School is back in session with the Library Collection from Paddywax—only this time without the stress of final exams and late-night study (i.e., cram) sessions. Seven literary geniuses (Emily Dickinson, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Leo Tolstoy, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, and Mark Twain) serve as the inspiration behind this range of rather astute candles and fragrance diffusers. And whether you’re a fan of English literature or not, one whiff of gardenia, tuberose, and jasmine (found in the Austen blend) will make you feel as if you’re living the charmed life of Emma Woodhouse. Or for those who love a long word count, there is Dickens, with an alluring blend of tangerine, juniper, and clove that definitely held up to our “great expectations.” But no matter which olfactory tale you take out, the entire line provides the ideal ambience for a night in with your favorite book.
Candles, $25, diffusers, $29; www.paddywax.com.
One could say that Dawn and Samantha Goldworm know a thing or two about setting the mood. They’re the olfactory forces behind Jason Wu, Thakoon, Zac Posen, Rodarte, and, most recently, Prabal Gurung—creating the scent that was pumped through the historic James A. Farley Post Office for his Spring 2014 runway show. In addition to designers, these twin sisters (whose company, 12.29, is named after their shared birthday) count luxury hotels, shops, and banks among their clients. Now, you can lace your space with their first five-piece collection of candles. With names such as A Dark Affair and Forget Everything But Me, these eaux explore the various facets of love—from a torrid tryst (represented by “animalic musk,” amber, and smoky woods) to the breakup (immortalized with hints of saffron honey, cistus labdanum, and saffron). The wax is housed in a white bisque-porcelain jar crafted by Limoges in France and is designed to be refilled once you’ve burned to the bottom. If only mending a broken heart was as simple…
$150 each, $75 for scented refills; onlyscentremains.com
Mary-Kate Olsen recently told me that her latest olfactory venture—two fragrances under the Elizabeth and James umbrella—was partly inspired by her (and her sister Ashley’s) love of oils. MK revealed that she gravitates toward sandalwood and amber—both of which conjure up images of Woodstock and dousing one’s self in these pungent liquids in lieu of a shower. However, when the advice comes from an Olsen, the concept immediately sounds more “bohemian chic” than “dirty hippie.” But if you have ever Googled “fragrance oils,” you’ve likely found earthy-looking, brown glass bottles that are far from sexy and sophisticated. Not to mention, the question of how you combine them so that the scent you create doesn’t smell like a novice nose did the mixing immediately presents itself.
Leave it to Fred Segal to bring this bespoke concept to the masses. The Cali company is launching The Blend, a set of ten black, color-coded rollerballs filled with different base notes, ranging from citrus to spices. When layered, the oils form thousands of different fragrances. But if you don’t have the creative genes of an Olsen and need direction, the kit comes with recipe cards to get you started—each indicating the number of circular swirls to apply on your pulse points to create a warm or zesty eau. And once you find your go-to combo, transporting the vials is simple and spill-proof.
A cult classic from the eighties is returning to counters in full force this month: Calyx. If you wore this iconic scent in its heyday, you already know that it was revolutionary in relation to the heady olfactory hits at the time (i.e., Dior Poison, Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Calvin Klein Obsession, and Charlie, “The fragrance for the fast lane”). Instead of evoking the femme-fatale vibe, this spritz was exactly the opposite: fruity, clean, and decidedly refreshing. The tangy top notes of grapefruit, mango, bergamot, and papaya were juxtaposed with a light floral heart (cyclamen, lily of the valley, and freesia), then rounded out by a base of musk, sandalwood, and vetiver. The finished product was citrusy, green, and instantly recognizable in that decade of excess. The only thing different about the blend this time around is that it’s stamped with Clinique (in lieu of Prescriptives—the Estée Lauder umbrella the fragrance originally fit under), and you likely aren’t pairing it with shoulder pads.
We’ve never shied away from a manly fragrance, and the latest additions (both Brooklyn-born) to our boyish scent club are formidable indeed. First up: D.S. & Durga’s HYLNDS Spirit of the Glen. High concept and meticulous execution have become the MO for the brand, and its newest concoction, designed in collaboration with The Glenlivet (yup, the single malt scotch whisky), is certainly on par. In creating the scent, David Seth Moltz (the D.S. half of the scent duo) wanted to reference not just the finished liquor product, but all stages of its production—the crisp green of Speyside where Glenlivet is born, charred bourbon barrels, aged Limousin oak casks, and wild pineapple weed. There are hints of all before you are shepherded to an elegant finish: a dry-down of velvety, warm vanilla-laced wood as enticing as a generous glass of Glenlivet 18. And MCMC Fragrances’ newest release has distinctly masculine roots. The scent is based on its hugely popular Dude No. 1 Beard Oil. Upon discovering how many of her customers were also wearing it as a fragrance, perfumer Anne Serrano-McClain decided to make a cologne version. The woodsy blend (sandalwood, Haitian vetiver, and American-sourced cedarwood from Virginia) is at once spicy and smoky, and, on the skin, it has a smooth, husky quality. We surmise that this winter both will hold major olfactory appeal for either gender.
D.S. & Durga HYLNDS Spirit of the Glen, $180 for 1.7 oz, at Barneys New York; MCMC Dude No. 1, $75 for 1 oz, www.mcmcfragrances.com.