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Yes, the smell of a tropical beach is the stuff of literal and figurative dreams in 2020. But you can bring the beach to you—and other exotic locales with just one whiff.
If chlorine recalls childhood summers at the pool or a bottle of Coppertone takes you straight to the beach, you’re not alone. That’s because smell is directly tied to powerful memories thanks to our olfactory nerve that directly links to the area of the brain that accesses our ability to recall. And right now, with flights cancelled and lockdowns everywhere, recall is all we have to take us safely away from it all.
From French fields of lavender to the far-flung sands of Tahiti, here are seven fragrances that transport us away from the confines of our socially distanced bubbles.
Not all candles are created equal. Most use paraffin wax—a chemically bleached petroleum waste product—which means your flame churns out carcinogens when lit. Which then just means a whole different level of stress (if the coronavirus doesn’t kill you, cancer will) and the whole point of this exercise is to lower your stress levels.
Enter Vancouver-based MIFA and Co., a plant-based, all-natural (free from fillers, toxins, fragrances and synthetics) bath-and-body-care line, with their new soy wax Cardamom Noir candle. Scented with 100% pure essential oils means zero synthetic smells—one whiff of its pure cardamom and you’re instantly transported to the western ghats of southern India. Cardamom’s aromatherapy benefits include improved concentration, soothed nerves and, in Ayurvedic medicine, the treatment of depression. Vetiver and cedarwood round out the journey.
$59, Mifaandco.com and at Shopkalosophie.com
In pre-COVID times, more people used to visit Hawaii in one week than all year in Bora Bora. But with Tosca’s Bora Bora room diffuser, you can book your one-way ticket to paradise all without having to brave public transit over the Pacific.
The warm vanilla diffuser evokes the heady scent of French Polynesia with its hints of jasmine, peony, floral bergamot and white tea flower all married with velvety vanilla and sandalwood. Infused with a mandarin aquatic note that’s inspired by turquoise lagoons, the only thing missing now is the overwater bungalow.
$49, Online at Sephora.ca
If you’re suffering from Coronasomnia, you’re not alone. Managing the macro stress (will we all die from this world pandemic?) to the micro (will there be enough toilet paper to go around?) means the ability to hit the hay soundly often takes a hit.
With L’Occitane en Provence’s new Cocon de Sérénité Relaxing Pillow Mist, sleep the sleep of angels in southern France’s lavender fields. Mixed with sweet orange and geranium, this 100-percent-natural botanical spray features essential oils that help promote relaxation, well being and fragrant bedtime bliss.
$25, in-store and online at Loccitane.ca
With Diptyque’s Dos Son perfumed bird brooch, you can take those basic errand runs and turn them into flights of fancy.
Inspired by Renaissance perfumed jewellery like rings and pomanders (when opportunities to shower were scant, after all), this little pin hides a perfumed disk that discreetly slides in behind. All day long, enjoy the diffused scent of Do Son, a scent imagined by one of Diptyque’s founders. Yves Coueslant spent his childhood summers in Do Son in Along Bay, Vietnam, where a sea breeze carried the spicy nose of tuberose; this fragrance evokes the delicateness and persistence of that childhood memory.
$162, In-store and online at Holtrenfrew.com
The bright lights of the big city have all but dimmed of late with theatres closed everywhere. But if you’ve been binge-watching The Crown recently, you’ve undoubtedly been enjoying a peek behind the dramatic curtain of the royal family. And the Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Room Spray captures just the right Anglophile note—upper crust without the uppity.
The sensuous but mellow freshness of just-ripe King William pears and delicate white freesia dovetail with amber, patchouli and woods for an autumn scent straight from the heart of the English countryside. Close your eyes and take a jolly good walk in an orchard all without having to don wellies or a waistcoat.
$90, In-store and online at Nordstrom.ca
If you’ve been wearing the same sweat suit for the past week, we wouldn’t fault you. If you’ve been wearing the same underwear, however, it may be time for a talk. Or, rather, time for Effleure’s new scented lingerie.
Canadian founder Virginia Marcolin brings her role as former lingerie buyer for London’s tony Selfridges department store to the table in her new venture as lingerie designer. These lacy underthings elevate standard-issue sex shop fodder to upscale goods suitable for undergarment drawers everywhere—in lieu of scented drawer sachets, your undergarments become the sachet themselves.
Subtly perfumed with 100% natural essential oil free of carcinogens and metals—think of it as safe as taking a bubble bath—means your unmentionables become sexy talking points. Or sexy points of departure: black coconut evokes the sun-kissed feeling of a tropical vacation 2020-style.
From $25, Effleure.co
Sometimes getting away from it all is as simple as hopping in your car. With BC-based Saje’s car diffuser, your staycation becomes a breath of fresh air with the scent of just the right essential oils.
In limited-edition holiday packaging, the Road Trip Kit car diffuser clips on your car vent (and works both in hot and cold air) to blow the fragrant Refresh mix of spearmint, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus and cedarwood. Stay sharp and uplifted on those long drives—or just the drive back from the grocery store.
On sale for $19.20, in-store and online at Saje.com