How does one begin to distil the essence of Christmas into a fragrance? There are some obvious starting points: the tree, of course, the centrepiece of any festive celebration, and the spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom – that waft from a seasonal table. But what about those intangible but equally important qualities – the warmth of a crackling fire (or a blazing sun); the comfort that comes with surrounding yourself with loved ones?
This was the challenge that faced LUMIRA founder and creative director Almira Armstrong, when she set about creating the brand’s very first Christmas fragrance, Nuit de Noël.
“The scent has been a year in the making – I like to think that all good things take time, she smiles. I’ve always wanted to create a scent around this time of year. We’re asked for one every year, and I thought it was appropriate for our five-year anniversary.”
Armstrong approached the creation of Nuit de Noël with a clear starting point. “I knew it had to encompass more spice than sweetness and have a sophisticated woody base.” Indeed it opens with all those beautifully fragrant spices and a hint of black pepper for warmth, with a floral-aromatic heart of rose, lavender, coriander and clary sage. Cedarwood in the base gives a nod to the iconic pine tree, and patchouli, sandalwood and tonka bean add depth. There’s a clear nod to tradition, but at the same time, “the scent is modern and sophisticated”. This dichotomy makes it a delight to create a welcoming environment at home, but equally special as a gift for family and friends.
Although happily living in Australia now, Armstrong drew on fond memories of the white Christmases she spent living in London throughout her 20s. “This scent is connected to the northern hemisphere experience of Christmas: warm fires, the falling snow on trees, the smell of spices in food. I imagine lighting this candle to create a cosy and welcoming environment, and enjoying the season with friends and family.” Consider the essence of Christmas captured.
Discover some of our favourite ways to spend a white Christmas.
Look for somewhere that fully and unabashedly embraces the spirit of Christmas, where there are trees in every room, the mulled wine is flowing and the service is impeccable. We love The Ritz in London (pictured above) or The Plaza in New York.
Occupying a prime location on the King’s Road, London’s The Ivy is the ideal spot for some post-shopping sustenance. The terrace and garden is particularly pretty, though you may need a rum-spiked hot chocolate to withstand the icy breeze.
Shop: No one does holiday windows quite the big department stores. In London, we are thrilled that LUMIRA is included in the Selfridges’ Christmas windows, while in Manhattan, another favourite, Barney’s New York, has partnered with Save the Children on some very striking window installations.
Written by Michelle Bateman