Some of the most bizarre and ridiculous ads on TV at this time of year are the highly stylised mini movies aimed at enticing us to purchase our loved ones expensive perfume or after shave/cologne.

Warning – here comes a bit of a rant!

I hate perfume. To my sensitive and sophisticated nose, perfumes are an aberration. Nature does scent far more beautifully than we mere men and women ever could. Think of the smell of an old rose, of lavender or of lilac… sublime fragrances that are pure and natural and blissfully beautiful. Now think of running the gauntlet through the cosmetic department of a large store – keeping speed up and eyes downward muttering “no thanks, no thanks” as very startled looking ‘consultants’ in white uniforms proffer a spray of Poison or Opium.

Ok – I have just read that paragraph back and it sounds very ’80s. Do department stores still do that kind of thing? Do Poison and Opium still exist? Have they been relegated to granny presents yet? Anyway you get the picture.

“So”, I hear you ask “what perfume do you wear?” I don’t. No siree. Perfume makes me sneeze, makes my eyes water and I am sure interferes with the delicate balance of energies in my aura!

But that said I do have a signature smell! Oh yes, I douse myself liberally at least once a day in Spanish cologne! Not baby cologne.. oh no, only the real deal which is found in Spanish supermarkets where it costs a few Euros for a huge litre bottle. For evening wear or when I want to feel a bit glamorous I sparingly use a bottle of magic scent I had specially made up for me in Glastonbury some years ago. Ahh Glastonbury – hippie heaven where they know all about protecting ones aura!

Anyway I do believe that smells are important; on ourselves and in our homes. As anyone who has tried to sell a house knows, the enticing smells at home are that of baking and freshly brewed coffee. Being the Domestic Goddess that I am, I am happy to report that those aromas do regularly infuse my living space.

For other times, I use natural aromatherapy oils in a burner or scented candles. “Scented candles” I hear you say. Oh yes but not just any scented candles – oh no. There is a high degree of discernment required in the purchase of scented candles. Proper natural scented candles don’t generally come very cheap, they are not usually in jars with lids or as plug ins or yokes that spurt every time you walk past. No, my dear readers, scented candles must be of high quality in order to enhance your home. They should add to the sensitive aura of our living spaces and not function to blanket the air in headache inducing chemical fug.

I am glad to say that there is one brand of candles that I love, that gently whisper their natural fragrance and therefore do not interfere with the aura of my home. These candles are Irish and made in Wicklow and are marketed under the name of Max Benjamin. As I type these words there is a gentle hint of cinnamon and cloves in the air from the flickering jar in the corner. Perfectly complimenting the flickering lights on the Christmas Tree and making me want some mulled wine…

Max Benjamin’s latest product is a range of handwash, shower gel and body lotions and the nice people at the company (knowing how much I love their stuff) have given me a couple of samples to give away. So leave a comment telling me what your favourite scent is and why and I will pick two winners at random on Friday.

For more information on Max Benjamin check out their website.

In the meantime – is anyone off to Spain soon? My stock of cologne is running dangerously low!

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Writing and Talking.... on the radio, on the telly and in the papers. Debut book out in Spring 2022

21 thoughts on “ALL THE PERFUMES OF ARABIA……….”

  1. My fav scent is lillies! Reminds me of home, my mum always had fresh lillies for special occasions or when having the girls around.
    Now in my my small rented apartment, I spray those cheap room fresheners but they don't have the same effect at all.
    I'd love a treat of Max Benjamin.

    Anna M

  2. Sigh! I know I should try really hard to please you and say my favourite scent is that of freshly cut grass, of meadows after the rain, of a sprig of lavender as you run your fingers along and gently release the scent. I should tell you that I love the homely smell of freshly baked scones, of log burning stoves, of Brazilian coffee percolating in the kitchen! In truth, if anyone wants to give me a bottle of Daisy perfume by Marc Jacobs, that would be lovely and I'm rather partial to the scent of Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier on my hubby! Sorry 'bout that, Babs! That said, if you want to change my mind, I'll give ole Max Benjamin a try! x

  3. i love max benjamin's french linnen water diffuser & also the love, chole for perfume & very sadly nivea for men shower gel makes me go weak at the knees (lucky for them tho its not hard to do!!)I love the smell of something nice in the oven but my most favourite smell is the fresh air coming off the steps arriving back in Dublin Airport. Also very sad bc got an orla kiely diffuser as a present the other day and it got left behind in a i'd love something new for the spare room and i promise i'd be much more careful this time!

  4. I think my favourite smell in the whole world is the scent of fresh washing coming in off the line especially on a windy day. I could and frequently do bury my face in it and inhale deeply. I think it's the combination of the smell plus the satisfaction of knowing it's another job done that's so heady. I also love the smell of the roast in the oven on Sunday. Simple pleasures! Maybe I'm just sad lol

  5. I hear ya sista! I'm hopelessly allergic to most perfumes. Treated myself to a bottle if Chanel No. 5 once and was a red-eyed snotty mess for 2 days (not a good look). Also hate ALL air fresheners and am deeply suspicious of smelly candles so if you got good stuff that won't make my eyes water I want to hear/smell more! Eleanor

  6. Having a good chuckle at that one B. I am the complete opposite, love everything smelly nice. My fav at the mo is Tuscan Leather by Tom Ford lashed on in large quantities. I love the smell of old fashioned roses and of course lavender is one of nature's very best. Bread baking, chicken roasting and the nose from a warming red. Logs burning on the fire. Fresh cut meadows (cogged from Maria) and mountain heather but most of all the smell of the sea. Climbing out from below decks on on a summer's morning to view the dawn and breathing in the ocean air. A simple walk on the pier gets my nose into gear and a ramble round the harbour beats the smell of a fresh waxed Barbour!

  7. I love the smell of turf fires and sea in little seaside villages, wallflowers and big old fashioned pink tea roses that have been rained upon, the smell of Christmas dinner when someone else has cooked it and my kids when they were babies. Great post, Barbara.

  8. Do ya know when you've had a heavy night on the Guinness, red wine and a bag of chips on the way home ? And do you know the odd aroma in the bedroom the following morning ? – well, I love the smell of fresh air when you open the window, pull the bedclothes up under your chin and doze with memories of a great night spent with friends. Sometimes you could even light a candle – if you had a candle. ������

  9. AHHH now Barbara – you almost had me fooled. I nearly fell for the heavenly aroma ( can you say aroma in relations to candles?)….the quiet scent of the Max Benjamen candles ….I was thinking these candles must really be something, so I had a look at their website and discovered the real attraction Mark and David! You go girl! 🙂

  10. When it comes to the scent of things you splash on yourself, I am easily pleased. I'll use whatever anyone wants to get me for Christmas. When I traveled a lot on business I always liked bringing home some nice perfume for my wife. Her favorites at the time were Issey Miyake and Samsara, though these days she's more of a Calvin Klein person. I often got strange looks from fellow passengers as I reeked of numerous samples from the airport shops. Personally, I like the aroma of fresh fruit (to eat – not to splash on me!).

  11. As someone who uses the same brand of perfume for the last 20 odd years, I could not be classed as a perfume person. However, I am very much a smell/scent person. I adore the changing seasons and the different aroma's each one brings.

    At the moment, I am loving the Christmas tree scent in my living room, and my nostrils bellow each morning as I enter, trying to soak in the beautiful pine aroma. In the kitchen with all the various dishes to be prepared in advance of the big day, the oranges, cinnamon, cloves and mixed spice are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face as I sniff them in.
    This morning was fudge morning. Dark chocolate mixed with pecan and maple syrup, White chocolate and cranberries….you get the idea.
    Thank God there are so many natural scents out there to be enjoyed.

  12. Hmm, I love the smell of basmati rice. Driving to the coast and getting that first blast of sea air – particularly at low tide; my 4 month old son's head – which has a hint of mango (in scent not shape!)

  13. hmmm I'm so tempted to make up something..but I won't.I love the smell of fish and chips, chocolate, coffee,red wine and strawberries (but wouldn't douse myself in it). I don't like over powering perfumes or ones that smell 'chemically' (Is that a word?) or certain natural scents such as my husband's feet, armpits…. At the moment I like 'Lovely' by SJP.

  14. I put a few cloves an orange and a cinnamon stick into a small pot of water and let it simmer away. It fills the house with scents of freshness and coziness.

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