves, crisp leaves crunching underfoot, the fresh scent of pine needle, eucalyptus and silver fir in the air, gently warmed with base notes of earthy moss and spicy black pepper.
1/ Forest, Noa 2/ Grove essential oil blend, Vitruvi 3/ Wild Woods + Fir, Wax + Wick Workshop 4/ Grove, Fellowstead 5/ Ground, Find 6/ Grove, Evermore 7/ Beyond the Pines, Sun.day of London 8/ Terre Noire lava stones, Mad et Len 9/ Montana Forest, Brooklyn Candle Studio
Pottering in the Garden: Lingering memories of summers spent in the garden with grandparents, of plump tomatoes on the vine, parsley seed and basil, a lingering floral touch of honeysuckle mixed with rose, geranium and lavender, and an earthy rosewood base.
1/ Gardener, Boy Smells 2/ The First Morning of Spring room spray, Lola James Harper 3/ Fleur reed diffuser, Cicely & May 4/ Bloom room mist, Hobo + Co. 5/ La Maison Rose, Roen 6/ Rooftop Garden, Sun.day of London 7/ Azoth, Essence + Alchemy 8/ Lotus Blossom, Noa 9/ Greenhouse home mist, Earl of East
Rambling along the Nordic Coastline: Crashing waterfalls and big landscapes, orchard trees dappled in late summer sunlight, wild berries, blackcurrant and oakmoss, the cleansing aroma of sea salt, eucalyptus and sage. The bracing ocean breeze a reviving tonic.
1/ Fjord, Skandinavisk 2/ Northern Forest room fragrance, Lightwell Co. 3/ Stormur, The Very Good Candle Company 4/ Strand, Fellowstead 5/ Nordic Pine, Meraki 6/ Nordic Cedar, Aery 7/ Sea Salt + Oak, Wax + Wick Workshop 8/ Sage + Sea Salt soy wax melts, Cicely & May 9/ Sea Salt & Sage, Paia
Exploring Japanese Islands: A meditative blend of earthy Hinoki cypress, sandalwood and cedar leaf, mingled with the spicy bite of ginger and a fresh blend of peppermint, basil and eucalyptus. Top notes of cherry blossom, yuzu, toasted sesame and mild citrus.
1/ Kyoto, Brooklyn Candle Studio 2/ Hinoki Woods, Brooklyn Candle Studio 3/ Asagiri reed diffuser, The Very Good Candle Company 4/ Wakame Seaweed reed diffuser, Aery 5/ Hinoki Fantôme, Boy Smells 6/ Sakura Blossom, Aery 7/ Onsen, Earl of East 8/ Japanese Citrus travel candle, Brooklyn Candle Studio 9/ Ambre Japonais, Byredo
bustling about the medina: Sultry smoked spices, woody notes of cypress bark, spruce and oak warmed with clove and ginger, a hint of smoke mingled with cardamom and honey, a delicate floral musk of rose, orange and jasmine, the lingering scent of sweet mint tea.
1/ Rue Yves Saint Laurent, 40.000 Marrakech 2/ Burning Bazaar, D.S. & Durga 3/ V. Riad, Sun.day of London 4/ Kasbah, 19-69 5/ Orange Blossom room fragrance, Lightwell Co. 6/ Ode Rosae difuser*, Culti 7/ Spirituelle Verte room spray, Mad et Len 8/ Spirituelle* pot pourri, Mad et Len 9/ Atlas Cedar, Earl of East
Saying Aloha to Island Life: Waves lapping, platinum sand between your toes, nothing but azure blue skies overhead. Creamy coconut mingling with dark rum and kaffir lime. Deep botanical bouquets wafting under notes of sea salt, driftwood and moss.
1/ Lemongrass & Coconut, Hobo + Co. 2/ Coconut & Keffir Lime, SoH Melbourne 3/ Beratan, Frama 4/ Maui, Brooklyn Candle Studio 5/ No. 006 Aloha, The Nomad Society 6/ Dark Rum*, Malin+Goetz 7/ Coconut Leaf, Noa 8/ Coconut, Helm London 9/ Lanai, Boy Smells
What are your favourite scents, and where (or when) do they transport you to?