A friend of mine recently sent me a wonderful gift: the Alora Ambiance Reed Diffuser in Uno. Alora Ambiance was, as I understand it, the first company to introduce the diffuser concept to the United States, based off a home fragrance tradition that the founding partners — sisters — stumbled across while living in Italy near the gorgeous Lago di Como. This lovely concept has been highly successful in the US, and has since seen a variety of companies introduce similar products.
Uno is described as Alora's sweetest fragrance, a feminine composition of muguet, lemon, sandalwood and musk. The first time I tested it, I dabbed a bit on the back of my hand and inhaled. It was a cold, wet, end-of-winter day here in New York, but I found myself transported to an early morning in northern Italy...the pale sunlight filtering into a warm and earthy kitchen that still slumbers, coffee waiting to be made. A huge pile of glossy yellow lemons sitting in fancifully painted Deruta ceramic bowl. The liquid notes of birdsong in a lush garden outside the kitchen door, a dew-laden breeze and a tendril of white flowers floating into the room with the promise of a new day.
Delighted, I immersed the reeds in the bottle as instructed, and left it in my bedroom. Within a few short minutes it seemed, the scent was wafting out of the room and down the hallway (it calmed down after about a day, but this is certainly a noticeable scent). In diffuser form, the scent is indeed very sweet — more so in the bottle than on the skin. I imagine the muguet contributes to the radiance, although I normally experience muguet as slightly greener and fresher than the rounded sweetness of the floral accord in Uno.
The lemon remains delightfully pure, balancing the dulcet effect and uplifting the musk. The musk (and perhaps sandalwood) which eventually emerged and established itself does not scream out muskiness so much as it hints at unexpected intimacy. I haven't been able to find any other word for it, but I am constantly surprised by this facet as I come across the scent during the day, enjoy its lilting sweetness and sunny citrusy radiance, and then am met by the presence of something subtly fuller and warmer, demure and yet very much there. I don't normally think of home fragrances as being sexy, but surely this one must at least qualify as flirtatious, dallying with fruit and flowers and then turning to smile at you over a warm, bare shoulder tanned by the Italian sun.
Alora Ambiance reed diffusers are available in 16 oz ($80), 8 oz ($58) and 2 oz travel set ($45). For more information, see aloraambiance.