I’m going to have an honest moment on here for a second. Last summer, I was so vaguely unhappy, so living permanently in the bell jar, that I never wanted to leave my apartment. On top of being a hermit (or perhaps because of it), I was also stoned out of my goddamned mind for three months straight. I was like a pilled-out housewife but instead of having a hot rich husband and a large home in suburbia, I was pathetically single and squashing roaches in my bathtub with rolled up pieces of tissue. As far as aspiring pillheads go, I guess you could say I was less of a Karen Walker and more of a Kim Richards.
So that was a terrible time for me. Phew, thank god that’s over. I will say though that one good thing came out of being permanently high last summer: I became obsessed with scents. I don’t know if it was a side effect of all the drugs I was taking or what but all of a sudden, I just became fixated on everything smelling good ALL THE TIME. I think it was my twisted logic of being like, “Well, if I smell like a wonderful blend of amber, cedarwood, and vanilla, no one will EVER know that I took five painkillers today! What’s that smell?! Someone who’s not screwed out of their mind, that’s what!”
I became such a hilarious parody of myself, going to department stores like a zombie and impulse buying 1,000 candles and perfumes (some of which were meant for 80-year-old rich women in Prada, not 20-something gay men in stained Hanes t-shirts). I would come home carrying all of these shopping bags that were clanking with the sounds of glass bottles and candles, all googly-eyed and insane looking, and scream to my roommate, “OMG, let’s do a face mask and light some candles, hon!” My roommate would be like, “Um, k…” and then I would retire to bed, spritzing on old-lady perfume that would make my roommate retch, and feel like a glamorous delusional stoned diva!
Even though the times and my drug intake have changed, I have continued to be obsessed with perfumes and candles. Don’t you know this already though, dear reader?! I wrote about it last year around this time exactly! But I figured an update was in order. In the past 365 days, I’ve scoured the ends of the earth (or at least gone above 14th street in Manhattan) in the search for the perfect scent and here are my latest discoveries. (Note: all of these recommendations are $$$$$. I don’t play around with those five dollar candles that smell like apple crisp and Grandma’s melted down chocolate cake, okay? If you’re not cool with dropping $60 on a single candle, congratulations! You’re normal and I’m insane! Everyone else, please come inside Ryan’s scent factory…)
1. Chateau Marmont Signature Candle
While I was in L.A., I spent some time at the Chateau Marmont (which you’ll be hearing ALL about, trust me!) and the first thing I noticed about the storied hotel was how good it smelled. Whenever I would float down the hallways (Because you don’t walk at the Chateau, you float, natch), I would stop dead in my tracks and say to myself, “What is that wondrous scent? It smells like elitism and drug overdoses with a hint of gardenias!” I ran up to the front desk immediately to inquire about their candle and they were like, “Oh yes, that’s our signature scent. You can have it for 5,000 dollars!” and I was like, “Sold!” I burned this candle all throughout my stay in L.A. and it made everything smell so warm, sweet, and musky. And it’s actually not $5,000. It’s $50.00, which is still terrifying but you have to make sacrifices for the things you love, okay? When I’m dead, just bury me with my candles.
2. Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford
In my post last year, I recommended the Tom Ford cologne, Tuscan Leather, which legitimately smells like an eight ball of cocaine. Like, if I were a recovering cokehead, I think wearing Tuscan Leather would be considered a relapse. It’s that similar. Just yesterday though, my bottle ran out and I met up with my friend Danielle who was wearing Tobacco Vanille and it smelled AMAZING. I remember dousing myself in it when I was at Saks last year and being like “no” but my senses have clearly changed. The scent is a sexy musk that is the definition of unisex. And, no, I don’t mean unisex in the sense that only gay men and girls can wear it. I think Tobacco Vanille could work for anyone. I don’t smoke cigarettes and HATE the smell of tobacco but the smell isn’t overwhelming here. It works perfectly in conjunction with the vanilla and honey. The only bummer about Tom Ford’s scents is that they cost a small fortune. The smallest bottles (which I go through typically in six months) cost 200 dollars! Tom, hon, are you out there? Can you send me a bottle of Tobacco Vanille for free? I swear I’ll find a way to incorporate it in every article. “20 Reasons Why Everyone Should Smell Like Tobacco and Vanilla,” “Thoughts I Had About My Ex While Wearing Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford.” The list could go on…
3. Fig Tree Candle by A.P.C.
Whenever I go to A.P.C. to try on clothes, I end up sobbing in the dressing room because I feel like fat Elvis. Luckily for me though, their amazing candles are one size fits all! I’m the biggest fan of the fig one. I could burn it all day long and be satisfied. I could walk down the aisle on my wedding day to a song I wrote called, “Me & Fig Candles: An Expensive Love Story That Doesn’t Involve My Husband.” You get the point. I love it. Diptyque makes a fabulous fig candle as well but I’m partial to the A.P.C. one, even if it does bring up painful memories of trying on too-small items of clothing in the store and having to ask for a size large. “Oh, um…” the anorexic salesperson tells me, “I think we have some in the stockroom…” IS THAT WHERE YOU KEEP THE REGULAR-SIZED PEOPLE? TIED UP IN THE BASEMENT? FINE, TAKE ME THERE, I WANNA GO THERE.
4. Aveda Shampure Candle
Ok, I know it’s weird to burn a candle that smells like a shampoo but just trust me. This Aveda Shampure candle is PERFECT to burn in your bathroom. I would never dare bring it out to my main living room area (it’s not ready for primetime, honey) but it works so well burning in the bathroom because the scent is so clean and crisp. Plus, it’s where you wash your hair anyway so why not just have shampoo in a candle version as well? Retailing at $34.00, it’s also the cheapest offering on my list. (PATHETIC, I KNOW. SEND ME TO EXPENSIVE CANDLE JAIL. IT’S A LEGITIMATE DISEASE THOUGH. HAVE SOME CUMPASSION.)
5. Orange Blossom by Jo Malone
I don’t own this perfume myself, my roommate does. (I’m not that gay, you psychos!) But sometimes I’ll wear it when I’m hungover because it smells so smooth and precious, like a delicate cloud floating over an orange grove in California. Sometimes you just need a soft, underwhelming scent that’s sort of an added surprise. Ordinarily, I like to drown in cologne (as long as you’re not wearing Ed Hardy rapist perfume, it’s okay to use liberal amounts) but when my head is aching and I’m dry heaving, I need just a little splash of Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom perfume and I’m good to go.
P.S. I can’t actually guarantee that these scents will get you laid. In fact, it might hurt your chances, especially if you spend thirty minutes talking about your love of candles on a first date like I have. Oops!