For me, Christmas should smell like my childhood holidays; it should smell like dessert. My family’s stove was in near-constant use from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and at least half of its output was sweets. My grandmother, with her arms of steel (she kneaded dough twice a day — all year round — so we could have fresh bread for lunch and dinner), would mix, chop, shave, dice, grate, squeeze and roll her way through pounds of flour, sugar, butter, lard, chocolate, nuts, fruits and spices; her creations would scent the house. Whenever I smell molasses, allspice, nutmeg, or ginger, I think “Christmas!” It’s a wonder I’m not the size of a house since I spent my childhood feasting on cakes, puddings, pies, candy, cookies and jams. But as much as I love to gorge on (and smell) sweets, I dislike perfumes, candles and room sprays with a pronounced “dessert” theme. I’d much rather smell gingerbread baking in the oven than the scent of “gingerbread” emanating from a candle.
To fragrance my home during the holidays, I turn to another favorite category of “Christmas” scents: evergreens. I love the fragrances of pine, fir, juniper and cedar. Walking into a house at Christmastime and smelling the authentic scents of the forest (a fresh Christmas tree, garlands and wreathes of cedar, holly, laurel and pine) is like entering a room and seeing a miniature horse resting on the sofa: it’s surprising, charming, exciting.
Annick Goutal’s Noël home spray combines notes of lemon, bitter orange, mandarin and Siberian pine. Noël is a bracing hyper-realistic pine-leaf/pine-bark fragrance, with citrus notes acting as “frost” or “icy raindrops” on the “pine needles.” When I first bought Noël, I couldn’t stop spraying it; it was weird to be transported to a cool pine woods with each spritz. Noël is powerful and long-lasting, and as the pine note "calms," an invigorating orange-tangerine aroma remains in the environment (especially on fabrics).
There is a warning on the Noël box that reads: Toxic for aquatic animals. Could cause harmful long term effects for aquatic environments*. I beg all of you who share your houses with turtles, tropical fish, frogs, and hermit crabs to investigate the Noël candle instead of the room spray. I don’t want the cold blood of your aquatic pets on my hands this holiday season!
Annick Goutal Noël home spray is a limited edition holiday fragrance; it’s $46 for 100 ml.