Because olfaction takes up real estate in the brain’s limbic system, human memory is very strongly tied to smell. I am no exception to this general rule of human behavior; I am truly an olfactory girl. Scents have the ability to whisk me back to a specific moment in time, to experience the same feelings in the same way after years, to be overcome by waves of nostalgia. The smell of ironing starch still brings back crisp, powerful images of my grandmother, though the memories themselves are nearly 20 years old.
For this reason, I don’t like “fake” scents. You know, the vanilla perfume that’s simply too sugary; the lilac candle that doesn’t really smell like lilac; the rose-scented oil that bears no resemblance to roses. This falseness seems almost cruel–to mislead that way, to misrepresent its intentions, to toy with memories. I don’t like being lied to, and when certain products claim to smell like certain items, they are sometimes lying. So, naturally, I seek refuge in products that smell like the real thing. Today, I share two of my head-over-heels-in-love favorites with you!
If realistic scents are what you’re after, Atelier Cologne’s Cologne Absolue in Orange Sanguine fits the bill perfectly. You can see my travel-sized spritz bottle in the picture above, which is available for $25 in-store at Sephora. All too often, fruit-based scents can be overly heady, overly sweet, overly cloying. Not this one. It actually smells like fresh blood oranges. It’s crisp and tangy and a little spicy, thanks to sandalwood base notes. Light top notes of jasmine and geranium soften and round out the olfactory experience.
Next up is the French Cade Lavender Candle by Voluspa, which actually smells like lavender and cade wood, with a hint of verbena. It’s a very understated and expensive-smelling scent, sort of like a mixture of real, fresh lavender and pricey men’s shave soap. The candle itself, though, is very reasonably priced; you can pick up 3.2oz candle in a soft blue cut-glass jar for $10 at Anthropologie (that’s 1/3 less than the same candle will cost you at Bloomingdale’s). Plus, the quality of the wax and wick are fantastic.
So what are your good-as-the-real-thing scents??