Soothing, comforting scents for difficult times

We find ourselves in strange and difficult times right now, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Unfortunately, this won’t be the only time that life gets hard though, and difficulties will cross all our paths at some point or other.

At times when the going gets particularly rough, scent can help soothe us back into a sense of calm. It might not solve whatever problem is assailing us that moment, but it can act as a balm for troubled souls.

We’ve collected together our favourite soothing scents in the hope that you may find some comfort in these fragrances.

Golden Powder by The House of Oud

Listed notes: Nutmeg, cinnamon, sandalwood, guaiac wood, Virginia cedar wood, musk, labdanum, vanilla, coumarin, tobacco blossom, Burma oud.

Golden Powder is a mixture of milk and spices. It’s a warm, comforting pashmina wrap of a fragrance. Sweet enough to cosset but not so sweet that it becomes cloying and balanced beautifully by nutmeg and cinnamon. This is a gentle, soft, embracing scent which will take you somewhere warm and safe. The oud here isn’t challenging or difficult, instead it adds a fullness and longevity to what is a really friendly and approachable fragrance.

Hamaca by 27 87

Listed notes: Marine accords, tonka bean, coconut, vanilla, sandalwood.

Hamaca by 27 87 takes the milky, soothing vibe but freshens it up somewhat with cool and salty sea-water vibes. Whilst Golden Powder is a warm, milky beverage with spices on top, Hamaca is more a milky cocktail sipped on the beach, cooling and refreshing. You can feel your brow relax when you inhale this scent, and cares just seem to gently float away on a cloud. Hamaca is perfect for combatting worries on days when the sun is shining – those cool notes give moments of sweet relief, whilst the vanilla and tonka are pillowy soft.

Run of the River by Parterre

Listed notes: Bergamot mint, violet leaf, elemi, orange flower, lemon thyme, juniper, incense, oak moss, mate.

Perhaps it is being in nature that you crave when you are feeling low? If so then you should definitely check out Run of the River by Parterre. This beautiful, delicate scent immediately transports you to the side of a babbling brook. It is cool, uplifting, positive and incredibly beautiful, the sort of fragrance that makes you feel lighter on the inside as soon as you smell it.

Bois Farine by L’Artisan Parfumeur

Listed notes: iris, musk, wheat

Bois Farine, for us, sits somewhere between nutty and floury, but there is something deeply soothing about this scent, which is described as “minimalist and modern” on the L’Artisan Parfumeur website. The delicate, musky wheat notes give the illusion of a fictional mother’s flour dusted apron, rising bread, and the sort of safety which is only possible in the childhoods that exist in stories. The scent is minimalist in so much as it is distinctly uncluttered, leaving your mind plenty of space to get on with the other things that it needs to figure out.

Cacao Azteque by Perris Monte Carlo

Listed notes: Black pepper, pink pepper, cardamon, orchid, pittosporum, rum, tuberose, cocoa, cocoa beans, leather, musk, sandalwood.

There is a deep, soothing contentment about Cacao Azteque by Perris that really took us by surprise when we first smelled it. The black and pink peppers give the fragrance a beautiful lift, but under that, a much deeper, slower rhythm of woody, bitter cacao beats. Smelling Cacao Azteque is rather like smelling lavender (and indeed, we felt like there was some sort of olfactory mirage going on here anyway that caused some of that to appear). It brings with it that deep sense of peace and tranquillity. Definitely one to try if tranquility is lacking elsewhere in your life.

Liquo by Angela Ciampagna

Listed notes: Lavandin, violet, lemon, anise, liquorice, straw, coumarin, incense, vetiver, tonka bean.

Liquo is the gloaming rendered in perfume form. It is twilight, safety, security and protection. The anise notes in this fragrance will make you feel like you are falling into a bed of the most beautiful, sun-warmed hay. There is simply nothing better for when you want to escape your troubles and travel to a warm Italian hillside as dusk falls.

Ashoka by Neela Vermeire 

Listed notes: Fig leaf, lotus, water hyacinth, osmanthus absolute, cassie absolute, jasmine sambac, iris, ylang-ylang, fig milk, myrrh, sandalwood, vetiver, leather, styrax, incense, tonka bean.

The whole premise of this fragrance is of a warrior reaching a moment of stillness and peace, and it really delivers with its peaceful side. Tranquility is woven throughout this scent by the delicate use of sandalwood, fig milk, and vetiver. Beautifully sophisticated, Ashoka will allow you to calm yourself whilst not compromising on smelling beautiful and ready to face the day – a great scent to wear when you have a difficult meeting planned.

The other stuff

We weren’t sponsored, paid or otherwise rewarded by any of the brands mentioned here in order to produce this article. If we were given samples, this is listed on the original review. Where no original review is linked, we purchased bottles or decants of the fragrances ourselves.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash


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