Tag Archives: de Nicolai

Heliotrope Forest

heliotropeHeliotropes are such a pleasure for the nose.  I’ve had one around the house most years, even in wintertime.  They’re really perennials after all, and can go on for season after season if you live far enough south.

Here in northern New Jersey we are definitely not far enough south, so long before the first frost, I go out and rescue my heliotropes.  This particular plant has now given me some offspring.  They arrived by the rather simple method of rooting in water.  It turns out that heliotropes, just like basil, will root in water quite easily, and so my one heliotrope has turned into three heliotropes, and this gives me a feeling of accomplishment (an idiotic one, since the heliotropes managed the operation on their own). Continue reading

Ante-Meridian

Sleeping womanGenerally, I don’t mess with perfume until the afternoon.  This is not a hard and fast rule so much as it is habit.  There is simply no point in trying to get yourself completely turned out at seven a.m. or earlier-which it often is around here-unless you have to catch a plane or something.

Still there are times when the morning fragrance is a helpful prop, literally, when you have to get up and get going pronto.  I have written about this phenomenon before, and then my choices were distinctly prickly perfumes, things that got you up and held up up at an early hour. But there are gentler ways of waking up as well. Continue reading

Twelve Smells of Christmas, Day Twelve: Cinnamon of the Season

Last in this series about Christmas smells comes cinnamon.

Perhaps it should not be carrying the heavy train of all the preceding seasonal scents, but it is an integral part of most Christmas atmospheres, on a par with gingerbread. Cinnamon brings up the rear of this solstice procession naturally.

Cinnamon in scents is a warm and welcome note, but there is no getting around the fact that it is apt to smell like a candle or a room freshener. Cinnamon has become one of those things we spray from a can before a Christmas party. We tend not to take it seriously or wear it seriously in perfume, and there’s a good reason for that too – namely, the strength of the note.  It can absolutely dominate a formula so that no other ingredient can get an olfactory word in edgewise. Continue reading