Christmas smells have come a long way. They have a long way to go, but they have made some strides. I got some wood wick candle today that's green (denoting a pine accord) and called Festive Something. It's excellent. It's right next to the Pier One piney reed diffuser. Which is equally excellent (reminds me a bit of Noel, my fave, which seems to me as if it must have some kind of aldehydic thing going on, because I smell the frankincensism, the cranberriness and the orangitude, but there's something else going on there. I wonder if it's aldehyde C12 MNA, which I only wonder because I know of this compound. It's prolly something else). That, of course, is next to a Fir Balsam candle from Yankee Candle. This last one has been discontinued in favor of Balsam & Cedar, which I think is a mistake. B&C smells much like every other mediocre pine-with-cedar; Bath & Body Works tread that accord into the ground, I'm guessing cuz it's cheap to produce. Fir Balsam smells more like a coniferous tree, because there's this sap note there, which isn't exactly 100% pleasant, but it's very true to nature. And the sap note is easily perceptible. You can still buy it in the stores--it's in the "Treasures" section, or whatever they're calling it--but you can't get the tarts or a spray. Drat.
Anyway, I noticed that all the pine smells I have (for the most part) coordinate really well. Remember when there was only one spray at the drugstore, and it sort of smelled like pine in a weird, very distant way, but mostly was vomitaceous? I do. And when you had a few options of home fragrance pine (I'm basically deploying pine to imply any coniferous smell), most didn't smell very good and some smelled very different from each other. Like a mentholic pine and a weird sort of pine and a cheap cedar. But today there are a lot of choices for a pine scent, and many are quite good. Not all are, but there are at least choices. Now if only people would go a little further in them.
And that reminds me--I can't remember if I've mentioned it, but I smelled the Annick Goutal holiday candle, and it's OK. Competently done, but there's nothing original going on. Someone willing to shell out AG prices for a scent experience deserves better than that. One of the BEST, hands-down, xmas home fragrances out there is still Crabtree & Evelyn's Noel. It's a shame that they still keep trying to put out Noel Part 2. This year it's called Windsor Forest. Capable, well-done like Noel but not as individual or interesting.
And that's it for the xmas smells. The other smell that jumped out at me today was Snuggle Fabric Softener. The white lavender/sandalwood smell. I must have smelled it before, but it felt like I hadn't. Suddenly it smelled like Fleur du Male, all chemical orange blossoms. I was like, "Wow! I have to start using this in the summer!" Their "raspberry hydrangea" is what caught my attention initially, and despite the rather sickening-sounding name, it's quite nice. Berry notes with floral musk. I would guess the fragrance was built around an aromachemical with berry and phenolic floral nuances; because it just seems strange if it started with the concept of raspberry hydrangea. Actually, it may be "black raspberry," which seems to connote a darker, drier fruit tone in consumer products. I feel like some committee was trying to come up with another flavor of Snuggle and someone said, "We could use Ed Shepp Fragrances new captive, "Berryitbitch"--it has a spectacular bright berry tone combined with tropical flower and fresh musk nuances. We could build the smell around that and use fewer ingredients."
Still in fabric softener country, I still think that Downy's Orchid thing smells like Cashmeran. But is that cheap enough for functional fragrances? I guess it is, but who knows...
I think taste might be the future of odor. Meaning, I think the next thing is flavor science. People who are interested in odors and stuff are going to start delving into flavors. Companies which have exhausted the product potential of odors will start branching into flavors. We'll see pop books on flavor come out and there will be a small DIY flavor community. Just a hunch.
But speaking somewhere in the universe of flavor, Lindor (or is it Lindt? Or Lindsor? Too lazy to check) truffles this year come out in Holiday Spice. I'm guessing this is the first time it's happened, because it's the first I've seen of it. They rule. Better than the white chocolate ones, which I like best. They're not quite as good as Godiva's pumpkin spice truffles, but they're an economical alternative to those. And it's about time there was one. For the life of me, I shall never understand why "pumpkin spice" hasn't just taken over as a flavor. Yes, you see it everywhere, and it seems like everyone has tried it, but I've seen it shelved so many times. It seems like it's finally starting to break through in a limited way, but it's astounding how little market share it has.
In another flavor note, Ste. Genevieve Pinot Grigio tastes like garbage. Literally. It's like you're having a glass of harsh wine in front of a dumpster, because there's that "dumpster note" in the finish. It's disgusting. But still better than White Zinfandel.
An d that's the glompls for today. Ed Shepp