Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Sophisticated Scents

Candles, perfumes, incense and more for those with a discerning sense of smell

While we may not give much thought to our noses on the day-to-day, as it turns out, it’s one of the easiest senses to please—and of course, turn off. These magnificently unique fragrances break out of the typical cologne or perfume box and activate the olfactory sense with thought and care. From candles, shampoos, incense and even laundry detergent, these gift ideas can charm even the most discerning nose.

Bronze Singing Meditation Bowl

In addition to their pure incense, Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s Incausa offers bronze, hand-hammered singing bowls from Tibet that vibrate with beautiful harmonic overtones when rubbed or struck. Not only are they beautiful to look at, the bowls help guide you into a meditative state (especially when cars are honking outside your window) as you follow almost infinite frequencies into emptiness and stillness. This Bath & Meditation gift set ($200) also includes incense, fragrant handmade soap and a clay incense-holder. More importantly, Incausa’s fair trade and social business mission ensures that this is a gift that keeps on giving back to the craftsmen and indigenous people who make it.

The Fat Radish Collaboration Candle

Like all Brooklyn Candle Studio creations, The Fat Radish ($12)—done in collaboration with one of NYC’s best-loved farm-to-table restaurants—is made in small batches and hand-poured by BCS founder Tamara Mayne. Made from 100% soy—derived from American-grown soy beans—the candle offers about 50-64 hours of burn time and a delicious sweet fig scent to boot.

Tacit Eau de Parfum

Finding a scent that expresses who you are without beating passers-by over the head can be quite a challenge. Tacit ($110), the first scent from Aesop since their debut fragrance Marrakech (and its re-vamped version Marrakech Intense), offers a clean, grounded scent that’s distinct, but unobtrusive. Floral-free, green, citrus notes of yuzu and freshly cut basil are set somewhere off the Mediterranean coast.

Desert Piñon Campfire Incense

The Desert Piñon’s needles boast a deliciously sweet but earthy and pine-forward fragrance that conjures images of burnt orange from the Southwest—and it’s a scent that Juniper Ridge has recreated with their new campfire incense. Blending this with a smoky and spicy fragrance, the Desert Piñon campfire incense ($12) is made up of wildcrafted plants, tree sap, wood and bamboo stick—with no charcoal, perfume or hidden chemicals.

Tabaco Candle

Yucatán Peninsula-based perfumery Coqui Coqui takes sensorial inspiration from its tropical surroundings. Their unique, smoky Tabaco scent (freshly picked tobacco leaves paired with citrus) comes in candle form ($57), where the fragrance is infused with the hand-poured wax. Not just a gift for one sense, the made-in-Mexico candle is made from sophisticated black wax, making it a treat for the eyes even when unlit.

Rose 31 Detergent

Modern perfumery and quality detergent merge in The Laundress and Le Labo’s collaboration. Determined to bring luxury to your laundry, the Rose 31 concoction ($45) is a super-concentrated formula (meaning you should get 32 washes from a single bottle) that’s paraben-free and contains only plant-based ingredients. Washing socks will never be the same.

Smudge Stick

Adrienne Fisher personally bundles her carefully sourced herbs (wild-harvested white sage from California, lavender from Long Island’s North Fork, wild sweetgrass from Illinois and roses from the local farmer’s market) into beautiful smudge sticks ($12). She takes great care during the wrapping process—asking customers to email a little bit about themselves and their intentions—so she can have that in mind to help manifest. As the white sage burns its distinct scent throughout the room, channel stress, negative energy, the past—and whatever else you want to release—into the smoke.

Jatamansi Shampoo

Made using the intensely aromatic essential oil extracted from Jatamansi flower root (which grows in the Himalayas and has been used for centuries in perfume, incense and even herbal medicine), Jurgen Lehl’s shampoo ($27) is a delight for your hair and your nose. Naturally fragrant and luxurious, the concoction also includes olive and coconut oils to nourish your locks.

Images courtesy of respective brands