“Redolence” is a concept that’s as beautiful as the sound of the word itself. Taken from Old French, from re(d)– ‘back, again’ and olere ‘to smell’, it means the emotions and memories created upon smelling a scent. The classic example is the thoughts and feelings evoked from freshly brewed coffee in the morning, or a passing fragrance from a person in the street that transports you to a time or place in childhood.
The point is: smell matters. You can look terrible but you always have to smell good – never the other way around. Scents create atmosphere; they tell stories and speak of something deeper. They are as powerful a force on us as they are romantic.
While fragrances for the person have consistently been seen as important, it’s only in the last few years that scents for the spaces we live in have taken on a similar level of import. You might attribute this to the rise in independent, boutique fragrance brands, but whatever the reason, there’s now a wealth of beautiful scents for us to experience and light up our living spaces.
From the more established independent brands empowering everyone in their supply chain, to small, hyperlocal family labels nestled in ancient city streets, we gathered up some of our favourites.
Think expansive lush greenery, crisp air and moody, cloudy skies – let the romantic English countryside seep into your interiors with a scent from Laboratory Perfumes, London’s darling fragrance maker since its founding in 2011 by former menswear retailer Aaron Firth. Disillusioned and disappointed by fast fashion, he sought to create something sustainable and lasting, finding not only enduring but also deeply personal inventions in fragrance. Each creation is
From the combined skill and flair of the legendary Milanese atelier Fornasetti and master Chanel perfumer Olivier Polge comes the Regalo Otto scented candle. Housed in a ceramic lidded container with Fornasetti’s iconic visage motif, the Regalo Otto mixes Mediterranean herbs, wood and incense—scents all connected to the atelier itself. For a Milanese, Fornasetti may need no introduction, but for everyone else it’s important to understand Fornasetti’s place in contemporary Milan. Founded by Piero Fornasetti in the post-war moment, the atelier is now headed by his son, Barnaba Fornasetti, and continues to design and produce all of its wares proudly and meticulously within Italy. Place the Regalo Otto candle in your home, and you’ll truly enjoy a multi-sensorial experience.Shop now
Established by former aid worker and social justice policy advocate Amy Christensen, Sana Jardin is a fragrance company that aims to go ‘beyond' the buzzword of sustainability by focussing on economic female empowerment. Using circular economy principles, the brand enables the women harvesters supplying the raw ingredients for Sana Jardin’s fragrances to become entrepreneurs in their own right, offering skills training so they can develop and upcycle remaining raw materials to develop and sell their own products in their own local economies themselves. On the cusp of 2021, we say this is where sound, future-proof businesses need to be operating. As for the scents themselves, we believe the label’s most popular, Tiger By Her Side, is the best introduction to the brand. With notes of Moroccan rose, Indonesian patchouli, and Somalian incense, the base is amber—the essential oil associated with emotional clarity and inner strength.Shop now
Following a chance encounter with perfumer Pierre Wulff, native Swede Ben Gorham left a painting career to pursue an alternative creative endeavour based on olfactory senses rather than visual. Teaming up with industry leaders Olivia Giacobetti and Jerome Epinette, luxury brand Byredo was founded in Stockholm in 2006, and since has gained global attention with its inviting scents and sleek design, showing that Gorham’s aesthetic eye hasn’t gone to waste. Nothing quite exudes warmth like the fragrance of Chai, and Byredo’s has a feel of nostalgia behind it, sparked by Gorham’s childhood memories of time spent with his grandmother and mother in their home country of India. The bold spices of Indian Chai Tea are bottled into the distinct Byredo monochrome candle for a familial, recognizable feel coupled with a chic aesthetic.Shop now
Bring good energy into your home with this limited edition and one-of-a-kind offering from Costa Brazil. A sacred resin extracted from the Almaciga tree of the Amazon rainforest, Breu is used in healing rituals to ward off dark spirits and is said to have amongst its benefits the enhancement of focus, treatment of respiratory issues and alleviation of headaches and stress – consider us sold. These sorts of natural wonders to be discovered in the Amazon are at the heart of this sustainable beauty line created by Brazilian designer Francisco Costa, drawing its inspiration from the rituals, local ingredients, and sense of clarity found in the raw world of the rainforest. Burn the Breu for no longer than a minute, breathe in its rich and woodsy scent, and relish in a soothed mind and cleansed spirit.Shop now
In any interior of British product designer Tom Dixon, no item is too small to be ordinary. The expert creator of ‘exceptional everyday items’ shot to fame in the mid-1980s with his innovative furniture design, continuing on while collecting a host of awards to enjoy his current status as one of Britain’s most celebrated and original designers. Like most Dixon products, the Swirl Ball candle has a life of its own, and an afterlife at that – made from powdered residue from the marble industry, this sustainable piece is intended to serve a purpose long after the wax has disappeared: as a design object it can be appreciated and displayed in its own right. With its splashy, eye-catching colours, patterns and distinct geometric shapes, it certainly has no difficulty finding centre stage for its artistry beyond an appealing aroma.Shop now
A refreshingly modern addition to your home is brought to you by a historic brand. Claus Porto dates back to 1887, when German entrepreneurs Ferdinand Claus and Georges Schweder opened a soap and fragrance factory in the vibrant city of Porto, where they made a name for themselves with dramatic, colourful designs in both their products and their packaging. This minimalist all-white diffuser is a paired-down look from the fragrance house (though wrapped up in a traditional playful package ideal for gift-giving), a vessel sure to add a touch of style to any corner of your home. Crafting aromas inspired by Portuguese details and landscapes, Claus Porto mixes Bergamot, Mediterranean Pine and Sea Moss that will whisk you away to the salty breeze and balmy air of those famous Porto marinas.Shop now
We wrote earlier that scents tell stories, but for fragrances that take that idea one step further, consult Timothy Han. The master perfumer and his brand, Timothy Han / Edition, proudly declares its debt to literature, and the authors and poets that inspire us through the centuries. With perfume names directly lifted from great, although in many cases, niche or overlooked, works of literature, the brand demands us to recognise the romantic power of scent (they even sell the works on their website, alongside their scents). Interestingly for our age where the emphasis is for ‘natural’ ingredients that come into contact with the body, Timothy Han doesn’t shy away from using nature identical ingredients (and telling us when they do). The reason is simple: ethics. A classic example would be musk—a key scent but one in which to achieve the ‘natural’ scent would mean killing the animal itself. Obviously, this is unacceptable, and it’s right that Han should draw a line in the sand about this. Our selection from his current collection is the evocatively titled The Decay of the Angel, a rich and exotic burnt floral fragrance inspired by Yukio Mishima’s 1971 novel of the same name.Shop now
Now is the time to settle into your favourite comfortable nook and let your fragrance of choice fill the room – give in to nostalgia, let yourself be transported to another time, another place, or simply another headspace. One simple addition to your mantelpiece and a whole world of experience awaits you.