July 27 2011
I take as much care in selecting a room scent as I do with the fragrance I use each day. After all, I work from home, so the environment sets the mood and, I think, helps to enhance productivity. I love scented candles such as Diptyque Baies or Figuier, or my favourite – Manolo Blahnik candles from the US. But the downside with candles is my niggling fear of fire. During my university days I accidentally started a blaze, the experience shook me, and ever since I’ve been left with a fear of it happening again.
It was a visit to Aesop’s Mount Street store that prompted me to replace candles with something better suited to my nervous disposition. When I walked into the natural skincare store, I was instantly soothed by the smell. It was so much more intense than the scent from candles, yet it wasn’t overpowering, or too redolent of “treatment rooms”. A shop assistant quickly led me to its source, a hot-oil burner which, she said, needed a maximum of five drops of one of Aesop’s oil-burner blends to produce enough scent to last for up to two hours.
It turns out that in its flagship stores, Aesop has been using hot-oil burners to create scents for many years, before deciding to make its oil-burner blends – Isabelle, Catherine and Anouk – available to its customers for £24 each. Isabelle cuts through residual smells because of the spearmint. Catherine combines clove, refreshing citrus, and cedar wood. And Anouk, my favourite, features ylang ylang, which is reportedly an aphrodisiac as well as having detoxifying properties.
As for the burner: once online, I quickly found a simple, unfussy hot stone oil burner on the This Works website, priced at £30. Now during the day, my oil burner comes with me from kitchen, to bedroom to office room, in fact wherever I choose to work. Also, crucially, it’s described as “safer to use than candles with children or animals around”, and “thermostatically controlled so will not overheat”, and to me, these words are almost as soothing as the scents themselves.