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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide ’17

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide ’17

1. Ann Ringstrand’s earthy, but beautifully inviting Gather fragrance features notes like incense, cypress, and cedramber, $215; 2. Phaidon’s The Japanese Garden is a thorough and historical exploration of the Japanese garden in art and culture, $70; 3. Horse Brand Co.’s naval knife w/brass handle is inspired by traditional Scandinavian maritime knives, and is entirely handmade in Brooklyn, $195; 4. ROE’s white sturgeon caviar is sustainably farmed in California, crafted by hand, and forgoes the oft present preservatives or borax found in European caviars, $150; 5. Consisting of a brass base and a hand-dipped glass globe, Jordi Canudas’ Dipping Lamp is the perfect blend of modernist design and ‘70s California vibes, $275

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide ’17

6. Kikori whiskey is distilled in Japan, made from 100% rice, and aged over three years, $50; 7. The School of Life’s Walden candle is subtly fragranced with natural notes, referencing the quiet life of Henry David Thoreau, $50; 8. More important now than we ever anticipated, a donation to the ACLU helps the organization respond to threats to our civil liberties, blocking attempts to suppress free speech, the denial of reproductive freedom, rejection of immigrant’s rights, racially-based practices in the criminal justice system, among many other fights, donation; 9. Designed by artist and Acme founder Adrian Olabuenaga, this metal rollerball pen & mechanical pencil set look like iconic No. 2 pencils, but write like the fine instruments they are, $74; 10.  Menu’s minimal brass candle cube, designed by Erik Olovsson, looks as striking alone as it does in a group, $75

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide ’16

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide '16

1. Lucetta Magnetic Bike Lights, $20; 2. Japanese Cast Iron Skillet, $84; 3. Mexico from the Inside Out (chef Enrique Olvera), $60; 4. Bäska Snaps, $30; 5. Byredo Incense Candle, $140

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide '16

6. Surf Odyssey, $55; 7. Kid O Go Car, $14; 8. Verso Super Facial Oil, $195; 9. COS Raw-Cut Wool Hat, $35; 10. ILA Wildflower Honey, $35

Holiday Giveaway: Van Cleef & Arpels Moonlight Patchouli – CLOSED

Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels

Moonlight Patchouli by Van Cleef & Arpels

Often associated with 1960s counterculture, patchouli’s history in fragrance goes back much further. Notably from Indonesia, essence of patchouli has been appreciated for centuries, in many fragrance-driven iterations. Starting as a means to prevent moths from damaging fabrics, it was common for silk traders of the “Orient” to pack trunks carrying their fabrics with dried patchouli leaves; during their long travels to Europe, silks and cashmeres took on the patchouli aroma, and the specific, exotic fragrance went on to distinguish authenticity. The lingering fragrance of patchouli acted as an indicator of true “Oriental” fabric, and was so desired by the affluent, that English and French garment makers went as far as scenting their imitations with patchouli to be accepted in the marketplace.

As the latest addition to the Collection Extraordinaire library of fragrances, Van Cleef & Arpels is bringing the elegance and mystery back to patchouli, with Moonlight Patchouli. An ode to the iconic ingredient, the fragrance has been refined to patchouli’s truest properties, whilst retaining the exotic nuance. The earthy (but not “dirty”), camphorated fragrance lends itself to both sexes, and translates how it is worn in tones of rich wood and leathers, and non-aggressive herbal and floral suggestions. The “moonlight” aspect frames the patchouli in a heart of Bulgarian rose and powdery iris, leading to a suede accord base note; a sophisticated arrangement of masculine and feminine.

I’ve been wearing Moonlight Patchouli since its release, and perhaps the most obvious way to describe it is elegant; the blend is smooth and atmospheric, and while I can appreciate bold tones, those here are haunting and indirect in their reveal. Moonlight Patchouli doesn’t have any reason to put on a show; but under the skilled hand of perfumer Sonia Constant, the blend is exceptionally balanced, something that can’t often be said for patchouli-centered fragrance.

As a premiere jewelry house, Van Cleef & Arpels avoids gimmicks and pull no shortcuts on the bottle design: classic in form (echoing the other Collection Extraordinaire fragrances), in black lacquer, with subtle, handsome details.

Van Cleef & Arpels’ Collection Extraordinaire is a compilation of scents that each highlight a specific fragrance from a modern, poetic approach. The house of Van Cleef & Arpels was, in fact, the first to introduce its own line of fragrances (the debut scent called, fittingly, First). Today, Collection Extraordinaire sets a new standard for nature-based, finest quality fragrance; from incensy, velvety Bois D’Iris, to sunny, white floral California Rêverie, the collection explores the natural world’s scents through thoughtful composition and artistry of perfume.

Moonlight Patchouli (2.5 oz. EDP, $185) is available at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus.



For your chance to win a full-size (2.5 oz. EDP) bottle of Van Cleef & Arpels Collection Extraordinaire Moonlight Patchouli, as well as a 40-hr burn time Van Cleef & Arpels perfumed candle (both beautifully packaged, excellent gifts for yourself or someone that appreciates fine fragrance), simply submit your information and answer the question below. You’ll be entered in the week-long giveaway, ending December 12, 2016, with a winner chosen at random and notified via e-mail to confirm shipping information. Note that when using the form, if you opt to use Facebook (instead of manual entry) to provide your name and e-mail address, this method will NOT post to your wall or retain any other information. This giveaway is limited to United States address-holding entrants, the prize will ship directly upon address verification. Happy holidays, and good luck!


Keeping A Fire

Keeping a Fire

It is that time of year to keep a fire, if you have a place to keep one, that is.

Be it built-in, enameled Scandinavian freestanding, or a classic wood stove, having the correct tools is essential; here are a few that don’t forgo style for practicality. And, if you are a city dweller with no option for a fire, in lieu of the all-too-common “fire-scented” (read Feu de Bois) candles, try something exceptional: perhaps the smoldering, resinous “Encens Olibanum” from Mad et Len, a fragrance developed in Grasse, using undiluted flowers, woods, spices, and house-aged essential oils, poured into a blackened iron vessel that was hand-forged by one of the town’s local blacksmiths.

1. Best Made Japanese Axe, $174; 2. Tsubota Queue Metal Stick Lighter, $36; 3. Mad et Len “Encens Olibanum” Candle, $135; 4. Fatwood Kindling Fire Starter, $38; 5. Vintage Modernist Fire Tools, $1500; 6. 1940s Bronze Cactus Andirons, $1500

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide ’15

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

1. Playtype Notepad, $9; 2. Playsam Mefistofel Racer, $60; 3. Rok Manual Espresso Maker, $200; 4. Strange Invisible Perfumes Musc Botanique, $285; 5. The School of Life Memento Mori Glass Paperweight, $40

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

6. Far North Gustaf Navy Strength Gin, $50; 7. Magnus Nilsson: The Nordic Cookbook, $32; 8. Recomposed By Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, vinyl, $24; 9. Bella Freud 1970 Candle, $70; 10. Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencils, 12 pack, $22

An Aesthete’s Halloween

Halloween Guide

1. Fendi Monster Sweater, $700; 2. Death’s Door White Whisky, $30; 3. Byredo Apocalyptic Candle, $80; 4. Ghost Lamp by Shiro Kuramata, $5,800; 5. Kenzo Eye Print Slip-On, $210

Halloween Guide

6. Armani Eyes To Kill Eye Pencil, $28; 7. Black Rock Candy Sticks, $15 for 18 pieces; 8. The Row Respo Cape Coat, $3950; 9. Comme des Garçons Wallet, $175; 10. 1970s Brutalist Spider Lamp, $2250

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

2015 Valentine Gift Guide

Sure, Valentine’s Day is a consumerism-based spectacle that we should all forfeit, but in lieu of disposable, heart-shaped drugstore purchases, a thoughtful gift: be it a lavish candle or a simple home-cooked dinner, should be met with welcome by any lover (or your loveless self).

Here are some ideas that will not disappoint; and if you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, head over to Saveur for a great guide to Valentine’s Day cooking, from breakfast in bed to romantic cocktails.

As for flowers, we’ll talk about that tomorrow . . . 

1. Eating with the Chefs, $60; 2. Nikka Whisky, $40; 3. Fred’s Peppered Peanuts, $38;
4. Japanese Folding Knife, $28; 5. Balmain Silk Hair Perfume, $40; 6. Rodin Lip Balm, $34;
7. Byredo Loveless Candle, $80

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

1. Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hide-Outs, $42; 2. Tom Dixon Spice Grinder, $125
3. Snow Peak Titanium Coffee Press, $60; 4. PLANT Face Oil, $30; 5. Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A2 Speaker, $399

Holiday Gift Guide

6. Umbra Shift/Paul Loebach Cup Lamp, $180; 7. RS Barcelona Mon Oncle Grill, $375; 8. Mad et Len Graphite Candle, $90; 9. 11+ World Desk Clock, $49; 10. Midori Brass Pencil Case, $68

Christmas Fir Cabin Spray by Juniper Ridge

Juniper Ridge Cabin Spray

All too often, evergreen candles and room sprays smell more like the grocery store cleaning aisle than an actual forest, not the case with Juniper Ridge’s Christmas Fir Cabin Spray.

If this isn’t your year for a fresh-cut tree, or you just love the fragrance of the outdoors inside, forgo the synthetic candle recreation and go straight to the source: utilizing traditional methods of steam-distillation, enfleurage, tincture, and infusion, the spray is made from fir, cedar, and pine, all wild-harvested in the Pacific Northwest.

Juniper Ridge

Juniper Ridge

Juniper Ridge

Founded in 1998 by wilderness enthusiast Hall Newbegin, Juniper Ridge approaches fragrance in a way that is both industry defiant and historic, as the techniques used are the same as 100 years ago. Forgoing mass production, synthetics, and excessive description, the scents speak entirely for themselves, and rely on nature to dictate the notes, harvest-to-harvest.

Juniper Ridge

If you’re more interested in provenance, Juniper Ridge has a collection of cabin sprays, each dedicated to its place of harvest, as well as their complete line of personal fragrance and product.

2 oz single-batch Christmas Fir Cabin Spray, $30

More at: Juniper Ridge
Photos: Juniper Ridge

Capturing the Swedish West Coast with L:a Bruket

L:a Bruket Products
I’ll admit that I was first drawn to L:a Bruket by their unmistakably Scandinavian packaging (nominated for The Swedish Design Award in 2012). I kept seeing photos of the line, but never ran into it here in the States. Finally, I got my hands on a good selection, and looks aside, could not be more pleased with the products.

L:a Bruket is produced in the town of Varberg, on the west coast of Sweden. Sourcing local, raw, and organic materials for their formulations, the small company takes no interest in trends of the beauty industry as a whole, avoiding chemicals or filler at all costs; this rustic but modern approach results in a decidedly Swedish, simple-but-effective line.

L:a Bruket SeaweedPerhaps L:a Bruket’s most interesting product is not so much a “product” at all, but Tångbad: dried, hand-harvested Swedish seaweed. Because this variety, Fucus Serratus, lives by filtering the ocean for nutrients, it amasses large quantities of vitamins and minerals. Possessing many health benefits, including circulation improvement and muscle relaxation, as well as antioxidant compounds that help with the signs of aging and treatment to skin irritation, the seaweed helps to recreate a restorative dip in the coastal waters of Sweden, especially when combined with L:a Bruket’s minimalist white envelope of Havssalt.

Like many of its other exports, Sweden excels in the grooming department (think Sachajuan, Verso, Byredo) but perhaps what L:a Bruket demonstrates so beautifully is that simplicity is the premier luxury.

More at: L:a Bruket

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