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mandarin

An unusual man brought up the matter of what fragrance to wear for Christmas. By now I suppose you have all made your choice for today, (I would love to know what it was). Tomorrow we will all make it again. So, my thoughts on this are as follows.

Christmas is a beautiful holiday that offers a wealth of inspiration for self-insight and care for others regardless of how or where you spend these days. It is a special time and therefore deserves a special fragrance, This does not mean complicated fragrance. Just a deliberate choice. (Which on the other hand is the way I wish more people looked at fragrances all days of the year but anyway).

Here are a couple of examples of things to consider when picking your Christmas fragrance.

1) What other fragrances and scents will surround you? 

Christmas is a holiday of many odors, scents and smells. Some amazing, some less amazing. Wherever you will be – your perfume will be a part of a larger olfactory sensation. Try to predict some dominant traits and see them as a part of your palette that you work with when choosing what to add (with your chosen perfume). In my home for example there are various white flowers, spruce needles, oranges, cardamon, an open fire, no meat or red wines during Christmas Eve, just white fish and very delicate flavors followed by cakes or warm drinks with dried fruits. This to me suggests a lighter fragrance or gourmand.

2) Who are you spending Christmas with and how close will they be? 

This is actually quite significant. Just think about it – for example would you want to put a delicate piece of white fish in your mouth while your nose is stuck in an attack from your neighbour’s heavy floral? (I HATE when that happens at a restaurant). If you are in company of many people seated very close for the whole evening I would suggest you all go easy on perfumes for dinner. I am strongly in favor of not wearing strong perfumes to dinners at all actually. Or apply them so much in advance that by the time you sit down you’re in a gentle base note phase.

These two are things you should think about. Apart from that other criteras are more for pleasure and as many as you want them to be: what will you wear (style, texture, how warm etc), what scents do you want to feel yourself and what will make you comfortable etc.

My choice today was based on this: the general fragrance palette described above, that I like the classic Christmas style, that my day was divided in two parts where the first was a long walk downtown, a visit to church to light candles for the absent ones, light lunch and then in the evening dinner with few people in a spacious house. Plus also that Christmas Eve for Catholics is not “the real feast” (that is tomorrow) but an evening of anticipation for what is to come. In Polish we call this Wigilia.

Therefore… I chose something light and young, elegant but discreet. From an iconic brand (for the classic feeling) and by an iconic nose. As I applied it in the morning, by dinner there was just the softness of the basenotes. Also, I applied it only on the neck so the sensation was very mild, both for me and others. 

Top notes: orange, bergamot, mandarin, grapefruit
Middle notes: morning rose, Italian jasmine, ylang-ylang, mimosa, florentine iris
Base notes: Indonesian patchouli, Haitian vetiver, Bourbon vanilla, white musk, opoponax, tonka bean

You probably guessed. By Monsieur Jacques Polge:

Tomorrow I will wear my beloved Omnia. The first one. Masala tea, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond, chocolate, ginger, mandarin orange, saffron, pepper, cardamom, cloves, tonka bean. Quite appropriate for Christmas Day in other words. 

Hope you are all having a beautiful Christmas.

Bvlgari released Omnia in 2003. I was at that time a young woman taking the first steps in my career and hadn’t really even thought about perfumes that much at all. I suppose in a way I was more into discovering myself than defining myself. But it was winter and I was buying Christmas gifts and wanted to buy something for myself. To commemorate this time in my life. I went to the perfume section of Stockholm department store NK.


The first time I tried Omnia it felt sort of self-evident but not in a sensational way. Just, ”yes, there it is”. I adored the unusal bottle however. Since then I have bought many perfumes, some have been perfect for a while, for specific situations or for more. But the only fragrance that has stayed with me, and by far the one that I get most comments about is this one. I have noticed that for one, not many people know it at all, and then those who do either love it or hate it. Actually more often the latter. Thus, when I go to get a new bottle it is never easy to find. I have to order it or wait while someone goes to see if they have one ”in the back”.

Omnia was created by nose Alberto Morillas. The fragrance was said to have been inspired by the spices discovered by Marco Polo on his voyages. The notes include black pepper, mandarin, masala tea, saffron, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond, chocolate, lotus blossom, and sandalwood. The lotus is discrete which I am happy about and the Christmas dessert feeling only lasts for a brief moment. Then it lands in this soft saffron, cardamon embrace. Sometimes you feel the clove just briefly.

I love this fragrance. It is a non-choice for me, I don’t have to be in a particular mood to carry it off, not wear anything special. It is never ”too much”. It just blends with me. I always return to it at some point even after longer periods of infedility. It’s is a sort of default fragrance for me. And the nostalgia of it makes it special. Also, the fact that I rarely, if ever, meet someone else who has it makes it feel even more ”mine”.

There have been new versions of Omnia since the original first one. These however I do not get along with at all.