Thursday, November 1, 2012

Great Smelling Gifts for the Scentualist: $20 and Under

Each product in this selection of olfactory-themed goodies costs less than $20. You don't have to be a perfume lover to appreciate them (well, maybe all except one), but like all things that smell great each will add an aromatic touch to your day. Consider this curated list of offerings a shortcut for all your stocking stuffer needs. You can also treat yourself to every single product in this post for $52.00 plus shipping and have yourself a smelly little Christmas.

Lakol Glue Stick
It isn't every day that one can have a dalliance with the entire macaron case at Ladurée, but one can dream. Almonds are the foundation of every great French macaron, but why eat a handful of nuts when you can tempt your taste buds with pastry redolent of Muguet (Lily of the Valley), Cedrat (Cedar), or Mangue Jasmine (Mango Jasmine)? 

Giving in to temptation like this will make you hip in all the wrong ways (think body mass index) so it's best to consider something more recherché, something that smells of the perfume of almonds versus the unspeakable burden of guilt you'll be carrying as you punish yourself on what you'll swear is the "treadmill of doom" at the gym.

Introducing the Lakol Glue Stick. It smells of the finest marzipan and since it's non-toxic and solvent-free you can sniff it to your heart's content whilst being creative with paper projects. For the record, marzipan is considered aphrodisiac so you can double your aromatic pleasure and burn calories sans guilt. Just don't tell the folks at Pfizer® or Sensa®.

The Lakol Glue Stick is priced at $2.49 and is available for purchase at

Ten Thousand Villages Wooden Eyeglasses Rest
Your nose is the most precious thing on your face. If there's smoke, gas, skunk or spoiled food it protects you from danger by giving you the big fat "don't go there" signal. Ten Thousand Villages sells a nose carved out of aromatic Indian Rosewood (also known as Sheesham wood) that serves as reminder of just how important the most prominent feature on the human face is.

Though it is designed to support a pair of eyeglasses it also works as a functional totem for anyone that collects essential oils and absolutes used in perfumery. It's great for resting errant perfume blotters and can be used to curate humorous scenarios at your desk (Glass Petal Smoke currently has a .4 oz Lust solid perfume stick from Lush taking up residence under its nose).

If you've been considering collecting aromas as a hobby you can take stock in the fact that smell calisthenics improve brain function and enhance plasticity. Just don't get caught up in the notion that a bigger nose means you have olfactory superpowers. You can leave that argument to someone who argues that there isn't a limit to how big a nose can be (aka a nosarian).

Ten Thousand Villages' Wooden Eyeglasses Rest retails for $18.00 and is available online or in-store. All items sold by the company meet fair trade and sustainability standards.

          Write Dudes USA Eco #2 Pencils
Pencils rule. A single pencil is capable of writing 450,000 words or a straight line 35 miles long, this according to the folks at Pencils made of Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) are the most fragrant pencils around, but finding affordable ones that write well requires a game of trial and error (translation: buy a bunch, get burned, try again).

Die hard Incense Cedar pencil fanatics shell out $19.99 for a dozen Palomino Blackwing 602 pencils, but there are less expensive alternatives. Some swear by General's Cedar Pointe Pencils, the oldest brand of pencils in the United States (manufactured in Jersey City, New Jersey for 120 years), but if you want a high quality graphite pencil with pencil shavings that smell like the inside of a cedar chest then Write Dudes USA Eco #2 Pencil is the pencil for you. Because the pencil is not lacquered (it's made of raw cedar) it leaves a trace of aroma on your thumb and forefinger after you write with it.

A pack of 18 Write Dudes USA Eco #2 Pencils retails for $6.09 on Amazon and qualifies for free shipping with a $25.00 purchase. Get this Dux pencil sharpener while you're at it. You can unscrew the cap and sniff your pencil shavings for a quick cedar fix and no one will think less of you for it.

Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
One of the main reasons that coconut oil has taken the food world by storm is that its flavor is accompanied by a rich aroma that instantly transports one to white sandy beaches in the tropics. Coconut oil is a fabulous beauty product on its own. It's solid at room temperature and a small amount placed in the palm of your hands melts quickly, transforming into a liquid that is perfect for application on skin and hair.

Though coconut oil is great for year round skincare it can be used as an aromatherapeutic treatment for winter blues. A coconut oil body treatment before bed will instantly fill your mind with thoughts of sunshine and warmer climes. To get full skin conditioning benefits draw a bath before going to bed. When you get out of the tub pat skin gently with a towel, allowing moisture to remain on your skin as this will emulsify the oil. Apply coconut oil from head to toe, get in your pj's and bask in the milky aroma of coconut under your favorite winter blanket. If you aren't sleeping alone the company you keep also appreciate its delicious scent.

Nutiva Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is milky, floral and nutty smelling and is, quite frankly, the best coconut oil around. If you have a little Ylang Ylang essential oil you can add that and make your own Monoi Oil mixture. For a touch of extravagance add a drop or two of Sandalwood, Jasmine or Gardenia Oil from Enfleurage.

Nutiva Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil is sold in most health food stores and is available for purchase online. A 15 oz. jar retails for $11.99.

Sweetsation Choco*Smooch Organic Lip and Face Balm
A growing number of healing balms are being targeted at adult consumers because they are concentrated and portable; two important factors if one plans on traveling or saving space in the medicine cabinet. A stick balm is as concentrated as it gets and the best skin conditioning balms can outperform creams and lotions, which are more than 50% water.

Sweetsation Choco*Smooch Lip and Face Balm was made for babies, but mama likes it too. A perfect fusion of Vanilla absolute and unrefined cocoa butter makes for an incredibly delicious and comforting aroma that is truly a balm for the senses. Many manufacturers shy away from using true Vanilla because of the expense, substituting Vanillin (an aroma molecule found in artificial vanilla flavoring) for the real thing. Considering the fact that vanilla has been shown to elicit a sense of comfort in scientific studies just adds to the list of the product's ethnobotanical benefits.

The .75 oz. jumbo size Sweetsation Choco*Smooch stick retails for $12.99 and can be purchased online and at select retail stores.