Home Scents / by Didier Young

Ophtalmoception. Audioception. Gustaoception. Olfacoception. Tactioception. Those are the five senses that are traditionally recognized when one talks about the human nervous system. Each of them comes with its own set of attributes and characteristics and they work together to achieve an all inclusive experience of the environment around us. Scent, along with the sense of hearing, is often the second most used sense we use on the daily. Scents have the power to evoke emotions, memories, desires and repulsions. Each morning, we put on a scent or we try to devoid ourselves of our corporal smell in an attempt to shape the olfactory image we project to society. We often overlook the power of smell and the way it alters the perception of a room but there are multiple ways to create a subtle aromatic environment in our own homes. Today we will talk about three different methods to create such an environment.

Candles are, by far, one of the most common methods chosen by people to achieve the nuanced scented room they desire. They are also the most readily available options on the market. Candles come in a wide range of perfumes, from Summer Breeze all the way to Chocolate Cherry pie, and at every price point imaginable. One may find a no name scented candle at the Dollar store or may choose to invest in the popular brand Dyptique and their $100 candles. Other than the scent, one may want to inquire about the ingredients used in the making of the candles. The two major types of waxes used in commercial candle-making are soy and paraffin wax. Pure soy wax is toxin free, burns at an average 30% slower rate than traditional paraffin candles and have a clean burn. Traditional candles are made with pure beeswax, but however they do not hold scents very well as opposed to soy candles. The more widely used blended paraffin is derived from petroleum and tends to emit air pollutants and black soot. I personally have an asthma problem and blended paraffin candles tend to cause me issues because of the harsh smoke that they emit. I know what you are thinking. An asthmatic voluntarily burning items causing smoke. I am quite literally playing with fire but as long as I make sure to purchase soy based candles, I am totally in the clear. My candle of choice is the Santal 26 from New York based brand Le Labo. The soy based candle has a nice smoky and leathery scent that is reflected in my favourite fragrance from the brand, Santal 33.

Essential oils. Most used for homeopathic purposes, most people wouldn't think of using essential oils to scent their homes. There are two ways to use essential oils. One may choose to purchase an oil burner, which is an effective and temporary way of quickly scenting a room with the oils or one may choose to invest in reed diffuser sticks and simply sticking them in the bottle. The reed will create a slow diffusion of the scent that will last you for months on end. If you absolutely love a scent and can’t foresee changing it in the near future, the reed diffuser is an excellent option but if you are more inclined to small burst of different scents throughout the week, the oil burner might be a better option for you. Brennan Michael makes wonderful reed diffusers , among other fantastic home scent products, and I have been particular loving his dried orange scent lately. When it came to choosing an essential oil for my oil burner, I decided to stick to Aēsop’s Anouk, a nice blend of citrus aromas. It seems that I do have an affinity for citrus scents, eh?

Last but not least, one may choose to diffuse a fragrance pleasant to the nose via the help of incense sticks. Two variations exist on the market: charcoal or wood. The main difference lays once again in the cleanliness of the burn with wood winning the competition. One thing to be noted however is that while essential oils and candles will diffuse scents that remain true to the original product purchased, incense sticks will usually smell a lot woodsier than they did prior to being lit. My incense of choice also comes from Brennan Michael.

A home is a haven where all senses should be appeased. It should do more than simply look pretty: it should also have a lingering scent that will remind you of your safe place. However you choose to do so, it is up to you. At the end of the day, It all comes down to scents and sensibilities.