Interiors: Scents of Occasion

Scentscaping is the art of using fragrance to craft a unique journey through our homes, boosting mood and wellbeing. We caught up with Linda Pilkington, perfumer extraordinaire and founder of Ormonde Jayne, to find out more.

Can you tell us a little bit about scentscaping and how it can transform our homes? We offer clients at our boutique complimentary consultations, advising them about the art of scenting the home in order for each area to declare its own individuality. We ask them which scents they like, and to describe their space; for instance, does it have high ceilings, what is the climate, is it a room where they entertain frequently or are they scenting a smaller private office? We have some fragrances that simply lift out, singing and shining, and you wouldn’t want that in your guest bathroom, but it would be perfect for a drawing room. 

What are the health benefits? When you return home from a hard day’s work, a welcoming scent can create a different atmosphere that helps you to disassociate from the outside world. The wonderful thing is that this happens without you even having to try: our sense of smell is incredibly powerful and immediate. Handled by the olfactory bulb in the front of the brain, odours are processed through our limbic system to the regions that relate to memory and emotion. This all happens in an instant, so sometimes that familiar waft of our favourite scent, whether it’s an amberesque rose or a woody cedarwood, effectively prompts us out of work mode and into a safe, secure world of comfort. When we choose a scent associated with happy times, it contributes to our emotional health. 

What’s the connection between scent and nostalgia? It’s scientifically proven that when you smell an aroma from your past, the cortical areas in your brain, controlling emotion and memory, are activated. A happy example of this is the nostalgia you feel on detecting a certain scent from a childhood holiday. If you happen upon this specific scent again, it can have an immediate positive, uplifting effect. That emotion can resurrect itself effortlessly in a very vivid way, especially as the memories associated with smells tend to be older and rarely brought up. When it comes to smells, we can be influenced at a subconscious level and not necessarily realise it. 

Which fragrances work best in different areas of the home? In the entrance hall, depending on the size, I would place one of our original reed diffusers. Ormonde is our house signature scent, an unconventional woody fragrance with cardamom and cedarwood – it’s the only fragrance in the world that contains black hemlock and has loyal fans across the globe. Another favourite for halls is Maison Royal, using a time-honoured accord of rose, jasmine and warm amber. Both scents spell out: Welcome Home!

The creamy rich floral notes of Frangipani work so well in a drawing room. It’s one of my favourites, and a particularly attractive formulation with magnolia flower, lime peel, white frangipani, jasmine and plum. Another scent that works well in living rooms, although with a very different effect, is Ta’if. The ta’if rose is extraordinary, blooming in the intense dry heat
of the Arabian desert, so it’s incredibly resilient in nature. Our formulation uses saffron, dates, orange blossom, broom and amber and it creates a sophisticated, seductive and opulent atmosphere. 

The kitchen/dining room is an area that needs a lot of attention as you won’t want an intense scent while you’re eating. I recommend Casablanca Lily with bergamot, lime and lily as either a scented candle or a mini reed diffuser. While you’re dining it’s nice to enjoy the aromas of the food without distraction. 

Ormonde Jayne

You wouldn’t want a particularly strong scent in the bedroom, either, but it’s nice to have a very light presence. I’d recommend one of our Sampaquita candles, or our new Peony candle, which scents the room without even being lit. It’s subtle but ever present. 

For the bathroom I’d choose a soothing scented candle like Champaca. This is one of our first fragrances made with basmati rice, bamboo, neroli and champaca absolute – a tiny pale orange flower from India. It’s deeply comforting, and at the same time, sophisticated and unusual. 

And in the home office I’d recommend a Montabaco mini diffuser. It’s a soothing, sensual fragrance and the soft leather and amber notes partner perfectly.

Looking forward to spring, what would you recommend to bring the outside in? When the first signs of spring and new buds appear, I would choose Casablanca Lily to bring in the new season. It’s uplifting with notes of bergamot, lily and lime, with a great yield. Our new candle Peony is also fabulous for spring, centred on one of my all-time favourite flowers. 

I also created a recipe for Camellia Rosewater Cupcakes on my blog Gourmande Jayne, which fills our house with a delicious fragrance, not to mention the delicious cupcakes!