Room by Room with... Suzy Nightingale
In this series we catch up with home-loving fragrance aficionados - from master perfumers to famous 'fume-heads' - discovering exactly which scents they use to make their homes feel special, and how they choose them - room by room.
Suzy Nightingale is an award-winning fragrance journalist who began writing for Fragrantica, then became an expert consultant for various international newspapers and senior writer for The Perfume Society. More recently, she's also been scenting the airwaves with co-host Nicola Bonn on the fragrantly themed 'On the Scent' episodes of the Outspoken Beauty podcast. As we found out, fragrance infuses every aspect (and every room) of her life...
"I've not counted for ages, I don't want to scare myself - but I've got to have over 500 bottles I've collected over the years, easily. There's everything from classics by Guerlain and Chanel to sample vials and discovery sets and candles. I mean, you could probably say I'm obsessed. I choose a fragrance to wear based on my mood that day, but also the materials and colours I'm wearing. Do I want something that smells rich, velvety and cocooning or bold, bright and confidence-boosting? I use the same choices to scent my living space."
"In the hallway I like to have Black Magic on standby. For me, the smell of white jasmine and creamy ylang-ylang against the woody, earthier base of sandalwood and patchouli is a way of bringing the outside in. The entrance to your home is so important, it connects you to the world but then leads deeper to the heart of who you really are. I must admit I also really enjoy the idea of people seeing the name and being intrigued, then leaning closer and discovering it's far more luminous than 'Black Magic' suggests. Always good to leave people wondering."
"This is where I keep most of my candles on display, I love the look of them en-masse in the hearth. I live with my mother now - I moved in to help care for my stepdad after a stroke left him paralysed, and he sadly passed away in October last year. Now she's been diagnosed with Parkinson's and has health issues of her own. But I can't tell you how much joy fragrance brings into the house - carers always commented on how wonderful our home smalls, and I think it truly helps you 'travels with your nose' even if you can't get out.
I've been burning Boujee Bougies Succulent candle almost constantly, there. The ultra-green freshness seems to push the walls out further and increase your sense of space. In the evening I like something more exotic, the heady orange blossom of Cloon Keen Spanish Arch is a favourite; or a snuggle-up scent such as Parks Feu de Bois. Though we've got a gas fire, the scent of this one immediately conjures the feeling of smouldering wood and flickering flames."
"I don't usually burn candles in the kitchen as I'm in and out during the day so don't want to leave them unattended, but if I'm in there a good long while cooking up a storm from a complicated recipe (with a glass of wine in hand, obvs), I might have something like Diptyque Baies on the go. I find the piquancy of the sharp blackberry can punch through even onion."
"I like to burn citrus-fresh scents in here, to wake me up and give me a bit of a boost. I have the Lime, Basil & mandarin from Parks Aromatherapy range on my desk right now. Come 4pm when my spirit and energy levels are flagging, I'll light it and take a few minutes to breathe in that zingy scent. It's the olfactory equivalent of charging your battery."
"Now here I want a bit of glamour - something that makes me think of having a lavishly appointed boudoir from the 1920s with a chaise lounge. Sadly, I don't have the room for that in mum's house, but nonetheless I keep a MASSIVE Foranasetti L'Eclaireuse in there. For one, I love the soft musky, powdery smell, but it's the iconic Lina Cavalier print I'm constantly charmed by. I love their humour. I really like the intriguing glamour of Jovoy's Gardez-Moi Cloche candle too. Something about the opulence of gardenia and tuberose - interestingly, a note I can't abide, usually, in a fragrance I wear. It goes to show, you should always experiment, just go with your nose.