Dubai-based fragrance alchemist Julia Volet follows in the time honoured, European atelier traditions of candle making and home fragrances.
The sense of smell is one of the most potent of associative senses; special people, places and occasions are filed into our memory with a preface written in scents. Just like perfume, the right home scent can leave a lasting impression.
Volet, who has a long history of supplying bespoke candles to some of the region’s uber high-end venues and is the owner of Julia Volet Flowers, recently launched her eponymous candles brand.
100% hand-crafted in the UAE, and presented in Gold plated brass containers, Volet’s debut collection is inspired by her love affair with Dubai. The dual candles are presented in gold suede pouches. “For ten years, I have woken up to the beautiful call for prayer” she says of the first candle. Inspired by the Azan, it delivers a calming bouquet of rose, neroli and oud. Fig, Patchouli and leather inform the dynamic second fragrance, ‘Dare to Dream’; it pays homage to the people of the Emirate.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE NOSE
Volet is first and foremost, as they are lovingly known in the olfactory circles, a ‘Nose’. Her candles are an extension of perfume creation and the highest regard is paid to the marriage of the many oils that go into creating the perfect blend.
At her studio in Dubai Investments Park, Volet emulates the high traditions of candle making as exemplified by the Parisian atelier Cire Turdon, which, since 1643 has mastered the science and art of wax work. Inspired by her muse, Volet uses an unheard of 18% (by volume) concentrated perfume oils to fragrance her wax. “I created a custom blend of vegetable based wax that would stabilise, retain the concentrated scent and emanate it authentically,” says the hands on entrepreneur.
Like haute perfumes, her candles boast of a distinct top note (the heady first hit of fragrance as you open the box), a middle note that lingers and the base that lend depth. “Fragrances are categorised according to notes, accords or other characteristics that define their overall similarities,” explains Volet. “Whether we know it or not, we tend to lean toward a particular fragrance family.”
Fresh fragrances often include ‘green’ notes, like fresh cut grass, the smell of spring in the air, light citruses and airy notes. If you have an outdoorsy personality, a fragrance with fresh notes might be best for you.
Floral is probably the most popular of all fragrance categories. These scents encompass a wide range of blooms, from a single rose petal to a medley of floral bouquets. Floral scents can be powdery or sweet, depending on their combinations. If you enjoy the scent of a particular flower, maybe you should try fragrances that include notes of that flower.
Oriental fragrances are rich, bold and overall exotic. Notes like amber and vanilla are often present in the oriental group. This family leans toward the “heavier” side and are more sensual fragrances, ideal for romantic occasions.
Woods or Chypre fragrances are usually masculine in nature with aromatic woods and moss notes. Think sandalwood, cedar wood and the most coveted Oud (Asian Agarwood). Woody scents may also hint of Patchouli, vetiver and pine.
Consumers have not tired of niche fragrances, so expect indie brands to continue to dominate. Artisanal quality and originality are the main drivers of this trend. Often tailor-made, niche fragrances set themselves apart from the mainstream and let consumers stand out from the crowd.
As in fashion, the notion of his or her scents for the home is also on its way out. Fragrance choices are taking cues from changing social attitudes and evolving gender fluidity. The popularity of unisex fragrances reflects a shift in focus among consumers to self-expression rather than their gender.
As we cultivate a greener, healthier lifestyle, natural fragrances such as essential oils have found favour with both consumers and manufacturers. In addition to being an environmentally conscious choice, many natural fragrances are also sought-after for their stress relieving properties.