The Greatest Perfumes Never Made – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

What is Christmas without fairy-tales and literary fiction, without the memory and scent of each one of those stories, be it the Snowman, the Little Match Girl, Nutcracker and the Mouse King or A Christmas Carol?

Everyone’s Christmas I imagine must sound and smell a little different; some of the sweet smells of my Christmas are that of glögg (mulled wine), oranges stuffed with cloves, spiced biscuits (the Danish; peppernuts and brown spiced cookies) and rice pudding with cherry sauce.

Recently ‘A Perfume Blog’ mused as to why there were not more Christmas fragrances out there, when after all flankers are abundant? And I want to wonder along…DSC02621

The only two brands bringing out a holiday perfume every year are the independent US perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz (this year’s called Vanilla Bourbon Intense) and the cheapo Yves Rocher. And then there is of course the one perfume which managed to manifest itself as perhaps ‘the’ Christmas perfume; Nuit de Noël by Caron. But apart from that there are hardly any releases at all focussing on the festive season. I must say I cannot think why not more perfumers want to create holiday specific perfumes; when you see how often Nuit de Noël gets talked about on perfume blogs and forums I would think it means we crave them- festive perfumes. Would Nuit de Noël get quite as much attention without its evocative name?

Surely if you can have loads of Christmas music, Christmas tableware, Christmas table cloths, not to mention many boxes of Christmas decorations etc., then why shouldn’t we own more Christmas perfumes? Full of memories and wishes, full of the many smells associated with this time of year.

A Christmas Carol will need no further introduction. Here an extract from Chapter Three, where Scrooge meets the second of the three spirits; The Ghost of Christmas Present.

“The Grocers’! oh, the Grocers’! nearly closed, with perhaps two shutters down, or one; but through those gaps such glimpses! It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose, or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight, the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy, or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes, or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress; but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day, that they tumbled up against each other at the door, crashing their wicker baskets wildly, and left their purchases upon the counter, and came running back to fetch them, and committed hundreds of the like mistakes, in the best humour possible; while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own, worn outside for general inspection, and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose.DSC02631

But soon the steeples called good people all, to church and chapel, and away they came, flocking through the streets in their best clothes, and with their gayest faces. And at the same time there emerged from scores of bye-streets, lanes, and nameless turnings, innumerable people, carrying their dinners to the bakers’ shops. The sight of these poor revellers appeared to interest the Spirit very much, for he stood with Scrooge beside him in a baker’s doorway, and taking off the covers as their bearers passed, sprinkled incense on their dinners from his torch. And it was a very uncommon kind of torch, for once or twice when there were angry words between some dinner-carriers who had jostled each other, he shed a few drops of water on them from it, and their good humour was restored directly. For they said, it was a shame to quarrel upon Christmas Day. And so it was! God love it, so it was! “

Top: tea, raisins, tart plum

Heart: coffee, fig, cinnamon

Base: woody notes, spruce and heliotrope, incense

Might this work?

What are your favourite Christmas smells, or perhaps even your favourite Christmas fragrance? And would you like more to see more Christmas releases?

A Happy and Fragrant Christmas to you all


*pics are mine

10 thoughts on “The Greatest Perfumes Never Made – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  1. You know, I’ve only ever *seen* A Christmas Carol, I’ve never read it – and this excerpt is quite a splendid treat, Asali. Yes, your imagined perfume for it works well by me.

    I don’t have a favorite Christmas perfume, but the smell of pine trees is really the smell of Christmas to me because my mother used to decorate our house not just with a White Pine Christmas tree, but lots of loose pine branches that she garlanded our fireplace with, as well as other nooks. I will probably wear whatever perfume I’m craving on Christmas, but when I bring in pine boughs to use as table arrangements, that’s the scent that will “send me,” so to speak.

    Here’s wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Will you be singing that day (with the church)?

    • It sounds like a wonderful memory, having your mother decorating the whole house pine branches, she must have real flair for things like that.
      I guess many will have ‘only’ seen A Christmas Carol, but there are a few really good adaptations. However, the book really isn’t long, and so christmassy, well worth reading 🙂
      Yes, I was singing yesterday, today and tomorrow, which, especially on Christmas evening is incredibly nice with the atmosphere and and all.

  2. I’d love to see more Christmas time perfumes. Actually, the other day, I won a festive perfume called Three Kings by DSH on a CaFleureBon draw. I’m so looking forward to trying this one.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!!

    • Thank you, to you too. I’m glad you think we lack Christmas perfumes too and exciting about the DSH perfume (seems you’ve run into a bit of luck recently 😉 ), I don’t know it. But then ordering anything but samples from her does become such a hassle when one is not in the US, so I must admit I’m very far behind testing her perfumes, although so many speak to me on the paper.

  3. It is a shame there aren’t more Christmas themed perfumes. It’s a time that is so full of wonderful aromas to be inspired by. Tea for Two and Fille en Aiguilles are as close as I get. I doubt it would be for me because of the red pepper, but Natalie is a fan of Noel au Balcon so I’d like to try that at some point.

    Love your Dickens perfume idea – it works for me! – and your Christmas collage, which is slightly unnerving like all good fairy-tales 🙂

    Merry Christmas!

    • I agree, so many aromas to be inspired by, and it’s not like you wouldn’t wear them all winter anyway if you felt like it… Yes, Fille en Aiguilles is very Christmassy, and I actually took Vanessa’s advice and sprayed a bit by my Christmas tree this year 🙂 I haven’t tried Noel au Balcon either, I always think of the ELdO’s being quirky, as in if it says something with Christmas it probably won’t smell of it, but apparently I’m wrong here.
      I suppose there are some perfumes that have a Christmas vibe on the market, I just wish they were also called so. Merry Christmas

  4. It’s funny: I’ve just finished re-watching Scroodged before coming here and reading your post. So I got a slight déjà vu feeling 🙂

    I’m not sure I’d like to wear Christmas but I love pine smell. And mandarins. Fille en Aiguilles is the closest thing to Christmas perfume for me. I’ll wear it tomorrow. But if “your” perfume ever gets created, I’ll definitely give it a try.

    Merry Christmas!

    • What fun! I haven’t watched that adaptation, but a lot of others, including a Muppet Christmas Carol 🙂 I know what you mean about not wanting to wear Christmas, I don’t like it too obvious either, which is why I picked this excerpt, which also has some less christmassy notes. And thanks for the trust 🙂 A merry Christmas to you too

  5. For me Christmas is quintessentially about vanilla, incense and aldehydes – the first two take no explaining, while the latter conjures up the constant popping of Prosecco corks. Well, in my perfect scenario. I am afraid I wouldn’t care for those notes you have conjured up, as I don’t like coffee and heliotrope is a bit iffy for me, but I love the sound of the plum and fig and tea, and in principle am all for more Xmas scents. 😉

    • Top: aldehydes, tea, plum
      Heart: fig, cinnamon
      Base: spruce, vanilla, incense
      Better? The Vanessa version 😉
      Not sure how one could make that into one scent,( like with the notes described above too) but in the right hands, I’m sure it could work somehow.
      And one more vote for Christmas perfumes, yay!

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