June 30 2010
Lucia van der Post
It’s proving to be an exceptionally fragrant summer. Colognes, as Vicci Bentley recently reminded us, are being revisited, and now the venerable house of Guerlain has delivered up some new, rather special, olfactory treats. The house has never gone in for much in the way of scented candles or what it calls more poetically les parfums d’intérieur, but I have always loved its original – and for a long time its only – scented candle, the heavenly, sandalwoody Bois des Indes (first picture). Previously available only at La Maison Guerlain in Paris, it has now arrived in London’s Harrods (£43, from July 12) and Guerlain boutiques worldwide, making it a bit more accessible for those of us who think it is one of the great all-time home fragrances.
The house has also launched three other scented candles (also £43 each). Contes Tahitiens has something of the languorous lushness of the Marquesa Islands, using essences of sunflower, guava, vanilla and sandalwood. Boudoir Vénitien is redolent of Venice in the autumn, reminding one of nights at the opera, moonlit journeys floating along canals, whiffs of red lipstick and face powder. Finally, Hiver en Russie, reviving memories of Russia under the Tsar, Cossacks pounding through glittering snow, lots of spicy cloves.
I should also mention one more parfum d’intérieur: Guerlain’s Eau de Lit (second picture, £53), a reminder of the time when women lavished perfume on their gloves (oh, long-gone elegance), on their handkerchiefs, on their linens. Suffused with bergamot and coriander, star anise, neroli and sage, made by Francis Kurkdjian, it comes in a boudoir-pretty bottle and should be sprayed on sheets, pillowcases, in the bath and wherever else you fancy.