‘Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it’
– Perfume, Patrick Suskind
I think that scent is really important. That may be an obvious statement but as Jean-Baptiste Grenouille found in Perfume, the ability to smell and to literally smell are crucially human things. While I do appreciate my perfume (I’m a Viktor and Rolf, Flowerbomb sort of girl), I far prefer the smells you sort of catch. The light scent of lavender after running your hand across a bush, that sort of precise minty smell you get on the tips of your fingers after scrunching mint leaves into a cocktail glass. It’s these natural scents that have always drawn me to the Body Shop and MOR (I’m currently adoring the Mango body lotion from the former) and have always been intrigued by diffusion kits and room sprays. But what about creating your own?
As a child I would have great fun attempting to make my own perfumes, filling bottles with flowers and water, oils and food colouring. Attempts which never really worked, all bar one idea, the pomander.
The pomander actually has quite a long history. It’s definitely not something which I made up and is both a traditional christmas decoration and historic perfume, used to modify and mask bad smells. Queen Elizabeth I is said to have worn a pomander at all times and apparently they absolutely took off during the black plague. The term pomander itself can refer to a number of things – a perfumed paste or similar scented substance or even the case in which a scented substance is held, but in this case we’re talking oranges and cloves.
I’m not sure what it is about this scent, but somehow the fusion of oranges and cloves is one of those perfect scents. Clean but full bodied. We’re talking a scent like Dior’s Opium and Addict perfumes, full, sensual. Have I sold it yet?
Well regardless, I’m sold on it and I’ve made four of the things. You wonder how? It’s ridiculously simple – stud an orange with cloves and you’re done. The cloves preserve the orange allowing it to last for years, smelling beautiful as ever (They’re great for your underwear drawer).
There’s also something rather delicious about knowing that what you’re smelling is a truly pure smell, no concerns about how your skin is going to react to it. It’s just food products doing what they do best. Oh and it’s quite a cheap endeavour – take that room diffusers!