August 14 2010
When it comes to room fragrances, I can never seem to get beyond Diptyque, and two of their aromas in particular – the greenness of Figuier in summer and the smokiness of Feu de Bois in winter. The reason I stick with these scents is that there is nothing obvious about them; both have a mystery, and a freshness that prevents them from being cloying like so many candles.
Feu de Bois is also marvellous for layering, as I was once shown by an expert – it acts as a superb base for conjuring up atmospheres. Burn it with Narcisse in the next room and the country house-woodsmoke aroma is suddenly sweetly springlike. And for essence of autumn, try Aster.
I had often thought that outdoor versions would be good, for those late-summer evenings when the roses and honeysuckle have finished blooming and the air no longer has the incomparable scent of flowers. While searching at Diptyque for a sophisticated, less eye-watering version of a citronella candle to keep the mozzies at bay in my little Provençal garden, I found that they had answered my other prayer in the most elegant way. Figuier now comes supersized in a beautiful white embossed earthenware pot, with four wicks and well recessed to cope with any breeze. The strength is apparently the same as indoor versions but on a small patio it scents the air beautifully. Burn the candle right across each time and it should last for 110 hours, which makes the £170 price tag seem reasonable, and leaves you with a very attractive plant pot. No luck on the on citronella front, though – maybe they’ll have invented it by next year.