Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Christmas themes from The Library of Fragrance: Mistletoe, Frankincense and Christmas in New York


How’s your Christmas shopping going?

Here in Manchester, the city is awash with it’s usual gaggle of frantic shoppers, many of whom have taken advantage of big discounts in department stores. I myself was almost seduced by the reduced as Selfridges dropped it’s prices on Amouage and Robert Piguet. A whopping great car insurance bill enabled me to be sensibly frugal though. This Christmas I shall be driving along (safely insured) in my existing scent wardrobe, with the last few drops of the seasonally pine scented Fille en Aiguilles reserved for the big day.

Frugality has inspired this post.

At £15 a bottle, The Library of Fragrance (Demeter in the USA), sell a set of Christmas themed eau de colognes that would make for a quirkily stuffed stocking.  Feature here are Mistletoe, Frankincense and Christmas in New York.

The Library of Fragrance's scents are minimal. In a similar style to Jo Malone or Shay and Blue, they are (predominantly) single note scents designed for layering. They don’t have a pyramid of notes, they simply are what they say on the bottle.

Frankincense however, doesn’t smell exactly like frankincense, which annoyingly disproves my last point! Natural frankincense (Boswellia Carterii) is a sharp and penetrating whiff reminiscent of church incense. It’s oddly smokey and sparkly concurrently, a most peculiar sensation, which tends to initiate a gargantuan headache if I burn the essential oil in my apartment. 

Frankincense resin

In The Library of Fragrance’s Frankincense, the aggressive nature of the natural essence has been toned down with evidence of it’s namesake being most apparent in the vibrant first squirt of the opening. Instead, a sensation of amber oozes throughout, a soft vanillary custard with just a hint of smokey labdanum to darken the desert. This is essentially a ‘gourmand frankincense’, ideal for those who desire an exotic oriental with an indie vibe. It’s rather lovely.

Christmas in New York replicates the gourmand theme. It smells of cinnamon, vanilla and apples. I accidently wiped some onto my top lip a few seconds ago, an action I deeply regret as I do not like the bluergh-esque whiff of cinnamon, vanilla and apples. Those of you who adore densely sweet and lush gourmands will swoon at this scent. I’m off to the bathroom to try and get it off with Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion (otherwise known as scent destroyer).

Distinctly ‘more me’ is Mistletoe, which is basically just a bottle of green vegetal sap. At this time of year, I crave vegetal green sap. Regular readers will be aware of my seasonal slump and know that my morale sinks fathoms when darkness falls so early in the afternoon. I’m not a winter person, I’m a spring baby who needs to be shone upon in order to sustain functional mental health. Mistletoe hints at regeneration, sticky new buds and the joy of a late winter sun warming your face as you take your first long country walk of the new year.  It’s immensely joyful. An antedote to darkness. It’s no wonder that it’s reputed to be lucky to kiss underneath this prettily parasitic plant (and woeful if you refuse).

A Victorian lurker

Mistletoe’s ‘green’ scent shares similarities with lily of the valley. Indeed the scent is slightly reminiscent of the drydown of Caron’s historic 1st of May celebratory fragrance – Muguet de Bonheur, particularly in it’s astringent and anisic qualities. Add to this a general watery green quality with notions of cucumber, broken plant stems or savory celery and you have an idea of this eau de cologne’s effect.

Further info on the scents can be found at: http://thelibraryoffragrance.com.

You might also like to take a peep at a previous seasonal post on scents that smell like Christmas trees.

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