It's hard to admit, but some of us just aren't responsible enough for candles. Perhaps you're prone to leaving the house in a rush. Or you unwittingly fall sleep at inopportune times. Maybe more simply, you're risk averse and open flames make you nervous.
No matter you're experience with flames, a candle adds ambiance, sets the mood and, of course, usually smells nice. While a record player, ambient lighting, and plush fabrics solve the first two problems, how do you mask the subtle smell of day-old exercise clothes in a tiny apartment with poor ventilation? Meet Un Air de Diptyque, or, An Air of Diptyque for us Anglophones. Described as being “an exceptional object, both sophisticated in its design and technique, simple yet innovative...it will blend in easily in any setting, suburban, Bohemian, or contemporary, enhancing the ambient fragrance to the maximum.” I can corroborate the wonderfully flowery copy because after five minutes, a small matchbox size conference room smelled like the brand’s shop on Bleecker Street. At $350 for the machine and $38 for the refillable capsule, it’s best for those who already have a questionable Diptyque addiction. Or, as a wedding gift.
Also a diffuser, but lower tech, is Fornasetti's Diffusing Sphere. A beautiful ceramic orb, it comes with a vat of perfume oil. Empty the vat, close the top, and stick in the black reeds and delicate scent (there are three options: a floral, an oud, and one with the brand's signature Otto fragrance) will work its way into every crevice of your household. Once it's all used up, keep the sphere forever.
For Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Papier Encens, there’s only one instruction: always keep out of reach of children. Contained in an elongated rectangular matchbox, the paper incense are perfect for a particularly beautiful vessel you’d like to see smoke smolder out of. Or, enjoy the spectacle of watching paper burn, shrivel and turn ashen. So, yes, there's fire involved in this one—but the flame goes out so quickly that it's safe enough for even the most distracted of home fragrance users.
Similarly, there's sage, best suited for cleansing the aura of any new space. Briefly light one end of Juniper Ridge's gargantuan bundle that retails for only $12, swish it around door frames and windows and you should be good to go, spirit-wise. Make sure to leave the still-smoking bundle near the sink while it's still warm, and don't just walk away.
Cire Trudon Room Spray will shade all other home sprays. Housed in a heavy antique container, it smells initially like basil, but fades nicely into something less herbal. But the real impact here is less fragrance and more heft when left on a desk.
Also a nice end table piece is the Rituals Luxury Fragrance Sticks Holder, at a nice $36. The actual fragrance sticks come separately (I'd recommend the Hammam scent), giving some latitude in which varietal you'd like to pair with the white wood.
Then there’s Astier de Villatte Incense. Recommended by Brianna Lance, they come in a robin’s egg blue box with white label and gold border. Ultra thin, only a whisper of smoke rises above it for a subtle scent that burns slowly. Think the bohemian life by way of YSL’s Marrakesh instead of Haight Street.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
For more flameless room scenting, read this.