I never need an excuse to purchase a new home scent for Maison Persolaise, but the arrival of spring always seems to make candles, reed diffusers and room sprays especially tempting. It's irrational, I know, but for some reason, changing the olfactory landscape inside my house feels like the most effective way of shutting the door on winter and throwing away the key. Equally powerful is hanging out the washing in the garden for the first time each year, but if today's sky is anything to go by, I don't think that's going to be happening any time soon.
As per usual, several parfums d'ambiance have found their way onto the market in recent months. Indeed, some of them have appeared under the banner of an entirely new brand: Alex Simone. The Monaco-based enterprise features an extensive range of scents in several different forms, comprising the three I mentioned in the paragraph above, as well as formulations designed specifically for linen and pillows. In terms of quality, it has to be said that the fragrances vary quite widely: for every pleasing effort (Green Tea succeeds in conveying a subtle haze of zen) there's an absolute stinker (Sweet Lavender is a nightmare vision of citrus-woody masculines from the 80s). My personal favourite is probably Iris Lavender, an endearing contrast between the plush sweetness of the latter and austerity of the former. If you're curious to check out the brand for yourself, you may be interested to learn that they offer a free discovery pack on their site.
The idea of scenting one's clothes also pops up in Diptyque's Eau Plurielle. A simple - but not simplistic - composition based on rose and a green ivy accord, it is one of those laudable instances of a clearly delineated idea executed with no superfluous nonsense whatsoever. The floral and the vegetal are expertly balanced against each other, creating an atmosphere that is at both homely and fairy-tale like. EP also doubles as a personal scent, in which guise it comes across as an extremely approachable, all-smiling cologne-like composition. Well worth a sniff.
Mimosa blossoms may be creatures of the winter, but as far as I'm concerned, the creamy, buttery sensuousness of their odour is the epitome of vernal optimism. That's precisely why Acqua Di Parma's limited edition Mimosa candle has been a steady burner at Maison Persolaise during the last few weeks. For one thing, it is a sight to behold - its external casing is encrusted with hundreds of delicate mimosa flowers - and for another, it projects a note-perfect rendition of the smell of Nice carnival's Bataille De Fleurs. In other words, it is heavenly.
Finally, we stay in the south of France for the latest release from L'Artisan Parfumeur. In 1977, the brand launched what has become one of its most recognised products: the terracotta Boule D'Ambre. Filled with crystals doused in a scent created by Jean-Claude Gigodot, it has radiated balsams, resins and sweet vanilla in thousands of rooms across the world for decades. Now, L'Artisan have enlisted Gigodot's help again for the Boule De Provence. Decorated with the same intricacy as the original - but coloured white rather than brown - it contains one of the most evocative representations of the lands around Grasse I've encountered for a long time. Forget cliches of souvenir shops with their embroidered lavender sachets; this is a complex, subtle work which seems to capture the very quality of the crystalline sunlight reflected in the bay of Cannes. Close your eyes... and picture mile upon mile of green fields, where sage, thyme, rosemary and, of course, lavender, sway to the tune of the cicadas, the bees and the warm air pushing in from the Med. Bliss.
[Review based on samples of products provided by the respective brands.]